SDCC ’14: Fairy Tale Remix Panel Recap

By Matthew Jent

The Fairy Tale Remix panel, moderated by author Shannon Hale, brought together more than half a dozen authors of young adult and fantasy fiction in front of a packed panel room. Hale a confident and fun tone, promising a fight to first blood by the panelists if things got boring. Full disclosure? I took a seat in this panel to get a good spot for a later panel in the same room that I wanted to cover for the Beat — but Fairy Tale Remix has proven to be the highlight of my SDCC 2014 experience so far. It was a symposium on fairy tales, storytelling, writing and the search for magic in real life. No first-blood-fights were required, and there wasn’t an empty seat in the room. The audience included mostly women, from kids on up, with more than a few cosplayers. Before the panel began, there were a number of kids (and their accompanying grown-ups) having their pictures taken with some folks who cosplayed the Frozen sisters Elsa & Anna and if you weren’t yet caught up on this season of Once Upon a Time, it was a bad audience to eavesdrop on.

Shannon Hale holds court.

Shannon Hale holds court.

After introducing the panel members as Marissa “The Mauler” Meyer, Katherine “No Safe” Harbour, “The Hammer of Lore” John Peck, “The Baroness Schadenfreude” Cornelia Funke, Tony “The Terror” DiTerlizzi, Ben “The Equalizer” Tripp (dressed in a Georgian England costume, complete with white wig), and Danielle “Toto’s Bane” Paige, Hale began with a quote from Albert Einstein: “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be moreintelligent, read them more fairy tales.” Asking how the panelists were introduced to fairy tales, it was across the board as children.

“It was the first time I realized, everything is a metaphor,” Tripp said, “These stories are all about something else.”

Funke, after explaining that she is German and so was naturally raised with the original, brutally violent versions of the tales, said she hated them as a child. They were full of death and dismemberment, and swans who had to knit sweaters for their brothers.

Meyer added that her first fairy tale love was Disney’s film version of The Little Mermaid, and upon subsequently reading the original version by Hans Christian Andersen, in which Ariel dies at the end, she wondered, “What else is Disney not telling us?”

That discomfort and that desire to know more was a strong motivator for the writers to tell their own versions of Rapunzel, Oz, or Puss N Boots. Meyer got her start as a writer with Sailor Moon fan fiction, and writing new versions of fairy tales was a logical progression. When Hale asked the panel if it was fair to call what they were doing fan fiction, everyone agreed.

“How is rewriting fairy tales different from fan fiction?” Hale asked.

They’re basically the same thing, the panel agreed, but “You can take fairy tales in more directions than fan fiction,” said Meyer. Tired of passive princess characters, Meyer wanted to get back to the older versions of very old tales — where Little Red Riding Hood rescued herself from the Big Bad Wolf, instead of waiting for the Woodsman to appear.

Fairy tales come to represent the times and the places in which they are written. Adding something new to those tales — characters, points of view, social agendas or social awareness that did not exist when they were first told — is part of a storytelling tradition that goes back to Shakespeare, and earlier. Peck added that no story was worth retelling without adding something new.

The panel ended with a Q&A from the audience, many of whom were writers and storytellers themselves. One audience member asked where the writers found magic in the modern world to write about.

“Where do you not find it?” Funke said. “Look at the people in this room, the hundred million stories in these chairs, in these costumes. There is so much in this room I would call magic. We are just the reporters of that. We are in pretty magical times.”

A parent asked how she could encourage her daughter, who wanted to be a writer.

“Forbid it,” said Tripp, whose own son was studying medicine and science.

“Don’t give too many instructions,” Funke said. “And give her beautiful, empty notebooks.”

It sounds like the beginning of a fairy tale.

SDCC ’14: Dark Horse’s ‘Aliens, Predator, Prometheus and Beyond’ Panel

imageBy Kyle Pinion

Dark Horse Editor in Chief Scott Allie has pulled together a wide array of young and up and coming talent for the upcoming four interlocking mini-series that revolve around the Aliens, Predator and Prometheus franchises entitled “Fire and Stone”. The majority of those creators joined him on stage for Dark Horse’s panel on the subject and included Paul Tobin (Prometheus), Chris Sebela (Aliens vs. Predator), Chris Roberson (Aliens), Joshua Williamson (Predator), Juan Ferrerya (Prometheus), and Ariel Olivetti (Aliens vs. Predator).

