E-MAIL THE AUTHOR | ARCHIVES
By Joshua Jabcuga
July 29, 2004
California Love: Wherein Josh Jabcuga geeks out over meeting DOLEMITE himself, RUDY RAY MOORE, blows-off SAM “Flash Gordon” JONES, and checks out the ROB ZOMBIE-hosted panel at this year’s Comic-Con International in San Diego.
I’m no longer a virgin. I repeat: I am no longer a virgin. I attended my first Comic-Con International in San Diego this past weekend, and what a romp it was. While the experience was shy of orgasmic, it was still overall pretty damn satisfying.
I’m somewhat jet-lagged (I thought going from the west coast back to the east coast was supposed to be the easy part?), my feet are sore, and my bags, still unpacked, chock full of giveaways and promos.
Funny how plans never seem to work out the way you envision them. Originally, I was intending on keeping an hourly diary at the Con for this week’s edition of Squib Central. I lost track of that idea after a few minutes of being inside the Convention Center. Imagine LSD for the fanboy brain, and you’ll be somewhat close to what I was feeling,--stormtroopers, Living Dead Dolls, movie starlets, and flashbulbs a plenty, all swirling inside my skull like the bad trip tunnel scene from WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY.
The event consisted of many high points and a few low points, and here’s my Squib Central recap:
• Friday was my first day at the Con. After receiving my press pass, I spent some time just trying to take everything in. I was limited in time because I wanted to get a good seat for the CONSTANTINE/BATMAN BEGINS panel set to take place in the early part of the afternoon. The panel, in and of itself, was a complete waste of time. Screenwriter DAVID GOYER revealed little of the film, and CILLIAN “Scarecrow” MURPHY (Also known as the dude from 28 DAYS LATER) was all smiles but about as enlightening as a bucket of zombie brains. I ditched my girlfriend to get a closer view from the press pit, where we were given very strict instructions not to take even a single picture once KEANU REEVES took his seat for the CONSTANTINE panel.
So out comes KEANU REEVES, but not before the crowd was treated to about seventeen minutes of footage from the upcoming CONSTANTINE. The footage left me fairly indifferent. It felt very much like a cross between SEVEN and END OF DAYS, with an emphasis on the latter. Approximately 30-40% of the crowd seemed to leave the gigantic hall once KEANU took his seat. I was one of those people, and I don’t think I missed much other than KEANU talking about wanting to do SHAKESPEARE next, and apparently he was serious.
• Following the Warner Brothers panel, I thought it’d be a good time to check out CHRIS RYALL at the IDW booth. To my surprise, I was greeted by fellow MoviePoopShoot.Com scribes SCOTT TIPTON and CHRISTOPHER STIPP. We traded some quick stories and went our separate ways, not before taking a few quick shots at our grammatically and aesthetically challenged Web competition.
• As has been noted elsewhere, Lucas Arts probably had the most commanding presence at the Con. A full X-Wing, about two handfuls of cast members at various times, and a huge screen playing Lucas propaganda were on site. As much as fanboys seem to bag on Lucas and the franchise, judging by the reception, the force is still strong. Personally, I didn’t think anyone still cared. I was wrong. Sadly, to get an autograph or a photo, you had to pay some hefty prices, the highest being MARK HAMMEL, who charged a whopping $85 bucks per signature, because, well, time hasn’t been kind to him, and LUKE SKYWALKER’s got bills to pay. In comparison, VAL KILMER, who was on the opposite side of the convention center, was charging $35 dollars. Most people didn’t even seem to know KILMER was there.
On the other hand, SAM JONES, star of that 80s version of FLASH GORDON, the one with the cheesy but catchy-as-hell QUEEN soundtrack, couldn’t give away his autograph. I’m not embarrassed to say that I grew up on that movie. I approached SAM JONES and asked for an interview. He looked, well, like an older version of FLASH GORDON, but less like the star quarterback he played in the film that I remembered him as, and now more like someone HAPPY GILMOUR would tee off against. I also noticed his voice was really worn out,
scratchy even, like ROBERT PLANT sounds like when he uses his speaking- voice, or at least how I imagine it sounds like (but American, of course). JONES said, incredulously, “You’re with the press? What press?” He grabbed the press badge dangling around my neck and turned it around so he could read it. I replied, “Moviepoopshoot.com.” By the looks of it, I’m not even sure if he had heard of the Internet prior to our conversation. I dropped KEVIN SMITH’s name (which, for the record, is only acceptable when you’re A.) a staff member at Moviepoopshoot.com and you’re trying to get an interview with some reluctant victim or B.) You’re a staff member at Moviepoopshoot.com and you’re at a bar, trying to get laid, as in “I write for a website loosely associated with KEVIN SMITH. You want to meet BEN AFFLECK? Sure, no sweat.” For the record, I’ve never even met KEVIN SMITH, I don’t know BEN AFFLECK, or MATT DAMON, let alone used any of those aforementioned lines to score. Unless she was really hot…
So back to SAM “Flash Gordon” JONES. He asks, “KEVIN SMITH?” And I say, now somewhat embarrassed that this is actually taking on some legs, but still headed nowhere in the right direction, “Yeah, KEVIN SMITH as in JAY & SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK, CLERKS, CHASING AMY…” SAM JONES replies, “He’s a director, as in features?” In my head I’m thinking, “Yeah, you know, talkies?” and I’m doing the little gesture with my hands of someone winding film in an old fashioned movie camera while looking through it. This was followed up with, “Shit, maybe I should give this guy some cab money or something.” So there I am, actually trying to blow-off SAM JONES at this point, and he’s like, “How do you want to do this? Do you have one of those things?” and he gestures like he’s clicking on a tape recorder (I shit you not.) I tell him, “Sure, but if that’s too much of a big deal, I can just send you some questions by e-mail.” Then he begins to fake like he’s typing on an imaginary laptop (or in his case, typewriter), and says, “Whoa, whoa, whoa, that’s too much work.” Stop me if I’m wrong, but what the fuck has SAM JONES done since like, 1980? Would a little press really hurt? Even the dude that played Twiggy the robot in BUCK ROGERS got my work than him. JONES told me to stop back the following day, and needless to say, I made like Ming the Merciless and vanished into thin air.
