Going to the San Diego Comic-Con is like getting fisted by
the beefy, greased-up hand of Kirstie Alley.  At first it’s kind of pleasant and you’re mildly star-struck, but
eventually the pain sets in and you’re overcome with an overwhelming sense of
shame. And after the whole miserable
affair is over, you’re left shaking underneath the shower nozzle, trying to
scrub yourself clean.

With that lovely image in mind, here’s my Thursday Comic-Con report:

First things first, if you’re expecting some
earth-shattering info about new films, games, comics or television shows, then
you’re shit-out-of-luck. Why?  Well, I didn’t make it into any of the panels
this year.  And why is that?  It’s because Comic-Con lines have become more
bloated than Marlon Brando’s corpse.

And I learned something very important this trip.  I learned that the panels need some serious
restructuring.  On Thursday my girlfriend
and I valiantly tried to get into the Alice In Wonderland panel, but
after contemplating standing in the massive line, I decided it would be more
pleasurable to perform seppuku on my sweaty testicles.  And do you know why the line was so
atrocious?  Because the Twilight
panel was scheduled directly after the Alice In Wonderland panel.  Every pre-pubescent girl, lonely housewife
and middle-aged virgin had camped out the night before; all to get a glimpse of
Robert Pattinson’s flowing, unkempt locks.  And trust me, I have no real problem with Twilight fans (even
though I give them enough grief…but fuck, my girlfriend has devoured all the
books and has seen the movie about 40 times, so I have witnessed the damage the
series has done on a personal level.  Plus, I’m a raging dork too, so I have nothing to brag about.  However, I have had sex at least once in my
lifetime, so I guess I have that on these rabid fans.  But I kid…)

Anyway, having Twilight scheduled after Alice In
was genius on Disney’s part (if they even had anything to do
with it), since they were guaranteed a packed house.  However, this pretty much cock-blocked most
of the Tim Burton fans.  As a friend of
mine has suggested, the Comic-Con should really take a look into making
separate lines for different panels, so that every fan has the opportunity to
get into whatever panel they want to.  I’m sure there’s flaws to this system (like crowd control problems and
problems with shuffling everybody out of finished presentations); but at least
I’m offering up a solution.  As it is
now, people can get into Hall H early and stay in there all day.

So, since this proved to be a bust, we decided to hit up the
Masters of the Web panel (featuring folks from various sites like CHUD, AICN, IESB
and Bloody-Disgusting, to name a few) and plowed through the doors about ten
minutes into the Q & A session.  Without any room to sit (unless we wanted to climb over audience
members), we opted to stand in the back of the room.  This was perfectly fine…until two stampeding
Goths moped in and parked themselves directly in front of us. One was a very
large woman and the other was a very large man.  The man had these nasty-ass dreadlocks that kept stabbing me in the eye
and jamming into my nostrils.  At one
point, his stinky hair momentarily rested on my lips.  It smelled like patchouli and had a faint,
tangy and salty taste.  Like a barbeque
Lay’s potato chip.

If this wasn’t bad enough, a dude with a video camera the
size of Lou Ferrigno’s ego squeezed himself between us and the Rastafarian
Marilyn Manson look-alike (if Marilyn Manson decided to move to Jamaica
and live off a steady diet of Mallomars and Moon Pies).  So, in between getting a mouthful of Lay’s-flavored
dreadlocks and dealing with the overwhelming desire to punch myself in the
face, I now how to contend with a large camera lens jabbing into my right

Thankfully, just before I was about to weep, the cameraman
took off and I only had to deal with the gigantic Predator/King Diamond hybrid
that perched in front of me.  By this
time, Kevin Munroe (the director of the upcoming film Dead of Night)
introduced clips of the movie and then brought out stars Anita Briem, Sam
Worthington and Brandon Routh.

And I’m not too sure about this one folks.  I’m not familiar with the source material of
this adaptation (based on an Italian comic called Dylan Dog), so I have
no idea how faithful the film looks, but the clips came off as a bit cheesy and
extremely B-movie-ish.  Also, Brandon
Routh came off very stiff (and this is coming from someone who actually liked Superman
and Routh’s performance in the film).  Then again, I shall reserve judgment until
the movie is released, but I can say that I wasn’t too impressed with the
footage I saw.  This is unfortunate too,
since I like everybody in the cast.

And, much like last years panel, trivia questions were then
thrown the audience’s way.  These were
geek-centric and the prize of answering correctly was a pair of tickets to the
Wrath of Con party Friday night at the Hard Rock hotel.  Being the raging dork that I am, I figured it
would be a cake-walk to answer these questions.  However, my cockiness soon subsided once the questions were lobbed
towards us.  I might as well been asked
to do complex Geometric theorems or to do calculations on how long my boner
would last after sucking down ten Rum and Cokes.  Anyway, I thought all hope was lost until a
question about Twilight was posed (specifically, “What kind of car does
Edward drive?”).

