Tuesday, August 15, 2017

SDCC 2017: Best Cosplay Part 4

* Luke Skywalker from The Force Awakens - This was a popular costume and this one blew the rest of them out of the water. The robotic hand alone is crazy well crafted.

* Tiny Negan - The most adorable homicidal maniac you'll ever see.

* Brave Little Toaster - This cosplay is not only incredibly obscure, but accurate in almost every detail. He told me the appliances were made out of foam. It looksl like it all stepped out of the cartoon.

* Creepy clowns - I know the one on the left is from Killer Klowns from Outer Space, but I'm not sure about the one on the right. Either way, they're successfully creepy.

* Gamora, Starlord, and Baby Groot - There were a lot of Peter Quills at the con, but this one left the others behind with the props. Gamora had the best makeup of any other and the itty bitty Baby Groot was adorable!

Monday, August 14, 2017

SDCC 2017 Panels Part 3: iZombie

The only other panel I was was iZombie, one of my favorite TV shows. I arrived about 15 minutes late due to the line, but I saw plenty of what's to come from the series. The characters go through some changes in the next season. Blaine's dad Angus will become a regular on the show. I'm excited. He's so sinister and the sarcastically cheerful moments between him and Blaine are delightful. Let's see if either of them will successfully kill each other after so many attempts. Peyton will have more power under the zombie mayor and will spend more time in the court room. Ravi just used himself as a guinea pig, so we'll see how zombie Ravi reacts to the antidote. Clive is adapting to the new world after getting used to zombies existing. Blaine pines for Peyton, but David Anders mentioned that Blaine doesn't actually have any hope in the relationship and will likely continue on with business as usual. Major and Liv will have opposing opinions on how zombies should exist based on their past. Major was part of the zombie military with basically unlimited power while Liv used her power to help people on her own with relative freedom from authority figures. Liv will also have another love interest in the next season. I'm not super happy about this because things are unresolved between her and Major let alone with her new ex-boyfriend Justin and her one night stand with Chase Graves. Her love life seems messy enough without adding to it.

More new developments in the new season include a refugee situation for zombies. There is not enough brains for everyone and I'm sure Blaine and his father will be fighting to fill that need. There will be a Zagat rated zombie restaurant that brings brains "from cemetery to table" called Romero's in a sweet tribute to the father of the zombie film. Zombie scratches are now illegal. An anti-zombie terrorist group called the Deadenders forms and stands against human-zombie fraternization. A clip shown detailed how brains get from the dead person to the tables of zombies. I'm incredibly excited for next season especially since parts of it are very apt for what's going on today in the news.

The stars of the show answered moderator and fan questions. Rose McIver talked about the process for deciding how to approach the brain of the week. She gives into a whim or concept and tries a bunch of different ways to go about it without being afraid of being too campy. There isn't a lot of time for her to prepare for each one and, although I have a few complaints, she does a good job overall. One of her new brains for next season will be a hockey goon. The stars had the most fun filming the Dungeons and Dragons episode, which allowed Major, Clive, Peyton, Liv, and Ravi to interact all at once which is rare. A fan asked about a musical episode and the only ones on board were Rose McIver and David Anders, who has a beautiful voice. Robert Buckley agreed if he could only dance and not sing, but he apparently sings Careless Whispers by Wham! and Rush Rush by Paula Abdul all the time. The others stars were either on the fence or not enthused. Robert Buckley got the lion's share of the questions and talked about wanting to do more scenes that show off his body. The panel was wonderful and I can't wait for the next season of iZombie!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

SDCC 2017: Best Cosplay Part 3

More of the best cosplay I saw this past SDCC!

* Puppet Ash from Ash vs. Evil Dead - This puppet is one of my favorite parts of the most recent season of the show. It was completed created by this man complete with chainsaw arm and magnetic pupils to change the eye color.

* The Flash and Deadpool plus bonus creepy clown - This clown ventured into my photo randomly and made for a memorable moment.

* Game of Thrones ensemble - This group has impressive costumes with attention to detail. They seem like they walked right out of Westeros and it's one of the largest ensemble cosplays I've seen.

* Scar and Maleficent/Star Wars - This maship works surprisingly well and the little details and excellent quality make this cosplay shine. I especially liked the plush Simba attached to Scar's belt.

More to come!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

SDCC 2017 Panels Part 2: Preacher and The Defenders

I braved the extremely long Hall H line to see Twin Peaks, which I missed. I still got to see Preacher and The Defenders which made the 2 hour wait worth it anyway.

* Preacher

Although I came in a few minutes late, the panel was chock full of awesome! Seth Rogan, Ruth Negga (Tulip), Dominic Cooper (Jesse), Joseph Gilgun (Cassidy), Ian Colletti (Eugene), Graham MacTavish (Saint of Killers), Julie Anne Embry (Featherstone), Malcolm Barrett (Hoover), and Pip Torrens (Herr Starr) moderated by Chris Hardwick. Seth Rogan talked about making the show, how complex it is, and how values have changed so it can be on cable TV. Each character was discussed in detail. Dominic talked about how Jesse toes the line between selfish and selfless. While his journey to find god could benefit others, a lot of his actions are very selfish and he seems to easily convince himself otherwise. Ruth talked about Tulip and her distrust of Jesse and the use of his power. Joseph talked about Cassidy's path to redemption and his human moments despite his vampirism. Jesse and Tulip offer him stability and a family that Cassidy wants to be honest with. Graham spoke of the Saint of Killers' motivation and the love for his family. Ian talked about the makeup for Eugene and how hard it is to emote around it.

