WonderCon 2009

WonderCon 2009 was full of amazing experiences in Fandom, from meeting Television and Movie legends to just having a great time with my wife, it was one of the best weekends I’ve ever had.

the one where I met the Fonz

I am at WonderCon just about to watch the Keri Russell/Nathan Fillion Wonder Woman animated movie. So far today I met Will Arnett, Henry Winkler, Kenan Thompson, Tom Kenny, Josh Weinstein and Mitch Hurwitz from Sit Down, Shut Up. I also won a complete set of Gumby comics. I won a wristband ticket to see Watchmen in IMAX tonight. I bought a bootleg dvd set of VR5. I bought the first Y the Last Man trade paperback from the CBLDF booth and renewed my yearly membership. I entered the HERO Initiative raffle and got a “big damn trilogy” button in the Browncoat raffle. I had a brief conversation with Henry Winkler who asked what Blue Sun was and shook my hand when I said I would tell people to watch Sit Down stand up when it premieres 4/19 at 8:30 on Fox. Mitch Hurwitz started a gag about my name being spelled the German way so my autographs have a lot of German in them. Did I mention
that I am seeing Watchmen later tonight?

WonderCon 2009 – Day 1
Earlier I mentioned something about watching some movie called Watchmen. Well that movie let out at 3:00am this morning and it was really a great film. It is not a comic book superhero movie. The original book wasn’t a comic book superhero book. It was a graphic novel and the movie is very graphic. Giant blue penis, sex, extreme violence, nuclear annihilation, it is all there in startling clarity. Zack Snyder did a film that was true to the source material and matched as closely as it could for a motion picture.

Dave Gibbons the guy that drew that original 12-issue graphic novel, introduced the film to a packed audience at the AMC Metreon’s IMAX theatre. The screening didn’t start until around midnight. We got in line around 9:20. The people behind us in line were huge fans of Repo! They gave me some inspiration to possibly get off of my non-caring ass and possibly look into getting the movie back up here. Whether it be one night only or a regular production, there is still an audience eager to see Repo! in theatres here in the Bay Area. They sang Legal Assassin and Zydrate Anatomy… in line for Watchmen. Crazy!

The crowd for the movie seemed to be the entire crowd that attended WonderCon Friday. The people that were near me in line when I met Henry Winkler, Steve Leiahoia, the CBLDF folks, the browncoats… mostly anyone I encountered at the convention was also at the theatre for the screening.

After the movie, they passed out Comedian buttons. Smiley faces with blood splashed on them. It was over. I’d watched the Watchmen motion picture. It was like watching a good book come to life. And I did it with hundreds of people, some seeming familiar, some I’d never encountered before. It was great.

Prior to the late night shenanigans at the Metreon, I watched the new Wonder Woman animated film. It was introduced by a video clip of Nathan Fillion who apologized for not being able to be there because “I’m working on Serenity 2… just kidding”. It was a humorous clip and an enjoyable film as well. I didn’t care for the Justice League: A New Frontier animated film, but this one was a great story and well acted. I’m glad to have been fortunate enough to see that as well.

Something I didn’t mention in my “the one where I met the Fonz” entry was that throughout the day I kept encountering this very strange guy. He had a Raiders jersey on, black and silver facepaint, a black and silver rubber snake around his neck, an eyepatch, a Hulk Hogan jacket on a hanger and another Raiders jersey on a hanger. During the Sit Down, Shut Up panel (right before I met the Fonz), he was in the Q&A line and went absolutely crazy several times. Pointing in the air and jumping up and down. They shut down the line just before he could ask whatever bizarre question he may have had. But… they didn’t turn off the mic. As the crowd dispersed, he growled into the mic and then did a “Watcha gonna do when Malkanmania runs wild on you?” which prompted this response from Mitch Hurwitz: “I’d just like to thank WonderCon security for being so on it today.”

