WonderCon 2008

Captured here in a collected form for the first time is my lengthy review of WonderCon 2008.

wondercon 2008 friday part 1
i’ve arrived at wondercon just at noon on the dot to discover no free
wifi and the whole let’s line up in the exhibit hall deal. i’m going
to wander around shortly and then head upstairs for the bill willingham
stuff.

my notes from the bill willingham panel:

when i walked in bill was casually talking to the few fans that had
gathered. he played back a message from his editor “hi bill, i’m
waiting for edits on 71. hope you’re having fun.”

how do fables age?
fables age to an appropriate age unless their story says otherwise.
there are rules unless something occurs to you to break them.
snow white was pregnant for fourteen months so march of the wooden
soldiers would occur in march.

were you a writer before an artist? no.
since i was a wee child i wanted to be an artist. in seventh grade
they had us keep a daily journal and i started writing a story about
(philip k. dick “the father thing”) how my father was a pod person.
daily i charted the weird things dad had done. my uncle bob never
seemed to come around when there was a full moon. bald spot that
filled in around the full moon. my little sister had died along time
ago but no one noticed because she was a zombie. mostly i wanted to
draw comic books. the writing side of things was accidental. i broke
into comics during the independent boom around 1983, with pacific
comics on the west coast and noble comics in grand rapids michigan. i
sent out samples to them. most of them didn’t have comics published
yet so i sent generic stuff to all of them. i created samples of the
four elements and sent them out to show that i knew how to draw, doing
sample pages for a comic that didn’t exist. i started working for
noble comics doing the sample comic i “pitched” them. instead of
saying i don’t have a story i said oh yeah i have a story concept and
started writing it.

what references do you use for fables?
wikipedia, didn’t trust it for a long time.
characters that belong to everybody why not use a reference that also
is used and edited by everybody.
also always read and loved folklore and have always made mental notes
and actual notes to use those characters for something.
surlalune – fairytales and folklore

-you can even write it off on your taxes?
that’s the most creative writing i do all year.

i asked what do you think of digital versus print (wowio)?
it is a good way to get work out there and make a modest living, but i
prefer print.

expand fables?
yes, no adding more books in a monthly line, but we are still going to
do extra fables projects. one in the works at all times. 1001 nights
was the first now we are working on the next one which they tell me i
can’t talk about still. i thought if this turned out really dull i
would just read a little bit from it now. i’ve gotcha though, you’re
interested and i would get in a lot of trouble with dc if i did.

after burning questions, one of the questions i couldn’t answer was
“why do fables call themselves fables” and that is part of this
project. i’m not allowed to talk about the project but one of the
things i said at the beginning of this panel was that if someone asked
me a direct question i would answer it…

why do fables call themselves fables? (read from the next fables
project book)

now has a borders electronic book reader that has his book on it, even
though he would rather have a print book.

won’t tell us the title. can’t talk about the format.

His borders device sorts by author and title, some under bill some under willingham.

near the beginning but not the first segment of this project.

(rec)

they tried going by “the story people” confused people due to stories
in buildings and in books. tried “the folklore people” and that got
shortened to “folks” or “lore” and those didn’t work either. they
tried ballads and tales and eventually settled on “the fabled people”
which eventually became shortened to “fables”.

how do you account for the characters that are repeated in stories in
fables being repeated in comics?
(fractured fairy tales) there’s so many versions in the public domain.
light bulb went on back in the time of incandescent bulbs not energy
saving bulbs. i wanted to know if the big bad wolf was the same in
different stories, wicked witches, etc.

with special effects technology we can now make cheap versions of these
stories where little forays have occurred and things that might have
been a long time ago are now being made.

castle waiting
max ham: fairy tale detective
marvel 1602

everyone that comes after me is ripping me off.

in house of mystery is there any chance that you might be a guest
artist as well as writing some of the stories?
as an artist i’ve become glacially slow. i’ve picked the one story i’m
going to work on drawingwise and that will be it for drawing for the
foreseeable future (not house of mystery).

are fables religious or will religious myth ever come into the
storyline?

mostly has been drawn on western folklore. most of the “originals”
were considered religious. in a lot of the jack tales encounters the
devil and god. i try to hold on to some of that without making a
really big deal of that.

what determines who is a fable?
what characters are in the public domain and do i want to use them.
a lot of them were created by one author and i’ll use them, so not
traditionally fairy tales and folklore.
there’s a fuzzy line between folklore and mythology and mythology and
religion. not forbidden territory but well trod territory.

shadowpact origin at vertigo?

ragman, swamp thing, etc. part of it became a use it or lose it with
the characters. if vertigo wasn’t using them dcu would take them back.
i took a shot at using those characters for a book. don’t make them a
superhero team and don’t have them hang out in a clubhouse. it wasn’t
called shadowpact. one issue was written like that and it was not
tenable. we mutually agreed to set it aside. years later, dan didio called me
up and said “didn’t you do something for vertigo like this?” and he
said we’d love to have them be a superhero team and have a clubhouse.

two more questions.

what did you illustrate for tsr?
i illustrated their modules “fiend folio” i got the job by lying. he
wrote me a nice note and when i got there i found out the art director
said it was between me and one other guy. he asked to see my portfolio
and i said the army had it and it wouldn’t be here for six months. i
said i could do four color and key lining and had no idea what they
were. then when everyone would go home i would break into the art
director’s office and rifle through his stuff to try to learn what i
didn’t know how to do. i know at any moment in time people will
discover what kind of fraud that i’ve been. dungeons and dragons
cartoon, main bad guy had a shadow henchman that would fly around. i
did that.

one more question.

