I am still feeling the lingering exhaustion of our annual trip to what used to be known as the San Diego Comic-Con; but is now Comic-Con: San Diego. But most of my photos are up now on Photobucket.
I had ambitions of posting blog entries and photos during the con; but the wrinkle in that plan was the meltdown of the con hotel reservation system, which resulted in every room in the convention block being reported as reserved within minutes of reservations going on-line. As a result, we ended up at the Holiday Inn on Hotel Circle, about eight miles from the convention center. Fortunately, despite the dire warnings on the con Website about nonexistent downtown parking, we got to town early every day and found covered parking at a building a block from Petco Park. It was a fair walk (seven blocks) from the convention center -- a trek complicated by the freight train that passed in front of the center every morning and night -- but it beat relying on public transportation to get to the center.
Here are some highlights -- and low-lights -- from this year's convention:
--As the above photo shows, Hollywood's love affair with Comic-Con (which waxed with the evolution of the Web, which allows thousands of attendees to rave or rant online as soon as they've seen the latest film preview) continues unabated. One of the best-looking previews I saw was the one at the Warner Brothers panel for the movie remake of GET SMART. Generally I think little of movie remakes of TV series -- particularly comedies -- but this one, starring Steve Carrell as Maxwell Smart, The Rock as his mentor, Anne Hathaway as 99, Alan Arkin as The Chief, Terence Stamp as Siegfried, and Masi Oka from HEROES as an armorer, looks delightful. Reportedly, Mel Brooks and Buck Henry are giving their blessing to this one (especially since it will likely make them a few more sheckels).
--Another highlight of the Warner Brothers panel was the presentation for the upcoming WATCHMEN movie. This project has been in and out of several film creators' hands for over twenty years; but if anyone can get it made, it's Zack Snyder. Snyder showed his adaptation chops this year by making a version of Frank Miller's 300 that had no stars, and yet grossed huge amounts of dinars. Here he poses with the poster WATCHMEN artist Dave Gibbons drew for the film project.
-- But the most exciting film project for me was the preview at the Marvel Studios panel for Jon Favreau's IRON MAN film.
The flick wrapped principle photography last month; and according to Favreau, because he prefers "practical" special effects (i.e., those done on-camera and in the camera) to CGI, the film will not require huge amounts of post-production. Favreau showed four minutes of footage, selected, he said, not to sell the movie to those unfamiliar with the character, but to convince comics fans that he was doing Shellhead right. And, speaking as someone who's been a Marvel fan for over 30 years, he nailed it.
In the footage, Robert Downey, Jr. portrayed IM's alter ego, Tony Stark, as a character reminiscent of Joe Gideon in ALL THAT JAZZ: an arrogant jerk who is so charismatic that people love him despite themselves. He's the sort who will pose for a photo with a soldier; but when the soldier flashes a peace sign, Stark snaps, "No gang signs." And the scenes with the armor. My goodness, people. The scenes with Stark clunking around in the early "Mark I" armor, battling a squad of soldiers, looked taken straight out of Shellhead's first appearance in TALES OF SUSPENSE. And the closing scenes in the trailer, where IM's red-and-gold armor is rocketing through the air, out-running F-16's . . . well, I was suddenly 12 years old again, buying comics at the 7-11 on a warm summer night.
Above is a photo with Favreau, Downey, and co-stars Terence Howard and Gwyneth Paltrow.
I was not among those who were lucky enough to see the Mark I armor in all its glory at the Marvel booth; but I did get to see the massive crate in which it was housed -- and to snap a picture when the handler cracked open the crate to give us a glimpse of the gleaming cargo inside.
More photos and con reminisces later. For now, I'll leave you with a photo of Willy Wonka, who's beside himself.