Yes, I realize that SDCC 2010 was last week. However, I kind of had a lot of stuff to do when I got home after the convention (I’ve only really finished unpacking just now), so now it’s time to get my notes together and let you know what happened during the con, based on my journal entries from the trip. This isn’t precisely going to be a “news” post – partially because it’s late, and partially the news stories from the con went up during the con, so you’ve probably already read them.

Day 1 – Thursday, July 22, 2010

Rough flight to San Diego this morning. Breakfast was a few Jimmy Dean breakfast sandwiches, and between them not being fully heated, and the flight I got rather airsick.

I wasn’t able to meet my cousin, Becky, who got me my pass to Comic Con, at the airport. Fortunately, she was able to get it to my aunt, Pattie, who was picking me and my mother up, and whose house we’d be staying at during the Con. I’ll be doing con stuff, Mom will be spending time with family.

Unfortunately, I got to the con late enough that I missed the Burn Notice and Tron panels, but I did manage to catch some of the comics panels.

First up was the DC Focus – Geoff Johns Panel. Johns hyped the Green Lantern panel in Hall H on Saturday. We get a look at a 1 minute proof-of-concept film test for a Blue Beetle live-action project which would be focused on Jamie Reyes. It looks okay, considering it’s 1 minute long and is solely meant as a proof-of-concept piece. Johns is going to explain in Brightest Day why Jason Todd and Ra’s Al Ghul (and other characters who had used Lazarus Pits) didn’t become Black Lanterns. Speaking of Lanterns and their rings – Parallax is going to be in the Green Lantern film, and sequels are in the works, and will be made of the first film does well.

Wally West will return soon, after Barry has gotten “up and running” on the Flash. With adjustments in the universe, Aquaman’s origin hasn’t shift, but the origins of some of his rogues gallery have, and this will become a key point in an upcoming Aquaman based mega-event.

We should get a Suicide Squad game in 3 years. While we have no explicit details, from what Johns says, it looks like they’re shooting for an M rating. Green Lantern: Secret Origin II is set to come out next year, and there are more plans for Kyle Rayner.

Killowog is set to appear in the GL film.

Johns talks a bit about Batman: Earth-1. It’s something of an “Early-Days of Batman” story, but with the concept that Bruce makes mistakes and messes up on occasion.

In November 2011 we’ll get a Green Lantern Corps animated series.

The Johns panel was followed up by a Marvel panel. Loki is getting his own book. We’re also getting 4 upcoming Steve Rogers miniseries, as well as an Ultimate Thor book, and the Ultimate Doom Event, which is set to be the conclusion of the Ultimate Enemy series. We’re also getting a second volume of Strange Tales.

The Cosmic Team (who did Annihilation and War of Kings) is working on an Iron Man/Thor Team-up book, as well as a new Cosmic Event – The Thanos Imparative. One of the tie-ins to this book is Rocket Raccoon & Groot’s new series.

Following the conclusion of Shadowland, we’re getting a new Power Man & Iron Fist book, with a new person bearing the mantle of Power Man.

Next up was the Best & Worst of Manga 2010. Much of the comics on the list of good series weren’t Genre, but there were a few at were, including 20th Century Boys and Pluto, along with Dark Horse Comics’ CLAMP Omnibus Editions. Cat Paradise, published by Yen Press got some recommendations, and was described as “X-Men with cats.” Karakuri Odette from Tokyopop got recommendations, and was described as “What if Asimov wrote CLAMP’s Chobits”. Megaman Megamix from Udon also got some strong recommendations.

I saw the “Abusing the Sci in Sci-Fi” Panel. In addition to being moderated by Phil Plait, the Bad Astronomer, the panel had the science consultants from Eureka and Fringe at the panel. The panelists generally tended to single out for criticism points where their own shows slipped up or succeeded. I did ask one question during the Q & A section (about the terrible science of Impact), and the panel was video recorded, and put on line through Discover Science’s web page.

About the show floor. It’s big. Really, really big. I’d put it about 4-5 city blocks big. More or less. The flow of people was decent, but with one major chokepoint around CBS’s booth. There they were having autographs from the casts of the new Hawaii 5-0, and the various Showtime shows, and they weren’t ticketing. Consequently, when they were signing autographs, you just couldn’t get past their booth.

