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How I Met The Doctor (Oh, And St. Louis Comic Con)

Wizard World Comic Con returned to St. Louis this past weekend with a vengeance. It was an awesome celebration of all things nerdy. Attendance was high as were my spirits as I stepped onto the convention floor. It was total sensory overload from the retail tables to the cosplay. Several local vendors were on hand with comics, graphic novels, collectibles and all the nerdy things that I love.

The first place I stopped on my journey through the sea of people was the artist alley as they called it. This was where all the creator booths were set up. I had taken with me several things to get signed by some of my favorite artists that were present. Most notably Greg Capullo for which I hade taken three new 52 Batman comics to get signed. Approaching Greg I have to say he has the look of someone you would see at a rock concert rather than a comic convention. Next, I stopped by Ethan Van Sciver's table with a few comics. He seemed like a very down to earth guy who wanted to be there more than I did. Finally, I had some things for Salvador Larocca to deface. I dug deep into the comic collection and found my copy of Heroes Reborn: The Return #1 for which Salvador did the art. His reaction upon seeing a comic he had done back in 1997 was hilarious. He laughed and told me that I was the only one who bothered to buy this book. Upon telling him I liked it quite a bit when I was a teenager he reacted by saying I was definitely the only one who liked it. We both shared a good nostalgic laugh. With my signature time done it was time to move on to what was easily the highlight of the day for me.

Over the loud speaker at the convention hall came an announcement that informed me that Matt Smith (The Doctor) was signing at his booth and their was no line. The fanboy in me drove me to migrate over to where this was happening just to get a look at the man. Once I arrived there though that same fanboy in me was pushing me to spend the hundred dollars necessary to get closer to that man. I did not have the funds necessary to make this dream a reality. Luckily for me a wonderful woman who loves me very much could not let me walk away without meeting one of my personal heroes. I do not usually get nervous meeting celebrities but this was the doctor. While waiting in line I had mentally prepared so many things that I was going to say and as I approached Matt Smith all of those things were lost to me. When I finally did make it to the front of the line he greeted me with that smooth British accent we have come to know and love as fans. As nervous as I was all I managed to say was "you're awesome" to which he graciously thanked me for saying. I shook his hand and then it was over. In closing I just want to make it clear that the saying never meet your heroes does not apply to me. All in all it was a great show and I look forward to going back next year to make more of my nerd fantasies a reality.

Special thanks to Mike Brodeur, The Fantasy Shop, and my beautiful girlfriend Corrie for helping me to fulfill a dream. 

 

 

Magic: Born of the Gods Game Day at Florissant

The Florissant Fantasy Shop had 30 players show up for Born of the Gods Game Day on Saturday, March 1st. While there were a handful of "stock" decklists amongst the crowd, for the most part we have a lot of brewers and tweakers amongst our ranks. This was also the first time we've recorded "feature matches" here, which is something we'll be continuing to do for Saturday Afternoon Magic and other Magic events moving forward. After five rounds, here's how the Top 8 shook out: Florissant Fantasy Shop Born of the Gods Gameday, Top8 Decklists

Back With A Bullet(s)

I've been trying to figure out how to talk about this and not come across as a gushing, ridiculous fanboy and it's much harder than I would have imagined. Especially when I consider the fact that it wasn't until it was coming back that I had really realized how much I had missed Stray Bullets.

But sometimes life is like that.

David Lapham's Stray Bullets hit me at what must have been just about the perfect time. Because when I finally gave it a day in court I couldn't stop reading it. I devoured it. It started with the second hardcover collection "Somewhere Out West" which begins with the second half of a story that had started in the first hardcover "The Innocence of Nihilism" and even with that being the case I could not possibly have cared less. I loved being dumped down into the middle of a story that was so crazy that I couldn't help but be locked in. 

I had often heard of Stray Bullets being spoken in the same breath as Strangers in Paradise, Eightball, Black Hole, Optic Nerve, and many of the other incredible independent black and white comics of the 90s that were starting to get collected during the early 2000s and as a result were becoming more available. 

