/boos-and-whoop-doos-brushing-off-the-dust-of-comic-con-2009-part-1/Brushing Off the Dust of Comic-Con 2009 Part 1

/boos-and-whoop-doos-brushing-off-the-dust-of-comic-con-2009-part-2/Brushing Off the Dust of Comic-Con 2009 Part 2

/boos-and-whoop-doos-brushing-off-the-dust-of-comic-con-2009-part-3/Brushing Off the Dust of Comic-Con 2009 Part 3

Related: The Eternals Concept Art Reveals Marvel's Mighty Celestials

Comic-Con 2009? Whoop-Doo!

It gets harder and harder each and every year to see any new Con footage at all. From the moment the San Diego convention center doors open, to the moment they close in a wispy stink of nerd dust, I am standing in the broadcast line above Hall H, helping secure video coverage for our site. There, I get to hear all about the wonderful, exciting hype clips that everyone else will be drooling over the next few days. It's always the same, and usually a bit dull. But this year was filled with quite a bit of adventure and excitement. In fact, I'd say it was the best Comic-Con I've ever been too. Plus, I got to see the best genre film of the year in its entirety (which would be District 9; more on that later}. There were cops, and ugly dogs, and celebrities in every nook and cranny. Some bash this annual write up for its lack of insight into the future of films. Take a look at our home page. Everything you need to know is right there. This is more of a retrospective, so turn away now if you do not wish to delve deep into the anal gutter of the Con. This is a side most floorwalkers never get to see. A look back at the hard work that goes into covering such an event.

Days before our crew was set to make the annual trip south, I sold off both my Tercel and my Vespa, which left us with no way to get to the Convention Center. Calling in a few favors, we were well on our way by 10:30 am Wednesday morning, having sunk past the depressing amount of written work we'd done in preparation the night before. I was buoyed by a small moment of joy heading out of town, seeing my old Tercel parked on the sidewalk a few blocks north of our house. The little Mexican man who'd bought it for four hundred dollars had already blinged the shit out of its frame with $1200 spinners. It was a hilarious sight gag, and the trip was smooth for a while. After a few strides in luxurious lane space absent of the usual SDCC crowd, we hit a tight jam coming around the corner as we headed into geek Mecca.

Our driver, a brilliant freelance writer with the grace of a bumblebee and the smile of a playful tiger, had to get to an IMAX presentation about twenty minutes away from the heart of the city. This is where we hit our first snafu. My co-worker, Brian Gallagher, didn't want to sit through three hours of timeshare equipment talk as sold by a bunch of 3D crack dealers. The line of cars heading into the bay front area looked like a troop of angry ants marching towards a burnt piece of toast. The move was sluggish and uneventful, and we were all quite harried by the time we got close enough to drop The Beege off. Our destination: The new Hilton Bay Front hotel. It being new, we didn't quite know where it was and came to rest in the Hilton directly across the street from the convention center. Pointing to the right hotel from the back seat, Gallagher insisted that he'd found our residential suite. We couldn't see it, and thought he was talking about the hotel directly in front us.

A heated argument broke free, as I insisted the place we needed to go was surrounded by water. I thought he was wrong. He thought I was crazy. "There's no water here. Its just sidewalks." He jutted out his jaw, sneering, "It's sitting right on the fucking bayfront!" A funny misunderstanding. We left him standing on the sidewalk, muttering like a crazy man. "Fuck him!" I told our driver, "He doesn't want to walk five minutes to the entrance?" I felt slighted by BG's attitude. Until we came around the crest of the Hilton and saw the Hilton Bay Front off in the distance. We'd dropped the poor guy off with at least a forty-minute suitcase walk in his future. Seeing the crowds and the obstacles that lay in his way for the remainder of the afternoon, I felt slightly bad about his upcoming plight. That tiny bit of regret soon faded into the rearview mirror as I learned there would be a full spread at the IMAX presentation.