After the panel, who should be in the autograph line right in front of me? Crazy Raiders fan guy. It was then I noticed that his jersey said Malkanmania on it as well. The cast walked behind us to go into the room. On the way in, Tom Kelly, voice of Sponge Bob Squarepants and apparently Starscream in a Transformers cartoon, did a quick cell phone video clip for a fan that had dressed as the Joker. In it, after several attempts, he says something along the lines of “This is Starscream and you really need to check out [fan’s name]’s Youtube THING, thanks.” and he kept walking. Crazy Raiders fan then does the Watcha gonna do” again and Tom says “I think you just broke my glasses.”

Once we got into the corral area in the autograph room, Crazy Raiders fan yells at the top of his lungs “Hey TOM! TOM! You did a show on Fox in 1992, do you remember what it was called?” He got the answer that yes he remembered what it was called and he got a paycheck from it and met his wife on it otherwise he may not have remembered. He then tried to do a similar thing with Henry Winkler, but the Fonz had none of it.

Later, in the Watchmen screening raffle line, he showed up again and was talking with some of the other people that had been in the Winkler autograph line earlier as well. He said that he was at a collectables show in SoCal a couple of weeks back and people there said he should go into acting. So he plans to. He also mentioned that he is a disabled veteran and he thinks it is time that he looked into doing something else.

He ran off at one point and came back with a signed photo of the cast of Melrose Place that he bought from Jamie Luner. Somehow he got a ticket to see Watchmen.

He was a safe distance behind us at the Metreon. But somehow we still managed to here his Macho Man Randy Savage impression a couple of times. The Repo! fans behind us yelled back “You’re NOT the Macho Man Randy Savage.” He yelled back “I AM WHAT I AM.” They yelled back “No you’re not.” There was no bloodshed in the end, but when my wife picked me up after the screening Crazy Raiders fan was still following… on foot…

Okay, so he was probably just going to his car or a hotel, but I swear he will haunt my short dreams before Day 2 officially begins in a few short hours.

We ate at the Metreon at Firewood Cafe. I had tortellini. My wife had a giant garden salad. Her cousin had Cappelini. None of it was very good. I enjoyed my packed lunch of pb&j, goldfish crackers and a purchased Pepsi far more.

Otherwise, that’s about all I can say without passing out.

It was a great first day of WonderCon!

WonderCon 2009 – Day 2
Wow! That was one of the best convention days I have ever experienced…

Today started a bit later than we would have liked, with us waking up several times but not wanting to get out of bed. We eventually left around 10:00 and got to WonderCon at around 11:00 after trying and failing to get money out of the Bank of America ATM when the person in front of us “broke” it. We got to see the ATM reboot sequence though, which is kind of cool I guess.

When we got in we went to Esplanade Ballroom and got in just fine and sat in the back for a moment to catch our breath and tweeted. Then we headed downstairs to the exhibit hall to begin our quest for autographs and insane stuff. We stopped by the WonderCon Boutique booth and each got a wristband for the Wonder Woman animated film autograph session which was to start a few minutes later in Room 100. So we went and got that autographed poster and headed back in to obtain autographs. We went toward the Browncoats booth that had a huge mob combined with the Carrie Fisher/Mark Hamill storm creating a complete clusterfuck that spilled into all corners of the autograph alleys. We managed to get into Adam Baldwin’s line which spilled over and blocked Erin Grey and Jack O’Halloran’s tables. Erin was a bit pissed and talked about how Adam was the brother of Alec Baldwin (not true) and he was famous for a short lived television series called Firefly and also Chuck. He signed our Chuck Blu-Ray after being surprised that it was already out on Blu-Ray and posed for a photo with us. It was so great to meet him. Next we went and my wife visited with Mo Mellady, who used to do the overnight shift at Live 105 and has gone on to slightly greater fame as the voice of Erin Esurance. It was INSANE in the autograph alleys at this point and continuing to get worse so we retreated to Artist’s Alley where I saw Steve Leialoha, the inker for Fables, setting up his table. Someone asked to see his artwork stuff and I bought a piece of original artwork from Fables issue 71, which was directly related to the sketch that Bill Willingham drew me at last year’s WonderCon. While it was pricey, it is worth it to have those connected dots.

