Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with a report from Day One of WonderCon, which seems to grow and grow each year. If it gets any bigger it'll start giving San Diego Comic-Con a run for its money. Tons of info in here from Buddy-L... and what I love about his coverage is that he doesn't just go over the movie geek stuff, but also dips into the comic book geek stuff. Once again Mike Allred teases about who's playing MADMAN. I'd flip out if they'd finally announce the main character and Rodriguez confirms the start date below. Anyway, enjoy the report! I look forward to tomorrow's entry, Buddy!
Hiya Harry, Morry, Quint.
Just thought you guys'd enjoy a report about the big event that started today in my fair city: San Francisco's WonderCon. As I type this, I've just come from the Mike Allred panel with wife Laura that ended the day. I'm typing this up from the Apple store down the street.
I'll try to just give the necessary info that you'd wanna hear and hopefully report again tomorrow.
There was a bit 'o confusion early on as to when we could or couldn't get in. I respect security, but they were a bit disorganised and has us all running around like head-less chickens cause they didn't know where to put us.
Once we got in (about 12:15 or so), the place was bustling. The Dark Horse booth greets you as you enter with it's two sexy, pastel-coloured dressed booth babes (I dunno who they were dressed as but it had a comic book look to it). The best booths were those of DC, View Askew/Grafitti Designs, Lion's Gate Films, New Line Cinema/Fox Searchlight/Columbia (this one was dedicated solely to the upcoming horror flicks from these three studios) and the one with the actors who played Non & Ursa in "Superman II". They even had the DVD case of the upcoming "Supes II" DVD. (Before you ask, Moriarty, yes it says "Richard Donner Cut" on the case. I rolled my eyes all the way to the back of my head.
The New Line/Searchlight booth had the most (and best) free swag. You could take ANYTHING. This included t-shirts from the new remake of "Hills Have Eyes", a fake newspaper reporting a missing family from "Silent Hill", a "Night Watch" spider-doll thing (y'know that thing on thier website that crawls all over) that winds up and crawls (!), a couple "Night Watch" buttons, a poster/folder for "Eragon" (looking forward to that one), "UltraViolet" posters (ahh, Milla), and posters for "Silent Hill" "Running Scared" and "Final Destination 3".
I made my way over to the "Artists' Alley" to get signed all these comix in my backpack that no doubt herniated a disc or two. First off was one of my favourite comic writers: Peter David. His long run on "Hulk" is one of the things kept stirring my imagination issue after issue. He signed my "Hulk" issues 387-397. When he got to 395, where big Green "battles" the Punisher, he cracked up. "The fans had been writing me letters to have the Hulk fight Punisher, but I tried to explain--and showed in the issue--that it's not a fair fight." (For those not familiar, the Punisher--apparently ignorant of the Hulk's existence--empties full clips on big Green, to which the latter doesn't even shrug. The "fight" ends with the Hulk, clothes blown away, standing in front of the Punisher. Next page, the Punisher recovering from a Hulk induced migraine the result of Green plucking him with ONE FINGER.) He got nostalgic as he signed my copy of his comic adaptation of the movie "Rocketeer". Dave Stevens, that comic's artist, had a signing booth but never showed up (nor did Frank Cho, who just showed up for his Image panel). I had some more "X-Factor" and "Spidey 2099" books that Peter signed and waxed poetic about. All in all, Peter David = great guy.
Next was Mike Mignola. Also a cool guy who spent more time dispensing wisdom to the aspiring artists in line than signing. When it was my turn for him to sign my "X-Force" #8, I couldn't help but ask how "Hellboy 2" was coming along. "Guillermo's doing script rewrites on it between putting the finishing touches on 'Pan's Labyrinth'. Hopefully [HB2] will be shot next." I said I hoped so, cause I've been hearing "'Halo'-this and 'Halo'-that" so I thought HB2 might get pushed back. Mignola: "That was never really on the table. What happened was directors get offered a lot of things that never happen, that was one of them." Okay, before anyone jumps all over me in the TalkBacks, just know that those were Mignola's words and not eve I expect him to have intimate knowledge of the "Halo" project, but that's what he said.
After getting my "Infinity" stuff signed by Ron Lim and spending waaaay too much time oggling Nikki Giovanni, I went to the Bongo Comics panel, "Bongo Mania !" Not a lotta folks there. In fact, when Bill Morrison entered, he joked "No one here ? This must be a 'Family Guy' panel." They mentioned what they have in store for the upcoming "Simpsons" and "Futurama" comics (the return of Scorpio, an "Apprentice" parody w/ Mr. Burns called "The Flunkie", an "Archie" parody w/ Homer and Barney as Archie and Jugghead), some recent projects (a "Treehouse of Horror" issue written by rockers Alice Cooper, Gene Simmons, and... Pat Boone ?). Eric Powell ("Goon") will be writing some issues, and "Strangers in Paradise" creator Terry Moore has a story where Homer is contacted by God to clear the Earth of people so that the Almighty may spray the planet for roaches... I shit you not. They also mentioned the puzzling fact that their "Radioactive Man" comic has won several Eisners but has never been a top-seller and that people often think it's a made-up character that they're using to rip-off the "Simpsons" drawing style (Batton Lash's words). Paul Dini was there too, to talk up his upcoming X-mas issue.
