Tony's California Adventure: Thursday - Mr. Sandman, Bring Me a Dream.

Good morning folks and welcome back. Day 2 (officially Day 1 if you're not including Preview Night) was a much smoother experience than Preview Night, both on the floor and with lines in general. I wasn't able to send off any panel reviews during the show due to spotty 4G and Wi-Fi, so I'll be discussing them here.

I totally slacked off with getting to the floor early just so I could sleep in a little, so I missed the morning signing session with Scott Snyder at the DC Booth. However, I was able to chat with Dustin Nguyen about his work on American Vampires: Lord of Nightmares. It's his first work for Vertigo and his first time both drawing and inking outside of his normal cover work. I had him sketch Dracula for me, but he joked that he'd have to keep it spoiler free, so it's pretty bare.

Immediately after finishing up with Dustin, Mortal Kombat's Ed Boon hopped onto DC's stage to give a demonstration of his latest project, Injustice: Gods Among Us. The premise is simple: what if our heroes weren't heroes at all? The game seems to play like the most recent Mortal Kombat game, but involves environmental interaction such as Superman grabbing a car and smashing someone with it or Nightwing knocking someone into exposed electrical wires. The game also lets you unleash a giant attack for major damage. Examples including Superman upper cutting you into space and flying up to club you back down to Earth, The Flash doing 15 rotations around the planet to super punch you, and Batman hitting you with the Batmobile. Yep. That game is going to be incredible.

I headed to the ONI Booth to pick up the Scott Pilgrim Vol. 1 EVIL EDITION and decided to buy the collector's edition package. Bryan Lee O'Malley was on hand signing copies at the same time so the timing was perfect. I then headed back to DC to catch Nicola Scott doing a DC University session and to get in line for her and James Robinson. I had James sign a few Shade variants to me and per Rick, asked him about his super short run on Masters of the Universe. He appreciated the cheekiness and did a separate autograph sheet for Rick. We chatted some more about Alan Scott and the future plans for Earth Two, which include focused issues on Jay Garrick and the other characters that will be showing up.

After hitting the Mattel booth and Jeff Lemire's signing, I hurried up to the Batman Comics panel. The entire Batman team was on hand with Bob Wayne moderating the group. We dove right in to Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV talking about the new Talon comic. James is a former student of Scott's who wanted to expand on the stories behind The Court of Owls, so he's exploring that world while Scott tackles... The Joker. But before we could talk about that, John Cunningham from DC marketing interrupted to ask Bob about maybe doing a giveaway. We turned around and saw the room begin to fill up with the white Court of Owls masks! The panel took pictures of us wearing them and I'm sure they're online now somewhere. Back to The Joker, Scott revealed that he helped Tony Daniel write the scene at the end of Detective Comics #1 to help set up this current story. The Joker is taking on the role of the court jester, the person who has to deliver bad news to the king and to make the king stronger. In Gotham's case, The Joker sees Batman as the king who has forgotten about his jester, so, he's going to be both making AND delivering the bad news to Batman to make him stronger, which means that he's going directly after the Batman family. Before, when Joker shot Barbara, he did it to get to Jim Gordon. When he killed Jason Todd, he did it to get to Batman. Now, he's going straight for each family member directly, so he's going to be targeting each person directly and bring THEIR world crumbling down around them, not just Batman's world.

Insanely awesome.

Other books were discussed and will be tying into The Joker story, but once again are self-contained in the sense that you don't need to read the main Batman title to understand what is happening.

We took a lunch break before heading to the Vertigo panel. On hand were the usual suspects who were moderated by Vertigo EIC, Karen Berger. American Vampire was discussed by Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque with very little details being given about what will be happening with the Blacklist, but that the conclusion of the story will contain a change in direction for the book. Fables was discussed by Bill Willingham and Mark Buckingham, but few details were discussed and were being saved for Saturday's Fables panel. Anthony Bourdain's Get Jiro! was discussed as we were told to check back on Friday's panel with Bourdain to discuss the book. Mike Alred and Sean Murphy discussed the end of iZombie and the launch of Punk Rock Jesus, with Kren mentioning that it was at one point trending higher on Twitter than the convention itself. But finally, Karen talked about the next volume of the Annotated Sandman and then deferred to a video of Neil Gaiman in her office talking about brief captions from the original Sandman comic. Neil felt that with the Sandman turning 25 next year that it would be appropriate to discuss the details of that story that takes place before Sandman #1. So that's what he's going to do.

Next year, second half. Neil Gaiman writes, JH Williams III illustrates a six-issue Sandman miniseries.


And that was the end of Day 2. I'm heading down to the convention now to get some more books signed and hit more panels. I'll make an effort to cover some Marvel topics, but I make no promises.

To be continued...