Written by Shawn Bourdo
My observations of Comic-Con International 2015 are going to be pretty different than they were back in 2005. It takes quite a bit of self control not to fall into Old Man Syndrome and just go on about how the Convention isn’t what it used to be. But that’s not the point here. The Con is exactly what it needs to be. It has expanded and changed and evolved. I am a creature of habit. I take solace in consistency and pattern. So, much of my Con experience each year is built upon certain landmarks that give me a real view of the changes.
I arrived on Wednesday and while I got my favorite tacos and a beer I noticed the continued Wednesday Creep. The activities and Convention related entertainment is leaking further and further into Wednesday. By noon, the town was already abuzz with energy that even four years ago I didn’t notice until 7 pm on Wednesday. The offsite displays were up and running for the most part. The Preview Night has become a huge rush for Con Exclusives. I love these early activities and am actually excited for a future that will include Wednesday as a full Con day. I awoke on Thursday morning with the same Christmas-morning excitement that keeps me coming back each year. The first moments are so full of hope as I enter my initial panels.
PEANUTS 65TH ANNIVERSARY
My love of all things Peanuts would start of my Convention. The title of this panel is very misleading. It wasn’t really about the 65-year history of the strip but more about the two years of the KaBOOM! comic book. The art and humor on this book is a fitting tribute to the Schulz legacy. This panel with Mike Allred, Terry Moore, and Art Baltazar talked about their vision of the Peanuts characters. These are artists trying to capture the spirit more than strictly copy Schulz’s style. Baltazar is a prime example of someone who doesn’t draw the same line style but finds the key to the humor. There wasn’t much history to this panel – we established the change in Schulz’s style to his signature shaky style only happened after his heart attack. It’s just fun to be in a room with so many other fans of what makes me happy.
GOD IS DISAPPOINTED IN YOU
I was able to catch the last portion of this panel with Mark Russell and Shannon Wheeler. They have written an irreverent set of comics retelling stories from the Bible. This isn’t a book written by non-believers. These stories are written and illustrated for both someone familiar with the Bible and those who aren’t. They have a new book called Apocrypha Now coming out in Spring 2016 that addresses stories left out of the canonical Bible. I found their banter to be perfectly light and respectful for the subject matter. I think this panel illustrated the continued acceptance for religious subject matter in comics. It does my heart good to see how all subject matter is accepted among the comics community.
COMIC BOOK LEGAL DEFENSE FUND: SPINNER RACK REVOLUTION
This was one of the panels I was looking forward to the most. This lecture covered the evolution of magazines such as Eerie, Creepy, Heavy Metal, and Mad as a reaction to the censorship in the comic format. Well . . . technical difficulties. After not getting their computers to work for 20 minutes, I bailed. I’m sorry if they eventually got it going but my Con ADD won’t let me sit still in an empty room that long. Catch you next year, CBLDF.
CLASS OF 1985: THE GREATEST GEEK MOVIES
I talk about consistency. I have been attending this panel since it talked about the awesome movies of 1982. What I miss the most from the earlier years is when they played original trailers for the movies they talked about. I’m totally a 1985 child. There may not have a been a year that I saw more movies theatrically than this one. So it was great to hear people talk about films that I have fun memories for.
Back To The Future is probably the film from that year that survives with the most fanfare still. Yet it almost never got made. Robert Zemeckis wrote the script in the early Eighties but it wasn’t until after Romancing The Stone that he became a big enough name to get the film made. There was a celebration of Commando that, along with being the early work of Alyssa Milano, is also one of the most quotable works of the year. Jeph Loeb was on fire in 1985 – writing Commando and Teen Wolf. James Cameron did some writing in 1985 for Rambo: First Blood and then it was “retooled” by Stallone. It’s okay because the story goes that Cameron was writing Rambo, Aliens, and Terminator all at the same time. And Rambo wasn’t Stallone’s only success that year – he would star with Olivia Newton-John in Perfect.
Just sitting there listening to a few moments on all the great films makes you think you need to go back and just marathon movies from just that one year. A 1985 marathon would include Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome of which only half was directed by George Miller. It would have Fright Night, a favorite of mine as the last film I saw at a drive-in, and the worst Bond film in A View To A Kill. Just a few of the other films celebrated in this quick hour were Fletch, Vacation, Three Amigos, Red Sonja, Witness, Real Genius, and the Ridley Scott cult classic Legend.
Four films were highlighted by the panel – three for their futility and one as a lost classic. Lifeforce is a terrible Tobe Hooper film with a great dose of nudity, Rocky IV set a new standard for montages including a montage inside a montage, and Gymkata starring Kurt Thomas in his first and last film. I was glad to hear some love for To Live and Die In L.A. William Friedkin directed, Wang Chung scored, and William Peterson starred in this gritty crime drama that still feels current today. The panel always ends too soon and my brain is already looking forward to 1986.
LOONEY TUNES LEGACY: LINDA JONES AND RUTH CLAMPETT
The story of these two daughters of the most important directors in the Looney Tunes heyday is inspiring. Their stories are almost movie worthy as they balance carrying on a family legacy, preserving history, and in both cases creating a cartoon art and vintage animation industry that didn’t exist when their fathers were alive. I hope there were some aspiring authors in the room that want to tell their story.
DR HORRIBLE’S SING-ALONG BLOG
It’s been years since I’ve watch the episodic web show. At the time it came out, it was ground-breaking and hilarious. I’ve known that the California Browncoats get together each year and watch the film ala Rocky Horror Picture Show with callbacks. I enjoyed everything about this presentation. The best costume wasn’t a complicated Dr. Horrible or Captain Hammer – it was Moist. The crowd was solidly into the film and definitely didn’t bounce. I think this would be a terrible way to watch the show for the very first time but as a multiple viewer it brought it to life for me again.
It was also just the right balance of laughs and fun and a perfect way to bring Day One to an end. I left the Hall knowing that bigger crowds and more fun awaited me on Friday.[amazon template=iframe image&asin=B00439FV0S,0345442393]