"That's the best looking girl in a Klingon outfit I've ever seen!"
This is the first line out of Alan B. Orange as he greets me at the Umpteenth Annual San Diego ComiCon. I've braved a three-hour car trip down the insanely stacked with cars 5 Freeway to be here -- and I know I'm in the right place. Yup, if there're people dressed up as characters from the Matrix and Lord of the Rings, and if the cell phone next to plays the theme from Hellboy, you know you've found it -- The Con -- the five day funfest for comic book and fantasy fans from all over the world -- and probably elsewhere.
Lots of drop-ins from the major studios too for panel discussions, star sightings, sneak peaks at upcoming films and TV series, DVD releases, and general flogging of the product for the benefit of what is clearly the target market.
So far it's been a gas in the Gaslight District and the megalith San Diego Convention Center where 7,000 have gathered for night and day, round the clock fan-o-tainment:
A panel by the principals and clips of a new fantasy film MirrorMask, written by renowned comic book writer and novelist Neil Gaiman and directed by Dave McKean. Produced by Jim Henson Pictures, and in the vein of Dark Crystal and Labyrinth, it's a unique blend of CG animation and live action. What's it most like? McKean joked that he'd screened the film for executives the night before, one of whom characterized it as "Jean Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast... On acid... for kids." Truly amazing to look at and made for only $4 million budget. And, as teased in the trailer, it will coming "soon-ish."
A really entertaining panel for Blade: Trinity from New Line. Jessica Biel and Ryan Reynolds appeared with director/writer David Goyer. The panel answered questions about stunts (they did them all) and the perils of working with WWE stars and Pomeranians. The Blade series has fan reach and looks good a third time and the stars were funny and personable. Asked how her character was able to vanish before an oncoming train, Biel confessed: "I'm really fast."
New Hellboy DVD is out now and director/writer Guillermo del Torro, creator Mike Mignola and DVD producer Javier Soto talked about the bonuses therein, including behind the scenes takes and comic book back story on the truth behind those Pancakes Hellboy loves so much. Del Torro was funniest however in explaining that the Columbia Pictures logo, that gal holding up the torch, has been doing so for decades and still isn't tired!! Must be the money that came in from this surprise fan favorite.
Also, there's a new version Return of the King coming out in December, New Line announced. Now it will be 50 minutes longer!!! Can you stand it, Blake??? No!!
And rounding out the parade of stars New Line had on hand -- John Cho and Kal Penn whose hilarious teen comedy Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle sneaks tonight nationwide. These guys are the greatest, and so is the movie. More about them coming this week.
On a personal note, I'm staying in THE WORST HOTEL ROOM I'VE EVER STAYED IN -- the Ramada Plaza. Oh... My... GOD!!! The soap and the shampoo are THE SAME, ladies and gentlemen. But this is what happens when you don't make a reservation in advance and all San Diego is apparently BOOKED for the Con!
See what I do for you guys??
And so I am out of here. I'm off to round up Alan B. (who is still looking for a place) and check out a screening of a scary film called Saw. Have no idea what this is about, but it's supposed to be good. And if there are Klingons in the audience, we can only hope they are really, really cute.