Thursday, July 24, 2008

San Diego Comic-Con, Day 1: I'm Bullish on Comic-Con

You can always tell the first full day of Comic-Con: your hooves are sore, your wallet is lighter but you have lots of great loot in your backpack, and you have seen approximately one bajillion people in homemade superhero costumes, some of them maybe a little more form-fitting than you might have hoped to have seen. Remember, folks: spandex is a right, not a privilege.

But I kids the con attendees. There are all sorts of heroes out here to be seen, but let's start right off with my Hero of the Con™: the wonderful honorable attendees who visited the Norton booth last night just after we had department, wanting to buy a couple books. They left us a lovely note and the payment for their books hidden under our table:

The most honest folks of all!

You, the extremely honest folks of Comic-Con, I salute you! Thanks for being shining examples of humanity and not, as we so often joke about fandom, bad examples.

Thursday, the first full day of the Con, is when the costumed cosplayers begin to show up in full force, and who am I to go against the flow?

Welcome to Comic-Con

Yes, Bat-Bull welcomes you to the Con, and reminds you to go see his blockbuster motion picture, now playing at a theater near you. Accept no substitutes! And that's not merely Bat-Bull saying that, but the real deal, my pal Batman himself:

Batman and Bat-bull.

By the way, Batman wanted me to tell you that it wasn't really him punching dogs in that movie, but a specially trained force of stuntdogs who work on all these sorts of movies. He said that no animals were harmed in the making of that motion picture, if you don't count that Michael Caine would eat an entire bucket of Kentucky Fred Chicken every morning before first call. "That man loves his KFC!" said Batman.

It was very busy in the Convention Center today. How busy was it? It was so busy that you couldn't swing a cat around...if that's your sort of thing, and if you're using a union-approved stunt cat:

View from the top

But the hard-working air conditioner gnomes of the San Diego Convention Center kept things comfortably nice and frosty for us all through the day. In fact, it was a little nippy. "How nippy was it, Bully?"

How cold was it in the convention center? This cold

One of the things I love best about working (rather than just attending) Comic-Con is that it gives you a base of operations from which to stage your attack of the show. (Hey, that would make a good title for a TV series, wouldn't it?) As usual, I'm at the Norton booth, #1714, adjacent to the fine folks at Fantagraphics, who have many fine books to display and sell ya...

Caution: May contain Peanuts
More books from our friends at Fantagraphics Looking down the Fantagraphics aisle

...but with plenty of other activity happening within a cat's throw of the booth. Hey, I can see Eddie Campbell from here!:

Busy busy Comic-Con

But even when I'm busy working, the beautiful part of having the Norton booth is that the world passes before you. All sortsa lovely costumed folks would wander by and patiently wait for me to snap their picture with my tiny instamatic. Here's Cloak and Dagger, who I understand are comin' back in a new Marvel series. Don't get cancelled six issues in, guys! We all know you have difficulty sustaining a title!

Cloak and Dagger

The hall is never short of lovely ladies in fantastic costumes. Here's top-hatted, fishnetted Zatanna, who informed me in firm words that "Yddub, ereh pu era seye ym!" I'm sure I don't know what she meant.

Olleh syas Annataz. Annataz Ssim, ih ih ih!

Did-a somebody call for some-a stereotypical plumbers? Well, here they are! Sadly, they lept on top of my lunch of mushrooms and made it go ping and disappear:

Did-a somebody call for plumbers?

Then I was just about to heat up my can of baked beans instead, and this guy came along and ate them cold out of the tin. Hurm. Well, he left me his diary behind. I'll look at it after midnight tonight.

Rorschach stole my lunch of tinned beans. Hurm.

Luckily, just as I was feeling a little peckish and my tummy started growling, but just in time this nice shiny guy came up and made me some toast. Um, but you don't wanna know where it came out of.

Frakkin' Cylon

Never worry, though, Con-goers: the place is safe as houses thanks to the continued patrols of Nick Fury, Director of S.H.I.E.L. D. (Supreme Headquarters, International Espionage, Law-Enforcement Division) and his partner Anna Mercury!

Nick Fury and Anna Mercury are ready to smash evil

That's not a kick-ass enough team-up for you? Why, you're pretty hard to please, aren't you? Then feast your world-weary eyes and truly know awe as you gaze upon the greatest crossover team-up genre fiction has ever known:

Star Trek, Nick Fury and Anna Mercury team up to KICK ASS!

Nick Fury. Anna Mercury. Picard and Sisko. They slam evil.

But by far, my favorite outfit was on the man who had the greatest t-shirt of Comic-Con, spotlighting the finest characters in comics literature:

This guy had the best t-shirt of the con

Eat your heart out, Mike Sterling!

I also got to talk to a couple very nice people: Genndy Tartakovsky, creator of Dexter's Lab and Star Wars: Clone Wars wandered by the Norton booth and graciously accepted my stammering, fanbull praise for his work. He's a seriously nice guy, folks, as is Michael Grabois, who runs the essential Legion of Super-Heroes blog The Legion Omnicom. We momentarily became a mutual admiration society over each other's blogs. I wish I'd remembered to bring my Legion Flight Ring for the photo he took of me, though!

Later in the day, my Hello Kitty change purse firmly clutched in my hoof, I wander out onto the floor to engage in the holiest of Con activities: buyin' stuff. First stop, the Lego booth!

Bully in Lego-Land

Of course you can meet all your comic and movie favorites in Lego-form:

Batman: built tough to last
Lego my Indy!
These stormtroopers ain't so tough. I just snap them apart.

But the true experience of Lego-Land is drooling over the new and con-exclusive sets. Hey, will somebody buy me this $75 Star Wars Lego set? Please? I'll be your best friend forever!

Please buy me this $75 Lego set...? No?