Stray Bullets was a unique story in that it was a period piece (set mostly in the 1970s) as well as being darkly twisted noir that lingered more in the world of suburbia than of the dark underbelly of the world of crime. 

Lapham had experience in the world of comics prior to setting out on his own and creating Stray Bullets having worked on several books as an artist for comics written by Jim Shooter at Valiant Comics (most notably Harbinger) in the early 90s as well as some books at Defiant Comics (most notably Warriors of Plasm). His art style lends itself to the gritty content of both the books he had done previously as well as the work he began crafting in Stray Bullets.

And in 2005 it ended ... the siren call of making money enough to support his family wound up being too strong to resist and he left his creation behind for work from Marvel (Daredevil vs. Punisher, Terror, Inc., Spider-Man: With Great Power, DeadpoolMAX, and Age of Apocalypse) & DC (Detective Comics & Tales of the Unexpected), Vertigo (Young Liars, Fables, Silverfish, American Splendor) as well as Top Cow (The Darkness) and others additionally working quite a bit for Avatar Press (on titles like Crossed, Caligula, Ferals, and Dan, The Unharmable). 

But finally, after more than 8 years of waiting we loyal fans will finally get the return of the book we've all loved and been waiting for.

Stray Bullets returns. And it doesn't just return one issue at a time. Oh, no. It comes back with a colossal bang. The long awaited issue #41 hits the shelves with the first issue of an all new story: Stray Bullets: Killers #1. AND!, AND!, The Stray Bullets: Uber Alles Trade Paperback which collects all 41 published issues all in one book!

The time has come friends. The time has come to once again stare deeply into the dark abyss where the human heart usually resides and let the despair of everyday life at it's most grim and desperate. The time has come to once again come to grips with the simple things that can take life down a dark path ... the extra curricular activities of teenagers, the secret lives of housewives, and the poor decisions of average businessmen.

The time has come to return to the pages of Stray Bullets.

Great Games for Gifts this Holiday Season!

With the Holidays approaching it is a great time to bring the family together and play a fun board game. Now if you are like me you are very competitive and don’t like to lose. So playing games with your family can be hard because everyone tries to gang up on you and play the “I don’t care who wins as long as it’s not Josh” game. That all changed though once I started working here and discovered the magic of cooperative board games. So this year I thought I might go ahead and recommend some of my favorite cooperative board games to all of you in order to save you some frustration and just have some good holiday fun. 

 

Escape (The Curse of The Temple)

This game is for the people who need just a fast and fun game to play with your family this holiday season. It is a real time 10 minute dice rolling board game. You are all basically treasure hunters trying escape before you are locked away in this temple forever. This game is great for beginners or more advanced players because it comes with three different difficulty settings. As I said before it’s a dice rolling game and you move and discover rooms and try and unlock the door to get out by rolling the correct type of dice needed to complete the goal. In this game if you go off by yourself there is a good chance you will lock up your dice and be stuck so you have to work together and if all of you don’t make it out then you all lose.  It’s quick, crazy and fun a great game for everyone. 


Pandemic

This game takes a little more skill to master than the first one on my list. You all play different roles in a global outbreak of multiple diseases. Everyone has to work together to try and cure all of them before things get too bad and the world is taken over by disease. To do this you must move around to different cities and uses your allotted actions per turn to try and do what is best each round to control the outbreaks. This game also has different difficulties but like I said before it’s pretty hard. You should be prepared to lose but the better you guys get as a team the more likely you will be able to come up with a strategy to be the best disease busters you can be. It also has two expansions available that add new roles and new diseases and even a solo mode to the game.

 

Elder Sign

Elder Sign is set in the world of H.P. Lovecraft where each of you plays as a different investigator with a special power to help you lock away an old one (evil bad guy like Cthulhu) by finding the elusive elder signs within a museum. This is another type of dice rolling game where you move your character to one of the rooms in the museum and try and complete all the tasks shown on the particular card. By completing these tasks you can get special items or clues to help you do things easier. It’s a really fun game that really makes you think as a group on which rooms to tackle first and who should do what in order to stop the old one from rising. 