I’m surprised to hear that you became a writer accidentally…

i became a writer because i had so many ideas that were crying out to
come out on the page. i had to become a writer i did it for you.

why do you suppose your desire to draw “dried up”?

i am not a very good artist, as an artist, i’m a bricklayer. i knew
what i wanted to see in my own mind. there are wonderful artists in
this business and i’m getting slower rather than faster because of how
great others are. that slows the process down. artists are lazy
bastards i’m the laziest bastardest in that group.

after that answer, the panel ended and bill said he would be signing at
the dc booth afterward. i went to the dc booth and watched as steve
leialoha arrived and as i handed steve my fables legends in exile book
to sign, he and bill had a conversation about issue 71. apparently
there’s only two small plot points dropped and nothing really happens,
but it is an action book where cinderella kicks a lot of ass and
there’s gun battles and people will probably say a lot of stuff
happened in the issue when nothing really did. they both signed my
book. i mentioned to bill that i had really liked pantheon when i read
it on wowio and he thanked me and said i was one of the eight or nine
people that had actually read it. i asked when he would be doing
sketches at the hero initiative and he said the hour before the dc
nation panel, which worked out well for me.

i tried in vain to find jim lee for my wife’s cousin so he could sign a
book for him. then over the loudspeaker “j michael strazynski is now
signing at the autograph area.” so i had him sign my program and got a
photo with him. didn’t save the photo, got back in line and did it
again.

i wandered a bit looking for food. ended up at the metreon at firewood
grill for a pizza and free wi-fi to upload this entry. after eating, i
will head back to get a sketch from willingham, look for jim lee again
and attend the dc nation panel. after which, journey to the center of
the earth 3d will be the rest of the night as i got a free pass to the
advanced screening over here at the metreon at 10.

stuff purchased:
browncoat bingo card/grr argh monster
6 browncoat raffle tickets
superman/batman joss issue (+ alternate cover issue)
dark horse anniversary comic with emily the strange art by joss
inara’s shuttle ornament
fables legends in exile

swag so far:
star trek “under construction” summer 2009 poster
iron man poster
harold and kumar escape from guantanamo bay flat
harold and kumar escape from guantanamo bay poster
jayne hat raffle postcard
storm #1
semipro basketball cards

(the gorram game developers are using all of the gorram bandwidth…)

wondercon 2008 friday part 2
after my margherita pizza and previous blog post, i came back over to wondercon and wandered the exhibit hall for a short while. i stumbled upon ben templesmith, who is a british writer who wrote a bunch of buffy issues and wrote the comic adaptation of a new cool looking ea game called dead space. i bought the first issue and the marketing director for the game and ben both signed the issue. the marketing director signed the ad he designed. ben signed the cover.

then i went to the hero initiative booth and waited for bill willingham to finish two sketches before he did mine. i skipped the dc nation panel because he had uninvited himself by not continuing to write salvation run. he felt that if he went he would have had to have made up a lie about why he quit working on the book and while he could have done that it wouldn’t have been a benefit to the panel. he joked that he would have liked to have been on the get smart panel tomorrow instead, because he would love to tell people the real ways to get smart. he talked to some friends while he drew the sketches. told a couple of cool tales. one was a practical joke he pulled on a friend from vegas who one of the fables characters is based off of. he is a card dealer and has been the dealer on a couple of televised poker tournaments. he had another friend offer him a televised gig for $60000 for the mad dogs of poker persian gulf armed forces tournament. the guy that called his friend said just to have his agent get in touch. then out of the blue another guy said that jeph loeb had recommended that he give him a call to become his agent and the way they could get the relationship started would be to have his friend ask if he could borrow a dollar, then he asked for it back, then he said that he was now under retainer as his agent. the gag fell apart when one of bill’s friends went way off from the script bill wrote up and told him he would have to enlist in the army to get the gig. bill wanted it to end with his friend flying to la on his own dime to a big meeting that would end up being bill and some other friends laughing at him. he also explained why he stopped watching lost after three episodes. he said even the three stupidest people on earth would have realized that if you’ve crashed on an island you would conserve as many resources as possible. by the third episode, the people on lost put all of the dead bodies in the fuselage, which could have provided wiring, shelter, tools, and other things, and set it on fire. they destroyed many valuable resources. he said he couldn’t get behind a show where the people were too stupid and felt that those characters all deserved to die, so why should he watch them keep trying to live. he said he later heard that they were filming on the beach in hawaii and had to move the fuselage after several months due to an agreement that they had and that was why this happened in the storyline. he still didn’t care, but when he met some of the lost writers at a con he told them the story and they said “no, we just thought it would be a good part of the story if we did that, we didn’t have an agreement to remove the fuselage.” so he has no respect for the writers or their characters. i cheekily asked him to draw ghost, a character who is invisible in fables. he said it was the fastest sketch ever and signed his initials on it. he contemplated whether he could do an outline and said he couldn’t let out who he thought ghost looked like, so he asked me to pick again. then he drew pinnochio for me. he said his role becomes very relevant in the next couple of issues. he put a line from issue 71 on it and said it would make a lot of sense to me in a few months when i’ve read the storyline. it took over two and a half hours to wait for my sketch but it was well worth it. then i walked over to the comic book legal defense fund booth, paid $25 for a membership and had jim lee sign my wife’s cousin’s issue of w.i.l.d.cats and our program.