• Something that really caught me off guard was the appearance of DOLEMITE himself, RUDY RAY MOORE. He was signing over at the Tower Records booth. The whole thing was pretty tame. I told my girlfriend, “We need to get our picture with that man.” She said, “Who is he?” I thought about breaking off our relationship at that point. If you have no idea who RUDY RAY MOORE is, I firmly suggest you get your ass off your swivel chair and head over to rent one of his masterpieces at this very moment. The man reeks of genius. So there was RUDY RAY MOORE, a man I never thought I’d ever meet in person, just sitting there, politely signing autographs and posing for pictures, looking pimped out as hell in his reptile skin suit. He wasn’t charging for autographs or photos, and the cool T-shirts he was selling were dirt cheap, only ten bucks. I’m really shocked that there wasn’t a line to shake this man’s hand, and I’m surprised more people at the Convention weren’t aware of this legend’s contribution to film. Interesting side note: When I asked the Tower Records rep if I could get a photo with RUDY RAY MOORE, he said, “Yeah, probably, but you’ll have to let him take a picture with your girlfriend first, and then maybe he’ll let you have a picture with him.” And he was serious. Spoken like a true pimp.
• Friday night everyone seemed to gather at the Hyatt. It was pretty weird seeing all these comics greats like JIM SHOOTER, NEIL GAIMAN, and FRANK MILLER hobnobbing at the bar. They’re like the PACINOS and DeNIROs of the comic book world, and of course, my girlfriend had no idea who any of them were. Sometimes it’s futile to try to explain these things. Again, there was a small MoviePoopShoot contingency present. RYALL, STIPP, and even ALISON VENETO made an appearance. STIPP and I were the lone survivors of the group, and we had a blast people-watching and bouncing jokes off each other.
• On Saturday I hooked up with TODD ROY of KWOON. He’s the witty guy that put together the clever formula that can only be described by its tagline of “…porno but with kung fu instead of sex.” He seemed like a really intelligent, cool character himself who has a winning concept. I’ll have a review up on the site soon in a future edition of Squib Central along with an interview and a cool KWOON contest. In the meantime, I encourage you to check out www.kwoon.com for more info.
• I managed to check out the majority of the HOUSE OF A THOUSAND CORPSES 2 panel, officially called DEVIL’S REJECTS. ROB ZOMBIE was there along with pretty much the entire cast, including KEN “DAWN OF THE DEAD” FOREE and SHERI MOON ZOMBIE, ZOMBIE’s hot better half. ROB ZOMBIE is a really entertaining speaker and has a ton of great ideas. He said this would be the final CORPSES movie but he would be directing other films. He showed a very bare, but cool trailer which showed three of returning cast members walking down the side of a road in slow motion accompanied by THE ALLMAN BROTHERS’ “Midnight Rider.” ZOMBIE said this film would have a spaghetti western type feel to it. The crowd was not as large as one might expect, but it was extremely enthusiastic, hanging on the director’s every word.
• The coolest artist that I met at the show was bar none SIMON BISLEY. I almost walked right past him. I caught him sitting at a table, almost unnoticeable, with his headphones on, grunting along to the music as he drew intricate sketches for everyone who asked. He was gracious enough to draw me a spectacular Batman. He was promoting a book illustrating key scenes from the Bible in the way that only SIMON BISLEY knows how. I’d recommend checking it out.
• Of all the panels, I had wanted to see ROBERT RODRIQUEZ’s the most, followed closely by the panel for TREY PARKER and MATT STONE. When I saw the lines wrapping around the building, I decided to skip the panels all together just so I could get a better feel for the floor. My only real complaint was the way that security treated the crowd. For example, I remember at one point walking by an autograph signing for STARGATE (Who the stars were, I have no idea, I’ve never seen the show), and I remember being yelled at belligerently by security to “Keep walking! Keep the aisles clear!” I understand they have their job to do and that some people turn into amateur paparazzi at these types of events when certain stars are present. Still, even though everyone wasn’t lucky enough to get autographs (there was a lottery for the SIN CITY movie autograph signing which allowed only one hundred lucky fans a spot in line), couldn’t everyone be given the opportunity to at least look at some of their favorite actors and actresses from a distance? The venue, especially on Saturday, was very hot, and the crowds were almost impossible to navigate around. Security did not help ease tensions, as I saw several “close-calls” where event goers almost got into physical confrontations with the security. As one really aggravated Con attendee screamed, “I paid good money to get in here, let me at least look.” ‘Nuff said, if you ask me.
• Overall, the Comic-Con was a fun, memorable experience. Would I like to return? Maybe someday. For now, my bed isn’t looking so bad. Oh, and RYALL, you still owe us a drink.
When not blending in with the schizophrenics on San Diego’s public transportation system, Josh Jabcuga can be found writing Squib Central, published every Thursday, exclusively at www.moviepoopshoot.com.
E-MAIL THE AUTHOR |