 Betrayal at the House on the Hill

This last game is kind of cooperative and kind of competitive but it’s my favorite game so we are going to talk about it. This game is kind of like Scooby-Doo meets Cabin in the Woods. You are all a bunch of explorers who kind of know each other and you heard about this haunted house and decide to go look at it. It’s a tile flipping game so you build the house as you explore each room. So you all start off looking in rooms and weird stuff happens some good some bad and then sometime during the game you find out one of you is a traitor (it’s totally random based on the room someone is in and what card was drawn).  Then the traitor sometimes will get monsters to help them or sometime is super boosted in their power.  So the survivors must work together to stop the traitor and the traitor is trying to get the survivors.  There are 50 different scenarios in this game so its replay ability is very good. I love this game and have gotten all of my friends hooked.

With all of these games if you have any questions about them feel free to ask anyone at The Fantasy Shops around town. Or better yet come visit me at the South County Store on a slow day and bring some friends and I can show y’all how to play. Thanks for reading and I hope you all have a great Holiday. 

Our Mascot, Wallace the Dragon

Have you ever wondered why our mascot is a dragon, or why his name is Wallace?  Wonder no more, I’m here to answer all of your burning questions.  (Yes, that was a dragon joke.) 

For those of you who have been around our shops for many years, you may remember the weird hand reaching down logo that used to adorn our company tee shirts.  So why did we make the switch?  When you say the Fantasy Shop what comes to mind?  For most of the people who don’t frequent our shops, the image that comes to mind is a different kind of store.  Not really the image we wanted for our stores.

I asked Dave, the owner, about what drove him to the logo we currently use.  He said, “It was a combination of things. Primarily the desire to send a different message quick and easily that we were not an "Adult" store... visually suggest otherwise without having to state comics and games. Coupled with a desire for a logo that sent the message that we were fun and not just for kids either. We worked with a professional computer artist and went back and forth for a week or two playing with the shape and details. I think we did a good job!”  What do you think?

But why is his name Wallace?  That one is the easiest to answer.  Our company is owned by Dave and Kelli Wallace.

Wallace the Dragon is the heart and soul of all we do.  We are a bunch of fun loving nerds with a passion for the hobby.  He has his own Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/WallaceDragon, where he shares in his adventures around the store (not nearly as often as he should, naughty dragon).  He’s had his portrait drawn by famous comic artists (Kevin Mellon, Brian Hurtt, and Matt Kindt).  And, in the near future, we will have other pictures of him to use in the store.

Joe Harris Speaks Prior to His Forthcoming In-Store Signings

One of the things that I strive to do as a part of my work with The Fantasy Shop is to be aware of up and coming creators in order to make sure readers are checking out work by the creators who will be making waves in the coming future. One of the more exciting creators that may have flown under your radar of late is Joe Harris. He's worked for all of the major publishers and has made some real impact with works like Spontaneous and Ghost Projekt from ONI as well taking over the writing chores on Fury of Firestorm after the departure of Gail Simone.

Joe will be participating in an In-Store Signing at all of our locations next Wednesday (at Florissant and South County) and next Saturday (at Maplewood and Saint Charles).
He was kind enough to give me a few minutes of his time to answer some questions and give us some insight into his process.


Fantasy Shop: Hey Joe, how's it going?
Joe Harris: It's going great!  How are you guys doing?

FS: Doing quite well. I'm always curious what introduced someone to comics because I find that it often explains a little bit about their current tastes in comics. What was the first comic you remember reading?
JH: I believe it was Ghost Rider #69.  The original Johnny Blaze series, I mean.  It featured Ghost Rider on the cover going up against a "runaway earth mover" and had this moment inside where he twists a metal wrench like it was made of tissue paper in order to demonstrate "the power of vengeance."  I think I own two or three copies of it, today.

FS: I think every reader finds themselves buying multiple copies of their early reading experiences at some time or another. Something about those early experiences that make us want to revisit them from time to time. Often times we don't even realize during those early reading experiences that there are writers and artists who work on those books. When did you decide you wanted to work in the comic inudstry?
JH: When I was about 15.  I was a musician when I was in high school, but had begun to realize that writing was my calling.  When I became exposed to comics in a big way, soon after, my life path sort of just clicked.  A lot of different books made me want to do this.  Titles like Nexus, Sandman, and creators like Alan Moore, Frank Miller as well as lots of J.M DeMatteis comics made me really want to do this when I was a kid.