Seth Rogan talked about The Grail, an all powerful organization, and introduced a never before seen clip of Herr Starr going through a gruelling screening process to join The Grail. It was the perfect balance of violent, unexpected, disconcerting, and hilarious. Audience questions were decent. Seth Rogan talked about how he and Ruth collaborated to create Tulip that make her strong and still feminine and emotional. A weird audience question had Seth Rogan jokingly replacing Dominic and renaming the show Rabbi. Another question about weird fan interactions had Joseph describe when a fan yelled from a balcony that he felt sorry for Hitler (which you would understand if you watched the show). Another fan asked about accents and Dominic based his on Coach Taylor from Friday Night Lights. The last question was about pushing the envelope based on what's acceptable on TV. Rogan was shocked at how much they were able to get away with and wasn't really concerned about pushing further. AMC seems to be on board with this show with all of its quirks and weirdness.

* The Defenders

This panel took a while to get going because the moderator, Jeph Loeb, received the Inkpot Award for his contributions to TV as a writer and producer. He was speechless and clearly surprised. Jon Bernthal, who plays the Punisher, came out also unexpectedly and introduced the first trailer for The Punisher series, which looks awesome. What was shown was very violent and a bit darker than the other Marvel shows. The cast and writers for The Defenders came out including Krysten Ritter (Jessica Jones), Mike Colter (Luke Cage), Charlie Cox (Daredevil), and Finn Jones (Iron Fist) along with other actors who play more minor characters. They talked about the dynamic between their characters. Jessica brings sarcasm and mocking comments while Luke and Daredevil seem to really hate each other at the beginning. The new villain is revealed to be Alexandra, portrayed by Sigourney Weaver.

I had hoped for fan questions to the stars, but instead, we were shown the first full episode of The Defenders. I haven't seen Iron Fist and I don't really want to based on this show and what I've heard. Those bunch of characters are the ones I cared the least about. Jessica has refused to work anymore until a case catches her interest. Luke returns from jail and sees Claire for the first time in an amorous encounter. Matt has rejected his superhero life in favor of helping disabled clients as a lawyer without Foggy. Alexandra finds out she's dying in anywhere from weeks to months and accelerates a plan that causes a huge earthquake. I'm very intrigued and the episode was action packed and interested, going from character to character seamlessly and not spending too much time with one over another. It's a juggling act to make something like this work and I will watch the whole thing right when it comes out.

One last panel and then back to the usual posts!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

SDCC 2017: Best Cosplay Part 2

* Stone Age Lumpy Space Princess and Finn from Adventure Time - Crazy inventive, dynamic, and the right attitude.

* Batgirl and "Batman" - Both costumes are spot on and anything can be done with Deadpool and feels true to the character.

* Turnip Head from Howl's Moving Castle with bonus No Face from Spirited Away in the background - Miyazaki's movies are amazing and it's almost like they came to life with these equally amazing cosplays.

* Bucky and Frozen Captain America - A fun, unexpected costume with just enough Monty Python humor. 

More Comic Con to come!

Monday, August 7, 2017

SDCC 2017: Authors!!

I met so many authors and they were all awesome! Some authors I (mostly) internally freaked out about and others I either heard of or were pleasant surprises. I only took a picture of one author because I was too excited by books and meeting people. I will do better next year.

* Robin Hobb and Vic James

I randomly stumbled onto this book signing. I had heard of Robin Hobb as an amazing fantasy writer, but never read any of her work. I had not heard of Vic James before, but the beautiful cover of her book and the later random people spouting the book's praises won me over. Robin was very nice and Vic was exhuberant. She had never been to Comic Con before and wasn't expecting it to be so huge after some smaller cons she had been to. I will definitely be reading The Fool's Assassin and Gilded Cage and, if I like them, I will be looking into their other works.

* Sarah Beth Durst

I was so excited to see Sarah Beth Durst! She is one of my favorite authors and one that I don't think I've reviewed any of her books for one reason or another. My favorites of hers are Vessel and Conjured, both of which I will reread and review sometime soon. She was as excited to see me as I was to see her and she signed a copy of Queen of Blood, the start of her newest series that I hadn't read yet.

* Gail Carriger

Gail Carriger signed at the Mysterious Galaxy booth. Her new series that includes her newest release The Sumage Solution take place in the Soulless universe and focuses on the romantic relationships. I'm excited to read the change of pace for her unique literary world. I see her at Comic Con fairly often and it was nice to see her again. She had cinnamon roll oreo cookies which were delicious.