We decided to attempt to get into the Esplanade for the Star Trek panel, which would be beginning in around an hour. It seems a whole lot of people left the room after the Watchmen panel (did I mention that I got to see Watchmen VERY EARLY THIS MORNING in IMAX at the AMC Metreon?). We got really great seats and sat through the end of the Overture: Pandorum panel, which was not something we were interested in. Then they did the Alien Trespass panel, which was a lot of fun. The panel included Eric McCormack, Dan Lauria, Jenni Baird and director R.W. Goodwin. The film is essentially a 1957 “lost” film that was intentionally recorded to be a 1950’s Sci-Fi film based on concepts in War of the Worlds, The Day The Earth Stood Still and other fifties era Science Fiction. It was great to see and is something that will barely be opening in 22 markets in early April. It looks like something we will enjoy seeing on the big screen.

Up next was an amazing Star Trek panel with J.J. Abrams, Chris Pine (Kirk), Zachary Quinto (Spock), Zoe Saldana (Uhura), Bryan Burke (Executive Producer), Roberto Orci (writer) and an amazing new trailer that really makes you want to see this film.

That was followed by a preview and panel with Joe Ksander (animation director) and Elijah Wood (voice of 9) from Shane Acker’s full length with voice acting version of 9. I loved the short film and it looks like the full length is going to expand a bit on the unique post-apocalyptic world of ragdolls and machinated monsters. They of course had to contend with the “Frodo” a bit, which Wood mentioned a couple of times, first “Still?” then “I’m going to have to live with this for the rest of my life…” The movie comes out on 9/9/09 and sadly Shane Acker couldn’t come to WonderCon because he is working on the film’s score in London. It was good to preview some of the footage though and this will definitely be something I will look forward to seeing this fall.

After the 9 panel is when things go from great to… Did that REALLY just happen?

While walking the exhibit hall, we randomly discovered the writers from the new Star Trek: Countdown movie prequel comic signing posters for free. We were one of the last posters to be signed and then we walked to the Autograph alley and I got my director photo for the convention with Ray Griggs, writer/director/producer of Super Capers which stars Adam West, who will always be THE Batman to me. We got an autograph from Bruce Wayne himself and a photo with him. It was such a thrill to meet Adam West even if it was just a brief moment. It was just as big a deal to meet as meeting Henry Winkler yesterday. I remarked to my wife that Adam was one of the icons of our youth and she mentioned it was actually the previous generation’s youth which is true. But wow. What could top that?

Well I’m glad you asked…

We next got in the Carrie Fisher autograph line, which was much less chaotic than earlier in the day. She was on a break, so we waited for her to return. While we waited, my wife went to the Browncoats booth and won a Colm Meaney as Chief O’Brien autographed photo from their wheel spin contest. I noticed Steve Sansweet signing a bunch of trading cards but didn’t approach him. We traded the almost incestuous photo of Luke and Leia in Hot gear for a more normal looking photo from the first film and she signed it and took a posed photo with us even though there was a rule against that. Then we got in the Mark Hamill line and had to wait a bit for him to return from a break as well. The fans running the line in Star Wars costumes were all very polite and posed for photos with fans as well. We were the only ones in Mark’s line for quite a while but we didn’t really have anything else major to do. I had already missed most of the Vertigo panel, which was the last big thing I cared about. Mark came back and started to sign our photo, stating that Carrie didn’t leave him much room. Then he asked if we were a couple. We said yes. He asked if we were married. We said yes. He asked for how long and I stumbled while saying a little over six and a half years. He said that he and his wife had been married for 30. She and his nephew were right behind him at the signing table. He said that a lot of folks give up at the first signs of fighting but that it is better to stay together. He said that he has kids and would never want his kids to be raised by someone else. It seemed so strange that Mark Hamill, a really famous stranger, was telling us that it was great to stay married. I wished he and his wife thirty more years of good marriage and almost started to cry. It was such a strange, personal experience with an actor that played one of my favorite roles in a film series that I’ve been attached to for my whole life. I told my wife I loved her and I’d never give up on her and we kept going from there.

