Comic-Con ’08 Report
Sai and me just before the Con opens for Thursday
As you guys already know, Sai_the_Shaman and I attended the 2008 San Diego International Comic-Con. I’ll preface this report by mentioning that the convention is huge and so our experience there barely scratches the surface off all the awesomeness there was to be had. Despite having the 4-day passes as well as preview night, there were a large number of places we failed to visit, skipped to make time for other events, or were simply too late to make the cutoff in the enormous lines. As for what we did see though, I was extremely satisfied.
It’s a well known fact that SDCC is so enormous that it is literally impossible to go to every panel there AND most people have to sacrifice panels of lesser importance to guarantee they get into the panels they really wish to see. On another note, this was Sahu’s 1st convention and thus 1st SDCC. This was my 4th SDCC and like my 30th convention overall. =Sai
Out on the Floor
This first section I’ll devote to time spent just wandering booth to booth in the gigantic exhibit hall over the course of our full time there. This is the area that for the most part stays the same throughout the convention. On one side of the hall are representatives of local and not so local stores that make a great profit off of attendees from out of town looking for mementos or guys like us who like the stores coming to us instead of searching around for what we want. My biggest issue with the area is that it really puts it in perspective how comparatively small the market is for One Piece, which made me sad. However, I was able to find some purchases that caught my eye and Sai was quite pleased with his as well.
Gundam Models for CHEAP!!! =Sai
Also in the enormous hall beside the shops were the booths for representatives of web comics to meet their fans and sell merchandise. There were a large number of groups there but a couple in particular stood out to us due to being fans of the respective series. For Sai, the big highlight was the Penny Arcade booth. Here we bought some shirts from the creators and got them to draw some sketches for us. For myself, my big interest was the Roosterteeth booth, where I was excited to meet a few cast members of Red vs. Blue, one of my favorite online series.
Outside of the aforementioned booths, a majority of the hall ended up housing much more impressive setups for the major powerhouse companies of comic production or other staple sources of comic nerds. Among these were of course grand showings from Marvel and DC. Sai and his friend stood in a slow moving line with no regrets to get sketches from a DC artist of the Flash and Green Lantern. According to Sai, the guy told him that the sketches were refreshing since they were the first people to ask for non-Batman related characters.
All the people in front of us only asked for either Batman or Joker >.> =Sai
The current run of awesome comic book movies also showed their stuff in a big way at this con, bringing in full scale replicas of the Iron Monger suit used in the recent Iron Man movie and the Owlship (also called “Archie” by Owlman) from the upcoming Watchmen film. TV giants also made a large show here with NBC promoting the return of the show, Heroes, and Warner Brothers making an impressive display of promoting their various projects by handing out enormous bags that were extremely handy throughout the convention.
Among the big companies, there were representatives for the market this site specializes in, the Japanese stuff. Among this group was Upper Deck, which reserved a fenced off area for people to test out their new generation of Yu-Gi-Oh cards to be released simultaneously with the newly dubbed spin off show.
Basically they were showing off the new Starter Decks for 2008 which feature the new Synchro cards (and an awesome new trap called scrapiron scarecrow…..which suspiciously looks like Kakashi from Naruto…..<kakashi means scarecrow if you didn’t know>) =Sai
Spoiler: Sai and his friend Richard dueling with the new decks….Richard’s pretty much a pro duelist level player and kicked Sai’s ass thoroughly show
Also here was Square-Enix, which while promoting and selling stuff from their numerous popular video game series, their main purpose there was the announcement of a new magazine to release in English many of the manga series that are in Japan handled by the Shonen Gangan magazine, the most highlighted being Soul Eater. Soul Eater also had a huge display of cardboard cutouts. Furthermore, there were shikishi (sign boards) from all the various GanGan artists celebrating SDCC ‘08
The name of the new magazine is called Yen+. It is published by Yen Press look for it at a store near you. Below is a cover of the new magazine. I hope you all can pick up an issue. You can visit their website here =Sai
Despite that awesomeness, the biggest deal was at the Viz Media area, which went all out in celebration of Kubo Tite coming to Comic-Con. They even brought the complete original artwork drawn by Kubo for Bleach chapter 162, which was the beautiful full color chapter in the Byakuya versus Ichigo fight. Though we missed his signing because we were preoccupied with going to the Heroes panel, just seeing the original chapter art was a thrill and a truly awesome experience.
