Sunday, July 29, 2007

Comic-Con -- preview of coming attractions

I'll be posting the Harryhausen interview and other notes and pictures shortly, but for now, some quick thoughts on Comic-Con 2007.

Last night was the Masquerade, one of the highlights of Comic-Con every year. People line up for hours to get tickets and then line up for hours again to get a seat. And the contestants spend all year on their costumes and skits, some very intricate. Many of them feature the exact same joke -- an iconic comic/videogame/movie character dancing to a pop song. And yet, and you'll have to trust me on this, it is funny every single time. One of last night's most elaborate featured the students of Gryffindor and Slytherin singing the songs from "Grease." There was a Josie and the Pussycat Dolls mash-up that even managed to get in references to "Cats" and a back-up from famous felines Felix, Tigger, and Cheshire. Three different contestants came as the ice queen from Narnia. There was an excellent Beetlejuice in the incarnation with the spinning carousel hat and long arms with hammer hands. Pinky and the Brain were an audience favorite, many of whom happily sang along. And the sand people and Jawas of "Star Wars" are a perennial hit.

In other highlights, I:

1. Attended an academics' panel discussion of the Jewish themes in superhero comics, especially (I am not kidding) Captain America and Thor (who knew?) -- one book cited is called "Up, Up, and Oy Vay",
2. Spent two hours in a press session on behalf of the 25th anniversary five-disk definitive director's cut (as opposed to the previous director's cut) of "Blade Runner, featuring four of its stars (see photo), its production designer, effects guy, and the legendary Syd Mead (who did the vehicles and other designs), Philip K. Dick's daughter Isa, and director Ridley Scott,
3. Talked with Erin "Joanie" Moran of "Happy Days" (take a deep breath, everyone -- her latest project is a pilot for THE RETIREMENT CHANNEL (think Nickelodeon for the AARP crowd),
4. Was (nicely) choked by Irwin Keyes of "House of 1000 Corpses" and "Intolerable Cruelty" (see photo above),
5. Took a lot of pictures of people in cool costumes,
6. Listened to "The Film Crew" (formerly the "Mystery Science Theater" guys) comment hilariously on Killers From Space and Wild Women of Wongo
7. Heard the wonderful Alison Bechdel talk about her brilliant graphic memoir of the suicide of her closeted mortician/high school English teacher/obsessive home-rennovating father, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic,
8. Watched a restored and colorized version of 20 Million Miles To Earth (50th Anniversary Edition) (aka "The Beast From Space") with in-person commentary from special effects master Ray Harryhausen and the actor who played the obnoxious little boy "Pepe" in the film,
9. Had our pictures taken being embraced by armored bear Iorek Byrnison of The Golden Compass (I also had mine taken as a corpse in a corpse-stuffed mattress for a movie called "Amusement"), and
8. Had a blast through it all.

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