FS: It's always interesting to hear which creators put the spark of desire into a future writer or artist. What was your first published comic work?
JH: X-Force #77

FS: No way! I actually have that comic. I remember it quite fondly as a matter of fact. Strange how that happens. What are you working on now?
JH: At this moment, late at night?  I'm finishing up the scripts for Great Pacific #8 and The X-Files: Season 10 #3.  I'm also pecking at some script and story element stuff for a new series I'm doing at Oni Press which we'll be announcing soon.

FS: Sounds like you've got a lot on your plate. I have to say that I'm really looking forward to The X-Files: Season 10 and have really been loving Great Pacific. Where did the inspiration for Great Pacific come from?
JH: From a combination of real world events and environmental phenomena like the physical Great Pacific Garbage Patch, along with my love of science fiction and survival movies like "The Naked Prey."

FS: Very interesting. The book has been getting a whole lot of positive buzz. Have you been pleased with the reaction fans and critics have had to Great Pacific?
JH: Very much so.  Long before we launched, I imagined we'd be lucky to last six issues.  That I'm able to plot this series out through year two and beyond right now is intensely gratifying.

FS: That's great. And it seems more and more that Image has had success giving creators a place to show off what they can do and give them enough room to grow. I'm glad that things have been working out for you and that you've managed to get on the radar of more readers. There are bound to be things that are flying under the radar for many readers these days. what're you reading these days that you think more people should be aware of?
JH: Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt's, "The Sixth Gun" -- though I think the "more" is coming very soon with that book.

FS: I certainly hope you're right on that front, that book has been stellar since the beginning. Hopefully there will be good news about the NBC television series based on it soon. It sounds like you've got a lot on your plate these days. What do you have coming up that you'd like to make sure people keep their eyes open for?
JH: My new graphic novel, Wars In Toyland, with Adam Pollina on art, is coming out from Oni Press this July 10th.

FS: That's exciting, especially since he drew your first issue of professional work. It seems like the convention circuit never ends these days, aside from your forthcoming signings at the Fantasy Shops are there any appearances you'd like to make people aware of?
JH: I'm just putting my plans together now, but I know I'll be at HeroesCon in June, then San Diego in July. I'm going to be in New England for FCBD, splitting time at Larry's Comics and Jetpack Comics.  I'll also be at Third Eye Comics down in Maryland that weekend "X-Files: Season 10" #1 comes out.

FS: Thank you for your time Joe, we look forward to having you in the stores

 

Early Review - The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo Vol 1

Stieg Larsson's The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo Volume 1 Hardcover comes out next week. It's the third time the novels of the same name will be adapted into a visual medium. If nothing else that should speak to the amazing popularity of the books by Swedish novelist Steig Larsson. 

Despite his having died before what many would consider to be his masterpiece ever saw the light of day it is certain now that he managed to create one of the defining figures of literature of the new millennium:

Lisbeth Salander.

Writers far better than I have explained why this series, and why these characters, have managed to dig such deep hooks in to much of the global reading community. Film critics have spoken at length about the impact and relative success of adapting the books into the film medium. 

I will leave these men and women to their own conclusions and to their own reviews. I can only speak with any kind of authority to the medium which I have devoted much if not most of the reading time of my life consuming, Comics.

It's hard to start talking about the book without first addressing the book's cover. The cover by Lee Bermejo (which I feel would be somehow criminal without including a link to the full sized image so click HERE ) is a beautiful piece depicting the titular character and certainly speaks volumes about the character. I could loook at this piece forever. It's amazing. I keep finding things about it that I love (The most recent being what looks like a dragon in the smoke curling from Lisbeth's lips).

Denise Mina's work from DC's Vertigo comics line as well as their Vertigo Crime Graphic Novel line showed a spectacular grasp of the medium. Her Hellblazer work in particular was really fantastic. She does a great job of adapting the work of another novelist to a new format and lets much of Larsson's original work speak through, something with which many tasked with adaptations struggle.