Super Special Awesome
Now we get to the panels that we saw. The first of these was the Yu-Gi-Oh 5D’s panel that we went to on Thursday. The panel was supposed to be for the purpose of promoting the newest Yu-Gi-Oh anime to be dubbed by 4Kids and brought to the American audience. I can’t speak for everyone there, but I’d say that a good number were there in hopes of getting the new starter deck for the new generation of Yu Gi Oh trading cards also being released (since 4Kids said they’d be giving stuff out >.>). I myself wanted to go since I had found out that LittleKuriboh, the maker of the Yu-Gi-Oh Abridged series, was going. While in line, we were pleased to meet LittleKuriboh’s fiancée and voice of a few characters, Safty, as she promoted the web series. Once inside, the panel consisted of the show’s Japanese producer, a representative of Upper Deck for the card game, a representative from 4Kids for the English dub, and the American voice actor for the main character of the show who also voiced Tristan in the original series (Honda in the Japanese version). We were treated to an advance showing of the first episode of the English dub, throughout which there was much giggling at the infamous 4Kids dubbing and the general concept of card games on motorbikes (the show’s premise is that a new dueling system now exists to play while driving motorcycles). Afterwards, the panel took a couple questions, both of which were extremely memorable. First came a kid who asked the rather obvious question, “What’s with the motorcycles?” To this, the panel was silent for a few seconds before simply saying to accept that this is the new dueling system. Couple more random and unimportant questions were asked afterwards. Including a girl who came to say she prefers the dub of Yu-Gi-Oh to the original Japanese. Finally, up came an English man carrying a Yugi plushy who first announced himself to be LittleKuriboh. At this statement, a thunderous applause filled the room that dwarfed anything that the panelists or the preview episode had gotten. When things died down, he asked the voice actor on the panel to say “my voice gives me super strength,” a quote that LittleKuriboh gives the character of Tristan in his parody of the original series. The guy was clearly ignorant of the significance but did it anyways much to the delight of the “Abridged” fans. After the panel, LittleKuriboh was swarmed by fans, so we decided not to attempt to meet him there. Luckily for us, we did end up running in to him on the floor the next day and I was able to snap a picture with him. For those of you who have not seen Yu- Gi-Oh Abridged, you must go to this site HERE and watch it.
A Galaxy Far Far Away
On Friday, we unfortunately missed both of the afternoon panels (or panel collections) we wanted to go to. The first of these was Watchmen, which looks incredible in the trailer and we wanted more but we missed due to oversleeping. The second was a series of Fox television panels, the biggest of which being for Bones, but due to the enormous lines for it and the American Dad and Family guy panels before it, we realized that it would be impossible to get in.
I was really the only one of our little rag tag group that cared anyhow, so I relented for the greater good….though I missed seeing the Bones cast ;o; =Sai
Instead, we found ourselves going to the massive Hall H for the Star Wars panel (as also a method of just staying in Hall H for the following two panels which had Kevin Smith). Here we got a sneak peek at a few projects they are working on. This includes an awesome looking video game based around the secret apprentice of Darth Vader, during which we were given a look at cut-scenes from the game (one of which being extremely spoiler-ish). We also got to preview bits of the upcoming animated Clone Wars movie and the TV series that will follow it. The visuals look fantastic and the premise of it seems exciting as well.
After the Star Wars panel, we simply stuck around since the Con workers don’t clear the rooms after events. The next two panels both had Kevin Smith from the Jay and Silent Bob movies, which was absolutely fantastic. The first of these two panels was an Entertainment Weekly panel for visionary filmmakers. The four people there were Kevin Smith, Judd Apatow, Zack Snyder, and Frank Miller. Smith is well known for his Jay and Silent Bob movies and was there to promote his new movie, Zack and Miri make a Porno. Apatow is known for his own comedy movies such as 40-Year-Old Virgin and Superbad, but was here to promote the new movie, Pineapple Express. Snyder was the director for 300 and is now working on a film version of the epic Watchmen comic. Miller is known well in the world of American comics as a writer and artist for various companies and now as a film director for the adaptation of the comic, The Spirit (which was written by Will Eisner). A majority of the panel was spent with Kevin Smith and Judd Apatow having fun, telling stories, and cracking jokes. Whenever Snyder was brought into the conversation, it was clear that he is not yet accustomed to speaking directly to such large crowds as he seemed a bit overwhelmed. As for Frank Miller, he generally tended to stay out of the conversation, but any time he was brought in, he’d give a “oh, I wasn’t listening” face and give an answer that was short, sweet, and highly amusing.