When the panel was over I got Dini's autograph and asked what he thought about the "Justice League" episode "Epilogue" which closes up the "Batman Beyond" story. Apparently, he and Bruce Timm had been tossing around the idea of Terry being Bruce Wayne's clone for some time in the BB days, but Alan Burnett hated it and thought Terry should be his own man (I agree, I hated the JL episode). Dini and Timm wanted to address it in another straight-to-DVD that would follow "Return of the Joker", but we all know the controversy over that one, so the episode "Epilogue" happened. I then asked what he knew about the rumours of JL and "Teen Titans" being cancelled? He said he doesn't work there anymore so he can't confirm or deny anything.
I went back downstairs to the Comic Book Defense League booth to wait for Frank Miller to come and sign some of my stuff (provided you donate $10 to the CBDL). As I was waiting in line, who should walk right past me to the View Askew booth but the Jersey Boy himself, Kevin Smith and daughter Harley. It was cool seeing him there. He's just as laid back in real life as he is in interviews. He only stayed for a minute (his panel is tomorrow), but it was nice to see him all the same. When I got up to Frank Miller, I was surprised to see he was now bearded and apparently fighting a cold (but he was still there, that's a trooper). He signed my copies of "Ronin" "Give Me Liberty" and "DK1". I asked if, now that he's directed, if he planned on directing any original stuff for the screen. "Ohh, yeah." How 'bout HARD BOILED. "We're working on the script right now. It should be done pretty soon." Cool.
I went back upstairs and caught the tail-end of the Image Comics panel, wherein Frank Cho proposed to Erik Larsen that Savage Dragon visit "Liberty Meadows" and we find out the green guy is gay (Cho's idea, not Larsen's). After they were done, Mike and (the incredibly hot) Laura Allred came in for their panel. They chatted it up with Larsen for a bit, then asked everyone to scoot in close as they wanted to make it as intimate and informal as possible. He opened with a story about how he proposed to Laura in my fair city (under the GG bridge, no less) and how they'd gone back there earlier today.
The first question was about "Golden Plates" and it was essentially a "why" ? The answer took up a good 30 min. or so as he went off on a tangent about his Mormon beliefs, the story itself, and feeling the history of the Latter-Day Saints. The thing is, he didn't preach to us. As much as I wished he'd moved onto another topic, he was honest and open and even said "it's possible that the Book of Mormon is made up. If it is, it's the greatest hoax in history." He said how much he loved that "South Park" episode where Stan has a Mormon friend. He made some cracks about Dubya. He showed us all he's a nice, ordinary guy. He elaborated on how his beliefs find his way into all his works, including "Red Rocket 7" which he describes as a "'Forrest Gump' take on the history of rock."
One guy asked about his favourite 2005 albums (he could only remember The Killers' album), another asked if he wasn't wasting his life in trying to be a comic artist. Then I asked THE question: "The 'Madman' movie, when ?" Laura responded that if it doesn't happen now, it'll probably never happen. Mike said (Quint, I know you've been looking forward to this project so you'll dig this) he and Robert Rodriguez hope to start shooting THIS MAY ! ! (Isn't that close after "Grind House", Harry ?) He's fallen in love with Robert's digital shooting style and this one will be all green-screen, a la "Sin City". The look will be "like Technicolor. Like a black-and-white movie that's been coloured-in."
Someone behind me asked the next obvious question: "have you cast Frank Einstein ?" "Yes, but I can't tell you who it is yet." [We all groan] When we announce it, you're gonna be like 'What ?', then you'll think about it for a second and see that it's perfect." Then came the real highlight of my day (and before anyone reads this next part, I suggest you find every single "Madman" comic you can): Mike gave us his "dream cast" of supporting actors (no one signed or called, just the people he'd love to see):
Dr. Phlegm -- Gene Wilder
Jake -- Steve Buscemi
Dr. Mofford -- Robin Williams
Jo -- Natalie Portman
The comic adaptation of the movie will be the current storyboarded version Mike now has all made out. He will also be creating new "Madman" and "Atomics" comics real soon.
Well, that about wraps up WonderCon Day 1. Sorry about the sloppy reporting, but some great stuff, no ? You guys keep up the great work and I'll be back tomorrow with Wes Craven, JJ Abrams and Bryan Singer. Later.