Jun 23, 2014

Talkin' About Philly Comic Con, With Square Peg

Tableau and Square Peg Take On Comic Con
This weekend, I had the privilege of attending the Philadelphia Wizard World Comic Con with my good friend (and occasional Guest Blogger) Square Peg. It was may first Comic Con, and, though we only attended for one day, we were able to see a lot of events, panels, and art:

Tableau: So, Peg, what were your opinions of the day in general?

Square Peg: Well, the costumes were awesome. I was really impressed by the creativity there. We had a nice panorama view of the kids going into the costume contest.

T: Some of the costumes were legit. I loved when a person who clearly just bought a costume was standing next to someone who put time and effort in. It was a fun juxtaposition.

SP: Having our picture taken inside of a TARDIS was pretty sweet.

Hot Ticket
T: Yeah, just being in a TARDIS was awesome, And, across the board, there was a ton of Doctor Who cosplay and fandom. I love the explosion of popularity in that fandom. 10 years ago very little of that had made it stateside, and now it's a staple. Matt Smith and Karen Gillan's panel/photo-op/booth were the hottest events of the day. Which we skipped, because most of their events were at 9:00 in the morning.

SP: And I wasn't quite willing to shell out the extra money for it. Besides, David Tennant is my #1 doctor 

T: Tennant 4Eva. I will say, I was expecting a little more access to famous people. Besides glimpses of wandering Ralph Macchio and Christopher Lloyd, the most we saw of celebrities were in the panels that they were supposed to be on.

SP: So let's talk about those!

Sean Astin: The Stupid Fat Hobbitses

T: Sean Astin was a total tool. It's like he'd never attended a Comic Con panel in his life. Or spoke to people about anything. I think he assumed that, since he was famous, we would love to hear about anything he had to say, no matter how boring and off-topic. Which is crazy, since he's probably done at least as many Comic Cons as marathons since he did LOTR. And he's done a ton of marathons.

SP: I got the sense that he was desperately trying to leave his LOTR past behind him so that people would take him seriously as a political pundit and marathon man.

T: Two things I both didn't know about him before his panel and don't care about after his panel. So, mission accomplished?

SP: Also, he really wanted us to know how much he loves his family. Which is great and all, but when you say that your favorite memory of LOTR is the scene you filmed with your daughter... No love for Orlando?

T: Yeah, that was insane, He spent months on set in New Zealand with amazing locales and great actors, and his favorite memory is the day he spent holding his child. Yawn.

SP: I kind of hope they leave him out of Goonies 2.

T: I hope that you find out he was dead from an Orc attack. Give his screen time to Martha Plimpton. However, as he said, he really hopes that the film is true to the original cast before heading off into the next generation. Basically, daddy wants his screen time.

SP: So that he can use the fame to fuel his next Kickstarter campaign...

T: ...to talk more about what he's MOST equipped to answer: questions about bridging the gap between warring, diametrically opposed political parties. When he mentioned that he was an actor because his parents were actors, a lot of pieces fell into place for me. He certainly sounded like someone who was born into his famousness.

SP: Nonetheless, the glory that is Whoopi Goldberg assuaged any ill feelings that Astin inspired.

T: YES, it's time to move on to everyone's favorite faux-nun, Whoopi Goldberg.

Whoopi Goldberg Kills It

T: She was pretty much everything I wanted out of a Comic Con speaker. And, somehow, she'd never been to one before.

SP: She understood what the audience wanted. She was funny, gracious, and sincere. And I learned that her role on Star Trek was created for her because she *begged* the creators to be on the show! So cool! Also, the thought of her having regular lunches with Levar Burton is pretty choice. 

T: I like any time people talk about needing more diversity in sci-fi, because it's still a battle that hasn't been won.

SP: And it's true that Star Trek was one of the first shows to cast African Americans in lead roles.

T: Star Trek obviously gets a lot of credit for diversity, even if some of its earliest female roles were pretty thin. At least they were there and weren't (merely) sex objects.