While the majority of the discussion held therein was for the most part news that has already been reported in the previous months leading up to the end of year release of this long-anticipated “mega-series”. There were a number of items worth noting:

– The collaborative process between the entire team has been a smooth one, despite a significant bump caused by notes given by Fox and Ridley Scott’s team regarding some of the content and the narrative direction of the series, causing much of each creative teams’ work to be scrapped. Though Tobin made note that the studio has now opened up “more of the tool-box” for their usage.

– This change of direction from Fox is one of the major factors that caused the eventual release delay of each series.

– Originally, Williamson was slated for an Aliens comic before the “Fire and Stone” concept came into place, and while he was sad to see the take that he and Allie had worked out not see the light of day, he believes this new effort is equally as exciting.

– Each team member stressed that the chemistry of their writers’ room approach was a big part of why this project came together as well as it did, despite significant rewrites being needed.

– Kelly Sue DeConnick, who is also writing the finale of the series in Prometheus Omega, was credited as the key driver of research regarding incorporating Prometheus into the Alien and Predator universe. According to Allie, she brought an entire pink binder full of Prometheus theories from the internet.

– Ferrerya was brought on board to the project because of his design skill, and that was an angle that the team wanted to make sure was highlighted. Roberson likened Ferrerya’s map-making abilities to being “one step away from a DnD campaign”.

– Paul Tobin was brought in for the Prometheus series because of his previous work with Ferrerya on Colder.

– Williamson discussed the eponymous Predator of his Predator series, named Ahab, who is indeed hunting for a “white whale” though the identity of said target had to remain a secret. He also was proud of the fact that Ahab already has an action figure, which could be found at the Dark Horse booth on the show floor.

– Williamson also discussed his protagonist, Galgo, who will be appearing in Prometheus first, followed by Aliens v Predator, eventually becoming the lead in Predator. The writer made sure to mention the morally grey nature of the character, and also his verbose nature.

– Sebela, regarding Aliens vs. Predator, stated that he spent his entire childhood trying to figure out a way for Xenomorphs and Predators to fight and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to do the same in comics. Allie felt as though Sebela’s horror background was a particularly strong fit for the “monster-like” material in his series. Olivetti expressed excitement for the cinematic nature of the visuals he is producing, a first for him in comics.

– When asked if the stories connect, the team stressed that the books could be read independently of one another and readers could get a satisfying story that way, but they would see the larger picture form if they wanted to read the entire event.

– The chronology of “Fire and Stone” was also cleared up, as Aliens is a pseudo prequel to the other tales, and takes place between scenes of Aliens (the film), Predator takes place after the other minis and Prometheus Omega is the finale.

– In response to a question regarding previous usage of “The Space Jockey” and the mythos built around it in previous Dark Horse Aliens comics, Allie said those stories will not come into play with Fire and Stone.

– Bouncing off of that, Roberson made mention that the key directive was to “start from the films and go from there”, and the only films that team really concentrated on were: Prometheus, Alien, Aliens, and Predator. Sebela, when asked, said that the two Aliens vs. Predator films were not canon to his series.

– When the divisive nature of Prometheus amongst fandom was brought up, Paul was quick to point out that he wasn’t interested so much in leaving any elements of that film behind, so much as he wanted to highlight the parts of it that worked well, specifically the concept of scientists going on a mission and realizing that things are far bigger than they ever imagined. Ferrerya then joked that he was excited to bring back the biologist and cartographer characters that everyone “loved” from the film.

– Allie made sure to underline that theme was key driver in the storytelling of each mini-series, particularly the idea of the “stewardship of life”, which runs in the background of the Alien and Prometheus films particularly. Roberson also made mention that the parallels that run between the androids in Aliens and Prometheus was a major influence.

– And yes, there will be Black Goo! Which, according to Roberson’s read of the notes they received from Fox, is called “accelerant”. They declined to go into further detail regarding the role it will play in the stories themselves.

Prometheus and Aliens will both be due out in September, Aliens vs Predator and Predator will see release in October. The Prometheus Omega one-shot is set to arrive in February. Each series will be a 4-issue mini respectively.

SDCC 2014: Movie Poll!

And now… time for a reader poll!

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SDCC ’14: Avengers & X-Men: AXIS Panel Recap

by Alexander Jones

Marvel’s Avengers & X-Men: AXIS panel is officially getting underway here at San Diego Comic-Con International. Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso is hovering near the stage about to get ready. In the background there is a line of people getting ready for the show. Name placards for the panel are all lined up as follows; Senior Editor Nick Lowe, AXIS writer Rick Remender, and Executive Editor Mike Marts.

