In our mega-con report, we had a brief mention of the great Fables/Venture Brothers rumble at San Diego, and fuller reports and some fallout are to be found on a variety of message boards.
Over at the Fables board, things kick off with an open letter from one of the Venture fans who had camped out in the panel room during the Fables panel (which was scheduled just prior to the Ventures panel in one of the larger hall rooms), leaving little room for the Fables fans — many costumed — who were left waiting outside. The letter criticizes writer Bill Willingham for “insulting” the Venture Bros. fans instead of trying to expose them to the merits of Fables. The letter draws a somewhat testy response from Willingham. There’s also this report on what took place with getting people in and out of the panel:
The problems were compounded when the convention staff mismanaged the line. Apparently an inexperienced individual was tasked with forming the line in the backside hallway and wrapped it back and forth before crossing the second doorway creating the third column to the line which was not wanted. When the subsequent person took over, he formed a new line where it was wanted without making any attempt to accommodate the mismanaged portion of the line which was comprised of people who had arrived an hour before the panel to get in. Soon, these people were told that they were not in line and that they needed to leave. I can’t say how this shock out exactly because I was forced to take my kids to this panel and left one to hold our place while I took the other to use the bathroom and to get them some snacks. When I returned however it did not appear that many had left and the few people I had talked to were still there. At any rate, Bill Willingham somehow became aware of this fiasco and actually came out and personally apologized to this portion of the line. It was pretty clear that he had hoped to be able to address a much larger segment of his fans and it did not look like it was going to work at nearly as well as he had hoped he was clearly disappointed. I stuck it out and was able to get into the room having missed only the first few minutes of the presentation. Although, my children and I had to each sit separate. I will commend the interior staff of this panel for working diligently to accommodate as many people as possible. Unfortunately this was not the case with a certain other room I had had some experience with earlier in the show.
There’s also this heartbreaking eyewitness account:
We gave up on the line around forty minutes into the panel and after a forlorn Snow White in full costume was walking by, we had moved halfway up the line, which had wrapped around the room on three sides.
While the Fables fans who characterize The Venture Bros. as a “show that makes fun of everything” obviously aren’t very familiar with it (it’s really more of a dark, Heller-esque dissection of pop culture tropes….kinda like…Fables). given Fables’ very passionate and loyal following, you can understand their frustration.
And, in a move that seems to be very much is keeping with the thinking following this year’s scrum, Willingham hints that they are looking into moving the Fables panel to a site away from the convention next year.
Finally, the official podcast of the Fables panel is up so listeners can judge for themselves what was said.
UPDATE: CBR has their own report on the incident, with quotes from all sides.
Although I have been leaning towards the laissez faire first come, first served policy, maybe it IS time for room clearing in the bigger rooms…or separate lines that can only start two hours before a panel in the BIGGEST rooms? That would definitely separate the wheat from the chaff but leave room for other stuff.