Her collaborators on this work have a distinct difference that they bring to the work, which I think is part of what makes this work somewhat magical. First the work of Leonardo Manco. Manco and Mina have worked together before, on the issues of Hellblazer that Mina penned. So there is a familiarity to the language that they share on the page. It is clear that he grasps what she is asking of him on the page. Manco's work, which focuses on the character of Lisbeth, is brilliant. It is very lifelike and at times verges on photorealism without feeling too staged or posed. It still breathes and manages to capture the characters without making them look like celebrity portraits. There is a darkness and a grit to the pages that Manco pencils and I think that it brings the world of Lisbeth and the characters that inhabit her corner of Stockholm to stark reality. For a character who is incapable of understanding the shading of emotions it certainly makes a great deal of sense to have this kind of work depict her (It also helps to have an artist who can capture something of the kind of style that the cover depicts working on the interiors).

The artist who depicts the events from the perspective of Mikael Blomkvist is Andrea Mutti. Mutti is an Italian artist who has also worked at DC's Vertigo imprint and is probably best known for his work on graphic novels like The Executor and Right State and on Brian Wood's DMZ. The difference between Mutti and Manco is instantly recognizable which is fantastic in many ways. It helps to discern the characters (all of whom are just average folks wearing average clothes) and it helps to differentiate the ways that the characters perceive the world. Mutti's pencils are a little more traditional when it comes to comics and he has a great sense for story telling that is different than the kind of page useage and pacing that Manco utilizes.

Mutti's art depicts things from the perspective of a man whose world is coming apart at the seams and who is looking to find refuge from the real problems in his life where ever he can. So that it is distant from the style of Manco adds to the strangeness of the world in which Blomkvist finds himself inhabiting. 

Each part of the original Millennium series will be broken into multiple parts so as to give the series enough room to breathe which I think has every indication of making the comic a great series for existing fans of the novels, existing fans of the films, or even attracting a new audience all together. 

I can only give it the utmost of praise ... and that it makes me want to finally finish reading the novels.

Tony's California Adventure: Sunday - Comic Sunday...

Sunday Sunday Sunday!

Man, I'm tired. Welcome back for my recap of Day 5 of the 2012 San Diego Comic Con. To say that this weekend has been an endurance test is a major understatement.

slept in a little today since I was only vying for two more signatures to finish out my weekend. After being dropped off at the Con, I headed to the DC Booth where I bumped into Scott Snyder. I seriously almost ran into the dude every day and finally told him to stop following me. Seriously. It's annoying. Scott was headed to the airport so I thanked him for being absolutely great during the con and that I was ready to head home and keep reading more of his stories. He said he'd be at NYCC and that he would see me then... Stalker.

I hopped in line for Gail Simone and asked her how worried I should be for Barbara Gordon's well being for the upcoming Joker story. Her response? "Be afraid. Be very afraid. I'm scaring myself with what I'm writing." Creepy indeed.

We headed up to 6DE for the last time for the DC Meet the Publishers panel. Bob Wayne was moderating, or attempting to with Dan Didio and Jim Lee present and accounted for. The co-publishers recapped the convention announcements, the upcoming new wave of books, and the daily digital issues for anyone who missed anything before. The questions varied between industry specific knowledge to story-based digging and didn't bring out any new answers, but it was more fun than anything to hear each publishers' opinions on personal favorites to personal expectations.

My final signing line was probably my favorite. I forgot to mention that the Fables panel provided each attendee an original Mark Buckingham print that captured a lot of different Fables moments from the last decade. We hopped in line for the signing and chatted amongst ourselves for a while. Once we hit the front, we chatted with the Fables team and discovered that they'd be hitting NYCC in October for the first time. So, with about 3 hours left in the con, Amy and I headed to the infamous Hall H for Sons of Anarchy. We had to endure the panel for the Cleveland Show and... It was one of the stupidest things I had ever witnessed. The questions that were asked weren't great and the panel treated those questions as such, thus creating an awkward and disjointed experience. The SOA panel was much better and came with the first 7 minutes of the season premiere. Ron Perlman was awesome, as usual.