The shopping experience can get kind of frenzied at times, so be careful and just as you shouldn't get between a mother rhino and her cuddly fuzzy rhino cubs, when somes of the bigger, badder con attendees want to buy stuff, get out of their way! This guy really wanted that Con-Exclusive My Pretty Pony toy, and who am I to argue?

Gosh, Mister Hulk, haven't you ever heard of Listerine?

Of course, Mister Movie Star Green Guy with the Ripped Purple Pants isn't the only Big Man at the Con. Mmmmm, superdeformed Homer... (drool)

Mmmmm, Super-deformed Homer.

At the BBC America booth, I panicked when confronted by a veritable galaxy of Doctor Who action figures! Which shall I buy? Which shall I buy?

Which Doctor Who figure shall I buy? I want them ALL!

In the end, since there wasn't a Donna Noble action figure (get right on that, guys!), I filled in some of the vital holes in my collection by picking up the Ninth Doctor and Captain Jack Harkness. Later I shall take them out of their mint packaging and make them fight. And kiss.

The Ninth Doctor and Captain Jack. Later I will make them fight. And kiss.

Other fine Bully-purchases today include a couple totally beautiful and fun books from the Dark Horse booth, David Malki's Wondermark: Beards of our Forefathers and Shannon Wheeler's Postage Stamp Funnies!

Fine books from Dark Horse

To add to our happy household of soft plush pals, please welcome our newest adoptee, the Carrot Bunny! (Specially grown by Planet Tokki (Booth #P-14 in the Small Press Section. Pick up some stuffed poo!)

My new pal Carrot Bunny

But by far the favorite thing I walked away with under the fuzzy arm was a sketch by Jesse Hamm of Chewbacca and a befuddled Ewok!:

Chewbacca and Ewok, by Jesse Hamm

All weekend long talented cartoonists and artists like Jesse are doing sketches at the San Diego Cartoon Art Museum booth: $10 buys you a sketch and the proceeds go to fund the museum. Great art and a worthwhile cause! Tell 'em Bully, or an Ewok, sent you!

After all that running around, I like to adhere to the proverb "Shop till you drop." And when you do drop, it's always best to find a soft and cushiony space to relax against:

In the shadow of Jabba

But I kids the Jabba the Hutt. Better you should head away from the crowd and find a moment of peace and quiet in one of the less-populated regions of the Convention Center. Yes, those places do exist:

A rare moment of quiet

For the true relaxing experience, head upstairs and out back of the Convention Center to relax on its expansive balcony:

San Diego Convention Center

It's certainly one of the nicest-topiaried convention centers I've been in:

Placid soothing locale just outside the convention center

And it overlooks the harbor. Hey, look, I can see the S.S. Minnow from here! Come back in three hours, guys!

Spot the SS Minnow and win a prize!

The momentary calm is interrupted by a ringing metallic clang clang clang. No, it's not a trolley, but an exhibition by the Society for Creative Anachronism of armored warfare! Don't yield, back shield!

Everybody was black knight fightin'
Don't yield, back shield!

Back on the floor, I have to step aside quick to avoid being cuddly-squished by a giant version of my good pal Uglydoll Ox:

Giant Ox Uglydoll!

Uh oh. I've got Ticks!:
Uh oh! I've got Ticks.

And oh no! Could it be the return of Evil Bully?!?


(shaking my fist at the sky) We'll be ready for you, Evil Bully! Just you wait and see! In 2009!

Hey, I don't remember a Formula One Race Car in Star Wars. Curse you, George Lucas and your special edition edits!

Hey, I don't remember a Formula One race car in "Star Wars"

And it's not a proper con unless you attend a panel or two. Here, (from left to right), moderator Maryelizabeth Hart, Peter David, Naomi Novik, Connie Willis, Max Allan Collins, Jess Winfield, Jacqueline Carey discuss writing about historical or established fictional characters in the "Eyes on the Past" panel. I've said it before, I'll say it again: Jess Winfield: seriously funny man.

"Eye on the Past" panel

All too soon the day is done, the show is over for the night, and there's nothing I'd rather do than return to the hotel and go to sleep. There's nothing that can keep me away from bed, nothing that can delay me from sleeping until the next morning, nothing...

My kind of theater

Oh, what the heck. Chocolate mousse FTW.

A delicious chocolate mousse rounds out the day

See you back at the Comic-Con tomorrow, Bully-boosters!


J.R. Jenks said...

Dressing up for cons is fun! My Granny Goodness costume was a hit at Wizard World Chicago. It was fun to make, wear and blog about.

You should definitely dress up for the next con! I'm thinking Bully the Little Stuffed Black Bolt, maybe?

Novice said...

1. Why is there no Donna Noble action figure? I don't regularly watch Dr. Who and I would snap it up right away. She's right up there with Batgirl, Blossom, Kim Possible and Madeleine!

2. I don't think that Ewok is befuddled. I think that Ewok looks threatening. Ready to spring and bite. Do not underestimate the small and fuzzy, Chewie.

3. Mmmmm...chocolate mouse!

RedheadFangirl said...

Wow, excellent photos and con report. I salute you doing this with all the con-demands.

And I want a Donna Noble figure too- redheads unite!

Rock on with your bad bull self, Bully.

MarkAndrew said...

Oh, hey, I remember Granny Goodness from Chicago.

Great stuff here, Bully. Definitely my favorite San Diego reportage on the internet.

RJackson said...

excellent report Bully - I am amazed a little bull can write so much and give the sweetest, best account of a day at the Con. Thanks for sharing - have a great show!

SallyP said...

Bully, your Batsuit is just the ginchiest.

Pere Ubu said...

He's the gosh-darn BATMAN.

Parka said...

This is close to heaven. 2009 will be my first comic con.