then i went to the journey 3d panel. they showed a brief making of segment followed by some boring stuff about how 3d is the next great medium and brendan said he envisions one day if you want to watch the super bowl on tv, you can hit the 3d button on your remote. all audience questions were unrelated to the film. the first asked about the mummy three. he said jet li will be in it and it was a lot of fun for him to shoot. they asked about some other stuff but most women were you’re so hot and most guys wanted to know about his favorite scenes and such. he said one time at the singapore airport he felt something on his leg and looked down and saw a small child who looked up and said “you’re george!” referencing his role as george of the jungle. they gave away two person passes that no one claimed, so i have a good chance of getting in here at the metreon. i’m eating a chicken quesadilla after i post this entry and then i’m going to go sit upstairs for several hours for 22 minutes of 3d footage from the film and another brendan fraser q&a.

when i got here to the metreon after the panel, i went to tfaw to see if i could get something to protect my bill willingham sketch. i also got both covers of angel after the fall #4. the people behind the counter geeked out at the willingham sketch and fawned over how great fables is and how lucky i am. that felt good. knowing i got only one of three sketches also made me feel good. i also encountered a random geek walking over here who didn’t seem to enjoy himself at wondercon and said it was cold when he stepped outside and too crowded in the exhibit hall. i said i disagreed it was rather laid back at the exhibit hall and it wasn’t that cold. he said to have a nice day and i ended up seeing him brag about being at wondercon to the people at tfaw, who were like “uh, we were there earlier in the day so you aren’t all that.” then they fawned over the willingham sketch and he stormed out angrily after mentioning that brendan fraser is going to be there tomorrow. i was like, but i just saw him. and he was like, oh he’s in town already but he has a panel or something tomorrow. oookay…

now quesadilla… later journey to the center of the earth 3d footage and more with brendan fraser.

wondercon friday part 3
another willingham story while i was waiting for my sketch (while i wait for my wife at south san francisco bart because i sent her on an errand to get me a frame at walmart):

bill was moving from vermont to las vegas several years back and his friend bill williams from lone star press was helping him drive. wizard world was in philadelphia as they were getting into nj/pa area, and bill williams asked if bill willingham wanted to go. the plan was to spend two days there schmoozing with their friends and networking. instead, when they went in, williams disappeared. he returned around fifteen minutes later with a giant box that contained a heroclix wizard world exclusive galactus statue. he said “okay we can go now” to willingham. their con visit was finished. he had gotten everything he had wanted.

willingham also noticed that the ceiling lights at moscone south look like sideways green lantern symbols.

the footage from journey to the center of the earth 3d was pretty good. they are promoting the film as the first live action digital three d full length movie. the footage i experienced was very much like honey i shrunk the audience or captain eo. it was a thrill ride, complete with runaway train.

brendan fraser was a complete geek afterward, saying anything people have tried to promote as three d before was bullshit. he also mentioned he had the opportunity to screen 10 minutes of the star wars 3d project at dolby and he was really impressed. he said you could tell how they made the stormtrooper helmets from construction helmet molds from the three d imagery. the lame wired editor moderator chick asked him which he had more fun making, this or the mummy 3, to which he responded that they were both good films and that he had recently wrapped mummy 3 (wrapped… heh) and would tell us more about it a few weeks after journey debuts. she was scolded for that one by new line following the q&a.

angel after the fall #4 was pretty good. i liked 3 and 4 much better than the first two issues. i hope it continues to improve, but the art… sucks.

home now and tired. going to drink more water and head to bed soon. here’s a final tally of stuff acquired throughout the day today:

