Archive for July, 2010


July 30, 2010

With the demise of “Lost” and the lack of a “Lost” panel at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, my interest in attending hit a new low. For me, the question is how much is it worth to get a few free sketches and autographs? Wouldn’t I be better off putting that money towards a Vegas vacation? It’s not like Comic-Con is my one chance a year to run elbows with the stars. But when a friend offered me a free credential and my usual hotel mates extended a bargain basement offer to sleep on their floor for $ 50 a night, I decided what could a few days of nerdy fun hurt?

After the traditional stop at Irvine’s Chik-Fil-A for lunch, I hit San Diego Thursday afternoon around 1:30 and dropped my stuff off in the room before heading over to the Convention Center. This year, it actually seemed more crowded outside the building than inside, thanks to an outdoor display of the Green Hornet’s Black Beauty automobile and plenty of scantily-clad models hawking TV shows, movies and comics, which made for a traffic jam in front of the Hard Rock Hotel.

The highlight of the first day was adding the signature of Marvel Comics writer and fellow Chik-Fil-A fan Brian Michael Bendis to my Marvel book. Over the years, I’ve been given many books as gifts and have turned them into autograph books, starting with “The Greatest Batman Stories Ever Told,” which I’ve gotten signed by anyone who’s worked on the Batman comics, movies and cartoons. I also have a book for DC Comics, Marvel Comics and still another one devoted to TV stars and producers. The DC book has the most autographs, with 122. It’s so crowded with signatures, it looks like a high school yearbook owned by the most popular kid in school.

Brian, writer of one of my favorite comics, “Powers,” as well as such current hits as “The Avengers” and “Ultimate Spider-Man,” had his signing scheduled for 6:00, with the convention closing at 7:00 for the evening. Unfortunately by 7:00, I still hadn’t reached Brian, and while he announced that he was prepared to stay until we all had our autographs, the security on hand didn’t exactly agree to that. But I did make it to Brian around 7:14, got my book signed and told him that a few years ago I had inquired about the option on one of his books, “Fire.” He said he was keeping it for himself and sure enough, this year the book was optioned by Universal as a vehicle for Zac Efron, so I congratulated him for his success in selling the property.

The next day I spied a line at the Warner Brothers booth for a signing by the producers and voice talent of “Batman: The Brave And The Bold,” where I had Diedrich Bader, the voice of Batman on the show, sign my Batman book (and if you had told me the guy that played Os on “The Drew Carey Show” would have made a great Batman, I would have laughed in you r face, but he certainly does!). I was also pleased to have my book signed by Andrea Romano, the executive in charge of voice casting on all of Warner’s superhero series in recent years.

I later returned in the afternoon to the WB booth to get in line for the signing for “V” featuring stars Elizabeth Mitchell and Morena Baccarin. Morena’s face was embossed on my hotel key card, which I showed the ladies when it was my turn to approach them. Elizabeth said, “You should have her sign that!” A good idea, but I stuck to having them both sign my TV book and most importantly for Elizabeth to sign my “Lost” DVD box. Of course, it was a surprise to see Morena rocking a new hair color, a whitish blond look. Already one of the world’s most beautiful women, did she suddenly wake up one day and say, “You know, not enough people notice me? I better change my hair so I’m even more stunning!” Well, it worked!

Besides Elizabeth Mitchell, there was one other actress I dearly wanted to meet, and that was Pauley Perrette, who plays forensic expert Abby on “NCIS,” a show I’m currently spending many hours catching up on, so it’s fortunate as I told Pauley that it’s on all the time in reruns. Pauley was part of the autograph line for the participants in the “Tech On TV” panel. Also signing was Anthony Zuiker, creator of “CSI.” Anthony has turned to writing what he calls digi-novels under the title “Level 26.” I had read the first one and he informed me he has another coming out soon, which will include a companion DVD. I guess I won’t be borrowing that one from the library then…

Fortunately, I didn’t have to stand in line every time I wanted to see a star at Comic-Con. It seemed like a number of them were staying in our hotel, as I rode the elevator at various times with the new Green Lantern, Ryan Reynolds, and the new Steve McGarrett of “Hawaii 5-0,” Alex O’Loughlin. The cast of “True Blood” must have been staying there too, as my roommates reported seeing such cast members as Anna Paquin and Evan Rachel Wood around.

When I wasn’t stalking the stars, I was hanging around the Marvel and DC Comics booths adding autographs to my books and standing in line for free sketches. When I get a sketch, I usually tell the artist to draw whatever they want, which in the case of Pop Mhan got me a drawing of a character he said he draws at every convention sooner or later: Ghost Rider. “Green Lantern Corps” artist Patrick Gleason drew me a fan favorite character that’s also a favorite of his, BZZD, an insect-like Green Lantern. I also talked to Cully Hamner, who was the artist on the mini-series “Red,” which has been made into a movie starring Bruce Willis. Cully drew a sketch of main character Paul Moses for me and said he’s writing and drawing a prequel to the “Red” comic.

I left the Con Saturday night after dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory with friends in the Gaslamp District. As I packed, suddenly a fireworks display began over the Convention Center, the perfect capper to a perfect convention!