Further dispatches from comic land

A few additions to Jeffrey’s comic convention coverage:

A shy, middle-aged woman walked up to me with her partner as I was standing in a long line waiting for an autograph. “Excuse me, can I ask a question?” she said in a near-whisper.

Sure, I said.

She looked around for a moment before she spoke again. “Who is Wil Wheaton?”

Well, I said, he’s an actor who played a very annoying character on a Star Trek show, but later got into blogging. Turns out he’s an amazing writer and a very nice guy.

“Oh,” she said. “Thanks very much.”

I didn’t add: also, his patience is legendary. I’m sure today wasn’t the first time somebody else has walked up, looked over the line, and yelled loudly WESLEY CRUSHER? WHAT THE HELL IS WITH WESLEY CRUSHER? THAT GUY QUIT STAR TREK EARLY, THE WIMP!

“The thing about comics these days,” somebody said, “is that the comics industry used to assume that they’d get complete turnover in a few years. The teenagers would grow up, they’d stop buying comics, new kids would start. You could run the same storylines every five years or so and it wouldn’t matter. Now you have people like me who have been following comics for twenty or thirty years, and they remember Amazing Spider-Man #121 or whatever. I think the industry is still trying to catch up.”

More and more web comics people are showing up at the comic conventions. The Penny Arcade guys are local, of course, but there were many others: Scott Kurtz (PVP), Jeph Jacques (Questionable Content), David Malki (Wondermark), Sam Logan (Sam and Fuzzy), and many more.

(Jeph, by the way, is one of the sweetest guys in the world. Say hi. Just don’t ask him about his bird tattoos.)

The cos-players — people in full costume — weren’t as plentiful or imaginative as they are for Sakuracon or Norwescon, but they were around. Several stormtroopers, a few Princess Leia-wannabes. One really good Mara Jade. One really bad Hitler-mustached Imperial admiral.

For the most part, though, it was a relief: unlike some other cons I’ve been to, nobody looked at you funny if you wore a normal shirt and jeans.

J. Michael Straczynski is giving a talk tomorrow. You might want to go see it if you can. Geeks know him as the creator/writer of the TV series Babylon 5 and a writer of comic books for Marvel, but the rest of you are about to hear a lot about this guy: he wrote a movie called Changeling. Clint Eastwood directed it; it’s up for the Palm d’Or at Cannes this year, coming soon to a theater near you. Since then he’s sold movies with directors like Ron Howard, Wolfgang Petersen, the Wachowski Brothers, and quite a few more.

How they talked him into coming to this convention, I have no idea. For fans and people interested in writing, it’s an opportunity not to be missed.

2 Comments so far

  1. gargamello on May 11th, 2008 @ 7:54 am

    I clicked through to IMDB to read a little about "Changeling". I was hoping for something a little more comic based, like an X men mutant style coming of age story. Instead I got what looks to be a questionable Hollywood Oscar contender about a mother challenging the police in a real life story "that rocked California’s Prohibition era legal system". Bleh. My imagination just lost its hard on and no amount of Marvel Viagra is gonna bring it back any time soon.

    On the plus side I no longer care to learn how to correctly pronounce Straczynski!

  2. colin on May 11th, 2008 @ 10:08 am

    Gargamello: JMS also wrote the upcoming Silver Surfer movie (or a draft of it, anyway), the upcoming adaptation of World War Z, and he’s been hinting for months that he’s working on an adaptation of Doc Smith’s Lensman series. Does that help?

    Also, it’s strah-zin-ski.

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