Thursday, August 13, 2009

3 things I Learned At The Chicago-Comic Con

1) You Want to speak to Cmdr Adama? Clear It With Col. Deering.

I decided to do video interviews at the con. I knew I'd only get 5-10 minutes with most folk, so what would make these more special than my usual lengthy phone chats with writers and artists? They're posting here at my site , and more are on the way. My buddy Kaz followed me Friday with his HD camera, and we talked to many comic creators. From George Perez, Jason Aaron, and Howard Chaykin to Dan Slott, Greg Horn, Freddie Williams, John Ostrander, Mike Gold and Mark Millar. All great chats, but in my 5th year of podcasting, I'm pleased to say, that these folk know who I am, and are always glad to oblige.

My hope was to talk with the one A-list actor at the con, Admiral Adama himself, Edward James Olmos . I had my doubts, given the best the PR dept could suggest was to try to approach him after his panel (uh, thanks ) . Early Friday afternoon, there was a lull at Olmos's table so I approached him to see if he'd be willing to do a 5 minuter interview. I knew he was there to promote the new BSG DVD The Plan, coming out Oct 27th, and had heard he was quite affable at the San Diego Comicon.

After explaining who I was and the podcast I do, I asked...

"Would you be willing to do a 5 minute interview?"

He thought for a second and said ...

" I'm not sure of my schedule, you'll have to clear it with Erin Gray."

"Erin Gray, really?"I couldn't help but smile

"Colonel Deering has to okay you doing this?"

Olmos laughed and said, "No really , she's my agent for these type of events."

It's true. Not only is Gray at these cons signing Buck Rogers and Silver Spoon photos. She runs the website heroes for hire, which reps many actors at convention tours. So I approached her table. She was all smiles until I explained I was press then she adopted a business like demeanor, and asked about the website I represented. I explained what I do, and she consented to the Olmos interview. You'll see it in a few days.

You'll also see an interview with Erin Gray herself, who frankly was a pleasure to speak with. Not only did we cover Buck Rogers and her memorable stint as Col. Wilma Derring, but she's one of the baddies in the new Ghostbusters Video game, and doing lots of other acting. She was also complimentary towards my interview skills.

Aw shucks, thanks Colonel.

2) What It Really Means When The Big Comic Publishers Don't Have Booths

Yes, I know. DC and Marvel had several top creators in attendance, and available for panels, autograph signings, and panels. However, the Con Floor Entrance looked empty.when you first walked in.

There were rows of celeb autograph tables , from Gil Gerard To The Honkytonk Man, to Todd Bridges and Rob Liefeld (who as always had tons of nice fans to talk to besides the one Yellow Hat Douche). Still there was no big walk in sensory BOOM of giant comic banners, loud pumping booth music or looped videos of new Film and Animated Trailers, plus the usual milling about and community hang out place for comic fans to squat. People wandered about aimlessly. Just like sniffing dogs, wondering what happened to the park bushes they're used to frequenting.

Funny tense exchanges came from the panels. While it didn't match the anger Congress is feeling at these Health Care Town Hall Meetings a few fans demanded answers from the Ian Sattlers and Jim McCanns who led their companies respective chats.

An angry fan would yell, "WHY ISN'T THERE A MARVEL BOOTH?"

(Substitute "DC" for Marvel, then repeat)

The MC answer was always the same

"I don't know, but we're here talking to you, and having a good time. Right?"

It was kind of like blaming your postman, for the cancellation of the Vegas Elvis stamp.

I'd have to say the panels were well attended and seemed to go well, with the one scheduling exception of Mike Choi being the only Marvel artist to show up at an artists panel. Choi rolled with it, and still had fun taking questions with those who hung around. My favorite post panel confrontation was when a "retailer" (R) confronted Jim McCann (JMC) to explain the hypocrisy of Marvel's 70th Anniversary.

Angry R: "How could this be the 70th Anniversary? Marvel Comics company didn't exist 70 years ago."

Smiling JMC: "The Human Torch & Sub Mariner debuted in Marvel Mystery Comics in 1939"


Budinsky Me: " Timely Comics..."


Me: (LOUDER) ...Timely Comics published a title called Marvel Comics in 1939. Don't be a nit picker.

The "Retailer" shot a dirty look my way, while Jim stood there smiling patiently at the guy, in the same way cops do when talking a jumper off of a building ledge.

3) Breakfast With Doug Jones Dave Barclay and Margot Kidder? $100 dollars .

Selling That As A "Special Ticketed VIP Event" ? Priceless.

Look I know this is a "consumer show", where the promoters and dealers want you to buy many things, but frankly the "Meet And Greet" events at the con were way over priced. $99 dollars to drink with Nichelle Nichols?

Sorry but I was just at the FX International Show in Orlando, and with no extra press or VIP privilages I got to hang at the bars and parties with Jonathon Frakes James Marsters , and Jewel Staite this year, George Takei, Greg Grunberg, The Soup Nazi and Adam West last year, and Zachary Quinto, Colin Ferguson, and Peter Graves the year before that. All for free.

There were free saturday drink ups with the comic guests and artists, but that was going to happen anyway at the Hyatt next door, just like it did thursday and friday nights. Just like it always has every year since the con moved to Rosemont.

Looking at these "VIP Events", I felt like Popeye being held upside down at the ankles by Bluto shaking every spare piece of change out of my pockets.

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