The premiere of Jill Thompson’s “Scary Godmother Animated Special” on Friday, at Comic-Con International in San Diego, was as offbeat as the Eisner Award-winning comic that inspired it.
For one thing, Jill Thompson brought saltwater taffy for everyone. As bags of taffy were distributed to the audience, Thompson explained, “I brought some candy for the movie… I thought Raisinets would get all sticky, and, well, I couldn’t make popcorn.” She quickly introduced the special’s producer, Kevin Gamble, and director, Zeke Norton. Then, the lights went down and the credits rolled to much applause.
As the special continued, there was more applause each time a familiar character appeared onscreen, with the biggest hand going to the arrival of the show’s title character. It was clear the show was a hit from the start with this audience of devoted Thompson fans, with lots of laughter and appreciative applause and cheers throughout.
When the show was over and Thompson took the stage again to an enthusiastic ovation, she blurted, “Thank God you all laughed!”
“It gets a little nerve-wracking at the back for us during a premiere,” Gamble added with a grin.
Thompson had noting but praise for her colleagues in the animated venture. “I’m just so pleased with how it turned out — watching it, it made me cry more than once to see my work so fully realized. I am so lucky to be so involved with the creation of this, to work with people who listen. That’s rare when comics come to the screen.”
Gamble said, “We didn’t want to re-invent Scary Godmother. Jill’s world is so cool as it is… we just wanted to do the living, breathing Scary Godmother.”
When a member of the audience asked Thompson if she had modeled the dancing sequence that is the centerpiece of the film, for the animators to do a CGI screen capture, Thompson burst out laughing. “No, but I danced when I saw it! It’s funny, but when I saw Pettibone’s dancing in that scene, it’s the same dance I used to do with friends when I was back in art school. Except we called it the slap dance–” Thompson mimed it– “and when I saw that I thought, oh my God, that’s Darrell and Jan’s old dance! How did they know?”
The special will air on Canada’s YTV on Halloween, and there are plans for a DVD release in the works. “So if there are any distributors out there today, come on up here and talk to me when we’re done here,” Gamble said, laughing.