Purchased stuff:
Angel After the Fall #4 (+ alt cover)
Comic Book Legal Defense Fund Membership
Dead Space Issue #1 (which was later signed by the ad director of the game and Ben Templesmith)
Grr Argh Monster/Browncoat Bingo Card
6 browncoat raffle tickets
Superman/Batman joss guest issue (+ alt cover)
Dark Horse Anniversary comic with Emily the Strange art by Joss
Inara’s Shuttle Ornament
Fables: Legends in Exile Trade Paperback (later signed by Bill Willingham and Steve Leiahola)
Pencil sketch of Pinocchio drawn for me by Bill Willingham with the line “Cindy’s looking out for me? ! But she’s dangerous!” across the top

Swag so far:
Hellboy The Golden Army Promo Issue
Jayne Hat Raffle Postcard
Buffy Season 8 Poster (with Buffy and Willow flying)
Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D Screening Pass (had to trade it in for Disney 3D glasses and the opportunity to see 22 minutes of footage and listen to Brendan Fraser geek out)
Moomooch World of the Sinister and Macabre Ashcan Preview
Animation Magazine Special WonderCon Edition
Storm #1
WonderCon Program (currently signed by JMS and Jim Lee)
Capcom Product Catalog Winter 2008
Appleseed Ex Machina postcard
World’s Stupidest Comic by Eric Erbes Ashcan Preview
Princess Alyss in Wonderland poster
Super-Con flyer
Browncoats Support Equality Now! postcard
Comic Relief Bookmark
Semi-Pro Basketball cards
star trek “under construction” summer 2009 poster
iron man poster
harold and kumar escape from guantanamo bay flat
harold and kumar escape from guantanamo bay poster


Fun day indeed! And my wife’s 16×20 poster, while being about twice the size of the sketch, worked out pretty well. More following Saturday’s festivities!

wondercon 2008 saturday
A summary of our day at WonderCon for Saturday taken from handwritten notes as opposed to the technological marvel that is the EeePC:

I was corralled in at 10 to 10 and my wife showed up a few minutes later after getting her badge. We started playing our Browncoat Con Bingo card. The object was to take photos that had our little mutant enemy grr argh finger puppet in the frame.
There were twenty five spaces with twenty five different items we needed in the photos. We started off outside getting:
1) A stormtrooper
2) A WonderCon sign outside the Convention Center

Once we got into the exhibit hall:
3) A comic company bag
4) A Serenity themed ornament
5) A Comic written by Joss Whedon
6) The California Browncoats booth
7) Someone in a Browncoat T-shirt
8) Someone in a Joss Whedon is My Master Now T-Shirt
9) A comic from Artist’s Alley
10) #17 of any comic
11) An advertisement for another convention
12) Someone sleeping in the hall
13) Summer Glau
14) An autograph from an artist
15) A button from a comic company
16) A button from a movie
17) A blood drive pin

I bought the Badger t-shirt at the browncoats booth and my wife would have bought the Joss Whedon is My Master Now shirt had they had it in her size. We bought the Astonishing X-Men and Runaways we needed and got a bunch of free crap we didn’t want (the Virgin comics and 10,000 BC crap). We eventually ended up in Hall A after being scolded for trying to walk through the cafe area to get to Hall A the proper way and being ushered back into Hall B to go through another door into the same cafe area and into Hall A. What the fuck? Anyway, we got there and the front section still had a spot for us, so we took it. It was extremely cold and I forgot and wore a very light jacket. I wanted to leave for a while because it was around 45 minutes before the first panel. It ended up being full and I was glad we hadn’t left. We didn’t get shoe phones from Get Smart, but we did get 10,000 BC buttons and Control emblem pins from Get Smart.

Before the first panel, one of the announcements included “Please do not blog about the footage while it is on the screen” as well as the normal no video or audio or photos crap. The next speaker to deliver the announcement said “Go ahead and blog about the footage on the screen.” Quite the contradiction.

Panel #1 (Warner Bros. including 10,000 BC and Get Smart):
Started with the 10,000 BC trailer and then Roland Emerlich thanks us for being the type of people that watch his movies. He said he hasn’t been invited to any parties in Hollywood (which was obviously a reference to the fact that the masters of ceremony kept harping on and on about what a privilege it was to have these stars here when many are nominated for Academy Awards tomorrow) and then he shows a WonderCon exclusive extended cut of the trailer. Then Roland and two boring cast members come out. Roland seems cool. He’s done Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow and Stargate before this. Those were okay movies. ID4 is a great film. I so don’t care about the Wooly Mammoth 300 movie. They talk about how they shot the film in New Zealand and Africa. They shot the film in sequence. These actors are boring as hell. Sadly, as the panel went on, Roland being very entertaining did not make me care any more for his film. Yay! It ended. They are gone.

Up next was an unexpected surprise from Steve Sansweet from LucasFilms. LucasFilms has partnered with Warner Bros (so long 20th Century Fox!) to bring Star Wars back to the big screen. Star Wars: The Clone Wars premieres in theaters August 16. The story is set between Episodes 2-3 and the movie leads into a 30 minute television series that will show on Cartoon Network and TNT. Sansweet shows a director commentated behind the scenes look and some footage of the movie/series. It looks okay, but I swear I’ve already watched a Clone Wars cartoon, and I can’t say I like Anakin Skywalker’s young female padawan. I have no problems with girl Jedi, but why the hell did he get a padawan when the Jedi Council knew how dangerous he was?

