** UPDATED: NOW WITH PICTURES**
(So ignore all those comments about there being no pictures)
I arrived late for day one of the San Diego Comic-Con. Well, not that late, but too late to attend any of the Con-opening panels, which included a 10:30 session entitled "Voices Of Pokemon." This marked fans' first chance to meet the new, ninth season voices of Ash and Brock. (Did the old voices ask for too much money? Did they feel that after eight seasons they'd taken the characters as far as they could go?) I did arrive in time for the "DC Nation" panel, a gathering of DC Comics fans presided over by DC Vice President / Executive Editor Dan DiDio. DiDio exudes a kind of enthusiasm that's part football coach, part infomerical host, part your friend's way-cool dad. He also exudes a genuine enthusiasm for comics that tough to fake.
The panel focused mostly on 52, an ambitious and–to date–gripping weekly series starring a handful of second-tier superheroes like Animal Man and the new Batwoman. DiDio, editor Stephen Wacker, and writers Mark Waid and Greg Rucka (two of the four 52 writers fielded questions that ranged from the laudatory to the borderline hostile. (Apparently some people haven't gotten over Superboy's recent death yet.) But the highlight belonged to a young attendee dressed as The Spectre who explained, "I was going to come as Mr. Terrific but it was too expensive." (I've even got a picture of the guy, but I'm missing a crucial cord. Hopefully there will be images to share tomorrow.)
From there I drifted from a panel spotlighting artist Brian Bolland to the tail-end of a panel with
Battlestar Galactica actor Richard Hatch (a veteran of both series) to a heavily attended session on the new comic series Occult Crime Taskforce. Why so heavily attended? Because co-creator Rosario Dawson was there to answer questions. Dawson didn't try to hide that she got involved in part because she imagined it becoming a film and game franchise, but casually established her comic fan bona fides by dropping references to Ex Machina and Bryan Hitch. Dawson and her co-creators all seemed to like each other and the project so much it's a shame that the book, based on the first issue, doesn't have more going for it.
Then it was on to a session with Andy Runton, creator of a kid-friendly series called Owly, about the adventures of a very nice owl and his forest friends. It's just about the sweetest thing ever put to paper. Runton conducted his own Q&A; sessions with the grown-ups and kids in attendance, the latter tending toward questions like, "Could you draw Owly's house?" He happily obliged.
Later in the day I hit a panel called "The Seven Spiritual Laws Of Superheroes," featuring supergenius writer Grant Morrison and Deepak Chopra. Announced as being moderated by Canadian "supermodel/spokesperson" Saira Mohan, this looked to be one of the can't-miss panels of the Con. The first sign of trouble was when Mohan failed to show. The second was when Morrison and Chopra admitted that they had no idea what the seven spiritual laws of superheroes were but hoped that we the audience could help make them up. The third was when Chopra just kept talking and talking about "healing the collective soul" and how hopefully he could contribute to this by becoming involved with the new Virgin comic lines. To be fair, both had some interesting ideas about the possibility of superheroes to help create an environment to create, in Morrison's words, an "optimistic and utoopian" future but whatever magic they were talking about didn't make it into the conference hall. I bailed and spent much of the rest of the day talking to publicity contacts and looking for cheap back issues of Justice Leauge Of America.
Tomorrow, fewer words, more pictures (I hope), and a report on Samuel L. Jackson's Snakes On A Plane-related appearance.
Headlines of the day:
—DC announced Doom Patrol and Deadman movies. —Marvel announced that the guy behind The Transporter would work on a Hulk sequel. Yay?