Saturday, July 26, 2008

San Diego Comic-Con, Day 3 from Outer Space

You know how I like to say "Stand still in any one place at San Diego Comic-Con and all the Con comes to you eventually?" Well, this morning I was tempted very much to stay in bed and let the Con come to me, because I'm one little weary and hoof-sore bull. But I pulled myself up, brushed myself, and started the day all over again! I'm having a wonderful time but working the Con for 10 or 11 hours at a shot can make Bully a very tired little stuffed bull. Also, all this cheerful talking to folks on the floor has made me a little hoarse. (My kid sister Marshall just said 'You are a little horse? May I ride you around the show?' Oh, how we larfed and larfed. And no, Marshall.)

So here's the whirlwind trip that was Saturday, the busiest day of the Con:

It's easy to overlook among the media companies and film studios and TV networks and appearances by Hollywood stars, genuine celebrities, and Paris Hilton, that it is actually, after all, San Diego Comic-Con. So I celebrated by heading onto the floor, clutching my Hello Kitty change purse in hoof, out to pick up a backpack fulla excellent comics, both mini and maxi.

Hey Kids, Comics!

There's ever so much rich, four-colory, buttery comics goodness at the show it may be tempting to blow all your money at the first booth you see:

All the comics are standing up to get a good look at me!

But hang onto some onto your hard-earned, Grit-sellin' cash, because there's always more inventory around the corner:

I'll have one of each, please.

I think I've had dreams where I'm rolling around in piles like this. Naked.


After security has removed me from the comics' sellers section and made me put my clothes back on, I venture over to the action figure aisle, where I spot an old friend at an incredible price. I'm pretty sure Mister Grimm did not intend for his action figure to sell for that much on the after-market!

$45! I'm pretty sure Mister Grimm did not intend his toy to be sold for that much

In the end I settled for buying just one action figure. Now all I need to do is figger out where to display it at home! (Also, how to get it into my luggage:)

Is that you in there, Mister Stark?

Attending one of Comic-Con's hundreds of panels and discussions is a good way to get off your aching hooves for an hour or so. In very much enjoyed going to the Will Eisner tribute panel, with, from left to right, Michael Uslan, Paul Levitz, Carl Gropper, Denis Kitchen. Not making an appearance: Scarlett Johannson. Ah well, you can't have everything.

Will Eisner Tribute Panel

Despite my best intention, my little button eyes closed for a couple times during the panel. Luckily I could grab a can of invigorating, energizing, caffeine-stuffed Bluto Iced Coffee to vim and vigor myself up. Nice to se Bluto cleaning himself up and getting a real job!

Bluto heartily endorses this iced coffee

Hey, look, it's Archie the Owlship! Hi, Archie! All aboard the smoking, please!

All aboard the Owlship! Please, no smoking.



As usual, the most fun of the Con is meeting and hanging out with new pals. Here's Black Manta, heading over to steal my tuna fish sammich lunch. Get you own, ya big meanie!

Black Manta

Luckily, the Alien was on hand to whip me up a delicious lunch of eggs. Hmmm, why is my tummy rumbling so much?

Shopping with the Alien

It's a lovely day out for everybody at the Con. Here, Henchmen Numbers 21 and 24 enjoy a peaceful Monarch-less afternoon. Say hi to Patricia Heaton and Brad Garrett, guys!

Henchmen 21 and 24

Of course little stuffed me is going to gravitate towards the other, carryable, plush guests of the Con. Here's one of the few attendees who aptly deserves the adjective "Great," Gonzo!:

The Great Gonzo

And here's one of the other folks who fall in the great category: Comics Buyer's Guide's Maggie Thompson! She's delightful and seriously nice!

Maggie Thompson is seriously nice

Here I am hangin' out with my fabulous Dino-Friends, Mister Martin and Mister Sinatra. Whatcha lookin' at, guys? Some fabulous dames?

Hangin' out with Dino and Frank. Whatcha lookin' at, guys?

Here's Scott Shaw! and Sergio Aragonès. The line to meet these guys was a mile long! But well worth it.

Scott Shaw! and Sergio Aragones

Here, Imperial stormtroopers escort away a rebel spy, to interrogate, torture, and execute him later aboard a Star Destroyer. Death to rebel scum! Also, they were collecting canned food for a food drive.

Stormtroopers cart away a young rebel criminal

And oh yes. I met Tarot.

There's no more perfect end to a busy day than to laugh yourself silly, so I was happy to have scored tickets to the Live Rifftrax show at downtown San Diego's Balboa Theater to Rifftrax Live, featuring the Rifftrax/former-MST3K crew: Mike Nelson, Bill Corbett, and Kevin Murphy (with a special, t-shirt-kickin' appearance by Mike's wife and former Nuveena, Bridget Jones Nelson! The guys cracked wise through a screening of a color version of one of the worst films ever made, the infamous Plan Nine from Outer Space, delighting the audience and sending me into continued howls of laughter. In fact, I laughed so hard milk came out of my nose. And I was not drinking any milk.

That was a long day! So I'm off to bed and heading to Morpheus-land. More tomorrow, the final day of the Con! Stay tuned, Bully-boosters!

Friday, July 25, 2008

San Diego Comic-Con, Day 2: In which I imitate King Kong, find Waldo, and am restricted from using the bathroom

Just like the love of Jack Dawson and Rose DeWitt Bukater, the Comic-Con must go on, now apparently stretching into its third week. The Con is in many ways rthe equivalent of a big rolling snowball careening down a hill, or, to use a genre example, George Lazenby skiing down Piz Gloria in On Her Majesty's Secret Service: big, fast, growing in size and momentum the further it goes along, and pursued hotly by Telly Salavas in snow goggles shooting wildly at you as you...hold on a minute, I think my analogy got away from me.