Senior Editor Nick Lowe is moderating the effort. Jordan D. White, the Editor of Deadpool made an appearance at the show as well. As soon as that was done the group jumped right into some of the new announcements from the show.Avengers_Rage_of_Ultron_Interior

All-New Captain America is given an official name and features the art of Stuart Immonen.

Remender stated that the new comic is going to have a completely different tone for this new series. He stated that having Steve and Sam working together is going to add some new dynamics to the title. A new Alex Ross cover for the book was also shown here at the show. Remender states that writing more lighthearted characters in the book adds a sense of fun to the storyline. Ian Rogers is also revealed as the new Nomad in the comic book series. It was also stated that Hydra is being built up again in a way that apparently we have not seen before. Marvel vaguely stated that they are doing something completely new with Marvel’s premiere terrorist organization.

Remender talks about how Immonen takes the story to a nearly perfect level. He was wondering “what drugs were being put in Stuart Immonen’s water supply,” as the panel were shocked that the artist was able to give such detailed work and deliver it to the publisher on time. Captain America #25 is also going to have a bit of Stuart Immonen artwork towards the back half of the title featuring the brand new incarnation of Hydra. Unfortunately this also means that Stuart Immonen is departing fan-favorite title All-New X-Men

The Avengers: Rage Of Ultron Original Graphic Novel was then announced. Rick Remender is once again writing the storyline along with artist Jerome Opena and Dean White. The new story is an in-continuity original graphic novel that has an April 2015 release date. Alonso stated in a joking manner that Jerome “is so much better than Stuart Immonen.” This event takes place in a post-AXIS environment, which “leads to some very exciting things that are coming down the line.  The under-appreciated hero known as Starfox is heading back to the surface in the brand new graphic novel. The Red Skull is also going to tie into the big Avengers & X-Men: AXIS storyline with the March to AXIS titles including Uncanny Avengers #24 and Captain America #24 which sees the final fate of Jet Black and observe what has been happening with the Red Skull.

IMG_0812-1

The panel then revealed Avengers & X-Men: AXIS Issue #1, whose first is entitled The Red Supremacy. The title contains artwork from Adam Kubert. The group shared that the Vision is being toyed with once again. He is said to play a part towards a major moment in the upcoming AXIS and Graphic Novel storylines. We are also shown the debut of the brand new Jim Cheung cover for Avengers & X-Men: AXIS #2 pencilled by Kubert again. The third issue was revealed as well, which is being drawn by Leinil Yu.

The focus then shifted over towards the AXIS: Carnage mini-series from Rick Spears and the AXIS: Hobgoblin mini-series by Kevin Shinick and Javier Rodriguez. Where the group explained that there are exciting things to come from both series. AXIS: Revolutions features writing from Dennis Hopeless and Simon Spurrier with art from Ken Lashley.

There were even more small issues that were announced including Uncanny Avengers Issue #25 and Deadpool #36. Remender and artist Daniel Acuna are covering the final issue which is born out of the conflict with Scarlet Witch and the Red Skull.

Magneto #11, Loki: Agent of Asgard #7, All-New X-Factor #15 were all also announced to tie into the event.

When the floor turned over for Question and Answers from fans, a young man named Rory dressed up like Captain America asked a question about the Fantastic Four. Alonso stated that an upcoming event storyline is going to be more focused on the team. Another fan asked about certain X-Men characters joining the Avengers, and was wondering why there is less cross pollination happening with X-Men becoming Avengers

IMG_0813-1Lowe elaborated that the X-Men is categorized in that group based on their genetics. White noted the amount of cross-over and talked about books like Danger, Longshot, Mimics, and some of the other comics’ characters that have been featured on both teams. It was announced that Brevoort was really the one that had the idea of the Onslaught motif powered by Professor Charles Xavier. Remender said at first he sort of rejected the idea, but then started to re-think it towards the past few minutes, and it all came into a notebook for him.

Remender interjected that he is trying to mix both of these separate continuities to blend together shaking up the status quo for each hero. Another fan was curious about why there is a lack of X-Men material at the show, while there are many Avengers and X-Men panels that are featured here at the show. Nicke Lowed Jokingly stated to the group, “Put the hack Brian Michael Bendis on the book.” The panel explained that fans had nothing to worry about as AXIS is going to feature a heavy amount of X-Men material. On the topic of unworthy Thor, Remender stated that he had spent hours on the phone with Aaron talking about how they can tie the storyline into AXIS.