Next, Get Smart trailer. Contains zero footage of the shoe phone, but it was actually pretty good. When they introduced Anne Hathaway and Steve Carell, the swarm of people trying to take photos to the front of the stage area was huge. They made an announcement that if they didn’t go back to their seats, everyone would be kicked out by the fire marshall. Steve Carell helped kick them from the front, jokingly kicking at them. Lots of random “I Love You Steve!” from the crowd. About 50% ratio between male and female on that one. One of the first audience questions: “This is probably the only opportunity I will ever have to meet you, can I get a photo with you?” He got booed. Steve said “Sure come on!” and realized the mistake he had made. Then he acted fake stern and said “No, that was a horrible question.” He still got a photo after the panel because Carell was nice. Another asshole fan asked for an autograph and Steve obliged them after the panel as well. Unfortunately, by obliging those two fans, there was a huge swarm and he got pushed backstage by security. Not much discussion during this panel, just a lot of “Steve Carell is such a comedic genius… blah blah blah.”

Panel #2 (Disney/Walden Media’s Chronicles of Narina: Prince Caspian, and Disney/Pixar’s WALL-E):
Howard Burger, the Prince Caspian visual effects director was out first. He said that this film has a much bigger scope than the first one. He summarizes what the film is about for those that might not have read the books. He shows a 5 minute presentation from the film with a lot of unfinished effects. It definitely already looks better than the extremely boring The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe film. He took a couple of questions which I didn’t really care about and then left. Andrew Stanton from Pixar drove all the way across the bridge from Emeryville and showed four really fun scenes from WALL-E. This movie looks great. I definitely want to see this one now. During the Q&A someone asked if they planned to do a three d version of this film since Hannah Montana did so well. He said there were no plans to and that their first Pixar 3D project would be Toy Story 3. Another person asked about the evolution of their films, which Andrew said “Are you saying Toy Story is our worst looking film?” in an accusatory manner and then admitted “Toy Story is our worst looking film.” He talked a bit about how they got better with the newer pictures. There were some great questions asked for this one and most of them were movie related. Another involved Andrew getting to work with Ben Burtt, the guy that did the sound effects for Star Wars. He said at one point he had to go into “Okay, so you’re in the sandcrawler and the robot goes by and…” and Ben would respond “Oh you mean the Gork Gork robot, I know exactly what you mean!” but he really tried to refrain from talking to him that way.

Panel #3 (20th Century Fox’s The X-Files and Shutter):
And now the moment 9/10 of the crowd had been waiting for-
Shutter was up first :P
The rep from Fox that will be moderating said he believes in ghosts and tried to get the crowd to participate in a survey. They responded by yawning and muttering about how hot the stars of The X-Files are. He gave a brief introduction to spirit photography. They show the trailer: From the makers of The Grudge (ripped off of a Japanese film called Ju-on), The Ring (ripped off from a Japanese film called Ringu) comes Shutter (ripped off from a Thai film called ชัตเตอร์ กดติดวิญญาณ which is Thai for “Shutter”). The blond chick from Transformers and Ando from Heroes are out. I wonder what the audience Q&A will be like… They show another clip. Still don’t care. They show yet another clip. They mention Joshua Jackson couldn’t be there because he is busy filming the pilot for JJ Abrams’ Fringe in Toronto. They avoid audience Q&A and just go with moderated questions, which do include one question about Heroes, one about Transformers and one about the two actors’ effect on pop culture. I was SO BORED! The blond girl from Transformers claims that shutter is a strong female film. Me = LOL. They finally left. The girl putting out the X-Files nametags got extremely loud squeals from the crowd. They show a trailer. July 25, 2008. (Uh, they haven’t even made the film yet, how can it releas… oh wait, that’s Comic-Con Friday…. hmm…) The panelists were insanely tired. None of them had slept and they were working on the film just last night and flew in just for this panel. A yell from the crowd: “Where’s Xzibit?” He’s in the film. So are Amanda Peet and Billy Connoly, but they won’t say who else from X-Files will be in it. This entire panel was lame. The panel obviously were too tired to care. They didn’t have a finished movie to promote. It was just a weird trainwreck of an experience.

Panel #4 (New Line’s Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay):
This was the reason WE were in Hall A all afternoon, freezing in very crushing uncomfortable chairs for hours. Some loser from Alice Radio came out and plugged Sarah and No Name and was the horrible moderator for this one. They started with lots of clips from the movie. It looks funny. The first fucking audience question was asking John Cho to tell us crap about Star Trek (he plays Sulu in JJ Abrams’ new version due out in Summer 2009). There were several others just like it. My favorite stupid question: “This question is for John Cho, why did you decide to do comedy? I mean you could have done martial arts, or drama…” Fucking stereotype coming from an Asian girl to a pretty funny comedian who is in a movie that is the sequel to a film that had the sole purpose to break the Asian stereotype mold. What dumbasses.