SP: I still take umbrage with the overly sexy outfits they had to wear. I want to see Patrick Stewart in a skirt that short.

Whoopi answered questions on a variety of film roles she's done. It was great that people are fans of her for so many different things.

SP: And not just the super famous ones (i.e. The Color Purple). Plus, people really love Theodore Rex.

Whoopi Goldberg is
Stalked By Her Characters
T: Nobody loves Theodore Rex. Theodore Rex doesn't love Theodore Rex.

SP: Also, the anecdote about her granddaughter meeting Mufasa/Darth Vader (at the premiere of The Lion King) was great.

T: When, basically, the paternal awesomeness of Mufasa didn't quell the little girl's fear of the Vader that lurked beneath.

SP: And I was super stoked to learn that she's currently writing her own comic book, featuring a more "real" female lead. Whoopi is sick of Size 2 comic book heroines.

T: So sick of them. I'm a little worried about that project – I hope that people want to read it. And I also hope that the heroine she creates is a super hero who is older and is a little less tiny but isn't constantly being defined by those things.

SP: True. We don't need to descend into sassy older lady stereotypes.

T: I don't want her to be fighting villains that are just metaphors for Osteoporosis.But back to Whoopi: what's your favorite of her films? Or the one you watched the most as a child?

SP: Sister Act (both 1 and 2) is definitely up there. I was raised Catholic, so a slightly irreverent take on that was most welcome. I also love Boys on the Side. Whoopi and Mary Louise Parker had great chemistry.

T: Sister Act 1 is certainly the Whoopi movie I watched the most as a child. I wore that VHS out. 

SP: Of course, we can't forget Ghost. She had great things to say about Swayze.

T: I also, obviously, love three of her great kids movies: Little Rascals (cameo), The Lion King, and The Pagemaster.

SP: Speaking of The Pagemaster, can we talk about how great that girl was that cosplayed as Whoopi Goldberg's book in the film?

T: So great. It's so creative and off the beaten path. Whoopi didn't even recognize it at first. And it was (basically) a costume of her.

SP: To be fair, she may have only seen the final product once. Voice acting is its own beast.

T: Its own hyena.

SP: Nice one.

T: Whoopi really brought it for this panel. She was funny, endearing, seemingly very honest.

SP: I appreciated her honesty about the ups and downs of the industry and being out of work for awhile.

T: She's a class act, through and through. Which, in the best way ever, is not something I can say about the participants in the next panel we went to: Nathan Fillion and Ol' Two Dicks himself, Alan Tudyk.

Firefly: You Can't Take The Bromance From Me

A Love For The Ages
 SP: They were exactly what I wanted them to be. Which is to say, they acted like their characters in those few scenes in Firefly in which everyone is actually happy. Alan cavalierly gave away all of the possessions in his bag, including multiple coffee mugs, art from his sister, and an Armani watch.

T: I don't know about you, Peg, but Firefly was the first Joss Whedon series that I really got into. It's probably from my childhood desire to be either a cowboy or an astronaut, or a space cowboy. I mean, this panel was the reason we came to Comic Con in the first place.

SP: The Firefly fan base is definitely one of the most intense ones out there. For a show that only had one season, they sure built a following. It was also clear that Nathan and Alan were great friends outside of the show. Hearing Nathan talk about having the cast over for dinner was too cute to handle.

T: I can't really handle that at all. The two of them are actors who have really benefited from loyal and committed fans, so it's nice to see that they don't take that for granted. They legitimately seemed happy to be there, which, I mean, they were getting paid, but still.

Fan Reactions to Wash's Death
SP: Nathan's impression of the fans' reaction to Wash's death [in the Firefly movie, Serenity] was priceless.

T: You mean that scene "after you land the ship and before we bury you" AKA the most unspeakable moment in the Firefly canon?

SP: Alan played it appropriately dumb.