Comic-Con is notorious for inducing stomach pains. I've never left the Convention without feeling like a raving lunatic ready to wreck the nearest buffet. There is no food on the Broadcast line, and the nearest nourishment awaits in the form of a twenty-minute walk and a year old pretzel. The hotdogs are always cold, and never worth the walk back to your original destination. Food right off the bat sounded like a great idea and a welcome treat. We arrived at the Edward's Theater to find the hallways inside the IMAX screening room filled with delicious food and a free bar. This is where things first started to look promising. If nothing else, I would be fat, full, and drunk before 4 o'clock in the afternoon. I did my best to accomplish this mission. In honor of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, there was a huge dish of Swedish meatballs, some rolled meat sandwiches. Tiny squares of melt quiche-cheesy goodness. They had chicken skewers with peanut dipping sauce and vegetable trays. Cheese. And Heineken. I dove in, eating plate after plate of tasty hor'dourves and chugging beer like it was going out of stile. I was well into my tenth meatball when the craziest looking man in a Superman shirt waddled up, decked in culottes and a pair of Teva sandals. He had a donut of unruly grey afro-kink hair and a bulbous red nose. His greasy fingers smelt of dead children as he started to roam through this forest of free food. I had to put my plate down and turn away, as not to vomit. With bits of Swede sauce dripping from his intense moustache, he spat speckles of chewed meat at me, "Who are you here for?"

The most dreaded question ever. I told him, "Movieweb." And nothing else. His responce, "I know you. I have never heard of that website. But I know who you are." Um, okay. I decided to make a quick stride to the other side of the hallway. I was stopped by some chick from Popular Mechanics who was enamored with my choice of apparel. My upper torso read, "I went to MJ's funeral and all I got was this lousy shirt." She thought it was funny, but one of the IMAX reps did not. No bother. I headed to the bathroom, and then back to the bar for three more beers, which I took into the theater with me. My precious driver brought me a fourth. We placed them in the empty cup holders in a race to see who could get to them first. I drank three during the presentation. He drank one. And a glass of wine. He knows how to pace himself a lot better than I do. The presentation was quite informative, but I'd heard the same spiel last year from an IMAX representative that had shown up at the Beowulf. Junket. As I drifted into a hazy daze, my bladder grew larger and my attention span started to wane. I'd arrived in hopes of seeing Avatar footage. Or maybe a few selected moments from Tron: Legacy (the name was officially announced at the Con). No such luck, we were only allowed a peak at the already well received Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen followed by a handful of 3D Disney trailers. We watched the opening scene from Star Trek, and that seemed to take an eternity. Next up was the first sixteen minutes of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, freshly rendered in shades of three-dimensional grandeur. Only, it didn't look like it was in 3D at all. I though I was having a mild stroke, or an aneurism as the left side of my brain slowly drifted into a plain of darkness. I quickly took off the glasses and tried on another pair that was sitting in front of me. Again, there was no 3D. A murmur arose in the crowd. Come to find out, the second projector had died, rendering the 3D process incapable of producing its desired effect. The other projector sat frozen on an image of Dumbledore. Probably not what the IMAX reps had intended. After a few more sips of delicious beer, we were back up and running. It would have been cool. But my bladder was making a racket and I needed to bolt before concluding this adventure. I left more enamored with fresh, cold beer than 3D. Thinks IMAX.

The intense heat of San Diego thwarted my attempts to stay comfortably numb. I sweated out my six-pack buzz before we even made it back to the car. We picked up a couple of journalists stranded without a ride. On the way back to the convention center, we came up with "Twilf" to describe the bangable army of Twilight moms stationed outside. After being dropped off like a homely child at a swimming pool, I had to wade through their desirable New Moon masses. I made extra "humanitarian" points with all the cute fifteen year old chicks waiting in line when I blasted some douchey rag in a Darth Maul outfit for parading around a "Boo! If you think Twilight ruined Comic Con" cardboard sign. Actually, movies in general ruined Comic-Con. When I explained that he shouldn't make fun of someone else's nerdy obsessions while dressed as a black and red beach ball with a glowing representation of one's own impotence, he lowered the sign and stared in shamed self-realization. Yes, he too once had faith and loyalty in a brand name, and he too was booed. His life was slowing coming full circle. This tiny second of clarity must have only lasted for an eye-blink, though. As he was right back out there ever day, in the same spot, at the exact same time Wednesday through late Sunday afternoon, holding up that damned sign. Oh, well. I tried. On to the hotel.