The panel eventually ended. We decided to leave the cold of Hall A and go to the Dark Horse panel.

Panel #5 (Dark Horse comics with Shauna Gore and some publicist dude):
Note to self: For future Dark Horse panels, if Scott Allie or Joss Whedon are not there, the people on the panel will know NOTHING about future Whedon projects.
Points we care about from the panel:
The new Serenity miniseries starts in March.

18) Weary child

There will be a new Indiana Jones series. They will start with a movie adaptation for Crystal Skulls in May and then “Indiana Jones and the Tomb of the Gods” will start in June.

They talked a bit about Star Wars Vector, a series that will connect all of their other Star Wars books in their 15 year history of publishing them.

There will apparently be a big Joss Whedon announcement in July. They confirmed it will not be an IDW (Angel/Spike) crossover, but it will be something they think is just as big (but obviously neither panelist knows what it is).

We walked the Exhibit floor again for a bit after the panel.

19) Serenity-themed poster
20) An autograph from an actor
21) Someone in a froufy dress

Panel #6 (Vertigo which featured Bill Willingham and Steve Leiahola from Fables):
Points brought up that I cared about:
Bill Willingham was very late, which worked out for us as we were also a few minutes late. He was even later.

Bill Willingham will be writing House of Mystery with guest writers and another main story writer being Matt Sturges (who also works on Jack of Fables with Bill). Unlike Lost or The X-Files, they know the answers to their mysteries in advance. House of Mystery will start in May and run monthly.

Steve is asked what it is like working with Bill on Fables. He said he is lucky and that he likes knowing the stories in advance. A downside is that they have an issue due on Wednesday to print and he hasn’t finished inking it yet. Bill comments that if the writer wasn’t painfully slow in getting things done, the inker being the last person in line to touch the issue wouldn’t have to give up most of their life to finish to meet a deadline. Steve said that Shelly (their publisher) should forgive him because she knows that he is goofing off at a convention this weekend.

They draw attention to the cover art and Bill announces that they will be doing an oversize collection of Fables Art of James Jean, which will have a forward by Bill Willingham. The cover will be the ultimate Snow/Bigby/Cubs family photo. It should be out sometime next year.

They move on to Jack of Fables and Bill describes a bit about the next storyline, which will have Jack in the Old West in 1883. He will go up against an unnamed sheriff with no gun who travels from back east. My thought seems to be it will either be Bigby or Beast, but I could be very wrong. Beast did mention in a recent Fables issue that he needed to go to Hollywood to straighten Jack out. That may have been a previous time though, as he’d popped up at least once in Jack of Fables.

During audience questions, it was prefaced that there would be a seperate full Fables panel tomorrow. That didn’t stop people from asking Fables-related questions.

Will there be an end to Fables or is it open-ended?
There was an intended final story, but that has been moved up and is the next story arc. More stories will take place after that.

They intend to reveal secrets tomorrow at the Fables panel. At least two or three may be true.

Will they ever explore more characters like they did with Jack of Fables?
We will explore some of the other characters’ stories in Jack of Fables but we will always come back to Jack or else he might sue us!

You didn’t kill off a character (Ambrose, though they didn’t state the name) and I’m glad that you didn’t, but did you plan to kill him ever in the recent storyline?
Mark Buckingham told me I couldn’t do it. I might have. (The question asker then says “thanks Mark” as he leaves)

“I find Fables to be choppy to read at times in the storyline. Do you feel that way Bill?”

“It is a pretty clever marketing thing on our part. We put out the chunky version first then the smooth version a few months later.”

As a more serious answer to that lame comment, Bill explained that he is the writer on Fables and Fables is stuck with him. The stories are the way he wants them to be.

At the end of the panel someone asked if there were plans to make Fables hardcovers and the editor guy said “I think eventually, but don’t tell Bill Willingham.”

On the way back to the exhibit hall we noticed someone in a Dalek costume!

22) A masquerade entrant

Then we wandered the exhibit hall to find:

23) Someone dressed as the other gender

I bought a tan Blue Sun hat to match my tan jacket to get:
24) Someone in a Firefly costume

and my wife slipped on a Stylin’ Online shirt with Jayne on it for:
25) Someone in a Jayne shirt

We turned in our photographic evidence of our completed bingo card and got thirteen raffle tickets for our troubles.

We went to Comic Relief and bought all of the other Fables trade paperbacks (I still don’t have 1001 Nights of Snowfall or the three Jack of Fables trades though) and Identity Crisis.