The second of the two evening panels was run by Kevin Smith as he brought out the cast of his new movie, Zack and Miri Make a Porno. The panel started off with a clip from the movie that was absolutely hilarious in so many ways. I won’t spoil the clip here, but it revolves around Justin Long (The Mac guy) and Brandon Routh (Superman Returns) interacting with the main characters and each other for some comedic gold. It is clearly the same caliber of comedic genius that can be expected from Kevin Smith’s writing and when combined with a cast consisting of Seth Rogan, Elizabeth Banks, Jason Mewes, Justin Long, Katie Morgan (a porn star), Traci Lords (A former Porn star famous for making porn at the age of 15 by lying about her age….most of her videos are now illegal) and a few other guests. It looks to be another must-see comedy. Thankfully, this larger panel had a good deal of more talkative people on it than the previous one, which led to some great conversation including Kevin Smith’s limit to vulgarity in his films. Apparently rape is the one subject he will never touch because he can’t make it funny (Unless it’s Jay raping Silent Bob).
On Saturday, the first thing on the agenda was the Heroes panel. We thoroughly underestimated the line for this event and had to walk at least a mile from the entrance to Hall H in order to reach the end of it. For quite a while, we had feared that we had already passed the capacity number for Hall H and were just wasting our time standing there.
The line was literally 6000+ people and we were at about the 3000 mark in line from my guesses. Luckily Hall H, we later found out, could house up to 6500 people =Sai
During this time we also started to hate on Lost fans who we knew were taking up spaces in front of us to sit through Heroes and attend their panel afterwards.
and we all know Lost fans are the spawn of the devil anyhow >.> j/k =Sai
Eventually, we were pleased to find that we had no need to worry and got pretty good seats to view it from one of the gigantic HD screens hanging from the ceiling of the hall. Though they were somewhat late due to elevator issues (as well as traffic on the 5 south from LA to San Deigo), ALL of the main cast was at the panel. An absolute true delight for us. The cast was just as excited to see all of us, as we were to see them as they came out with their own personal cameras to film the immensity of the crowd there to see them. However, the big surprise came when Tim Kring, the creator of Heroes, came out (with a metal briefcase handcuffed to his arm) and told us that we were going to be granted an exclusive first look at the entire first episode of the third season a full two months before it actually gets aired on TV. I won’t spoil you guys here on what happens in it, but I’ll say that anyone who had the slightest disappointment with season two or anyone who craves to have answers to their many questions will absolutely love season 3. I’ll make a post in the Heroes thread with an ultra spoiler warning to reveal the secrets later if someone hasn’t already (haven’t checked yet). After the episode finished, the panel answered a few questions. This included a lady who cheated the rules to get Milo Ventimiglia (Peter Petrelli) to take a picture with her and a guy dressed in a well made cardboard samurai outfit (who got an awesome reaction from Masi Oka). The questions also got each cast member to describe the season in a short phrase or word, my favorite being Greg Grunberg (Matt Parkman) calling it “sexy”.
My favorite was Masi Oka speaking in Japanese saying “中村ヒロはめっちゃめっちゃ最高!!!” (tl: Hiro Nakamura is absolutely the most awesome ever!!!)…I wish I had some pics to offer for this panel, but I fully respected the panelists and decided to stow away the camera so I wouldn’t be tempted to take pics of the screening…. =Sai
As mods of a manga site, of course the true highlight of Comic-Con has to deal with a manga related topic. At this Comic-Con, there were not one but two major mangaka attending panels and signing autographs. These two were Kubo Tite of Bleach and Mashima Hiro of Fairy Tail. Though Kubo’s Bleach is the more generally popular title, both Sai and myself were a lot more excited about Mashima Hiro as fans of Fairy Tail and his earlier series, Rave. Unfortunately, we were unable to attend either the Kubo Tite panel or get his autograph due to stupid Con workers screwing up our well timed plans and us prioritizing both Mashima Hiro and the Heroes panel above the Kubo events. As for the Mashima events though, we made damn sure we didn’t miss a thing. First of all, we made sure to get tickets for his Friday signing as early as Wednesday by purchasing a copy of Fairy Tail translated. At the signing, we were provided with beautiful sign boards and Mashima signed each with a Japanese translation of our names. Sai even talked a little with Mashima sensei while his board was signed in which the mangaka complimented his Japanese. Then on Saturday, Mashima was on a panel hosted by Del Ray. We sat through the two panels before it in order to make sure we had good seats for this particular panel. Our efforts paid off as we were in the front row right in front of him. Overall, the impression he gave can only be described as the epitome of cool. He was excited, but was still very relaxed and exceedingly friendly during the questions. He talked about his influences for the characters in Fairy Tail such as the cast being based on his friends with himself being Natsu (though Gray’s exhibitionist habits also come from himself apparently). He also talked some about his new monthly series, Monster Hunter Orage as well as his role in helping the creators of Shonen Rival magazine pick which series to include. If I remember correctly, he said that one of his assistants actually got a series into the magazine as well. At the end of the panel, he got up and drew a picture of Natsu on a projector and gave it away to a randomly chose winner in the audience. Though none in our group won the piece (though we were tempted to steal it), seeing him draw in front of us was a fantastic experience none the less.