A quick report here today as I'm swiftly turning into a very tired and exhausted little stuffed Con-worker bull: it's the busiest day of the show (so far, but Saturday is yet to come): hordes and hordes of attendees, potential customers for our fine Norton books, only some of them dressed up like Superman, Batman, or a hot dog:

It's a hot dog!

Other, less kosher outfits I saw today included this awesome Heckboy:


Sith Lord Darth Vader, ultra-impressive at nearly seven feet tall, with a seriously dark-side-of-the-force demeanor and an ultra-futuristic codpiece:

Sith Lord Darth Vader and his dark force codpiece

This trio of lovely ladies have apparently stepped straight out of Chris Sims's dreams and into the Con (please sing that last line to the tune of the Billy Ocean hit:

Yo, Joe!
Uh oh, Green Arrow is shootin' a look my way. Let's hope that's all he's shootin'!

Green Arrow arches an eyebrow and makes us quiver

Plus, enough Green Lanterns to stock all of DC's Crises and have enough left over for a War of the Gods or two! Here's a happy verdant couple:

Green Lanterns Forever!

Hey, I found Waldo!

Hey, I found Waldo!

The Punisher's out lookin' for mob bosses, hit men, and guys who bootleg DVDs and sell them at Comic-Con. Watch out, perps!

The Punisher, lookin' for perps

But Clonetroopers are always on hand to keep the peace, entertain sick children, and do commendable charity work for the community. Also, to shoot rebel scum.

Clonetroopers entertain and support sick kids. By shooting rebel scum.

Grant Morrison's New X-Men were here. Hope you all don't get immediately retconned away, guys!

Grant Morrison's New X-Men

But by far my favorite costume of today...and probably the whole a picture I won't be posting online because it's a small kid, but she was wonderful: a small pre-teen girl dressed as Wednesday Addams, with black dress and severe pigtails. When I asked her dad if I could take her photo, he agreed, and instructed his daughter "No smiles, remember, no smiles!" And she went deadpan serious instantly, turning her face into a perfect mirror of the dour Wednesday Addams. Wednesday, I salute you!

There was a lot of cool stuff and people to see today, too. Although the highlight was meeting Miss Jane Wiedlin...say, let's look at that photo again, shall we?

Bully and Jane Wiedlin, BEST FRIENDS FOREVER!!!!

(happy contented sigh)

Right! Where was I? Oh, yes, plenty of fun people to see and meet. Here's two of my personal heroes, MST3K's Bill Corbett and Michael J. Nelson:

Bill Corbett and Mike Nelson from MST3K and Rifftrax

And Tom Lennon and Ben Garant from The State hobnob right in front of our booth with tiny, tiny Seth Green:

Tom Lennon and Ben Garant from "The State" with Seth Green

Our old pal Bob the Dalek walked rolled by to share his own convention jokes, stories, and anecdotes. Oh, yes, and also to exterminate:

Bob the Dalek

i finally caught up with friendly blogger Sleestak, thus united two of the blogosphere's most prestigious non-human bloggers. All we need now is to hook up with Anne Coulter and that's all of us!

Hi, Sleestak!

Me 'n' Aquaman swapped sea stories and had a lovely tunafish lunch. He sends hellos from below the sea to his number one fan Tegan and wishes her the best of luck on her and Hubby-Eric's impending move! He said if you need any whales to cart things from shore to shore, just give a whistle!

Me 'n' Aquaman swap sea tales

There was a wonderful display of many of teh models from Henry Selick's upcoming stop-motion animation movie of Neil Gaiman's Coraline:

Coraline model: Coraline

And a miniature model of The Daily Planet for Heroclix gamers. here I am, peering into tiny Perry White's eeny-weeny offioce. Don't call him Mini-Chief!

Miniature Daily Planet gaming set

Then, in homage to King Kong's 70th birthday (being lauded this weekend at the Con), I climbed up the outside of the daily Planet Building and did my best Titano impression. Until Mini-Superman made me get down. Little spoilsport.

I'm huge!

I stopped by the Boom! booth to shave hooves with pal Ian Brill and pick up a copy of Boom!'s The Muppet Show preview comic book. With art by one of my favorite, Roger Langridge, this book is gonna be serious fun!

Hangin' out at the Boom! booth with the new Muppet Show comic

Don't think that Comic-Con is all fun and games and Wookiees, though: there are a couple frustrations in such a big show. Here's Mattel's ultra-restrictive rules that you must follow in order to buy their toys. No thanks, guys, I'll just go to Toys 'R' Us. their toys may not be exclusive but I don't have to provide fingerprints hoofprints and my social security number to buy them!:

Here at Mattel, we REALLY make you leap through hoops. To buy TOYS.

And what's this? No non-humans allowed in the convention center bathrooms? But I really haveta pee! Geez, Sleestak and I are totally gonna start a protest.

But I REALLY haveta go!

So, that's the end of this column. I gotta go. No, really...I gotta go.

(See you tomorrow for more fun at the Con!)

San Diego Comic-Con Extra: It's such a rush just being with you

Bully and Jane Wiedlin, BEST FRIENDS FOREVER!!!! Something's coming over me
I'm so dizzy I can't see
Can't make out the forest for the trees

My heart is beating faster now
As the traffic's slowing down
And suddenly I'm all alone with you
—Jane Wiedlin

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!