August 5th, 2002
So for the past several days I’ve been immersed in Comic-Con down at the San Diego Convention Center. I’ve been going to the Con off and on since 1985. I have some strange memories associated with the Con.
I remember many years ago, when I was living in Los Angeles, and before I was working on the web, I went to Con. I was having a good time at Con, and called my home phone to check my messages. The automated voice said “You have 8 messages.” When I listened, I found that my cousin Eddie, less than a year younger than me, had committed suicide. It was so surreal. To think that one moment One minute I was attending seminars about the direction of Batman and catching up on what Frank Miller was up to; the next minute, I’m listening to my Mother’s voice telling me the worst news ever. He lived here in San Diego, and I immediately went home to the family.
I don’t associate the Con with trauma though. I had a nice time. I’m having a very rough time right now. For a while last week it was as bad as it had been in the beginning of the separation from Jenny. I realize that what I’ve been suffering with off and on is depression. And the trick is to try and deal with it as best I can. The depression manifests itself as periods of incomprehensible sorrow and sobbing. The depression also manifests itself with a retreat from responsibilities. I’m a talented person, but when I’m in these pits, I feel impotent in the face of the world. But with activity, walking, reading, doing errands, I can sometimes snap myself out of these feelings.
Sometimes though, I can’t. And that was how it was last week.
Now, how the hell am I going to retain a job or clients under these circumstances? I don’t know, but I’m working on it.
Sheesh. I really should write about Con, eh?
Random Observations and Notes from Con
SwordStaff.com/ makes some amazing bladed weapons, including a Klingon Batleth. I would never buy any such thing, but the craftsmanship was impressive.
Another San Diego thing I’d not heard of was San Diego Asian Film Festival, taking place October 3-6, 2002.
I bought a small set of Copic Markers, as well as a how-to book on using them — How to Draw Manga Special: Colored Original Drawing. (I like all the How to Draw Manga books) They’re really nifty. I’ve been trying to do more drawing, ink and brushing, and watercoloring lately. It has been therapeutic.
I did not know that Minority Report had a faux-real site associated with it — precrime.org. They had freebie flyers promoting precrime as though they were artifacts from the movie. I like immersive promotional things like this. I’ve no idea if they work though. And Minority Report is on the downslope of its run now, so why promote it now?
If I lived in New York City, I would attend the lecture series “Superheroes in the 60’s: Comics and Counterculture, a multimedia lecture series by Arlen Schumer” at CUNY Graduate Center. It will be held on 4 consecutive Tuesday nights starting on October 29, 2002. Unfortunately the CUNY GC website has nothing about the series yet. From the flyer: In this review of the comic book superhero tradition, its personification of American Ideals and values, and how these attitudes and portrayals changed over the course of the turbulent 1960’s, the works of eight acknowledged Hall of Fame comic book artists are highlighted: Carmine Infantino, Curt Swan, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Gil Kane, Joe Kubert, Jim Steranko and Neal Adams. Their comic art not only reflected the dominant motifs of the ’60s, from the futuristic idealism of Infantino to the cinematic realism of Adams, but most importantly, the superheroes they drew changed — from establishment conservatives like Superman, The Flash and Green Lantern to counterculture liberals like Spider-Man, Doctor Strange and Green Arrow.
CafePress.com had a booth. I thought that was a pretty good idea for them.
Sheldon is a nice online comic. Their flyer included example strips — a smart move. Many promotional flyers I saw did not give any samples of stuff. I’m sorry, but clever drawings are not enough to get me to sample an online comic.
There’s a zine called FlipperSmack, which I knew about through Charles and Pinguino, both of whom have sites on SDB. I found a small flyer for it. I’m guessing it was Pinguino, though I didn’t see her there.
Illustration Magazine is expensive, quarterly, and of the highest quality. I’ll have to tell my friend Chris about it.
On Sunday I attended a presentation about the classic science fiction film Blade Runner. Paul Sammon gave the presentation. He made many teasing comments about a possible new special edition DVD for next year. It could have lots of new material, including on-set documentary footage, the BBC Channel 4 documentary, and all the various versions. Also of note is that Ridley Scott is working on a new cut of the film, a Blade Runner: Special Edition. You can read a bit more from Sammon on various BR topics at BRmovie.com. Another tidbit: apparently Dustin Hoffman was originally hired and paid to play Deckard, of course Harrison Ford ended up as Deckard.
A presentation by Kurt Busiek included the recommendation of Amy Unbounded as a wonderful comic for younger girls.
Saturday Night I attended a presentation from 20th Century Fox. I saw part of The Hulk presentation. They showed some footage I guess, but I missed that. The director, Ang Lee was enthusiastic about the film. We’ll see if it can be pulled off. All these comic book movies promise amazing, over-the-top action and effects, but given Lee’s wondrous Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, it just might work. A question was asked of Lee about going overbudget on the Hulk, a source of some controversy– and he answered: “I never go overbudget, I never go overschedule — but I’m having a blast!”
In another surprise, James Cameron came out and was talking about Solaris, due this Thanksgiving. Cameron is producing the film, with Steven Soderbergh directing. He showed a clip which was suitably moody. Solaris is from the classic Stanislaw Lem science fiction novel. Also, Cameron mentioned that he’s also working on a film adaptation of Battle Angel Alita.
In a neat twist, the guy who did The Green Goblin’s Last Stand asked to give Cameron a copy of the film he had made to get Cameron’s attention many years ago, back when it was Cameron who had Spider-Man in development. Cameron let the filmmaker, Dan Poole, come up, and accepted a DVD from the guy. For those who know about GGLS, that was a special moment. “I made it for YOU!!!” Poole said to Cameron. Neat.
The final surprise was the Daredevil panel. The movie looks like it could flop, but Ben Affleck showed up at the Con. I feel like I should have something more to say about that. Ah well, Daredevil comes out in February of 2003.
On Friday I attended a fun panel hosted by Mark Evanier and including Sergio Aragones, Scott Shaw!, Erik Larsen, and John Romita Jr. — they basically improvised lots of cool stuff — drawing for the audience based on suggestions a la “Who’s Line Is It Anyway?” It’s fun to watch talented people draw. It was inspirational to me, who’s trying to do more drawing.
I also got to see Ray Bradbury talking with Julius Schwartz. That was even more inspirational. Ray Bradbury has had a long, influential, and interesting career. He talked about flying and the fear of flying. He talked about sticking to what you love even when “stupid sonovabitches” tell you not to. Ray rocks. I also drew him.
I think things are looking up. I have a lot of work to do. Sorry for the lack of updates.