Issue #199

THE COMIC-CON SHUFFLE: Secret things to do on the convention floor in Sandy Ego



These are events not mentioned in the convention book.

ConDor Conventions is collecting Beanie Babies and other stuffed toys for needy children.

At the Speakeasy booth, Hannibal Tabu will periodically conduct karaoke. Stop by to enjoy their spread and caterwaul your favorite pop hits. I have no idea if there are prizes involved. (Now I bet Warren Ellis is kicking himself for obsessively staying away.)

The ACTOR booth will host a continuous (celebrity?) poker game to raise money for A Commitment To Our Roots, the organization founded to help out of work comics talent.

Aberrant Games will have a game demo table.

Those interested in taking part in the next 24 HOUR COMICS DAY can find details at the About Comics booth. (Maybe next year there should be a Wednesday 24 hour comics gathering at Comic-Con International, with the results printed up in small runs and sold during the show. Just a thought.)

Acme Archives Limited will have a slew of special guests throughout the show, like NAPOLEON DYNAMITE's MTV Movie Award-winning star Jon Heder and hot comics/animation writer Judd Winick on Saturday.

Lots of talent signings at Across The Pond Studios.

Activision/Marvel will be demoing games, constantly holding signings by Marvel talent, and giving away free stuff.

Wrestling alert! If you're a wrestling fans, The Rock, Greg "The Hammer" Valentine, Michael "Virgil" Smith and RVD Rob Van Dam will all be at the show - and if recent years are an indicator I wouldn't be surprised to see The Ultimate Warrior and others show up as well. The Rock will be in on Sunday, RVD at Transcontinuity on Saturday, and Virgil and the Hammer in the autograph area for several hours every day. Rumor is Diamond Dallas Page may be around as well, and lucha libre wrestlers will be signing at Hollywood Book and Poster Co.. (Check the official Con schedule.)

AK Comics will hold signings, screenings and giveaways. Of what I couldn't say for sure.

Alien Entertainment hands out a different promo trading card each day, including the new DR. WHO.

Computer maker Alienware promises to give away "goodies." Me, I could use a new desktop system if you've got one in your stockings, guys.

American Association Of Comic Book Collectors will be screening video interviews with comics pioneers like Will Eisner and Creig Flessel.

Clive Barker will be signing at Art Asylum.

Jim Balent's Broadsword Comics will be giving away surprises with purchases, while Balent himself (and Holly Golightly) will provide free sketches with autographs.

To promote their new MAGIC THE GATHERING magazine, Beckett Media LP will have daily contests and giveaways.

Blizzard Entertainment has a limited WORLD OF WARCRAFT game giveaway, trial edition.

At Bloody Mary, F/X makeup artist Bobbie Weiner is giving makeup demos.

Literacy advocates Cartoonists Across America will have free comic giveaways, while guest artists paint a mural in the booth.

Central Park Media hosts signings and giveaways.

CFQ Magazine hosts signings and giveaways.

Christian Comics Arts Society hosts signings and giveaways.

Cinemachine will hold various drawings during the show, leading to a Frazetta grand prize package on Sunday.

Comics Buyers Guide holding prize drawings and signings all con long.

Del Rey Books will have a slew of giveaways, including manga samplers, collectible pins, DVDs, novels and CD samplers.

Daily raffles, signings and giveaways at Disney Publishing Worldwide.

Drawn And Quarterly is giving away mini-comics and posters.

In an inventive promo, Dream Entertainment is giving away t-shirts and Motley Crue tickets.

Fantagraphics Books, besides hosting a ton of autograph sessions, will give away select comics.

Forcewerks Productions gives away collectible cards and holds a Wheel Of ChaosCo giveaway.

Funcom promos the AGE OF CONAN videogame by letting you photograph yourself on Conan's throne. Free inflatable swords as well.

Look for a puppet show at Grimm Grotto Goods.

Heroic Publishing will be handing out comics and posters.

IDW Publishing has free TRANSFORMERS and other posters.

Lantor Ltd. is giving away Betty Boop pins while Kwoon is handing out kung fu movie posters.

LEGO has games and contests daily.

Lion's Gate Films will give away Rob Zombie's new graphic novel, plus t-shirts, movie tickets and gobs more, plus something called a "Captain Spaulding makeover." Don't know if I like the sound of that.

Game tournaments take place all weekend at LucasArts, and giveaways. You probably can't miss the LucasFilms theme park there in the center of the Con, so there's no need to discuss it.

Learn how to kill at videogames at Maximum PC.

Nintendo is giving away game demos, Pikachu cards and - is that toy car or a real one?!

STAR WARS actors like Billy Dee Williams and Ray Park will be signing at Official Pix throughout the weekend.

Pennyfarthing Press is giving away I-Pods. Only two, but still...