We stumbled upon Keith R.A. DeCandido, author of the Serenity film adaptation novel, who my wife recognized but couldn’t remember what he did. He was selling the new Farscape comic that he is the author of. We bought the super deluxe shiny WonderCon exclusive cover version and he signed it for us. We walked around a bit, got more free crap from the WonderCon Boutique and I checked on some raffles which I didn’t win. Then we went to the DC booth and got in line for the huge amount of swag they were giving away.

That was the end of the day for us. We came home and I ate dinner while typing this entry out. It was a very emotionally charged day that I wouldn’t trade for the world. It was great to share it with my wife and famous strangers.

WonderCon 2009 – Day 3
Today was a bit more low key than Day 1 or Day 2. We got there around 11:15AM and raced over to the WonderCon Boutique booth to see if they had Chuck or Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles autograph wristbands to give away. They did not. We did get some GI Joe movie posters though. Then we headed upstairs to the Esplanade and got in line for the Chuck and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles panels. I ended up entering a contest from Lionsgate via text message to win a copy of the Jason Statham film “Crank” on DVD.

So we waited a while in line and they let us in around noon. We got a fairly decent spot in the ninth row center section on the rightmost aisle. We ate lunch, packed sandwiches and goldfish crackers. My wife got me a banana and a pepsi and life was good. She had also brought back a mayo packet from downstairs that I think may have been bad. I felt some stomach pain about halfway through the Chuck panel and had to leave in the first part of the Terminator panel due to stomach cramps and used the rest room.

The Chuck panel was a lot of fun. They showed the Second half of Season Two trailer, which had Chevy Chase, Scott Bakula as Chuck’s father (!), other guest stars that I can’t remember because wow, the Scott Bakula connection really worked, and some hints at what is to come. The Q&A was a lot better than the Comic-Con panel as well, and it seems as though the second half of this season will end with a cliffhanger, so we’d better get a Season Three.

Following the Chuck panel, outside of Shirley Manson and Summer Glau being there, I really didn’t care about the Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles panel. The trailer they showed didn’t interest me. Any nonsense Josh Friedman spouted didn’t interest me. I honestly hope they cancel the show so that Shirley and Summer can do other projects because I really can’t stomach the guy. Actually maybe it wasn’t the mayo, maybe it was just him.

We left and hit up the freebie table again, failing to get a Spock poster. We wandered the exhibit hall for a bit. I wanted to kill time to see if I’d win that Crank DVD. I figured no one was interested in Lionsgate’s crappy sequels so I had a pretty much 100% guarantee of winning. My wife bought a black fox tail for herself and I got a “guy’s grab bag” from one vendor. The grab bag kind of sucked, but the tail is cool. We bought Runaways #30, the final Joss Whedon book of his arc on the series for $2.50. We stopped by the Lionsgate booth at 4:00 to see if I had won, and the guy said not if you haven’t gotten a text message back yet. So we stepped into the Starship Smackdown panel and watched as they debated who would win between the the Enterprise-C and some other ship, the Galaxy Quest ship and a Borg Sphere, the mothership from Close Encounters and the ship from Forbidden Planet and Mork’s Egg versus a Klingon Battle Cruiser. Mork’s egg apparently got scrambled… or hard boiled… or eaten by hungry Klingons.

In the midst of that, sure enough, I won the Crank dvd. Went back to the Lionsgate table to claim my prize and the guy got a sticker out and said “here’s your prize, congratulations.” The girl that sent the text message was excited to see that I won and another guy presented me with my DVD. I guess I might watch it, as I liked the Transporter films and it is the same guy and still an action film.

We watched a little bit more of Starship Smackdown and headed out. We said a fond farewell to WonderCon 2009 and had a great dinner at Macaroni Grill.

They have this awesome thing called a Chef’s Trio that includes your choice of a salad, entree and dessert. It is a really good three course dinner for only $11.99 or $12.99 depending on your selections. I got garden salad, spaghetti and meatballs and chocolate cake smothered in chocolate. My wife got garden salad, pasta milano and chocolate cake smothered in chocolate. It was really good!

Then I came home played the online game I’ve been playing for the past nine days and worked on this entry while briefly catching up on Repo and other things.

What a great weekend!

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