The new Hilton Bay Front is a beautiful place to camp, soaked in geek sweat for five straight days. My view was gorgeous as it exposed the bay in all its glory. A giant banana boat waited underneath my window for exportation, and I could sense the auras of all the illegals waiting inside, them having no conscious understanding of what was going on just past that metal shipping cage of theirs. I went to unhinge a locked bottle of champagne to celebrate the only alone time I'd get all weekend. I had a boat party to get to, and I was thirsty. Before I could get the foil off the expensive bubbly, the room door smacked into the bathroom door with a loud twang. It was BB, my boss. "What's up, explicitive? We need to get our press passes." Before I could shit or sip my fine sparkling wine, we were out the door for a sneak peak of the convention floor. This was the first of two times that I would hit the actual essence of the Con and its inhabitants. And I was neither surprised nor enthralled by what I found there.

In fact, it felt like I'd never left the joint. It wasn't so much a felling of deja vu as it was a living dream tinged with the confinements of a jail cell. As if I was stumbling into a past moment that just kept replaying itself over and over again within the flux of the space-time continuum. Nothing seemed new. The Clone War statues were in the same place they were the year before. The action figures still lurked behind their Plexiglas cases. And every few steps there was some hot chick in nerd gear attempting to sell me something I'd never agree to buy. Sure, the movie posters were all new, but there was a stolid sameness about them. It all looked like the year before, and the year before that. They unveiled The Green Hornet's car with Seth Rogen in attendance, but this is a movie that may never happen. And the lack of interest from the walker-bys certainly didn't bode well for this potential franchise. I found a Nightman exclusive T in the Fox booth, but they wanted me to pay for it. Fuck that, it's the worst It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia T-shirt I've seen. I moved on quickly. We snapped some photos for the site, none of them too exciting in person.

The costumes were also very drab. There were the usual fatty heroes, and the Stormtroopers. I didn't see one Joker, but I did see a couple of Jason Voorhees. Al and Peg Bundy arrived as a couple of cute Asians. And Tron girl was pretty hot. Nothing I'd necessarily want to capture for all eternity with my Coolpix. I grew rather bored quite quickly. Dreaming of the boat party that awaited my arrival. Yes, drinking freebie PeeCees of Ale with the cool hum of salt water tanging my nostrils and a cool breeze at my sweat-soaked back sounded like a royal excursion compared to the footwork we were doing for the readers of our site. We plowed ahead, making sure to stop off at the New Moon booth for pics of its fresh merch. By the time we left the Con sneak, it was closing time, and we were ungraciously tossed into a douche sea of toy twaddlers and rude, surely patrons who'd obviously had too much of a good thing by that point.

It took us ninety minutes to cross the street. Our second cameraman got hit in the head by a train-crossing beam. And by the time we were in less crowded surroundings, the boat party had closed its tiny little door on our hopes and dreams. We decided to get something to eat, but the restaurant waits were clocking in at close to three hours. We took the next best thing. A slice of pizza. On the way there, we met up with Jami, proprietor of the boat party. It sounded like we missed out on some fun. Ditching our boss, me, Paulington, Jami, and Brian Gallagher headed over to Dick's Last Resort. There, the entire webbing community held court drinking and rough housing. It was a massively quaint hangout session. I had One Miller Lite tallboy that came in a tin bucket of Ice, and half of Jami's local microbrew. Then I had another full pint of oak flavored ale. Unfamiliar with the wait staff at Dick's, I was shocked when a pretty little blonde waif trashed by our table yelling, "You little pigs don't mind wallowing in someone else's filth?" Yes, we'd sat at a table that hadn't yet been cleared away. She bumped herself into Jami's chair, "Get the fuck out of the way!" I was appalled. Then someone explained that's the way they do things at Dick's. I decided that the way I do things at Dick's is to not leave a tip (that's a lie; I left two dollars per beer but I wanted to sound cool. I'm not.)

/boos-and-whoop-doos-brushing-off-the-dust-of-comic-con-2009-part-1/Brushing Off the Dust of Comic-Con 2009 Part 1

/boos-and-whoop-doos-brushing-off-the-dust-of-comic-con-2009-part-2/Brushing Off the Dust of Comic-Con 2009 Part 2

/boos-and-whoop-doos-brushing-off-the-dust-of-comic-con-2009-part-3/Brushing Off the Dust of Comic-Con 2009 Part 3

B. Alan Orange