gwalla (gwalla) wrote,

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WonderCon '09

As usual, I am ridiculously late with a Con report. Actually, this is going to be a bit short on report, and mostly just photos, since I spent most of my time on the dealer room floor.

Technical difficulties precluded taking any photos successfully on Friday.

I started off Saturday taking pics of cosplayers. Here are the highlights I saw on Saturday:

Lackadaisy Cats sculpture!

This was the Graphic Novels panel, featuring (from left to right), MC Andrew "shaenon's Hubby" Farago, David Peterson (Mouse Guard), Wendy Pini (Elfquest), Alex Robinson (Box Office Poison), and Stan Sakai (Usagi Yojimbo):

It was a slightly rambling panel. They talked about their work habits and careers, and a bit about the state of the industry. David Petersen talked about how things fell into place for him despite his expectations ("Do you want to go to a standard format?" "No." "Good!" "What?"), and why Mouse Guard has a square format (when starting out he was told to do a mini-comic, but to set his minis apart he used legal-size paper instead of letter to fold in half). Also, Elfquest has been optioned by Warner Brothers, and there's a director attached to the project.

Richard Kiel, known to James Bond fans as Jaws from The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker, and to MST3K fans as "Eegah" from Eegah!:

The WWF's Honky Tonk Man (that's me on the right):

Greg "The Hammer" Valentine was there too, but he looked like he was in a sour mood.

Chris "Mini-Marvels" Giarusso and Phil Foglio, each drawing in my sketchbook:

I took these photos of my cat Godiva (named after the chocolate, not the streaker) partly so I'd know where one day ended and another began in my con photos. Isn't she a doraboo?

As it happens, I ended up not taking many photos on Sunday, just a couple of some Cobra characters (who I believe are official; I know I saw the same Tomax and Xamot at the Hasbro booth last Comic-Con):

I also attended Pixar's panel promoting Up. The clips were pretty funny, but the movie looks like it's going to be pretty weird. There's a huge bird that reminds me a bit of the Dodo from the old Warner Bros. cartoon, and a bunch of dogs who talk using electronic collars. Right before that I caught the tail end of the panel on Tim Burton's new 3DCG movie, 9, which looks pretty cool graphically and has an interesting premise (a group of little robot rag dolls after the end of humanity), but also seems to have some badly clichéd dialogue ("We've awakened something." "Something horrible.")

Merch haul:

  • From the Archaia Studios Press booth, I got Mouse Guard: Fall 1152 and Gunnerkrigg Court vol. 1: Orientation. I also got a Mouse Guard poster at David Petersen's booth, and he signed both it and the book. He told me a bit about his workflow: he first sketches each figure, prop, and background on a page separately, scans them in and composites them (shrinking or enlarging each as necessary), prints out the composited sketch, inks that by hand, then scans that back in and colors in the computer (despite the watercolor look, the coloring is all digital); this means that a single mistake (like drawing a figure out of proportion to a prop) doesn't scrap an entire page of work, but he also gets the hand-drawn feel that he wants. I can't argue with the results; Mouse Guard's art is gorgeous.

  • A bunch of retarded back issues, bought for the lulz, and to post bits from on scans_daily. Of course, when I got home, scans_daily had already been killed. Oh well.

    • DC Special Presents: Super-Heroes Battle Super-Gorillas — The title says it all, really.
    • DC Super-Star Holiday Special — the cover has Superboy, the Legion, Abel & Cain, Jonah Hex, Sgt. Rock, and Batman following the star of Bethlehem!
    • DC Special Presents: Strangest Sports Stories Ever Told! — "Who was the mysterious worlds' series team that couldn't be seen? Which planet will win the Olympics of the future? What was the secret of the phantom prize-fighter? How and where will championship golf be played in the 24th century?"
    • Aristocratic Xtraterrestrial Time-Traveling Thieves — The titular thieves, Fred (a short alien guy with a black visor and a mohawk) and Bianca (a brunette), are press-ganged by the time police into recovering the stolen formula to Classic Coke, the loss of which would cause an interstellar war between soft drink companies and force everyone to drink New Coke. There are references to Alf. Can you tell this was made in the '80s? I only got this because I recognized it from an ad in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles "ninjutsu guides" that Solson put out. It's pretty awful.

  • A couple of self-published comics from booths in the small press area.

