Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Super Mario Beats It: The Lessons of NYCC 2010


JA from MNPP here. New York's Comic Con went down this previous weekend in the massive Javits Center here on the island of Manhattan, and if you were there amongst the stacks of dusty Fantastic Four comics and shiny samurai sword replicas and Jason Voorhees masks you might've seen me wandering around in a glassy-eyed stupor. Every Comic Con I've been to breeds the same overstimulated dullness - within a couple of hours my pupils dilate and seeing things like a ten-foot tall Orc tickling Wonder Woman just starts to seem normal. This happens every day! Still, a couple of things stood out this year and I shall now document them.

10 Random Things I Learned at NYCC This Year

01 Girls really like the Silk Spectre costume - Or maybe it's that they know the boys like seeing them in the Silk Spectre costume - either way, I saw about twenty different ladies wearing the slutty bumblebee ensemble from Zach Snyder's adaptation of Alan Moore's seminal comic book. The film hadn't come out yet when the last Comic Con happened here in NYC - in 2009 NYCC happened in February, while they moved it into October for 2010 (a permanent move), and Watchmen came out in March 0f 2009 - so I don't remember seeing the costume last year, but it was literally - literally! - everywhere you turned this time around. Does this make Malin "Baby Girl" Akerman a geek icon?

02 Danny McBride's a trooper - The panel for David Gordon Green's Your Highness was at the geek-freaking hour of 10:30am on Saturday. Keep in mind you've got at least an hour's wait to even get into the building at that hour, plus with the commute there... needless to say it took me some effort to drag my bum there, but I did. Then I heard through the press-vine that McBride & Co. had been partying hard until the wee hours of morning before the panel and I felt a little less super for my own efforts, since I'd been in bed by 11:30. James Franco seemed dazed, but Danny McBride was firing on all cylinders. Funny man.

And the footage they showed from the film, while definitely geared to the Comic Con audience - Natalie Portman's thong! Puppets smoking from a bong! (hey that rhymes) - was every ounce the bizarre mish-mash I could've hoped the film would be. It looks terrific. I don't entirely understand David Gordon Green's directing career, but it's been a pleasure watching it play out so far.

03 Geeks will stand in a very long line to watch a commercial - This is nothing new to Cons, I've seen it at every one I've gone to, but it always baffles me. The fine folks behind the upcoming release of the Alien Anthology, as they call it, had a booth where they'd close you up in a sleeping pod and right up in your face was a TV screen and it'd show a bunch of clips from the four Alien movies with some sound effects echoing in your ears. The end. And yet the line never stretched less than fifty people long! I suppose the T-shirt they gave you that cleverly stated "Want A Hug?" had something to do with it, but still. (I totally did it anyway, and I cherish my T-shirt.)

04 The family that geeks together, is adorable together - I wish my parents had dressed me up like a Jedi or Baby Yoda and taken me to these sorts of things. So I could immediately fall asleep. Damn you, parents!

05 In The Thing, There Be Tentacles - While I'm still unsure about a prequel to John Carpenter's brilliant 1982 film, itself a remake, the trailer for Matthijs van Heijningen Jr's film - which has made its way online in an exceptionally shaky, hand-held version - had a couple of quick glances of their take on the plant-animal alien monster things and they did excite this nerd's senses. Although only glimpsed, they look right, which in this era of lousy CG was a concern. Now let's just hope they can nail the right paranoiac tone needed too.

06 Katee Sackhoff and Tricia Helfer are pros at this - I can only imagine how many of these events these ladies have entertained at this point, but the dynamic Battlestar Galactica duo had the audience eating out of their palms. They have a terrific rapport - they are apparently great friends in real life - and joked that they're waiting for the reboot of Cagney & Lacey to come along to showcase it. I would watch that.

07 But Michelle Forbes is scary - I don't care that she told us she's nothing like Admiral Cain in Battlestar of the maenad MaryAnn on True Blood or [insert the name of every character she's ever played] and that she's really a hippie-type in real life - there's a reason she's successful for playing harsh ladies, and she made me nervous. I had to keep checking to make sure everybody's eyes weren't going all black, because with all due respect the audience at a Battlestar Galactica panel at Comic Con is not the audience I want to be having an orgy with.

08 M Night Shyamalan, amiable dude - I defended M Night for a very long time, well past when most people had bailed ship - I liked The Village, and I liked parts of Lady in the Water - but the one-two punch of that book about him and The Happening (shudder) kind of killed any arguments I could make anymore. So I only sat through half of his panel by happenstance, in order to get a good seat for the panel following him (on AMC's The Walking Dead, which looks epic by the way). But he came off really well! It was for the 10th Anniversary of Unbreakable, a terribly underrated film, and you could tell he really loves the film and that its negative reception put him into a bit of a tailspin. He came alive showcasing the storyboards for the train scene at the start of the film - you can say a lot of things about him, but I don't think you can argue about the meticulous craft on display. And he was fascinating to watch in discussion of that.

09 According to Frank Darabont, Zombies are the new Vampires - Which seems like an odd argument to make, right? The last decade has seen every iteration of zombies you could ever imagine - it's not like they need to make a comeback to be the hip thing. I get that he was selling his Zombie TV Show, and it does look terrific. But isn't it really Frankenstein Monster's time to shine again? I want sexy Frankenstein, dang it. (Yes, SNL got there already.)

10 You haven't lived until you've seen Super Mario dancing to Michael Jackson's "Beat It" - This one is self-explanatory, and true. You might not know it's true. But then you see it happen, and you understand its truth. The fundamental sort.


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