A comic book reader asked point blank whether Cyclops was going to be killed in Avengers vs. X-Men. The panelists explained that the idea might have been “floating around in the room, but never entertained for too long. “It was also announced that Jason Aaron was the one who had actually had the idea of the female Thor.

 

SDCC ’14: Hall H shocker! No lines!

Whaaaaaaaaaat?

Was it just a slow day in Hall H? Or were we more right than we even knew about this being the year things didn’t get crazier? Did the new wristband system—and the ban on tents, forcing people to Rambo it—work? IS this just another world? Maybe everyone went to the PetCo Park experience?

Zillions of reports all day from Twitter about minimal lines for Hall H.

And Ballroom 20

Craziest Comic-Con EVAH this year.

SDCC 14: #comicsbeat Kneel before your god(zilla)


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SDCC 14: #comicsbeat Really top-notch Bee and Puppycat cosplay by @microcake !


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SDCC 2014: Watchtower Thursday: Surfing the Tsunami Online

*  We’ve won!  Politicians officially open Comic-Con!

On Thursday, to mark the official opening of Comic-Con International 2014, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and San Diego City Council President Todd Gloria harnessed their inner superheroes and flew through the air on a zip-line near the downtown Convention Center.

Gloria was the interim Mayor after the Filner scandal.  Faulconer won the special election.  Faulconer has strong ties to Comic-Con: he worked PR on the second convention center expansion before he ran for public office, and supports the expansion of the convention center.  His hobbies: yachting and biking.

* Google Glass banned from Comic-Con screenings.

 Not that surprising.

*For the wrestling fans out there… Sting appears at the WWE panel. [No, not the musician.]

Is this bigger than JR Jr. working for DC?

 * SYNERGY!

Well, yes; corporate synergy is another explanation—ESPN, like Marvel, is owned by Disney. The three spots feature former SportsCenter anchor Kenny Mayne introducing Marvel’s latest super team as new ESPN employees brought in to ensure the safety of the new SportsCenter set.

How soon before we see “ESPN: The Sports Comic Magazine”?  What?  Sports fans are geeks, too!  T-shirts, who-would-win fantasy leagues, arcane statistics and knowledge, objectified athletes and cheerleaders…

 * This year’s economic profile of Comic-Con.

 *  We discover Stan Lee’s one weakness…  Get well soon, Stan!   

*  OH NOES!  Girls are ruining Peanuts too!

“With their youthful, ingenious, and fashion-savvy sensibility, Snoopy and Belle are a perfect fit with the We Heart It community, and we’re looking forward to a terrifically successful partnership,” said Dave Williams, President of We Heart It. “Peanuts has always offered a fresh and original world view, which is exactly what We Heart It fans crave. This will provide an outstanding opportunity for our fans to find inspiration and engagement with this legendary brand.”

It’s like an electronic greeting card.  You can like and share pictures online.

* A Comic-Con Virgin, from Japan:

* The Boston Herald profiles how Wired used their “Wired Café” to best effect.

* Reed Elsevier, owner of NYCC, announces earnings.

 * Some Star Wars VII tidbits.

Movie Wars

DC wins on a quiet day (so far, as of 7 PM EDT/4 PM PDT), getting great publicity for their “All Hat, No Battle” Batsuit reveal. 

* MTV plots how DC can beat Marvel in Hall H.

SDCC 14: #comicsbeat


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SDCC ’14: Fashion Shows on Trend

imageThis year there are several high-profile fashion-related events and product launches at Comic-Con, which at the very least reflects how much the comics industry’s awareness of fashion has grown since the days when Batgirl was baffled by hemlines.

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Comixology Goes DRM-Free On Selected Publishers

comics_by_comixology_logo_black_textIf you look at the history of digital music, the combination of a standardized format, moderate pricing (compared to CDs) and DRM-free files were what sparked sales.  Comics still doesn’t have a standardized format or a lower pricing tier for new issues, but DRM-free just turned up.  Comixology has announced they’re going to be having DRM-free “back-up” copies available for select publishers.

This new feature allows you to download and store local copies of books in PDF and CBZ format.

For our launch, participating publishers include Image Comics, Dynamite Entertainment, Zenescope Entertainment, MonkeyBrain Comics, Thrillbent, and Top Shelf Productions. In addition, our Submit creators and small publishers are now able to choose to make their books available DRM-free.

Traditionally, Hollywood-based licenses have had DRM baked into the licensing agreements for comics.  It’s no surprise that DC (Warner), Marvel (Disney) and IDW (a lot of licensed books from places like Hasbro) aren’t on that list.  I’m also curious if Dynamite’s entire line is there or just part of the line, since they do a lot of licensed books.

