Sunday was a slow start for me. I figured I would be late for Gillian Anderson, so I went shopping for a Mother’s Day gift instead. Gillian (X-Files) had been the official “guest of honour” for the Show, but I’ll maybe catch her panel on the ComicCon’s Youtube channel later (they were all digitally recorded). I somehow completely missed the scheduling of a celebrity Q&A with Nathan Filion by himself for the Sunday (I must have been using a out-of-date schedule since he confirmed late), so missed that. James Marsters was up at lunch time but the wait time and the cold were too much for me to see his Buffy/Smallville discussions, he was Tier III for me, and I’ll catch him on Youtube. Nicholas Brendan (Buffy’s Xander) had been the same for me. Same with David Prowse (Darth Vader).
Which left the big draw for me for Sunday being Wil Wheaton. » Read the rest
The next panel I attended was Michael Shanks. He’s starring currently in Saving Hope, just renewed for a second or third season, but most of the people at the panel are fans because he played Daniel Jackson on Stargate for 10 seasons. I thought Shanks was fantastic. Again, I was struck by how different it was from what I expected — I expected moderated “panels”, and what I got was one-man stand-up Q&As. I love the Stargate show, not a big enough fan to watch every week but I do have a bunch of seasons on DVD. Some highlights from his session:
He was asked if he ever studied archaeology before playing Daniel, and he told an amusing story that he had a month to prepare for his audition. During that time, he went to the ROM to look at their ancient Egypt section, watched the movie several times, etc. thinking it might help.
A “big” draw this year was the cast from Batman 1966. Unfortunately, Adam West hurt his back recently and was unable to travel, so it was down to Burt Ward (Robin) and Julie Newmar (Catwoman). Burt Ward was a youthful 20 year old when Batman was taped, so he’s still in pretty good shape 45+ years later. Julie Newmar, however, was 33 when she filmed, and she turns 80 this year. Remember her Catwoman? A femme fatale for the 60s. And hard to believe she was only in 6 episodes given her impact on the genre. She exuded sex appeal and has even written several books about her experiences as well as published collections of stories about young boys first “crushes” (not all about her, but probably most of them). I only ever saw the show in reruns, and don’t remember having much of a reaction to her, but she was attractive and pretty “sexy” for a family-oriented show. » Read the rest
Saturday morning, I was there bright and early. The “big” guest of this year was Nathan Filion. He would have been the official guest-of-honor but he confirmed late in the process (only a few weeks before). While I enjoy his work on Castle (and was disappointed before that when the show Drive was cancelled after only a few episodes), most of his fans are from the Joss Whedon universe — seeing him originally playing the villain Caleb on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and then the more memorable Captain in Firefly (TV series) and Serenity (movie). The show only lasted part of one season (15 episodes, I think?) but it is by far the largest fan base per capita at geek conventions. I’ve watched the show, it was okay, I really never saw the huge appeal…which by itself is weird, since there is space travel involved, and it’s not a horror flick, so I’d usually be watching. » Read the rest
Before I get to reviewing my first Comic Con experience, I have to confess something. I’m not really that into the full Comic Con mindset. Honestly, I probably represent the softest form of the soft-core fan. Generally, I like the TV and movie elements, would never dress up in costume, don’t collect all the fan gear, and am happy to simply sit in the big hall and listen to the actors tell behind-the-scenes stories. I don’t need to meet them, have a picture taken with them or get their autograph (well, that’s not entirely true — I would, but I’m just not willing to shell out $50 a pop to do it).
For those of you who are not hard-core fans, the conventions are really geared towards a mash-up of several genres. I’ll probably do a poor job of summarizing, but here goes:
Science fiction — in written, graphic/comic or video format, this is the overwhelming genre for most of the guests, often linked to the big series (Star Wars, Star Trek) or the big TV shows (Firefly);
Comic books — a lot of the smaller breakout discussions, and a LOT of the vendors are comic book writers, animators and collectors, but this goes way beyond the simple collections of superhero comics to include full graphic novels in the Japanese tradition (called manga);
Anime — the Japanese abbreviation for animation, this is a genre defined more by look ‘n feel more than anything else — whether animated video stories or on paper, they are always bright, colorful and action-packed;
Gaming — at the risk of offending true gamers, this includes role-playing games, video games, and table-top board games;
Steampunk — a weird mash-up of sci-fi set in the 1800s, where “sci-fi” was mostly steam-powered machines; and,
Other — Horror is big, not sure I’d class it as its own area though, and there are lots of other little miscellaneous areas.