Food at the con is very expensive. How expensive is it? It’s $10 bucks for a hot dog, without drinks or a side. A bottle of Sprite costs $2.50. If you can, walk out of the con to get food, which is what I did the next day.

Friday, July 23rd, 2010

I only made it to one of the panels I wanted to attend today. Part of the problem with Comic Con, and this is is an issue I encountered the day prior as well, is that people have to “camp out” in rooms for most panels, not just high-demand ones, though there were some ones that were easier to get in to. This is basically done by going in several panels early, and using the rotation of people to get into a more comfortable seat. Once you see the panel or panels you want, you leave.

Consequently, if I hadn’t camped out two sessions in advance for the “Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions Panel”, I would never have got in. However, it was worth it, particularly thanks to a special, surprise appearance by Stan Lee, who narrates the game. The panel featured several of the game’s writers, two of the games voice actors – Josh Keaton and Dan Gildezan, and was moderated by Ricardo Torres of Gamespot.com

For those not following the news on the game, the game’s plot is based around a magical tablet being shattered, causing a rupture in time and space. Four Spider-Men from different dimensions must work together in their dimensions to restore the tablet and save the multiverse. The Spider-Men are:

  1. Amazing Spider-Man (616): Voiced by Neil Patrick Harris (voiced Spidey in the Amazing Spider-Man on MTV)
  2. Ultimate Spider-Man w/ Black Costume: Voiced by Josh Keaton, from the currently running Spider-Man series on Disney XD
  3. Spider-Man Noir: Voiced by Christopher Daniel Barnes, from the 90s Spider-Man series.
  4. Spider-Man 2099: Voiced by Dan Gildezan, from Spider-Man And His Amazing Friends

Ultimate and Amazing play similarly – using the Black Costume and webbing, respectively, for crowd control against large groups of enemies. Noir’s gameplay is stealth-based. 2099’s is speed based. There’s also some sort of skill/technique tree system, with the skills and techniques you unlock carrying between all four characters.

Anyway, it was an absolute blast to get to see Stan. He’s very humble about his earlier accomplishments, and put over everyone else on the project most of the time he spoke. Here’s the video from the panel.

The two panels I camped through were for Nickelodeon 3D Animation and the guy who did Perry Bible Fellowship. The Nick Panel talked a bit about the “Penguins of Madagascar” animated series – with most of the main voice actors being present, and doing a live read of a sketch from an upcoming episode. I actually chuckled at some of the jokes. They also announced an upcoming Kung Fu Panda animated series, played a little bit of footage, and the opening animation, which is quite the ear-worm. While it doesn’t sound like Jack Black will be returning to voice Panda, it does sound like he did record the theme song for the series.

The Perry Bible Fellowship panel was basically a film studies lecture about the last shots of films, and common elements carried between the three. This ties in to PBF based around the fact that the jokes in PBF are all based around the last panel, something which he in turn took from Peanuts, which was a big inspiration for him. He also showed off the several in a series of animated shorts which are going to be streamed online for the BBC, titled “Sometimes This Happens.” Some of them were pretty funny.

I also went to a meetup at Sloppy Joe’s on 5th, in the Gaslamp, for the Whiskey Media family of sites (Giant Bomb, Anime Vice, Tested, and Comic Vine). When you come out of the Convention Center, you’re know you’re lined up with 5th when you see the “Welcome to the Gaslamp” sign across the tracks from the Convention Center. Head straight up for about 3 blocks, and it will be on the Left hand side of the street. The food there was very good, and very affordable. I had a good bistro-style burger for about $10. There were also pizza places in the area serving Pizza by the slice. At the meetup of note was Sara and Tony from Comic Vine, Tom Pinchuk from Anime Vice & Comic Vine, much of the Tested crew, who were taking Cosplay pictures on the floor, and Matt Rorie from Screened.com, and Top Man at Whiskey Media (in that he works on maintaining the site, and he’s one of the Top Men they put on problems when they come up), Ethan.