Free novels from Pocketbooks, plus gobs of author signings.

Sony Pictures Entertainment has a little playground of props from GHOST RIDER, STARGATE SG-1 and UNDERWORLD: EVOLUTION, not to mention various star and talent appearances.

You can get your name written in Japanese at 10,000 Dragontales.

Totally insane STAR WARS fans can win an entire STAR WARS bedroom at 3-Day Blinds and Home Fashions For Kids by Dan River.

Upper Deck Entertainment also holds tournaments and giveaways all weekend.

Oh, let's face it, everybody's got signings and con exclusives. Will Viz have their pavilion of games and contests again? What other surprises will be on the floor?

I was telling someone a couple days ago about early days of the San Diego Con, when it was on the mezzanine of some ratbag hotel on Broadway (back when Broadway itself was mainly a haven for sailors, pimps, prostitutes, addicts and alcoholics, Horton Plaza wasn't even a gleam in anyone's eye, and a few hundred comics fans just wanted to have a little fun, back in the days when people could talk about selling San Diego back to Mexico without really joking. Then there was the other convention center, where comics dealers congregated and one big comics star of the time slipped me screwdrivers (not the tool) every time I passed his booth. And now this. It's easy, as a comics guy to feel a little slighted by how the convention has grown and the directions it has grown in, and I know a lot who do, but it's amazing that we're now the epicenter of a small, ever-growing city when Comic-Con International takes place. The number of possibilities opened by it now is simply staggering.

Hail to thee, Comic-Con International.

The names of the booths are underlined. Check the convention booklet for booth locations, check the booths for event schedules. And keep your eyes open for hidden happenings at the other booths as well. Everybody have fun. And if you see Joe Quesada, tell him PERMANENT DAMAGE sent you.

  • A Schematic Of The End Times (cross-section):

    For seven years, Mrs. Edith Evans of Wellingham County MA has been delighting her neighbors with "Edith's Healthful Bread," which boasted of whole oats, molasses, cinnamon, clover honey, and "secret ingredients." On June 27th, following a lengthy investigation, Wellingham Co. police revealed the "secret ingredients": blood, fingernail pairings bought secondhand from various nail salons in a tri-state area, and ground animal teeth. "Blood, gelatin and calcium are all good for your system," Evans explained. The teeth were what led police to her; unable to match supply to increasing demand for her bread, Evans has taken to weekend trips as far away as Maryland, on which she gassed and kidnapped household pets and yanked their teeth before setting them free. When even that failed to produce the desired supply, she started approaching dentists, who reported her to authorities. She has yet to reveal the sources of the blood she used, but police are investigating correlations with unsolved murders in the area. Evans insists she sterilized all ingredients properly before baking.

  • A Norwegian butcher is experimenting with a new way to preserve meat longer, by using microwaves to cook the meat live on the cow before slaughtering. He claims to have developed the idea from watching contraband Russian weapons test films sold throughout Scandinavia in the years since the fall of the Soviet Union. He claims that microwaving before slaughter drastically reduces the bacteria level in the meat, makes butchering easier because the cooked meat is sturdier, and greatly shortens the time and risk of contamination between slaughter and packaging or freezing. His single regret is damage to the potentially valuable leather hides, but feels that since microwaves cook from the inside out, more controlled microwaving will not only leave the skins unharmed but will also allow different cuts of meat to be cooked to perfection. Norwegian animal rights activists have asked the government to shut down his operation, but there has so far been no response.

    A researcher at the South Pole has issued an urgent plea for governments to fund an investigation into a suddenly decline of ice levels at the South Pole, but is meeting apathy, as the problem appears to have little to do with global warming. "It's not a meteorological issue," says Dr. Edward Kelly of the University of Alberta-Edmonton, "but geophysical." Kelly, a geologist, has discovered large inland ice fields that appear to have caved in, and suggests this may indicate an unexpected weakness in the earth's crust beneath. "Rising temperatures at the lowest level of the ice also indicate heat from below, not above," Kelly said. "Over an area that wide, it could mean the magma at the Earth's core is about to break through in what amounts to a supervolcano." He added that ash and dust from such a volcano could blot out the southern hemisphere for a decade, and weakness there might also indicate serious crust weakness elsewhere on the planet, creating conditions for a string of supervolcanoes. "But more research is needed," he added.