SLG and Image started the DRM-free comics movement.  Comixology just picked up the ball in a big way.  Don’t be too surprised if ePub 3 gets added to the format list in the near future, too.

SDCC ’14: Comixology announces DRM-free backups for Image, Top Shelf, Dynamite, Monkeybran, Thrillbent

With a line up of publishers yet unknown, Comixology has announced that from now on publishers will be able to choose a DRM-free option for their comics downloads. It’s both an acknowledgement of the reality of technology and a pretty forward facing move for a company that faces some skepticism since being acquired by Amazon. From now on when you download it, you own it. Simple as can be,

Not as simple. Whose on board? The original announcement included no names of publishers. Image, already DRM free would seem to be a natural, and perhaps other creator owned titles? Developing throughout the hour.

And the publishers have been announced:

“We’re excited to make this DRM-free backup option available to our customers and publishers today,” said comiXology co-founder and CEO David Steinberger. “Our customers can keep a copy locally and continue to do their reading on comiXology in our industry-changing Guided View.”

“For those out there who have not joined the comic reading community because of DRM – you have no excuse now,” said co-founder and Director of ComiXology Submit John D. Roberts. “We’re excited about the launch of DRM-free backups today and look forward to announcing more innovative features as we move ahead with our mission of making everyone on the face of the planet a comic book fan!”

To obtain the DRM-free backups of their books, customers can go to the “My Books” section of comixology.com on their desktop computers and click the button that appears next to their books. Books and series from participating publishers will be available for backup starting today. Backups are available in high definition PDF and CBZ.

Customers will continue to enjoy all of their purchases – whether available as a DRM-free backup or not – on the comiXology platform in comiXology’s exclusive cinematic Guided View reading experience, anytime and anywhere.

With over 50,000 comics and graphic novels from more than 75 publishers, comiXology offers the widest selection of digital comics in the world. ComiXology’s immense catalog and cinematic Guided View reading experience makes it the best digital platform for comic and graphic novel fans worldwide.

Find your favorite comics and graphic novels at comixology.com and try the comiXology app available on all major mobile platforms.

Transformers are going to get “Angry”

I'm pretty sure these Transformers would like some noms too.

I’m pretty sure these Transformers would like some noms too.

“Mom, what’s for breakfast?”

“Well honey, we have pancakes, bacon, potatoes, Decepiticons…”

If you were a kid from the 80’s, 90’s, or still a kid at heart, then you’re most likely familiar with Transformers. You know, “Transformers: More than meets the eye.” In honor of the franchise’s 30th anniversary, Hasbro Toys treated some eager reporters and fans to a breakfast this morning at Southpaw in San Diego’s Downtown Gaslamp area. I’ve heard of character breakfasts, but never one that dealt with robots.

All throughout the bar/restaurant, we were treated to Transformer toy splendor. Arranged along the bar area was private transformers collection that included some originals from the 80’s, Beastwars, and even some rocker themed ones I’ve never seen before (all posed on a 1984 “Planet Cybertron” poster). On the outside dining tables was a selection of the larger ones that transformer as you spin their parts. And there was even a buffet style “Mashem’s” table. Transformers Mashem’s are figures that allow the appendages to be swapped with other robots, allowing for some pretty creative robot making.

What I was most excited about were the videogames that Hasbro has in store for the Transformers brand. A few things are in the works, one of which is an online MMO called Transformers Universe. The computer based game features opened world areas that you can explore either as Autobots or Decepticons that are unique to the game. You can go hunting for Energon, fight wild Terracons, or even participate in 4 versus 4 pvp in either a death match mode, or a modified capture the flag. But instead of capturing flags, you try to steal the opposite team’s Energon.

To add another layer to the game, players can use Energon to craft items, or collect items by defeating enemies. The items can do various things, like boost stats for a continuous duration of time. The game is free to play, but if you are feeling a little impatient and don’t want to wait out the time it takes for your items to be made, you can purchase relics. Relics are in game currencies that are available as pickup items, so you can go throughout the duration of it without having to spend a dime. But like I said, if you’ve got better things to wait on, then they are purchasable with real world money. Currently Transformers Universe is in open beta. There is no set date yet for the actual release. Visit www.transformersuniverse.com to check it out for yourself.