    • Islands in the Sky (not to be confused with the Arthur C. Clarke story) is a manga-styled sci-fi/fantasy comic set in a world of, well, flying islands. The art is quite good (and I'm not just saying that because the main character is a ridiculously voluptuous redhead who spends much of the issue naked and still shows a lot of skin when clothed)—the artist trained in Western-style animation, and it shows in the characters' exaggerated facial expressions. The writing is not so good, featuring a lot of clichés, and the main character is one of those egocentric cutesy-hyperactive lunatics only found in fiction, who is also supposedly a skilled monster hunter despite having the physique of a Playboy model and the attention span of a fruit fly. It's supposedly the preview to a webcomic, which was supposed to start during Wondercon weekend, but so far it doesn't seem to have taken off.
    • Native Drums, by Chuck Paschall and Vince Riley, is a postapocalyptic sci-fi action series set in Africa that follows a soldier (mercenary?) with a bit too much conscience for her own good. The art is really good; it's digital but has a watercolor feel. It seems like something that could fit right in as a feature in Heavy Metal Magazine.
    • FISH: Furtive Intelligent System of Havoc, by Paeng Thitaya and P. Jeep Naarkom, is a very cute little silent graphic novel about a robot living among a troop of monkeys in the jungle.

  • A bunch of DVDs, from a bootleg cult video booth:

    • The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut/Collector's Edition — This is a recut version of the failed animated movie, with scenes restored using storyboards and unfinished animation, but using the original voices (which include Vincent Price, Sean Connery, and Donald Pleasence)
    • Grindhouse Double Shock Show: Star Odyssey/Prisoners of the Lost Universe — "Sacrificed to Intergalactic Vampires!" "SEE! Psychotic Love-Starved Robots!" A pair of late '70s/early '80s sci-fi B-movies on a double feature disc. Prisoners of the Lost Universe sounds from its description on the back like a ripoff of Flash Gordon.
    • Tales of Voodoo, vol. 2: Ghost Ninja/Primitives — Another cheeseball double feature disc. Primitives looks like an Italian hunted-by-cannibals-in-the-jungle gorefest a la Cannibal Holocaust. Ghost Ninja appears to be one of those flicks slapped together to cash in on the big ninja fad of the '80s, redubbing an asian movie the producers could get on the cheap and cutting in scenes of lousy American actors fighting ninjas. I've seen one like that, titled Diamond Ninja Force, which gave the treatment to what was originally a Hong Kong knock-off of Poltergeist, of all things, and swapped stuff around so that the ghosts were "really" a bunch of ninjas using ninja magic to get back some idol for their ninja cult, and some Chuck Norris lookalike saves the day without ever interacting with the terrorized family. Great stuff.

  • A couple of cartoon series DVD sets, from another bootlegger booth: Bionic Six, which I loved as a kid (I'm a bit scared to watch it now and contradict my memories), and Megas XLR, which I never saw when it was on the air.

  • From Ernie Fosselius's booth, Hardware Wars: 30th Anniversary Collectors Edition, the original Star Wars spoof, and Plan 9.1 From Outer Space, which does the original's wooden acting (and director's name) one better by recasting it with wooden puppets, using the same sound track. I told Mr. Fosselius that I'd originally seen Hardware Wars at a public library, of all places, and he told me that since it was originally distributed on 16mm film, that was more common than you'd think.

  • CDs from the out-of-print soundtracks booth: Phantasm, which also contains tracks from Phantasm II as a bonus; a collection of Akira Ifukube's themes from the early Godzilla movies; Film Music Classics: Monster Music, which is a disc on the Naxos label of the Moscow Symphony Orchestra playing Frank Skinner and Hans J. Salter's soundtracks to Son of Frankenstein, The Invisible Man Returns, and The Wolf Man; and Danny Elfman's Music for a Darkened Theater, vol. 1. That last one they didn't have at the con, but did have in their warehouse and shipped to me a day later; it replaces a copy I had way back in high school but lost.

  • A book of hand-drawn stereograms (well, drawn on computer with an illustration prgram, but not 3DCG) by Donnachada Daly. Since they are side-by-side stereograms, rather than the speckle patterns of the Magic Eye books, and don't require color-lensed glasses, he can use full color. He does some neat tricks with color mixing between both sides, and even some impressive transparency effects. Very cool.

I also got a few sketches for my sketchbook: Matt Wagner did Kevin Matchstick from Mage, Chris Giarusso did a mini-The Spirit, Phil Foglio drew Bangladesh Dupree from Girl Genius, Vince Riley drew an anonymous girl's head (super fast; he told me that he used to work as a caricaturist and now can't help but draw at top speed), P. Jeep Naarkom drew FISH, David Petersen drew one of his characters from Mouse Guard (I think Kenzie, though it's hard to tell in black and white), Steve Leialoha drew Bigby (in wolf form) from Fables, Richard Starkings (the writer of Elephantmen) drew Hip Flask, and Donnachada Daly drew a stylized woman (though not a stereogram).

Richard Starkings is a writer, not an artist, but did a sketch for me anyway. The artist, Moritat, wasn't there at the time (though he was supposed to be at the con; he must have just stepped away for a bit), but Starkings gave me a Moritat Elephantmen sketchbook free of charge for being a loyal reader.
Tags: comics, cons, diary, photos

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