  • Notes From Under The Floorboards:

    If you haven't heard, Byron Preiss died in New York a few days ago, when a bus struck the car he was driving. Byron was never a very well-known name among non-professionals in the business, but he'd been active since the '70s, first with Byron Preiss Visual Publications and more recently with iBooks/Komikwerks, and throughout was an indefatigable champion of the comics form. He produced a variety of very early American graphic novels, including Samuel Delany & Howard Chaykin's EMPIRE and Jim Steranko's CHANDLER: RED TIDE. He spread comics to every book publisher and pioneered their use as educational maerials and in e-books and CD-Rom, including Microsoft's game Gahan Wilson's HAUNTED HOUSE. He was a pioneer in our medium, a businessman with taste and vision, and much of our recent history would be very different if he hadn't been there. He'll be missed, and who knows what possibilities we'll miss out on with him gone? (Jim Steranko's tribute to Byron is here.)

  • Famed British author Michael Moorcock, creator of Elric Of Melnibone and dozens of other characters, who indirectly gave comics the concept of the "multiverse," and who has been adapted into and worked in comics since the early '70s, most recently with Walt Simonson on DC's ELRIC: MAKING OF A SORCERER, is seriously ill in France with a bone infection that threatens to cost him a leg. Apparently what he needs most right now is moral support, and if you'd like to lend a little, bop over to Moorcock's Miscellany and find the Q&A section and the thread "Moorcock Abroad" to find out how. For me, Moorcock was a big enough influence - I was mad for his stuff when I was a teenager, starting with the second Hawkmoon book, SORCERER'S AMULET, which I stumbled across in a Waldenbooks in a Minneapolis mall while on vacation - that there's a possibility I'd never have begun writing had I not read him. So get better, Mike; we really need you now.

    Don Markstein, who has a great, informative, highly recommended comics history site, Toonopedia, won last week's cover theme challenge. The answer: they were all superhero comics introduced in the 1950s by companies that weren't DC or . Now that you've got a better grasp of the concept, what's the thematic connection in this week's cover collection? (No, it's not that they're all #1s.)

    If you're a fan of Mark Millar and/or Sean Phillips (and I mean, c'mon, who doesn't cotton to at least one of them?), check out the special two page strip they did in honor of the G8 conference held in Edinburgh last week. Page 1 is here, while Page 2 is here. (And, Sean, is that a special guest appearance by Vince McMahon at the end of pg. 1?)

    The only "reality show" (actually the best game show ever) that I'd ever recommend, AMAZING RACE, started rerunning from the first show every evening this week on Game Show Network. It runs at 9P and midnight here, but you'll have to check your cable schedules for your locale. It's a great show, and while half the fun is watching contestants struggle and think their way to every finish, the other half is seeing strange areas of the world you probably wouldn't expect. Catch especially Will & Tara in the second season shows; they may be the most memorable TV characters of the last ten years.

    I was going to run some original fiction this week - an excerpt from something I'm working on that started as a comics project that fell apart 20 years ago - but since we have to close up shop a little early if we want the column up this week - all the CBRobots that handle the posting are taking off for the Con, which pushes the schedule ahead - I'll have to leave it for another time. Maybe next week, though, hopefully, that'll be flush with pictures from the con.

    In the meantime, if you're desperate to read more of me, at Paper Movies, you can purchase pdf format e-book collections of my writings, in your choice of print-optimized or screen optimized:

    IMPOLITIC: A Journal Of The Plague Years, Pt. 1 - reflections on politics in the age of terror, from PERMANENT DAMAGE Sept. 2001-April 2005. 250+ pgs.

    TOTALLY OBVIOUS - comics, creativity, culture and the freelance life, from MASTER OF THE OBVIOUS, 1999-2001. 300+ pgs.

    Available individually, cheap, or as a set at a special bargain price. Check the website for details.

    Those wishing to comment should leave messages on the Permanent Damage Message Board. You can also e-mail me but the chances of a reply are next to nil these days, given my workload, though I do read all my e-mail as long as it's not trying to sell me something. IMPORTANT: Because a lot of people apparently list it in their e-address books, this account has gotten a slew of virus-laden messages lately. They're no real threat but dealing with them eats up time I don't really have, to the extent I can no longer accept unsolicited e-mail with attachments. If you want to send something via attachment (say, art samples) ask me first. If I say okay, then send. Unsolicited e-mail with attachments will be wiped from the server without being read. You can also leave messages for me and have discussions on other topics at my Delphi forum, GRAPHIC VIOLENCE. Please don't ask me how to break into the business, or who to submit work to. The answers to those questions are too mercurial for even me to keep up with.

    Those wanting to subscribe to the WHISPER e-mail newsletter should click here.

    I'm reviewing comics sent to me - I may not like them but certainly I'll mention them - at Steven Grant c/o Permanent Damage, 2657 Windmill Pkwy #194, Henderson NV 89074, so send 'em if you want 'em mentioned, since I can't review them unless I see them. Some people have been sending press releases and cover proofs and things like that, which I enjoy getting, but I really can't do anything with them, sorry. Full comics only, though they can be photocopies rather than the published version. Make sure you include contact information for readers who want to order your book.

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