Even bigger for the video gaming market is the crossover in the works. Transformers will be pairing up with the widely popular, widely recognized Angry Birds franchise. Unlike other Angry Birds games, this won’t be the typical drag and launch game featuring different themes. Angry Birds: Transformers will be a side scrolling shooter where the transforming birds and pigs have to fight enemies along the way. Another interesting addition is the cars that will be available for purchase. These transforming vehicles can be photographed, and then downloaded for use in the video game. The toys themselves will also have physical tracks available for them, so there will be more for them than just as downloads for the game. No release date is yet set for Angry Birds: Transformers.

Comic Con: Beyond the Panels

By Hannah Lodge

For some, the real glamour of San Diego Comic Con lies beyond the confines of the convention center. For four days, the Gaslamp quarter is transformed into an outdoor festival, with parties, guest appearances, live music, free food, and entertainment happening in parallel of the announcements and panels held behind closed doors. Here’s our line-up of unofficial events happening outside of the convention center halls.

sdcceventspic

Thursday and/or ongoing

Gotham Zip lining: From 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday until Sunday, fans will have the opportunity to channel their inner batman and zip line (130 feet long, 30 feet high) through Gotham-esque landscape. Souvenir photos will also be available, and the event will take place between the convention center and the Hilton Bayfront. If the experience leaves you too exhausted to walk home, Uber will also be featuring Gotham-themed cars to pick passengers up for free rides. To hitch a ride, select the Gotham PD under the Uber slider in the app or follow uber_sd on twitter.

Nintendo Gaming Lounge: From 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, the Marriott Marquis and Marina Ballroom will feature the Nintendo Gaming Lounge. Featured games include 3DS features like Super Smash Bros, Sonic Book and Siesta Fiesta and Wii U titles like Mario Kart 8, Captain Toad, Sonic Book and Skylanders Trap Team. Admission is free and no badge is required.

BioWare Development Team & Dragon Age Inquisition: From 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. Thursday, Felicia Day’s Geek & Sundry Lounge at 379 4th Ave (Jolt N’ Joes) will host coffee & donuts with the BioWare Development team and will demo the newest installment in the Dragon Age Series, Inquisition, which releases this fall. Demos will continue throughout the weekend. Admission is free and no badge is required.

Borderlands Laser Tag: From 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, Nerdist and 2K Games team up to bring Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel laser tag to Petco Park. The event will also feature an oxygen bar and live events. Admission is free and no badge is required.

Adult Swim Fun House & Dome Experience: Starting 3 p.m. – 10 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, Adult Swim will feature interactive experiences at Petco Park parking lot. The Fun House is a giant castle that will force guests to crawl, side, and sing their way through. The Meatwad Dome Experience features a two-story, 40-foot Meatwad planetarium with animated content that requires a “this event has loud music, flashing lights, and  images that could trigger seizures” caution on the label. Admission is free and no badge is required.

Jay & Silent Bob Podcast: At 5 p.m. Thursday, Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes will perform a live podcast to celebrate the release of their new book. The event takes place at the American Comedy Co. at 818 B 6th Ave. Tickets are $35 and include a signed copy of the book.

MTV Fan Fest & Fandom Awards: At 5 p.m. Thursday, Linkin Park will perform at Petco Park for MTV’s Fandom Awards. Entrance is free but requires a Comic Con badge.

Comic Book Legal Defense Fund Welcome Party: From 8 -11 p.m. Thursday, the CBLDF party will feature exclusive comics and a chance to mingle with creators like Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples, Scott Snyder, Chris Burnham, Nick Dragotta, Nick Pitarra. The party will also feature original artwork and an alchemy/fragrance lab from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab. Suggested donations of $10-$20 at the door.

NerdHQ Fan Party: Starting at 9 p.m., the annual Nerd HQ will kick off with a fan party at Petco Park. Admission is free and no badge is required.

Friday

Cape/Cowl/Create: From 12 -7 p.m. Friday, Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment and DC Entertainment will celebrate Batman’s 75th anniversary with an art exhibit at the Hard Rock Hotel. The exhibit will include the unveiling of life-size recreations of The Dark Knight’s cowl headpiece and cape from the upcoming video game as well as talent appearances, including Zack Snyder, Will Arnett, Mister Cartoon, and Buff Monster.  Some of the art pieces will be auctioned for charity. Admission is free and no badge is required.

Boxtrolls Food Truck: Though the truck will be available throughout the Con, at 1 p.m. the truck will be at the Petco Park Interactive Zone to feature Bug Chef David George Gordon, who will demonstrate his edible insect creations. Event is free and no badge is required.