After Mashima, there were two panels left that we really wanted to attend. One was the Mythbusters panel, whose line we underestimated and whose hall capacity we overestimated, so in the end we were not able to. The other one is a panel that was of greater interest to me than anyone else but they agreed to go too. That was the panel for the third movie in the Underworld saga, Rise of the Lycans. I am a HUGE fan of werewolves and so news that there would be a third Underworld movie that was more central to lycans than vampires piqued my interest immediately. We got to see an early trailer for the movie though not all of the CG had been fully completed yet. I must say that it looks incredible. The film acts as a prequel to the first two and its premise is the werewolves freeing themselves from the role of slavery to the vampires while dealing with a love story that was referred to in the first movie. What I love about the Underworld series and what this movie in particular establishes is that it is unique in that it treats werewolves and vampires as races of humanity rather than simply as monsters, which is a theme I am a huge fan of. I must say that other than the comic book movies such as Watchmen, this is the movie I am most looking forward to though that is simply my own werewolf-loving biased opinion.
Well I guess that finishes up the 2008 Comic-Con report. As great as this one was though, next year’s is the 40th anniversary, so it promises to be on another scale. Sai and I have already preregistered for it in anticipation. Hopefully, this thread will help organize things so that we can meet up with some of you guys when we go next time. Also, if you did go to this comic-con and were able to attend panels that we were not able to go to, please add your two cents to this thread so we can fill in the gaps.
Sai will post more pics later when he isn’t at work…
Last edited by sahugani; August 06, 2008 at 02:44 PM.
Wow, looks like you had LOTS of fun
I have to read again tomorrow, I only had the time to browse through the important part... and damn, I didn't knew that the Fairy Tail mangaka is that hot
Ahem, will comment more later and looking forward to MORE pictures!
I attend Sakura con and try to make it to the Emerald City comic con. It is like SDCC split down Japanese and American industry, shame it cant be like SDCC which seems to merge the two.
@manu: awesome. be sure to take lots of pics, if I remember well enough, Sakura Con has a bunch of good cosplayers in the vicinity (trying to remember from my old days at Cosplay.com...)
Anyhow I promised more pics so here they are. I know I should've taken more, but I get distracted too easily when I'm in awe and don't think to take as many as I should. I'll take more at the next convention. Anyhow here they are!!!
I forgot that I wanted to mention that I'll be taking pics of different autographs and sketches form the Con later, including the Mashima Hiro one
Last edited by Sai_the_Shaman; August 07, 2008 at 02:03 AM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
Nice work guys. It looks really cool if you ask me. Makes me facing reality: we can only dream of these kind of conventions
you guys are sooo lucky to be able to go.....i haven't been since the 2006 comic-con which was great but man i would have loved to go to this one ^_^
Sai, give me that GL sketch!!!!
You guys are so lucky to go there. My boss went there and he kept texting me about everything he saw and everyone he met. See you guys next year, perhaps.
DUDE!!!! ICHI YOU SO NEED TO COME!!!!! LH AND (and maybe even DZ) IS COMING!!!! SUPER MOD MEETUP!!!!! (CAPS OFF). It would be awesome though seriously. The two of us could stand at the comic artist sketch lines all day and such
Haha! We'll have to wait for that next year. But I'll probably stalk Geoff Johns and ask him stuff on Blackest Night.
YES! I am coming next year xD I'll come to see you all next summer instead of this winter and that way I can go to SDCC~!! I'm super excited =3 And it gives me time to save up more monies....I just need to do pre-registration soon xD
I was at SDCC as well. I could only go on Friday since I had work and school, but the day I went was pretty incredible.
Some random pictures:
@Ichimaru: Did you get to go to the Geoff Johns panel? It was pretty fun, especially with the new Flash Rebirth announcement.
Meno, unfortunately my boss forgot to take me there. So, they're gonna bring back Barry again, huh?
Wow meno, great pics, you saw some stuff I completely missed out on!!! Dude, I didnt even know Kojima was gonna be there!!! Awesome pics.
I really wanna go to a Comic-con like next year so 2010 hopefully, you guys who live there are so lucky, if i went i'd wanna meet up with all MH members that are gonna be there; it would make an interesting experience
wonder if there's any kinda convetion here in the UK...