Part Three: In which men are watched, and parties are crashed.
Or, should I say, "Waaaaaaaaattcccccchhhmeeeeeeeennnnnnnnnnnnnnnn"!?!?
Somehow, we all got into the Watchmen movie panel. Television's Ryan Callahan. Canada's Stephanie Thorpe. And I. We didn't wait in any line. We just walked toward Hall H about 30 minutes before the scheduled start time, and we joined the throng of people heading through the doors. Perfect timing.
Let me back up, because that's not how the day began.
The day began Thursday night, actually, when CBR's Jonah Weiland called and asked if I could cover the "Batman: Brave and the Bold" panel at 10:00 AM because he was putting his ace reporters on line for the Watchmen movie panel before sunrise, and they wouldn't be able to make it to the "Brave and the Bold" thing. He needed me.
So I sat through an hour of James Tucker talking about Dick Sprang (not the porn star) and watching clips of groovy Bat-action. But, you know what? The new animated series looks AWESOME. I wasn't remotely interested in the cartoon before reporting on the panel, but after television's Ryan Callahan and I saw what it was all about, we were charmed. The panel worked its mojo.
The funniest part of the panel was probably the two guys dressed as Batman who asked questions to the producers. The second Batman, in particular, asked his question completely in character. When there was some noise in the audience, he turned and growled sternly, "quiet!" He was the purest distillation of the Comic-Con: silly, crazy, and a whole lot of fun. Or maybe just plain crazy. It's hard to tell sometimes, in San Diego.
And after it was over--after we'd thrilled to the five second exploits of Blue Beetle's alien ninjitsu, we joined Canada's Stephanie Thorpe in the surprisingly not-yet-full Watchmen panel.
W to the A to the T to the C to the H to the...well, you know how it's spelled. But it's a pretty big deal, right?
So we got in. And waited.
But once the panel started, it didn't disappoint. Extended scenes not shown in the theatrical trailer. Thoughtful responses from the guests. Questions from the audience that weren't idiotic.
It was good stuff, but I wouldn't have waited in line since dawn to get in. I'm glad I didn't have to.
Patrick Wilson, of the disturbing "Hard Candy" was very impressive in his discussion of how he prepared to play Dan Dreiberg. Instead of saying the generic, actory thing about how exciting it was to play a part in the movie, blah, blah, he talked about a particular panel drawn by Dave Gibbons. The panel in which Dreiberg--who has been beaten down by life, who is a sad character in almost every way--smiles at Rorschach and says, "aren't you being a little paranoid?" Wilson thought that captured the essence of Dan. His glimmer of hope and optimism and naivete. Good stuff.
I'm sure everyone's seen the extended footage by now. Even with the warnings from the Comic-Con officials, some jackass must have posted the video online by now, right? If not, I feel sorry for everyone who didn't see it. Maybe next year you won't skimp out on your vacation and you'll actually make it to Comic-Con. Doesn't really help you to see the "Watchmen" footage does it? Jealous?
After the Watchmen panel, television's Ryan Callahan rushed off with Canada's Stephanie Thorpe while I pranced about the convention center on my own for the first time all week. Yes, lots of prancing. Mostly in the area where panels were being held, but a little on the convention floor, as I spent some time speaking with the shockingly good Jason Aaron. Our topic of discussion? Movies, of course. We both raved about "The Assassination of Jesse James," which we'd finally gotten around to seeing. We both have young kids, so we don't get to the theater much anymore. Or at all. I recommended my new favorite, "Zero Hour!" which I'd already tried to sell to Matt Fraction on Wednesday evening. It's a genius piece of filmmaking from 1957 and any thriller that hinges on food poisoning in the sky is a classic. Oh, and it also was remade as a little movie called "Airplane!"
I was a little anxious about speaking so long with Jason because I had to cover the Vertigo panel for CBR, and the lines had been long for every panel all day that I knew I'd better get up to room 5AB as soon as possible. But then I thought, "wait, Jason can get me in," and he said, "yeah. You look like a Vertigo writer anyway," which is pretty true. If Azzarello, Wood, Aaron, and Morrison had a baby, it would look just like me. And it would be the coolest, most badass baby in the land, wouldn't it? It would probably rule the post-apocalyptic landscape with only it's glorious baldness and surly attitude.
But I digress.
I didn't have to rely on Jason to sneak me into the panel, though. Karen Berger was with us as well, chatting us up on the way to the panel. She didn't seem to think it would be a problem to get me in. After all, I'd sent her a copy of my book last summer, and I'm sure she's read it dozens of times by now. But before we got to the panel, Karen had to take a detour, and it was up to Jason and I to get past security. If I didn't get in to cover the panel, the CBR readers would never know about all the Vertigo plans. What would they do without me? The world might devolve into a brutal land of bald killer babies sooner than I'd ever feared. The situation was tense. Might I be the cause of the Earth's utter annihilation because of my need to talk to Jason Aaron for those thirty extra minutes I should have been waiting in line?
We'll never know, because I just walked right in with Jason and sat in the front row. It pays to hang out with the cool kids.
Oh, and Willow Wilson's a cool kid too. Definitely. She had my back.
You know what I haven't mentioned in a while?
But I did talk "Watchmen" with Grant Morrison who had seen the trailer and loved the look of the film. He was particularly impressed with the deep focus--the only way to capture the look of the comic, as he put it.
Also, Grant told me the identity of the Black Glove.
Nah, just messing with you. Instead, we talked "Watchmen" for ten minutes.
By the end of the day, after a grueling Goon panel, I tried to hook back up with television's Ryan Callahan and Canada's Stephanie Thorpe, but they'd crashed the DC Universe Online party at the Hard Rock Cafe. Would I be able to get in? Jason Aaron wasn't around to save me this time, and they weren't letting anyone in without a blue wristband.
So here's what I did: I walked right in and sat in the VIP booth with Jim Lee. Nobody stopped me. Television's Ryan Callahan and Canada's Stephanie Thorpe must have told them I was coming, because they were hanging out with Jim Lee too. Okay, not so much hanging out with Jim Lee as getting free drinks on our side of the VIP couch while Lee cavorted on the other side with his peeps. Mark Hamill was there just before I arrived, but he had disappeared by the time I showed up.
That's okay. Because I got to eat his leftover egg rolls.
And you know what I was thinking about?
Not Watchmen, actually.
I was thinking about fish tacos. They sounded delicious after a day of adventure in San Diego.
NEXT: Saturday night's all right for Pikachu punching.