With one hour left, we decided to go home... and by home, I mean the DC Booth. We watched Francis Manapul do a DC University session when possibly my favorite moment of the convention took place. I saw Dan Didio wandering around, so I pulled out my copy of OMAC #1 and called his name. I told him I was bummed he didn't have a signing and showed him the book. He about laughed his head off when he saw it and exclaimed "Finally! We found him! The one person who's attending the convention that bought OMAC #1! Let me sign that thing!" DC ended up posting our picture together on Twitter, thus bringing the convention to a close. We headed over to the Hilton afterwards to take pictures of the 6 Batmobiles outside and tried to pick which one we wanted. To drive home in.

Closing thoughts -

Closing out Year 3 was bittersweet, especially since so many of my friends decided to sit out this year. That said, a lot of fun was still had. I come to this convention each year for the comics side of things, and it's kind of telling about the state if the convention since I look at it from that perspective. I'm a firm believer in that if you come to San Diego because of comics, you'll do a lot and have a lot of fun and great experiences with various creators. However, I still have an increasing concern that the movie/TV/games crowd is starting to take the focus from the spirit of the convention and pollute it with a consumer/black Friday outlook of camping out for panels, exclusives and giveaways. My hope is that SDCC takes a look at everything and works to separate the two more, especially in regards to Hall H. That said, I'll still recommend this convention to everyone I speak to until I'm blue in the face. The convention was a B-, but my personal experience was an A. I came with a lot of books to get signed, and I'm leave with all but 5 of them with ink on them. I can't top that at all.

Thanks to Scott Samson and Rick Tess for the opportunity to share my experience this year with the employees and my fellow customers from The Fantasy Shop, and hopefully anyone outside of St. Louis. I'm preparing for my flight home and am looking forward to doing this again soon!

 

Tony's California Adventure: Saturday - The Day to View Panels and Avoid the Floor

Greetings. San Diego Comic Con Day 4 is in the books as I am coming to the close of another convention. These things sure do fly by. 

I decided to get to the convention early just to see when the doors open and holy crap, I am never doing that again. Nightmare scenario, to say the least. The staff couldn't even think of pointing us I the right direction for a door that would open. Once I got in, I headed to the Marvel booth since they usually change things up and HOLY CRAP NEW IRON MAN ARMOR- whoa. It's mostly gold. I social networked it out and got a lot of "Ewww" responses back, but hey, I kinda dig it. It's kind of a brushed gold that reminds me almost of the tan used in military camouflage. 

After witnessing Iron Man, I headed up to 6DE for the New 52 Next Wave panel that featured Tony Bedard, James Tynion IV, Scott Snyder, and for the first time ever as a panelist, Dan Didio. The folks discussed Phantom Stranger, Amethyst, Team 7 and Talon, once again kind of making it a PR panel, but then squeaking out a few more details as well. The Q&A questions yielded some interesting responses, namely that Tony Bedard is doing a Beowulf backup for Amethyst and that he's more excited about that than GL and Blue Beetle right now. We were then regaled with a story about how Tony stripped down to a loin cloth in high school to play Beowulf and thus earned the nickname, "Tonan the Barbarian." Bob Wayne almost quit right then and there. We'll get to see more interactions with the militaristic figures of the DCU on Team 7 with Grifter, Amanda Waller, Steve Trevor and Black Canary, so that was a nice bit of info. Phantom Stranger will reintroduce a big DCU character that we haven't seen yet in the relaunch around issue 2. Talon won't interact with Nightwing right away, but Batman will get involved at some point. The highlight of the panel involved the infamous Batgirl from last year who kept asking about the lack of female creators with the relaunch. She remarked that it had been a year but that while progress is slow, she is seeing more female creators on books and that she wanted to thank Dan for listening and addressing the issue. Great moment. Bob Wayne closed out the panel and remarked that it had some of the best questions they had received at a panel, ever. 

