Saturday, April 27, 2013

C2E2: Day One

April 16, 2010 was opening day of the first ever C2E2 (Chicago Comics and Entertainment Expo). I wasn’t planning on going, but I made a last minute decision to check it out being that it was the inaugural year for a new convention coming to town. I did not enjoy my experience at all. There were no interesting panels aside from Kevin Conroy (the voice of Batman in countless DC Universe animated shows) and all the vendors were selling basically the same items. Other than DC (who was handing out gobs of free swag) none of the comic book companies that were in attendance had anything going on other than the standard meet and greet with artists/writers, most of whom I did not know due to not being very up to date on my funny book peeps.

April 26, 2013 is the opening day of this year’s convention and I haven’t felt the need to go back to C2E2 until now. I managed to obtain a press pass and see how things have improved in the past three years and report my findings here on the Geektastic Film Reviews blog. I’m pleased to say that I was 110% impressed with everything I saw and participated in.

My priority for today was a purely selfish one, and that was to have actor Bruce Boxleitner (TRON, TRON: Legacy, Babylon 5, Bring ‘em Back Alive) autograph some TRON posters I proudly display in my humble abode. One is an original 1982 one sheet and the other is a limited edition Mondo poster based on the original film. Mr. Boxleitner was extremely polite and gracious and actually marveled at my one sheet for a few moments before putting his mark upon it. He told me “This doesn’t look like a reproduction. This is an original as far as I can tell.” This put a smile on my face as we chatted about my TRON obsession and how I have a small shrine to all things on The Grid in my apartment. My girlfriend Miranda told him my collection was big (she exaggerated a bit) and he assured us “There are some people around here that would give you a run for your money”, so I was happy he was enjoying the fact that people are still finding pleasure in such and old film. As he signed my Mondo poster he stopped to look at it and shook his head in dismay. “It’s a beautiful poster, but where am I on it?!” We all shared a good laugh as he gave the stink eye to the large image of Jeff Bridges’ Kevin Flynn that’s front and center on the poster and proclaimed “I bet Bridges funded this one himself.” I shook his hand as I told him that it was a pleasure to meet him and that was that. It’s always nice when you meet someone you’ve admired since childhood and find out they are as cool and down to earth as anyone else.

Enough about my little hero worship geek out. On to the events!
When I saw that there would be a shadowcast to the Buffy the Vampire Slayer musical episode, “Once More with Feeling”, I immediately added it to my itinerary. Back in 2007 I saw a shadowcast to this episode at Dragon*Con and I found it immensely enjoyable. It turns out that would be the last time that anyone would be able to put on a show of that kind without the consent of 20th Century Fox for fear of getting bitch slapped with a cease and desist order. So when I saw that one was actually approved for this con I knew I had to see it because it could be a long time before another one gets the greenlight. The acting/improv troupe that performed the shadowcast is known as Pineapple Shaped Lamps from North Carolina. They seemed to be on the ball for the entire show and, like any shadowcast worth their salt, mixed in fun little additions of their own to the scripted material. They seemed like they were having a ball and it was quite infectious. During what would have served as the commercial breaks the troupe played their own advertisements which just so happened to be filmed sketches for fictional products, my favorite being “Drug” which was a parody of modern day medication ads. I think I enjoyed the shadowcat from Dragon*Con more since they interacted with the audience a little bit more and the audience heckled back (“It’s Tuesday, Dawn must be in trouble again!”), but these guys and gals were pretty top notch too.

It was at this time I noticed that the lines for the autograph area, which was right next to the shadowcast stage,  were getting a little crazy. I was kind of appalled that someone like Ron Perlman had maybe 3 or 4 people waiting in line while the freaking Green Power Ranger’s queue was crazy busy. HE’S FUCKING HELLBOY! Show respect to The Right Hand of Doom fools! But I digress…

There really weren’t any panels I was interested in attending for the next few hours, so I decided to do my shopping/wandering today instead of Saturday and Sunday when it’s stupid packed. Artist’s Alley is always a great place to spend some time and this one didn’t disappoint. My girlfriend had a custom drawing made of her favorite comic book heroine Zatanna with her cat who shares the same name. We chatted with some of the table owners, purchased some of their wares and admired everyone’s immense talent. There are some great artists out there that aren’t getting the attention they deserve. For realz.

As the con started to wind down for the day I lined up to get into a Q&A with geek goddess Felicia Day (The Guild, Geek & Sundry, Supernatural). It was quite packed, but I managed to snag a seat pretty close to the stage with a decent view. She’s a little snarky, but in a playful way and I found her sense of humor to be adorable. Questions asked ranged from her inspiration to begin a webseries to where she sees the homebrew web content phenomenon going in the future. One person brought up the Veronica Mars Kickstarter phenomenon and she was all for it as long as the projects look like they would be worth the donation. She said that The Guild was funded via the “kickstarter to Kickstarter” – a Paypal link on their website. I found some of her insight into low budget filmmaking extremely helpful and encouraging. One person asked her opinion on when would be a good time to start creating content for someone thinking of jumping on the bandwagon. She almost immediately shouted “Now! You have a phone in your camera that can shoot high definition video… what did I just say?!”  That got a good laugh. Being the poster child for internet phenoms she gave nothing but kind words and support to everyone who brought up their aspirations to find some sort of audience on the internets, and coming from her that’s kind of awesome. She also repeatedly thanked the audience, standing in for all of geekdom, for embracing her projects and jumpstarting her career. It all came from a place of honesty and goes to show why she’s so adored by the nerd community. She’s good people.

Lastly I attended a screening of the Maniac remake with an actor friend of mine. I had been looking forward to seeing this flick since I heard of it going into production because the original fit within my criteria to warrant its existence (see my review of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake) and the interesting casting of Elijah Wood as the main character who just so happens to be a deranged serial killer. I will post my review of the film separately once the con ends on Sunday evening.

All in all it was a successful and fun first day at C2E2. I can't wait to go back tomorrow! In the meantime here's some pics I snapped during my journeys on Day 1.

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