Appleseed Alpha Screening: At 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sony will screen the animated movie Appleseed Alpha, from the author Masamune Shirow (creator of Ghost in the Shell). The event is free but first-come-first-serve (RSVP on EventBrite recommended) and will take place at Reading Cinemas.

Danny Elfman Concert: At 8 p.m. Friday, composer Danny Elfman will perform in a concert featuring the scores from Tim Burton movies. Highlights include Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, Batman, Big Fish, and The Corpse Bride. Tickets are between $28 – $90 and the event takes place at the Embarcadero Marina, directly behind the convention center.

Adam Savage Incognito: At 9 p.m. Friday, Tested.com is throwing a celebration for cosplayers, featuring Mythbusters star Adam Savage. Savage will demonstrate some of his most memorable cosplay and will reveal a meticulous replica of one of his favorite movie props of all time.  The event is 21+ and will be held at Side Bar, 536 Market St.

Tim & Eric’s Bedtime Jammy Party: Adult Swim’s Tim & Eric will feature a first look at their new series, Tim & Eric’s Bedtime Stories, from 11 pm – midnight on Friday. The screening will take place at Petco Park’s parking lot (at the bottom of the pedestrian bridge) and requires pajamas and a free RSVP (RSVP on Adult Swim’s Comic Con page).

 

Saturday

Enhance Cosplay with Greg Nicotero: From 12 to 2 p.m. Saturday, Walking Dead special FX designer Greg Nicotero will demonstrate custom make-up designs for fans at the Super Hero HQ cosplay lab, located at the Courtyard by Marriott (100 Park Blvd). Free make-up touch-ups will also be available through the convention at the lab.  The event is free and open to the public.

George R.R. Martin Q&A: From 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, George R.R. Martin will conduct a public Q&A at the Super Hero HQ at the Courtyard by Marriott. The event is free and open to the public.

Heroes Brew Craft Beer Festival: From 3 to 7 p.m. Saturday, beer aficionados will gather at the Embarcadero Marina Park North to sample from more than 40 breweries. The event will also feature food trucks, a costume contest and live music. Tickets are $45 ($20 for designated drivers).

ZombieWalk: Returning for its 8th year at Comic Con, the Zombiewalk will begin at 5 p.m. Saturday and starts at Children’s Park (corner of Island & 1st Ave). The event is free and open to the public.

Norma Reedus Q&A: From 6 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Norma Reedus (a.k.a. Daryl Dixon from The Walking Dead) will do a live Q&A at Super Hero HQ in the Courtyard by Marriott. Reedus will also judge cosplay costumes and select and crown the King and Queen of Cosplay.  The event is free and open to the public.

The Walking Dead Escape: From 6 p.m. to midnight Saturday, Walking Dead fans can purchase tickets for the survival-driven event, which forces Survivors and Walkers to climb, crawl, slide and hide through brutal scenarios, to either live or become infected.  Tickets are $95 or walkers and $50 for survivors and the event takes place at Petco Park.

Doctor Who Comic Creators Signing: From 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, writer Nick Abadzis, artist Elena Casagrande, cover artist Alice X Zhang and editor Andrew James will be on-hand at the Comickaze store, 5517 AB Clairemont Mesa Blvd. In addition to signings, the event will feature quizzes and a Doctor Who costume contest.

Thrilling Adventure Hour & Welcome to Night Vale Cross-Over Show: TAH & Welcome to Night Vale will be teaming up at 8 p.m. Saturday at Spreckels Theatre, 121 Broadway. The event will feature Marc Evan Jackson, Craig Cackowski, Hal Lublin, Mark Gagliardi, and show creators Ben Blacker & Ben Acker. Tickets range from $24 – $122.

SDCC ’14: ‘All-New Captain America: Fear Him’ Digital Comic

The first Marvel announcement from SDCC came today at their ‘House of Ideas’ panel, as the creative team of Dennis Hopeless and Szymon Kudranski will put together a six-issue digital series featuring Sam Wilson, the new Captain America.

[Read more…]

SDCC 2014: Spotlight on Bill Finger Co-Creator of Batman Panel Recap

by Alexander Jones

It’s a packed room here at the Bill Finger Spotlight panel at San Diego Comic-Con. Lines are doubling, and people are finally starting to exit the crowded room from the last panel. A group of Halo Spartans then came to obstruct the flow of foot traffic even further. Still, I think Finger, Co-Creator of Batman would be overjoyed to see the crowded amount of people lined up in a posthumous celebration of the immense talent. There were even a couple that didn’t make it down to the panel due to the crowded lines. Dr. Travis Langley author of Batman and Psychology: A Dark and Stormy Knight was revealed as the moderator for the panel.