T: I like that Alan still holds out hope that he can be brought back. I mean, #CoulsonLivesSoWhyCantWalsh

SP: His pop culture references were spot on. Most notably his Peter Dinklage Death at a Funeral joke. [Peter Dinklage played the same character in two versions of Death at a Funeral – Tudyk mentioned that he can't wait to see his work in the African American version of Game of Thrones].

T: Which was so good, and we were that only ones in the convention hall that laughed and didn't just think that he was doing confusing, racially-charged humor.

SP: "What would they call the White Walkers?"
I was so star-struck, it's hard to remember all the fun details of that panel. Hearing Alan talk about his inability to remember lines was pretty good. And Nathan's mockery of Alan's flip-switching skillz.

T: Was that mockery or awe?

SP: You're right – there was some definite admiration in there.

T: That's the brilliance of Nathan Fillion – you never know whether he's making fun of you or praising you.

SP: I would be happy to let him do either to me.

T: It was weird that you shouted that to him as he was leaving the stage, without any sort of context. So, the Tudyk/Fillion panel was the highlight of the day, but our day was not over yet. Because we saw three one-on-one panels about Guardians of the Galaxy with Dave Bautista, Michael Rooker, and Amy Pond. I mean Karen Gillan.

SP: She'll always be Amy Pond to me.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Redux

Dave Bautista is Gigantic
SP: So, that panel definitely had the most ups and downs of any of them. I can't say it was bad, but it was definitely strange.

T: Yeah, it was a weird set up. All three of them were clearly backstage, so why couldn't they have just done a panel together? I didn't really need 30 minutes with Dave Bautista, even though he was very friendly and interesting and said "full blown" a lot. And Michael Rooker was just drunk.

SP: Dave seemed genuinely excited and grateful to be a part of the project. I couldn't really follow the wrestling Q&A, though. And, yes, Rooker was hammered. (And in this case, the hammer was not his penis). So, Bald Karen! Let's talk about bald Karen! And the story of fans fighting over her wig.

T:  Yes! Have you seen that video

SP: I have not, but it sounds pretty epic.

T: It is.

SP: I appreciate Karen's commitment to the role, though it is hard to imagine her as a villain. She's so sweet!

Karen Gillan Goes From Badass
to Sweet in 2 Seconds Flat
T: She is sweet, and really adorable. I liked her line about fighting Zoe Saldana in the film, and how it looked like a trained warrior (Saldana) was fighting spaghetti (her).

SP: Yeah, it was a nice image. Though I'm sure they both look sufficiently badass in the final product

T: Yeah, I think she'll be able to pull it off. She was occasionally a badass in Doctor Who. She's no River Song, but who is?

SP: River Tam?

T: Maybe it's a River thing.

SP: River Phoenix? It's all in the name.

T: So, final thoughts on Comic Con? I will say that it was great to see a diversity in attendees. There were a lot of families, which was a bummer because all the panels had to be a little PG but it was also adorable to see little kids dressed up, Halloween-style

SP: Yeah, there was definitely a range of ages and personalities. Not just your typical nerd kids. There were also jacked up dudes with tats, sweet middle-aged women, etc

T: Sweet, middle-aged, jacked-up women with tats?

SP: They had the best costumes. Also, there were a few too many titties in some of the artist booths, but there were also some really awesome folks. I bought some adorable cartoon Doctors. And a super sexy Spock.

T: Man, your sexy Spock was a highlight. And I got a Jesus version of Admiral Ackbar, Some Indiana Jones art that is too cool for school, AND a Tootsie poster. Because it wouldn't be Comic Con without Tootsie. So, thanks for inviting me to my first Comic Con, SP. I had a blast, and my wallet has never been lighter.

SP: You were the best Companion. (Doctor Who joke!)

T: You're the David Tennant to my Donna Noble.

SP: No sex.

T: Just everlasting friendship that only one of us will remember.

SP: Fish fingers and custard, my friend. Fish fingers and custard.
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