We accidentally went to Comic Con on Thursday. The plan was just to pick up our badges that afternoon, but there was a panel on balancing action and character development with some really big-name authors – Robert Jordan, Peter David, Raymond Feist, etc. (The basic lessons: let combat grow out of the characters’ actions instead of tossing it in, and be aware that combat is confusing. Focus on individual characters as much as possible, rather than trying to present a long view. Quotes here.) So we stayed, I got massively dehydrated, and we spent the next hour slowly drinking water and recovering. We ended up running into a group from the UCI RPG club and just stayed around and talked for a while before we headed off to dinner.

Neither of us had ever been to Comic Con on a day other than Saturday, and my experience with conventions tends to be that Thursdays are very light. Not so! It didn’t seem any lighter than last year… though we were to find out today that yes, there is a difference! This could be seen in our comparative success in getting into a restaurant last night vs. tonight. Last night we ended up at T.G.I. Friday’s mainly because we were in shorts and T-shirts.

It’s nice not to have to worry about parking. Our car hasn’t left the motel parking lot since Wednesday, and we’ve just used the trolley system the last two days. Given how bad parking has been the last few years — and how bad it clearly is this year — it’s entirely possible we might have had to park as far away as the hotel anyway.

We went in around lunchtime today (when you’ve got 3-4 days, there’s much less of a rush to see-everything-now!) and started with the dealers’ room for a while. We got to the Real Life booth while Greg and Liz were on break, with the booth staffed by Cliff, who was pushing Dr. Devious vs. Lincoln High — which we will have to check out once we’re back on a regular-speed connection. (We’re using the modem over the hotel phone line. I had really forgotten what that was like! I’m seriously considering going on another optimization kick…). After a while we split up to hit several different panels, and I dropped by the CBLDF booth to pick up a Barry Ween “@#!%$%! Censorship!” T-shirt.

I went to the Mirrormask panel, which featured mostly Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean talking about the film, plus a few clips. McKean and the editors had put together a sort of trailer-like clip, and there were a few other clips (including the creepiest rendition of “Close To You” I’ve ever heard). It’s hard to get a sense of the story so far, but what I’ve seen and what Neil has described sounds not only reminiscent of Labyrinth (which in part inspired the film), but also very much like Coraline and Sandman: A Game of You. Visually, it looks like a Dave McKean illustration come to life. It’s hard to tell how well the whole thing will come together, but I definitely want to see the finished product!

One more tidbit: The Death movie has been picked up by New Line.

Oddly, as MirrorMask was letting out, a woman in the row in front of me turned around and said, “You’re Lee’s son, aren’t you?” “Uh, yeah.” She then introduced herself and her two friends… apparently they’re part of the same circle of Scapers my mom’s in.

We met up again after MirrorMask along with Sean. The three of us went back to the Real Life booth, I talked to Greg and got a (signed!) copy of the book, and then we all headed over to the New Line upcoming movies presentation. Blade III at least looks interesting, Harold and Kumar go to White Castle… well, used to look like one of those films that could be either wonderful or horrible, but now it looks more like the latter… and Cellular looks like a standard action flick and not much more. Then, the moment everyone was waiting for: previews of the Return of the King Extended Edition, coming in December with 50 minutes of additional footage, including Eowyn and Faramir in the Houses of Healing, Aragorn using the Palantir, the final confrontation with Saruman, and the Mouth of Sauron. They showed a few scenes, and brought out several people from the production staff as well as David Wenham and Billy Boyd. Unfortunately there was a huge contingent of Nazgirls up front, who screamed every time one of the actors spoke. (Edit: we’ve posted quotes from the panel.)

It was maybe 7:30 when that let out, and the three of us went looking for someplace to eat in the Gaslamp district. We initially figured on Star of India, which had about an hour and a half wait, so we went looking around… and of course everything else was packed. We finally came back to the Indian place, which by now had a shorter wait at least, and finally got out around 10:30.

Then Katie and I returned to the hotel via the trolley of vomiting drunks, which was a strange experience… But that is another tale, and will be told another day.

See Also: Convention Photos & Write-Ups

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