We then moved to the DC OGN panel that featured Geoff Johns for Batman: Earth One, Anthony Bourdain, Joel Rose and Langdon Foss, and Superman: Earth One - Vol. 2 with JMS and Shane Davis. Get Jiro takes place in a world where chefs control nations and have wars with rival chefs. Jiro is a master sushi chef who takes his craft very seriously, and when it's take lightly, the result is ultra violence. The book recently crashed Amazon's system for orders so DC is obviously excited about it. Geoff covered Batman E1 and announced that Vol. 2 was coming and would feature The Riddler as the main villain. JMS and Shane Davis set up Superman E1 V2 by covering The Parasite and Clark's awkward sex life that is complicated by his powers. Questions were asked and the biggest info to come out revealed that there is a small mention of Batman in Superman E1 V2 in the form of a newspaper clipping, thus confirming that Earth One is one sole universe and that these guys might meet. Also, other characters will be receiving the Earth One treatment, though there is nothing to announce yet. 

Finally, we got to the Before Watchmen panel. JMS stuck around and was met by Darwyn Cooke, Amanda Conner and Len Wein. Basic PR info was displayed and talked about when suddenly, Jim Lee piped up and interrupted the panel to announce a special guest... Quentin Tarantino! Jim said that there wasn't any other self-contained opportunity to announce this, so they had Quentin pop in to announce that Django Unchained's unabridged script would be receiving the comic treatment and would be released this fall in conjunction with the movie's release. That was a fun moment and I was too shocked to snap a picture. GNAH. 

The exhibition floor and JH Williams III were my next targets after wrapping up the panels. I joined a mini line that grew larger and larger and had to eventually be capped before signing began. I was armed with a copy of Batwoman #1 but was pleasantly surprised to find a print of the Sandman promo image that was displayed Thursday night! Score! I wandered the floor a little while longer until heading up to 6DE to panel squat for Fables by having to endure the Metal Hurlant (Heavy Metal) panel. 

James Marsters and Michael Jai White were there. We watched the first episode. It was awful. That's all I have to say about that. 

Next was the Fables panel and with it was a sense of urgency. They usually do a random item giveaway before the panel started, but Bill deferred to a Hunger Games style system of fighting to the death, a.k.a., jumping as high as you can for stuff being tossed into the crowd. Bill started things off by mentioning next year's inaugural Fablescon and that the guest list would include around 30 people. Mark Buckingham will be the guest of honor and the convention will take place in Minnesota during March. This year marks Fables' 10th anniversary, so the panel reminisced about their favorite moments in the series' history. A lot of focus was around Snow and Bigby, but there were a lot of Christmas moments sprinkled throughout. Hints about future issues were displayed and talked about and some questions were good at poking around those questions with no real answers. Finally, Bill made his fabled (see what I did there) announcement that this was going to be the last Fables panel at SDCC for the foreseeable future. Devoting 5-6 days to San Diego has caused Bill to miss other conventions and he's wanting to spread the word about Fables, mostly on the East Coast, though he mentioned that Fables would be receiving a 90-minute panel at the next Emerald City Comic Con. these comments coincide with a Bleeding Cool report that Bill is frustrated with the current state of SDCC and that he had concerns that more comic fans couldn't attend due to the number of passes going to moviegoers instead. I can sympathize with those comments. 

Day 4 is wrapped. Up next, Day 5. 

To be continued...

Tony's California Adventure: Friday - My Feet Are Killing Me

Howdy folks, and welcome to my Day 3 recap of this year's Comic Con International. For me, Day 3 involved walking. Lots of walking. For eight hours straight. With no breaks sitting. And waiting in lines. A few lines. OK, a lot of lines. But! You guys should see my haul. In fact, you will at the bottom of this update, but only some of it. 