Stuff got heavy after that. We were tired and hungry, so we went to Luna Azul and split some chicken nachos and then headed home.

stuff purchased:
Runaways 27, 28, 29
Astonishing X-Men 23, 23 variant, 19 team cover, 20, 20 variant, 16, 14, 13, 12, 12 variant
Identity Crisis Trade Paperback
FABLES VOL. 2: ANIMAL FARM
FABLES VOL. 3: STORYBOOK LOVE
FABLES VOL. 4: MARCH OF THE WOODEN SOLDIERS
FABLES VOL. 5: THE MEAN SEASONS
FABLES VOL. 6: HOMELANDS
FABLES VOL. 7: ARABIAN NIGHTS (AND DAYS)
FABLES VOL. 8: WOLVES
FABLES VOL. 9: SONS OF EMPIRE
Tan Blue Sun Hat
Badger’s Very Fine Hats T-Shirt

Swag acquired:
Emily the Strange: Strange Music for Strange People Vol. 1 CD
Get Smart Control Emblem pin
10,000 BC poster
10,000 BC button
IDW Publishing Backlist Catalog 2008
Jayne Shirt auctions list
Poplollies postcard
DC Comics 30 Essential Graphic Novels Catalog
10,000 BC $10,000 bill
Brian K. Vaughan Vertigo bookmark
Ed Burns’ Dock Walloper Issue 1
Jenna Jameson’s Shadow Hunter Issue 0 Special Preview
Dark Horse Star Wars Graphic Novel timeline/character poster
Emily the Strange “Lenore” button
Wonder Woman button
Jet Li/Jackie Chan The Forbidden Kingdom flat

One more Willingham story from the time I stood waiting for him to do my sketch…
Bill likes to do things to beat “the man” at his own game. One of the tricks he does is get extra badges for people that aren’t attending cons. His comic industry friends that had other commitments. He secures badges and gives them out to other people who couldn’t attend the con otherwise. Well at San Diego Comic-Con last year, as the con was wrapping up all of Bill’s “friends” and “collegues” had exhibitor badges except for one that had a “guest” badge. The exhibitors could go out one set of doors but guests had to use an entrance all the way at the other end of the hall. A gang of security noticed the wrong badge and told Bill’s friend that he would have to go all the way to the other end. Bill challenged him saying “Okay, there are like eight of you and there are nine of us. We’re not going anywhere except out those doors right there.” The security guy said “Well, all of you but that guy can go…” Bill interrupted and said “No, we stand together and we die together.” The security guys let them through. He said otherwise it would have ended in a gang fight and possible bloodbath.

wondercon 2008 sunday
Okay, so this one will be much shorter than the other two, because I only did one panel and one movie presentation today. My wife attended the exciting and probably better choice of panels when she went the the Sarah Connor Chronicles panel. I chose to go to the Fables Forum at the same time. More on those choices later.

We didn’t have anything planned prior to 2pm today, so we casually strolled in to the con at around noon. We wandered the hall a bit and eventually split up. I went to the autograph area to find out if there would be Summer Glau autographs/wristbands/drawing/whatever. They were doing this huge Justice League: The New Frontier autograph session, but the attendant claimed they hadn’t heard anything about any Summer Glau autographs. I walked by the Browncoats booth and they also claimed to know nothing. I walked by the Wondercon booth and saw the same free crap as yesterday. I went to the DC booth to massive amounts of free stuff. As I was putting it away I got a frantic phone call from my wife to get over to the Wondercon booth. I said why and she said Summer Glau and when I got there she said “right there.” I mistakenly assumed Summer would be standing there and in the end all I got was a guy holding an envelope for a drawing for a chance to win Summer Glau’s autograph. Oh well. I tried a few times, she did too. I got a text from her cousin and we wandered Artist’s Alley until we found him. Her cousin even tried for the autograph drawing for us once. We all lost. My wife tried until the passes ran out. It looked as though the Browncoats got some form of mysterious hookup, but I really didn’t care. I tried out the Lost video game and had trouble with the two parts I tried, which were taking a photo of Kate on a plane and following a dog through the jungle. A bit too complex and no real direction for my tastes. We shopped a bit. Bought Marvel Spotlight that highlighted Astonishing X-Men. One was a John Cassaday issue. We couldn’t find the Joss Whedon issue. We also bought Astonishing X-Men Saga #1, which we may have already had, but it had such a cool cover we couldn’t pass it up. After wandering the hall a bit more, we decided to eat lunch. I had a $7 cajun chicken pizza. My wife had a lasagna/vegetable plate. Her cousin had some form of pastry and a horrible tasting life water beverage. We showed him Hall A and went up to the mezzanine that overlooks the exhibit hall. I filled her cousin in a bit about Fables since he said he would attend the Fables Forum with me. We went to that and my wife went off to see if we won the Browncoats raffles. We didn’t. Then she went to the end of the Jericho panel to get a seat for the Sarah Connor Chronicles panel.