Day 3 & 4, Saturday, August 24th & Sunday, August 25th, 2010

Much to my regret, I wasn’t able to attend the Con today, due to an upset stomach that finally got the better of me when I was in line for Hall H. I’m unsure about whether it was dehydration related or what. It might be dehydration – the heat in San Diego is very dry, and I’m used to, you know, getting sweaty when it’s hot, and to also remind me to drink lots of water. I spent the days at Aunt Pattie & Uncle Noel’s house home, reading con coverage online, and watching G4’s live coverage on TV. In short, each day I was sick enough that I had problems keeping food down in the morning, and after drinking a bunch of lemon lime soda and eating saltine crackers, I was feeling well enough by the middle of the day that I could probably have gone to the con, but Noel and Pattie live far enough from the trolley lines that getting there wasn’t really an option for me. So I stayed there and tried to stay hydrated or something, and read coverage online.

On the end of the Day for 4, we did get to go to out to eat, and at my suggestion we went to In & Out, mainly because we don’t have them in Oregon. In & Out’s okay. The closest comparison I can think of to a similar chain in Oregon is Five Guys, only without being instant death to anyone with a peanut allergy (Five Guys fries with peanut oil, and has peanuts for you to munch on you wait for your food to be finished). Also, while Five Guys has large, soft fries, with a little crisp on the outside, In & Out uses shoestring cut fries for their french fries. Additionally, In & Out has a wider selection of milkshakes – by which I mean they have milkshakes. Five Guys doesn’t.

Monday, July 26th, 2010

With the Con over, it was time to go home. Since I anticipated bringing more stuff with me then we did (3 Girl Genius TPBs, a MC Frontalot Album, and a bunch of viral marketing materials handed out by people on the streets of San Diego), we took the train back.

The first leg of the train was a commuter train from San Diego to Los Angeles, which we rode coach. I took a few pictures of the station, which was featured as the police station in Blade Runner, which I’ll put up in a later photo-dump post. From there we got on the Coast Starlight from Los Angeles, which we would disembark on in Salem, Oregon, where my Dad would pick us up and drive us back home. As an aside, one man who thought he was in the frame for the picture (he wasn’t) came up and berated me after I took the first picture.

Since we wouldn’t have arrived in Oregon until the next day, when we’d booked our trip in advance, we’d arranged for a sleeper birth. There were two sizes of births, and we’d picked the smaller. This size was rather snug, and we decided that next time we would have gotten the larger birth.

The scenery from the train is very brown and gold. Lots of rolling hills. Lots of grass. Not a lot of trees.  For someone born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, the near total absence of any sort of green along most of the route through Southern California was very jarring. The towns we went through also provided me with the first time where, when going along train tracks, that I could literally say, simply at a glance, that one side was the “wrong” side of the tracks. One side had more expensive homes, which were well maintained, and literally on the other side of the tracks were less expensive homes, falling into disrepair, and with businesses that were vandalized at best.

To be fair, in some communities both sides were “wrong” in one community we went past a moderately large and recently constructed strip mall with no businesses open, and many of the windows boarded and doors shuttered. Probably the worst off community we went through was in Salinas. I had to look hard on both sides of the train, when we were stopped at the station, to find a building that wasn’t literally falling apart.

The food on the train was pretty good, and for customers in the sleeper cars, is included in the price of the ticket (though alcohol is not). For lunch I had a Turkey sandwich, which was excellent, and dinner was “asian” beef (which I presume was referring to the sauce) with mashed potatoes, and with beef so tender I could literally cut it with a fork. It was absolutely delicious. We went to bed when the train was stopped in Oakland, at about 8-9 PM. With our sleeper birth, the two lower seats folded out into a bed, and there was a bunk up top that also folded down. I took the upper bunk.

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

Sleeping in the upper bunk was unpleasant. The bed was as hard as a rock and worse, it was facing in the wrong direction for me – away from the direction of movement. The lower bunk, on the other hand, let you sleep in whatever direction you wanted to face, and was slightly softer. If I’m taking the train alone, I’ll probably take a smaller birth. Consequently, the next morning I was horribly motion sick and couldn’t eat breakfast, though thanks to some motion sickness medication I was feeling well enough to eat lunch, a very good cheeseburger. We arrived in Salem shortly after lunch and disembarked and returned home.