Comic-Con San Diego is sort of like the Boston Marathon for nerds. As for the couch-potato stereotype of people who are into comics, sword and socercy, and sci-fi, it’s certainly blown away by anyone who comes to this mecca of mayhem.
To do Comic-Con when out of shape would be a useless endeavor unless you decided to simply sit all day long in one huge room and never move, watching fan panel after fan panel. The sheer size of the event requires mega-doses of stamina to walk the exhibit floor, make it from panel to panel, and check out everything that’s going on outside the convention center for blocks and blocks. As one 20-something fan put it to me this morning, “If you don’t leave Comic-Con without shedding a couple of pounds, you just haven’t done Comic-Con.”
Today was my first full (and I do mean full) day at Comic-Con. I headed right to the exhibit floor, armed with a list of booths I wanted to check out. The sheer number of people on the exhibit floor is staggering; you are literally elbow to elbow, making your way around, within, and through the booths. Today, I only took in a few of them (the week is young), due to the craziness of my schedule and the sheer madness of trying to navigate the crowd.
But that is not to say I spent the day reading on the beach. I interviewed James Bradshaw, the writer/director/producer of the forthcoming movie Branded. Merging a dark theme of mind control with the now ubiquitous QR codes, Branded presents a dark, dystopic, and surreal trip “down the rabbit hole” as one man seeks to uncover the true nature of the scannable codes. With a great cast that includes the legendary Max von Sydow, Branded promises to be a pretty cool movie:
Next, I spent a few minutes with comedian Scott Aukerman, who’s taking his IFC comedy series Comedy Bang! Bang! on tour. The Friday night series is a hybrid scripted-improvised satire on late-night talks shows, an extension of Aukerman’s popular podcast. It’s well worth a watch, truly funny and occasionally manic as Aukerman and his A-List guests go off on wild improvisational tangents.
This afternoon, I attended the Frankenweenie press conference during which director Tim Burton spoke about making a film that is very personal to him. Always an innovator ahead of the curve in filmmaking, it’s no surprise that Burton tried something experimental, with a retro touch in his new film Frankenweenie. Shot in black and white 3D stop motion, the animated feature tells the story of a young boy who refuses to give up his dead dog. From the title, you can probably guess where the plot goes from there. But with Burton directing, the path will likely be idiosyncratic and bizarre. Despite advances in technology, Burton told the packed room, a movie like this still comes down to the work of an animator moving a figure at many frames per second to animate it.
Tomorrow will be even more packed; on tap are interviews with Jane Espenson, as well as the cast and creative team of the new Disney animated series Tron: Uprising, including Bruce Boxleitner and Trish Helfer (Battlestar Gallactica‘s Cylon #6). I’ll also be speaking with John Ficcarra, the editor of MAD, in honor of the iconic magazine’s 60th anniversary. And I will get to the exhibit floor for more than 10 minutes. I will! So stay tuned.