Live Blogging the Eisners!

Woot! We’re doing it again because we’re NUTS. Jackie Estrada is introducing Bill Morrison. This year’s theme is MAGIC and every table is covered with magic tricks. Maybe the big trick will be finding the comics at Comic-Con!

Bill has introduced the keynote speaker, Frank Miller, who is folding a newspaper to illustrate the importance of comics and newspapers and Max Gaines.

“This is the first opportunity in a very long day to talk about the subject of comic books,” says Miller. Miller recalls his youth and the tribal past of San Diego. “A bunch of people in a vast field holding onto an artform thinking it would soon be forgotten.”

After talking about the importance of Eisner, Miller segues to the topic of comics and Hollywood. “As we work with new expanded horizons and new people and new money the biggest danger we face to my mind is of splitting our focus. So my advice if you’re setting out to do a comic book is forget the movies, forget the games, Just do a damn good comic book and in time who knows what will happen. Here’s to comic books and here’s to Will Eisner.”

Applause!

The always lovely Kaare Morrison is the award girl in a stunning green sequin ensemble. Jackie introduces the judges to muted acclaim and the sponsors to great acclaim, especially Comic Relief. She also explains the voting procedure, including the CALL FOR ENTRIES, which if our email is any indication, a lot of publishers forget about.

Bill Morrison claims to have forgotten the envelopes in a suitcase backstage. Some shtick ensues involving a bowling ball. Wait — how did that fit into that suitcase?

The RENO 911 guys are back and they say how shameful it is that TV people are coming to Comic-Con and associating themselves with work. They say last year’s ceremony was a beautiful event which just ended at 2 this afternoon. The first award is Best Penciller/Inker Team. The winners are Pia Guerra and Jose Marzan! Woot! Woot! Woot! Oh, and she thanks…uh, someone named Heidi MacDonald. Yay, Pia! You are class and I love you.

Next up…Best Painter, and it’s Eric Powell! Eric says he poured his blood, sweat, and years into CHINATOWN and he’s very gratified.

Best Cover Artist…James Jean…big shock! No one saw that one coming.

Our next presenters…adorable Paul Dini and Misty Lee! But Misty isn’t here — what the….Paul goes off to call her…and brings out a big giant empty box…and next thing you know….MISTY LEE was in the box all along? How did that happen? Is it…MAGIC?
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Keeping up with con: Butcher

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Have we linked to Chris Butcher’s Flickr Photostream yet? Well, now we have. Check often!

WATCHMEN wows

The keynote event of this year’s Comic-Con had to be the WATCHMEN panel. EW’s Jeff Jensen led director Zack Snyder, co-creator Dave Gibbons and the entire cast of WATCHMEN plus Carla Gugino through a Q&A. Snyder showed some re-edited footage expanded from the trailer with a bit more violence (Dr. Manhattan in Vietnam) and character moments — Dan Dreiberg sitting sadly next to his Nite Owl costume. References to the graphic novel as the “bible” of the shoot were rife, with the entire cast speaking to the richness and depth of the characters. There were also several references to many Easter Eggs throughout the movie.

Gibbons reveals that although he doesn’t make a cameo, ala many comics creators, his signature “G’ is seen as graphitti throughout the sets.

In interviews afterwards, Snyder admitted that though the very enthusiastic response from the 7000 people in Hall H was gratifying, it didn’t entirely relax him. There’s still much editing to be done, and it is the greatest graphic novel of all time. He mentioned the difficulties of making a movie based on such downbeat and nihilistic material at a major studio. “Of course I want Warners to make money,” he said. “But when they wonder why something violent or sexy or disturbing has to be in, I say, that’s the reason why people want to see this movie.”

Gibbons said that the experience of seeing his creations brought to life was overwhelming. He was also asked about Alan Moore’s dismissal of the film. “I see there is an elephant in the room. I wish that Alan could feel the same excitement and joy I’m feeling right now.” After the panel, he said that the last time he had spoken to Alan, Moore asked him not to bring up the Watchmen movie with him again, and he doesn’t expect to. Gibbons was also asked if there would be any new Watchmen art — a portfolio if you will– to coincide with the movie’s release, but there are no real plans at present.

There were several people in costume who asked questions during the panel, including a Batman, a Joker, and a Rorschach. The last named led to a great comedy moment after he asked about whether movies like THE DARK KNIGHT would lead to even more mature comic book movies. Snyder smiled a moment and said, “There’s something funny about being asked about mature comics from someone in that costume!”

The Beat‘s opinion? The footage looks fantastic — rich, detailed and faithful to the spirit of the book — somewhat pulpish but dark at the same time. Of course, we haven’t heard any dialogue yet, but let’s remain optimistic. The cast seems very much on board with the spirit as well. Let the countdown to 3/6/09 begin.

Hall H for Heck

Well, here we are live blogging from Hall H. Although we never received our fabled pass to the hall, there also wasn’t any line to get in, either. So we’re stuck here for an hour listening to fans behind us quoting lines from Venture Bros.

The Warner Bros. booth and its bag giveaways continues to be the biggest logjam on the floor. When they give out bags, there is a feeding frenzy reminiscent of the fire ant scene from the last Indiana Jones movie. When the bags are gone, people continue to mill around waiting…waiting…

Whatever the mayor says, it’s clear the con has engulfed the city. At least one of the elevators at the Marriott is tricked up like a cloud to promote some Disney movie. Cardboard Spirits peep from hotel cornices around town. The plaza in front of the Gaslamp Hilton has been filled with ceramic Chinese warriors. Nearly every bar and restaurant has a sign welcoming the Con, proving the nerd dollar is still strong in this place.

King goes Video with Marvel

The Wall Street Journal joins the parade of Comic-Con exclusives with Stephen King’s latest foray with Marvel:

In a promotion expected to be announced Friday at Comic-Con, the big comic-book convention in San Diego, a previously unpublished story by Mr. King has been transformed by Marvel Comics into an animated video. The 25 episodes will be distributed in a variety of online and mobile channels ahead of the book’s publication Nov. 11. Starting Monday, new episodes will be released daily, five times a week, through Aug. 29.


The story couches the venture in terms of the increasingly creative ways of marketing books to an increasingly visually-literate readership.