It seems to me there are two general ways to check out the San Diego Comic-Con. The first is for those intent on attending one or a few key Hall H events (Hall H being the largest room and reserved for only the most prestigious panels...and Twilight) or highly anticipated speakers. These are probably the folks you see with one- or two-day passes, and they tend to be the ones who spend hours in line (there were, by my estimates, about 800 people in line for the Walking Dead panel).
The second, and the fashion employed by yours truly, is to see as much as possible without devoting too many hours to one event or appearance. This being my first Comic-Con, it seemed the correct strategy at the time, though after having hoofed it for the better part of two days across most of downtown San Diego (to say nothing of last night's Walking Dead "Escape" event, but more on that later), I'm starting to think the sitting-on-your-ass-for-hours people are on to something.
First things first, and yesterday the first thing was the Resident Evil: Retribution roundtable interview at the Hilton Bay Front. This was honestly the only media event I was contacted about covering, so I figured I ought to check it out. Plus, I have waxed rhapsodic about my love of Milla Jovovich before.
Okay, actual first thing: They had a display of all the Batmobiles, past and present, so I had to take a pic of the first (and still bestest):
The roundtables were just that: five roundtables where a bunch of nerds sat while the assembled "talent" for Resident Evil: Retribution rotated among them. Before this, some nice young lady from the Umbrella Corporation handed out severed hands and feet as swag, of a sort. I was a lot more enthusiastic about the prospect of sneaking it onto the plane in my carry-on until I realized it was actually made of bread.
My friend Dave, with whom I'm staying this weekend, actually took a bite out of a foot before taking his leave (he really wasn't supposed to be there in the first place). This turned out to be the best part of the interviews, because we were able to get each of the movie folk (director Paul W.S. Anderson, Jovovich, Michelle Rodriguez, Oded Fehr and Boris Kodjoe) to pantomime taking a bite of it themselves. Good times.
Other than that, the interviews were about what you'd expect. Questions ranged from, "How did it feel returning to this franchise?" to "What's it like shooting in 3D?" You know, hard-hitting stuff. I kept mostly mum, content to keep my smart-assedness in check, for once. I tried to keep tabs on how many times they used the word "epic" to describe the film, which Anderson half-jokingly remarked is what a zombie movie directed by David Lean would look like. That's some balls.
Oh, and I also got in an argument with Rodriguez when -- during a pause in her questioning -- I asked, "How is your character still alive?" Recall Rain Ocampo was shot in the head in the first RE (I was able to nerd-shame another guy at the table who couldn't remember this). Rodriguez asked me to clarify, and without thinking I replied:
"Does it matter? Have you watched these movies? You guys will come up with some pseudo-scientific explanation for her return and things will go from there." Rodriguez: "Wow, what English bug crawled up your ass?" [I found this an odd question, considering director Anderson is English, and would have followed up except for the time.] Me: "Hey, I love the RE movies, but you can't deny they're ridiculously over-the-top." Rodriguez: "So what do you think happened?" Me: "I have no idea." Rodriguez: "No, you can't wimp out, give me your theory." Me: [literally throwing my hands in the air] "You were administered some variant of the T-virus which simultaneously healed your head wound and accentuated the personality split caused by the gunshot." Rodriguez: "...interesting." Me: "And not even close." Rodriguez: "Nope."
Seriously, Rodriguez was the most relaxed and funny interviewee of the bunch (though Milla gave me a high-five when I told her she was the bomb in Dazed and Confused, yo). All is forgiven, sweetie.
What else? There was the Kate Beaton panel in 5AB. We ended up waiting in line about 15 minutes for that, because I wanted the experience of waiting in line for something. She was as funny and slyly awkward as I would have imagined, even if it felt like they cut her time short by about ten minutes. Autographs came later, but I'm not in the habit of asking for those, or for pics with famous people, like so many of my "professional" brethren at the RE interviews (*cough*).
Wandered around taking pictures for the Art Attack slide show that will be coming Real Soon Now. Brief observation: If you're going to get irritated with people asking to take your picture (in the main convention center hallway, not eating in a corner), maybe you shouldn't have dressed like Lara Croft: Breast Augmented Tomb Raider in the first place.
I did find out you could sort of check out the Hall H panels if you walked to the exit and sweet-talked the kindly old security guard into letting you stand by the open door. I'm afraid this was as close as I was able to get for the Firefly 10-Year Reunion, Joss-holes.
Had better luck with Breaking Bad, which still had seating up near the front. Grabbed some quick shots of the season five trailer they ran. Creator/showrunner Vince Gilligan assured us we would be completely "blown away" by what was coming.
Finally, what better way is there to cap off a day of walking around San Diego than a desperate dash through Petco Park while chased by zombies? Apparently nothing, because this is how Dave and I secured tickets for the 9 p.m. start time for the Walking Dead Escape, a two-mile run/obstacle course through a baseball stadium overrun by the living dead.
Long story short, we both made it through "uninfected." I don't know what they did to the people who failed to pass muster, or who weren't clever enough to wipe the fake blood off their arms and heads like we did. It was mostly entertaining, except for the "FEMA" worker who confronted me after one encounter asking if I'd "thrown a chair" at one of his zombies.
They *told* us at the beginning of the race to "help our fellow survivors" during the chase. One section of which took place in a refreshment area, and seeing as how I was at the head of a large group of people, I picked up a chair -- *held* it between myself and a "zombie" while they passed -- then set the chair down. It sounded to me like the "zombie" kicked it aside and roared. In character, I thought.
FEMA dude didn't feel that way. I commented that if you don't want us to pick up things, don't put them in the field of play. There were a few choice expletives exchanged, and that was the end of it. I can imagine he was tired of dealing with managing his crew and dealing with a bunch of nerds, or maybe he was just annoyed he hadn't considered the chair thing, no hard feelings.
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Jeez, when I write it down it sounds pretty stupid. Caught up in the excitement of surviving the zombie apocalypse, I guess.
After that, it was pizza and This Is Spinal Tap at Dave's condo. Not sure what today holds: Futurama panel? Penny Arcade? Person of Interest? Or maybe this is the day we just go to Pacific Beach and get nice and drunk. Ta.