Got up at 9 to Paul making us eggs and bacon, above and beyond the call. Shoved those down then hauled ass down Fifth because they were giving away the tickets to get Warren Ellis’s 2:00 signature at 10:30, the same time as the panel with all seven Image founders. So Catherine went and got the ticket and I sat and watched the Image Seven stroll in one by one and it was pretty cool. It’s very fashionable to blame these guys and their upstart company for the massive dip in quality comics took as a whole in the 90s, and some of the blame is certainly well-placed, but at the time I remember it being like three Tom Cruises and a few Anthony Edwardses starting up their own Airborne Division. They might not’ve been the Navy but by God they sure tore it up with that initial aircraft carrier. I was close enough to hear what they were saying while milling about waiting for it to start. Coolest thing was easily Liefeld walking up next-to-last, shaking hands, looking around and asking too casually “Where’s Jim?” So much went into those two syllables, friendship and competition and insecurity and affection, it was crushing. Then the panel started. McFarlane talked 70-80% of the time, which was kind of funny when Silvestri would call him out on it every ten minutes or so. Catherine showed up with the Warren ticket, we watched for a while, then took off to damn Hall H.
Here, a mistake. They were showing a bunch of other movies I didn’t care about previewing, the Kidman Invasion flick and Beckinsale in Rucka’s WHITEOUT and a couple others, running from 10:30-12, so silly me, I figured it was early enough in the morning, we could catch the first half of Image, get the Warren ticket, then make it into H by 11:30 or so, in time to watch Snyder take questions about WATCHMEN, which of course I care about quite a bit. Not so, of course. There were hundreds of people in line sitting outside H, no chance of being let in, but just sitting there anyway, in case Crudup showed up as Dr. Manhattan and displaced half the crowd, I guess. That was the thing, the cast got announced. Bad News Little Child Jackie Earle Haley as Rorschach, by far the most inspired casting. He showed up with Akerman, the chick they got to play Laurie, never heard of her. And the guy for Comedian seems solid, too. The worst part was later, I saw some dude with a giant poster, a cover that never was, the logo up the left like always and a killer POV as he’s decking the Comedian, sending his cigar flying, a picture of Nixon and Blake up on the wall next to a newspaper article about Jon with the old Who Watches . . tag. Gibbons drew it up special. 3.6.09, children.
So, too bad to miss that. Richard Kelly was doing a signing at 11, got held up because the Rock was stuck in traffic but they let the people who didn’t care about his sig go through, so I got to shake hands with the man who gave us DONNIE DARKO, he signed my Director’s Cut liner notes and we were off to the ungodly line for a chance, a CHANCE, to get a ticket to get in line later for Gaiman autographs. It was insane. Catherine stayed there when Joe Quesada’s panel started. I went and found out that Marvel stole Jimenez away from DC and the awful news that Ramos is going to draw RUNAWAYS when Whedon’s run is over, so that’s one monthly off my list (still pissed about X-MEN #200, should’ve been a classic). DC was mocked. Catherine showed up and said she was unable to draw a winning ticket. I would’ve stayed if we’d understood the system, so I took off and waited a half hour for a shot. And drew a winning ticket! We were to be allowed to line up for Neil! Joy.
Quesada finished. We stayed in the room for a presentation on the Spider-Man animated series, which looked all right. But the reason was to get solid third row seating for the 2:00 Spotlight on Gaiman. And he tore it up.
It was like when you’re at a festival seeing pretty good bands, then the superstars start playing and you’re like “Yes, THIS is why we’re here.” Came out in typical leather jacket and mussed hair. Joked that he might should’ve prepared something, seeing as there were 6,000 of us. My favorite part was him recounting the tale of how Alan Moore dubbed him Scary Trousers (available in a slightly different form, and worth checking out, here: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7644816109439364924). I asked him what stories or authors cut into him as a child and made him know that he was in fact destined to be a master storyteller. He cited Roger Zelazney and Samuel Delaney among others, but I can’t remember them, because he was looking me in the eyes and it was pretty wild. Plenty of other great bits, talked about how someone gave him a Tori Amos tape at the Con in ’91 because she wrote that first song about him and how they got to be friends from that. Said DEATH might actually happen, but he’d be the last to know. And that Gilliam still wants to make GOOD OMENS if someone’ll just give him $70 million. Can’t believe we live in a world where no one will.
Neil finished at 3 and now we had to hurry because Warren was done signing at 4 and Neil was done at 4:15 and we had to get them both. Went over and was surprised to see no line for Ellis. I trooped up, bought his new novel, and got him to sign that as well as PLANETARY #26. He was so nice and subdued, I wasn’t sure what to make of it, really threw me. I expected him to bawl me out for choosing #26! Not quite as ornery in person. I told him what an accomplishment PLANETARY was and he said “Oi jest make shit up, ‘m glad yew loiked it!” Heartening exchange. Went and joined Catherine in line for Neil. Called Stew back.
Got Neil to sign SANDMAN #1 (he drew lines of energy radiating out from McKean’s Morpheus eyes, too) and thanked him for everything, shook hands, even.
Then went to the Vertigo panel with maybe 20 creators on stage, including the FABLES guys and Mike Carey. No BKV, though. He’s trapped in a room, dictating island goodness! It was fine. We were cashed.
Walked back to Paul’s at 5:30. Drank some wine, I had a Guinness, then we got a little dressed-up and got these amazing fish tacos take out from this place Paul recommended and ate them in line for the Eisners, which started at 8:30, really 8:45. And they were fun, but much more slipshod than I would’ve figured, PowerPoint presentations messing up and such. Brian Poseyn was awesome, delivering an entire group of nominations in Klingon. A couple guys from RENO 911 were pretty funny. But the killer was Gaiman and Johnathan Ross, this English chap who assured us he was a massive celebrity from across the pond but not to worry, he loves comics more than he loves to masturbate and he really does love a good wank. He expounded on this theme to the point that Gaiman was reduced to absolute laughter and the rest of us were in the aisles. Earlier, a couple of women reenacted the Madonna/Britney kiss to honor all the women nominees and the rise of “queer comics” in general (how this actually honored them, I can’t say). But Ross thought it would be funny to badger Neil into doing same, so we did actually witness mouth-to-mouth between the two. It was pretty hilarious. Almost made up for Morrison not showing up to collect the Eisner for ALL-STAR SUPERMAN, which would have been a hell of a speech at 11:30, I wot.
Home, home to bed. That second day really took it out of us.
Huge news of the day: I've been wishing they'd cancel ASTONISHING X-MEN after Whedon/Cassaday are done because I honestly can't see who could top it. Warren Ellis and Simone Bianchi are the best candidates that I can come up with. Should be great.
Huger, yet: Morrison. JG Jones. FINAL CRISIS. May 2008. Best. Event. Ever.
To Be Continued . . .