Panel #1 (also known as the only panel I attended today, Fables Forum with Bill Willingham and Steve Leialoha):

They talked a bit about why DC wouldn’t let them have a lot of posters or memorabilia for the series, which boils down to Bill and Mark owning the characters and DC only likes to market things that they make 100% of the profits on. They talked about whether Steve likes to read scripts in advance, and he said if he reads too far in advance he gets distracted. Bill mentioned Mark likes having them way in advance to know that they won’t be going with another artist. Bill was asked, by someone that had read Pantheon, how far in advance his scripts were written and he mentioned that in an ideal comic world the writer gets a month, the penciller a month, the inker a month, and the penciller and colorist each get a couple of weeks. In reality, if they get six weeks that would be great, but he just finished writing issue 71 and issue 70 is in stores on Wednesday. Somehow they make it work and get the issues out on time. He said a lot of that credit goes to his editor, Shelly Bond. He read the same excerpt from the yet to be announced Fables project. He said he got someone in Newsarama in trouble for it when he read it on Friday and they followed his instruction to not leak it to the world. They got a lot of negative comments for not reporting “everything” and he apologized and wanted to make it up to them. He did read about half a line further this time, about how not every Fable lives in Fabletown… and stopped there. Bill got a bad question about how the voice used in Fables is different than his other work. He used the example of working on Robin at the same time as working on Fables to get his point across that Fables is something he created and he has his own cast of characters and has things pre-planned and mapped out sometimes a couple of years in advance, while in Robin he had to be constricted by the other happenings in the DC Universe. He said one issue of Robin almost became Robin contemplating why editors are such bastards, in the middle of mourning his father and girlfriend that were killed in other books. They talked about the James Jean art book again. They talked about how after Issue 75, nothing in the Fableverse will ever be the same and how doors will be opened up to allow other Fables stories to be told (when answering the question of a Filipino journalist who wanted to know when the Oriental Fables would show up). One of the last questions was “What will be the fate of Geppetto?” and Bill answered that they should not have that question by this time next year.

My wife’s cousin slept through the majority of that.

We left the Fables Forum as Dan DiDio came in for his own DC panel, mentioning the tax dodger (Willingham) that had preceded him.

When we got back to the Exhibit hall, Kurt Busiek was just wrapping up signing at the DC booth, so I had him sign the Superman weekly flyer that was in front of him for me. I don’t know his work at all, but Willingham sure liked to drop his name. We again wandered the floor a bit, knowing it would be… for the last time this con. We were to meet up with my wife to screen The New Frontier at 3:30. It was 3:10. I found the Joss Whedon Marvel Spotlight at 3:20 and we went over the Hall A. They showed a brief clip of footage from the season finale of Sarah Connor Chronicles. My wife said the panel was actually very good. I’m glad. She videotaped it, so maybe someday I’ll watch it, but I can probably get a good review of it from a news blogger later.

Movie Presentation: (Justice League: The New Frontier)

I was more excited by the Batman: Gotham Knight trailer that was previewed before the movie. This was a boring movie. It was definitely not what I expected. Oh well. I’m sure hundreds of thousands of comics fans loved Aquaman rescuing Superman at the end, but I thought the whole story was kind of dumb. Makes me glad I didn’t care about Darwyn Cooke at all.

stuff purchased:
Marvel Spotlight: John Cassaday and Sean McKeever
Astonising X-Men Saga #1
Marvel Spotlight: Joss Whedon/Michael Lark

stuff acquired:
Kurt Busiek autographed Trinity Weekly poster
Batman: Gotham Knight mini-keychain flashlights
The Comic Lounge March 2008 newsletter (with Angel: After the Fall review)
Jericho calendar
Five Tiny Titans, one Batman, one Superman temporary tattoos
Fables bookmark
Superman Doomsday Behind the Scenes DVD
DC Direct 2008 Winter/Spring Showcase
Ex’ression College for the Digital Arts “See What’s Made in Emeryville” dvd
Family Guy Stewie CW card
Palbot and Mr. Kim come to America postcard
Professor Layton and the Curious Village Nintendo DS postcard
Anime Pavilion at the 4th Annual Asian Heritage Street Celebration ad
Shout Factory DVD set ad (includes Super Mario 3)
Zack and Wiki Quest for Barbaros’ Treasure stickers
CMX Flex Comix 2008 Preview A Sneak Peek at the Best New Manga
Crayon Shin Chan preview comic
“I Found Ray Palmer” DC promo button
“Darkseid Rules” DC promo button
“Look to the Skies!” DC promo button
“WWMMD?” DC promo button
“DC Nation” DC promo button
Superman DC promo button
sentences: the Life of M.F. Grimm special sneak preview comic
Titans Together DC promo poster
Tiny Titans promo poster
Jericho The Return promo poster
The Northlanders: Sven the Returned Issue #1
still playing with toys presents #0
The X-Files DVD Collection Instant Coupon
Fried Brain Productions promo comics and Paperchaser Issue #1
Cynthia Cummens “Created for Bantha Tracks” Luke Skywalker and Yoda coloring page
San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival brochure (special presentation of Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay on Saturday March 15 at 9:15pm, special presentation of Colma: The Musical on Monday March 17 at 9:30pm)
The Last Unicorn: Manga Version ad

overall a much better free crap day than the past two days.

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