Bill the Boy Wonder - cover - 9-6-11

Finger’s granddaughter Athena and great-grandson Ben were also in attendance down at the show. Mark Evanier and Michael Uslan were announced to be in the panel as well. Marc Tyler Nobleman author of Bill: The Boy Wonder was in good form. The moderator sought to give Finger an Inkpot award for excellence in the comics arts.

A video was ran recognizing Finger’s family’s reactions, which also featured a few clips from some of the most important film and television projects in Batman media. These clips highlighted the various creations by Finger including Wildcat, Alan Scott, Lana Lang, Alfred, Mr. Freeze, and more.

Michael Uslan noted that he met Bill twice. Evanier met Finger for five minutes, and shared a nice exchange about his appreciation of Batman, as well as a quick burst of dialogue on the New York Subway system.

Jens Robinson was also amongst the panel’s company. He noted that his father, Jerry Robinson, had joined the Batman team early on at the age of 17. Bob Kane saw the artist’s sketches and had him join in on the creation of the Dark Knight. Jens noted that Jerry was the first one who attempted to draw the stories that Finger came up with. The artist had been noted to sometimes work directly with Bill. Batman creator Bob Kane was reportedly off on his own for most of the duration of the team’s work on Batman.

Athena noted that Bill was fairly closed off from the rest of the world, and that people didn’t get to see him very often.

The moderator recognized that Bill has been dead for nearly 40 years. There is another panel tomorrow that focuses on the creators of Batman. Some of the panelists from this panel are going to be in attendance as well.

Michael Uslan, producer of many Batman films gave the following account of Finger: Bill Finger was the original Co-Creator and writer of Batman. Bill was visual, and took Kane’s design and changed it. He noted that he created Gotham, named the hero as the Dark Knight, and created the Batcave as well as the Batmobile. Finger was noted as writing the Clock King episode of the original Batman television series from Adam West. He explained Finger wrote stories for Stan Lee, but never actually met him. In the Superman cartoon Finger is credited as William Finger. Finger was eventually booted off of the Batman creative team, after working with Kane for nearly half a century.

Bill the Boy Wonder page - father closing tailor shop

Michael Uslan also told the following story about meeting Batman:

He did not originally know the names of the comics creators, but just enjoyed the work around popular fandom. Finger’s tales mostly involved some giant props located throughout the fictional world of Gotham. DC Comics in New York used to have a tour where they supposedly gave away original art, in which they cut the art pages into three separate sections. Eventually, they offered the kids entire full pages, and let them see the creator. Murphy Anderson was there among some of the other comics’ greats.

Uslan also got to know Finger who was sitting behind a typewriter at the New York DC Offices.

The panel then asked who in the audience had actually met Finger.

Dennis O’Neil came up and joined in on the festivities. He explained that he met Bill when he was in his former career as a journalist. Finger took O’Neil out on the town, and divulged industry secrets, as well as talking about the craft of creating comic. O’Neil stated that he wished he had called out to him during his time as the Batman editor. O’Neil once approached someone in the legal department of the company and they supposedly told him to “get lost.”

We were showed some of Neal Adams thoughts on Batman via a video screened at the panel, who noted that he valued all the work Bill had contributed to Batman.

Bill the Boy Wonder - cover sketches 1 (six total)

Former Batman 66′ actress Lee Merriweather stated that there are several different Catwoman now. She got the chance to work with all of the different Catwoman on the original television series. The actress explained how the fans are very loyal, and still come up to her at conventions.

She joked how the Batman film were shown to many young children, making her one of the most prominent babysitters of the fandom’s last generation. She also stated how proud she was at the work of the panelists bringing this moment together. Arnold Drake was the very first person who told Mark Evanier that there needed to be an award credited towards Finger.

Athena stated that she shied away from talking about it because people tended not to believe her. Marc found her when she was “in hiding.” She also stated that she met Uslan at the premiere of the Dark Knight film. Uslan introduced Siegel and Athena to Christian Bale, Christopher Nolan, Danny Devito, Bob Kane, and more. Each of them offered hugs to some out of the respect for Finger’s descendants.

Marc Tyler Nobleman’s all-ages illustrated book entitled Bill: The Boy Wonder was given the spotlight, as the panelists noted that they were going to let Athena sign some of the copies down at the show floor.

Eventually, it was noted by the panel that Bob felt guilty about not crediting the creator later on in life.

Here’s to you Bill Finger, Co-Creator of Batman!