My day started at DC, my home away from home, and waiting in line for Kyle Higgins to sign a few issues of Nightwing. Trevor McCarthy was with him and I slightly lamented internally that I should've brought a copy of Gates of Gotham for him to sign. Kyle joked at yesterday's Batman panel about that DC shot him down about a Nightwing mask initiative when we were given our owl masks. I told him that my sister and I would find Bob Wayne and support it, so Kyle responded by handing me a Nightwing-ized version of the owl mask and asked if I wanted it. Score! He signed it, along with Trevor and made it out for my sister. I later had Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque sign it as well. 
After leaving DC, I scoped out Becky Cloonan's table to get an autograph for Conan #1 and to purchase a copy of her Dracula adaptation. I ended up wandering down to the games and studio booths just to see if I could avoid a human tidal wave. It wasn't to bad, but things got hairy when the cast of The Big Bang Theory showed up on top of the WB "tower" to take pictures of people taking pictures of them taking pictures. 
GAH. I did find the Quantum Mechanix booth to see their Firefly, Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica props and ship replicas, so that was a plus. 

I then made my way to the Image booth to find out about Ed Brubaker and Scott Snyder's signings, which, turned out to be a genius move on my part because I could then avoid the crazy, ridiculous lines for them at the Marvel and DC booths. I ended up getting a bonus treat from Scott as he whipped out his phone and showed some of Greg Capullo's final Joker designs, but you didn't hear that from me. Then I headed to the 2000 AD booth where Jock was signing and sketching. I had him sign my Batman: The Black Mirror hardcover and had him lay down a sketch on the inside cover in silver sharpie. Beautiful stuff. 

I headed upstairs for Green Lantern & Justice League panel and was left still wondering why they combined the two panels. The answer I received from attending was simple - lack of major content. I think the shipping delay in this week's issue of GL ended up hurting this panel as Geoff couldn't really talk yet about the Black Hand story arc. There was a slip of the tongue about the fall of Guy Gardner, but it was either a mistake or a big him to try and revive interest. The Justice League side of the panel just really hyped up future stories for the JL family of books more so than the actual main JL book. Nothing too groundbreaking at this panel, which was a shame after the two I attended yesterday. 

Leaving the GL/JL panel, I decided to meet up with my sister down at the DC Booth during Darwyn Cooke's DC University session. We ended up splitting again so I could line up for Joe Hill at the IDW Booth and so Amy could grab a seat at the Scott Snyder/Jeff Lemire spotlight panel. This was about 45 minutes before the signing, so when I arrived, I was handed the last person in line sign. Wow. They ended up expanding the line to include another 20 or so folks, but it was still scary. I ended up chatting with someone who showed up at Ballroom 20 at 4am for the Firefly panel. There weren't any giveaways for that panel, but there were lots of tears, apparently. Anyway, I got through the line, chatted with Joe as he signed and personalized my books, and was then on my merry way back upstairs for what would be the best panel of the Con. 

The Scott Snyder/Jeff Lemire Spotlight panel. These were listed individually, but the guys decided to combine them into a two hour chat with each other and an extended Q&A and signing session. Here's what we learned:

Scott decided to become a writer and his parents weren't happy about it. Jeff named Gus from Sweet Tooth after a proposed name for his son, who then ended up being named Gus. Scott was a janitor at Disney World and worked his way up to being Eeyore, Pluto and Buzz Lightyear. Jeff really hated his work on The Atom and Superboy and called both projects mediocre. Scott HATED Greg Capullo at first and almost decided to drop off Batman if Greg didn't. Jeff only wants to write comics and has no interest doing anything else, even though they both have offers for games and whatnot. Scott and Jeff were both told to come to the con dressed as Alan Moore and Grant Morrison by Rich Johnston. Scott told the story of how he got his way with Mike Marts by going out and getting Jock for Detective Comics during CCI 2010 after Scott told Mike that he didn't want to use the artist that was originally assigned to him by editorial. Also, Jock is coming back to illustrate a feature in the main Batman comic. 

At one point, the guys were asked about having editors and Jeff really had to reel in Scott from saying something that could get him in trouble. Eventually, Scott was able to confine his comments down to the fact that working on these characters who are owned by a major company can be tough, so you really have to make sure that the story you're wanting to tell has the same emotional impact of the story you're wanting to tell, even when you're told that a certain character you're wanting to write about is given the "unavailable" status by editorial. 

There was a lot of wine flowing, by the way. It was a bloody excellent panel. 

That wraps up Day 3. I'm heading to bed so I can get up early and hit more panels and avoid the exhibition floor. 

To be continued...