* Stephanie Perkins

Stephanie Perkins is famous for her contemporary romance series that starts with Anna and the French Kiss, an emotional series that I love despite not usually enjoying the genre. Her newest book is There's Someone Inside Your House, a thriller/horror about mysterious murders. I received a sampler that cruelly has only half the book, but it was nice to see her and chat about all her books. I never thought she would write a horror book and I'm eager to see how it turns out.

More SDCC to come!

Saturday, August 5, 2017

SDCC 2017 Panels Part 1: Composers and Jim Lee

* Anatomy of a Superhero Panel

I went to this panel by accident, thinking it was the Anything Goes with John Barrowman one. This one had a variety of superhero movie or TV composers talking about their craft, challenges, and projects. Mark Isham, famous for the TV soundtrack Once Upon a Time, composed the soundtrack to the upcoming Marvel show Cloak and Dagger. Ludwig Goransson composed the soundtrack to the upcoming Marvel film Black Panther. Brian Tyler composed the most superhero soundtracks with Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, and Avengers: Age of Ultron. Mark Beltrami unfortunately couldn't make it to the panel. David Russo composed the soundtrack to the DC show Gotham. Lorne Balfe, who composed The Lego Batman movie, moderated the session.

A video montage of each composer with snippets of their work and the TV and movie played on the screen. Each talked a little about their projects and played a clip. Brian Tyler's was my favorite because he talked about using music to portray the aftermath of Frigga's death, a beautiful funeral rite with no dialogue. Goransson talked about recording the music for Black Panther in Senegal and Africa. Russo talked about the swift schedule for Gotham where he had a lot of freedom to explore themes with the trust of producers. The consensus of the panel was that film is a medium to luxuriate in themes and explore more while TV is more about speed and making fast changes when needed. They all have different opinions about conducting their work in the studio. Brian Tyler prefers to conduct as a self admitted control freak, which makes sense since a different conductor can make a work sound vastly different. Mark Isham, on the other hand, prefers to be in the listening booth to address producer problems quickly sometimes only based on their facial expressions. He also admits to not being a great conductor and wants to take lessons to improve his skill.

Audience questions were decent. One asked if failed or rejected themes ever came back in different works. Only Brian Tyler had done so and realized it after the fact. Another asked about the lack of diversity in their industry, which stunned the panel a little bit. Balfe tried to clumsily dismiss the woman's criticism, but others like Isham talked about steps they were personally taking to help with the issue. Russo was the first to admit that the industry is mostly comprised of white men, which is an uncomfortable thing to address on a panel of white men. Another question was if they miss performing. Goransson performs regularly with Childish Gambino as a DJ. Russo was in a band for years before composing and misses it. Overall, the panel was an unexpected delight. I was especially excited to see Brian Tyler as he was the only one I recognized from my movie soundtrack collection.

* Jim Lee

Jim Lee is always a delight to see in any panel situation. He draws art filmed on a projector while answering various questions or generally talking about his life and career. He drew a portrait of Wonder Woman during most of the panel and did a hurried portrait of Batman at the end. He talked a lot about his life. He moved to the US as a child from Korea and didn't know how to read or write English. Comic books helped him learn English first from following the action with just the art and transitioning over time to reading the words. His parents wanted him to be a doctor, but he chose to follow his passion for comics. However, they still hold high expectations for him. Lee started out as a huge fan in a time when the audience for comics was much smaller. One of his big motivators for the job was not having to interact with a lot of other people, but the industry has vastly expanded and meeting fans at convention became a regular part of his job. When he first started his job, he expected the writers to have years of plot planned out and was very surprised when a writer asked him to choose his favorite Marvel characters to write a story about.

Lee talked about how his style of art changed as he has gotten older. As a young artist, he packed each frame full of stuff to impress and become a sought after artist. As his career solidified and he didn't have to try to impress anymore, he was more contemplative about conveying the story and what is needed in each frame to do that. He answered quite a few audience questions and it would have been nice if less of those audience members treated it as a signing session when it wasn't. My favorite audience member didn't ask a question, but gave Jim Lee his own drawing of Wonder Woman. The best moment of all was when Jim Lee gave Scott Williams a Batman Rolex watch as a surprise gift for their 30 years of work together and gave a heartfelt speech about their relationship (video above). Williams in turn gave an emotional speech about their collaboration in the X-Men issue 258 cover and how it was a huge turning point for him. If you ever get the opportunity to see Jim Lee in person, go! He's always hilarious, very kind, and incredibly talented.

Keep an eye out for more SDCC!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

SDCC 2017 and Best Cosplay Part 1

It's that time of year again! SDCC 2017 was 2 weeks ago. I returned home early due to a family emergency, but I had a blast for the two days I was there. Here are some of the best cosplay I saw:

* Sailor Freddie Mercury - The very first costume I saw and the best mashup

* Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg from The Fifth Element - This guy had everything from the mannerisms to the voice to the facial expressions, not just the look!

* Old Link - This costume had so much crazy detail from the aged makeup to the chainmail to the potions carried around. Very impressive.

* Riri Williams - This fun, vibrant cosplay makes me want to read the new Iron Man comics.

More to come!