Knowing damn well that this was right up my girlfriend’s
alley, I turned to her and asked, “Do you know this?”  With a confident nod of the head, she smiled
and raised her hand.  I did a quick scan
of the room to size up our chances and spotted a couple of girls struggling to
extract this information from their minds.

We had this is the bag.

Since we were obscured by the pair of meaty Goths, I grabbed
my girlfriend’s arm and raised it to the heavens, screaming “Right here!  Right here!”  The room collectively shifted their gaze our way, which prompted my
now-skittish girlfriend to yank her arm away from my grip and shake her head
like a protesting deaf-mute.

Her confidence had vanished.  Along with our tickets.

Mere seconds later, another girl had a Twilight
epiphany and quickly shouted out a serviceable answer.  This led us to hang our heads in defeat.  With this opportunity gone, we bolted out of
the room and decided to soak our sorrows in alcohol.  But before we did this, we strolled through
the autograph area; where (much like last year) I again caught a glimpse of Thomas Jane.  Now, I don’t know the man, but from what I’ve
witnessed, he seems to embrace the throngs of waiting nerds with humble
enthusiasm and seems to be a nice guy.  Trust me, I have seen actors and actresses treat their fans as though
they were riddled with syphilis.  Anyway,
Thomas Jane is okay in my book, which will probably warm his heart if he ever
reads this.

Another thing I learned from Comic-Con was that, in the
future, I should never order the “cheese platter” at the Marriott Hotel
adjacent to the Convention Center.  And let me preface
this by saying I think the Marriott is a great Hotel (we had an awesome view of
the city and a spacious balcony in our room), but when I think of a “cheese
platter,” visions of assorted cheeses dance through my head; not a warm plate
full of stale crackers, some kind of gelatinous fig loaf, three cubes of
heinous-tasting cheeses and three globs of jellies and jams that look like they
were violently extracted out of a newborn baby’s ass.  And the worst part?  This stomach-churning concoction cost over ten
dollars!  Ten dollars!

After a self-induced vomit and a thorough tongue-scraping,
we headed back to the lower Exhibitor Hall, where we were blindsided by stenches that
reeked worse than the aromas of the cheese platter festering in my sore guts.  Dizzy and discombobulated, we shambled
through the hall in an alcohol and bad-cheese stupor.  Overall, I was fairly unimpressed by the
booths this year.  In the past, there
have been a couple of standout displays and cool freebies, but this time
nothing really grabbed our attention.

Without any incentive to stay, we headed back to the Hotel and
drank some more, while taking in an episode of the Tyra Banks show dealing with
straight men who performed in gay porn.  Once again, I could feel that cheese platter working its way up my

After cleaning up, we made our way to a party at the Hard
Rock Hotel.  Since I’m not sure if I can
comment on the party (if I get the okay, I’ll inform you guys later), I will
say that I met quite a few interesting people and ingested enough free booze to
knock out a Shetland pony.  Concerned
about making it to a screening of the long-in-purgatory horror film Trick R
, we exited the party and headed back to the Con, where we encountered
yet another long-ass line.

Soon, we were herded into Ballroom 20, where Aint It Cool
News guru Harry Knowles moderated a panel featuring director Michael Dougherty
and stars Brian Cox and Lauren Lee Smith.  Since actress Anna Paquin didn’t show up (it was her birthday), Michael
Dougherty called her cellphone and, while putting it on speaker, had the
audience sing “Happy Birthday” to her voice mail.  Then the movie started.

Now, for those of you who have been waiting for Trick R Treat to be released, I can
honestly say that the movie is fun, humorous and suspenseful.  It reminded me of Creepshow (the theme
music seemed similar and the credit sequence was set-up with panels from a
comic book).  I had a blast with it and
look forward to catching it again when it comes out on DVD in October.  However, I had the worst group of annoying
bastards sitting behind me during the screening, which really tainted the
experience.  For one thing, there was a
group of guys sitting behind my girlfriend who felt the compelling need to talk
about what chicks they banged the previous night and how tasty the pizza they
just ate was.  Punctuated in between this
fascinating conversation was loud laughter (not related to the movie they were
“watching”) and catcalls directed towards the girls onscreen.  To make matters worse, I had two insufferable
girls behind me who rhythmically kicked the back of my seat during the duration
of the film (despite the fact that I repeatedly whipped around, flashing them
the “stink-eye”) and who were nibbling on some unknown foodstuffs that made
their lips smack together as if they were gnawing on moist towelettes.


And every goddamn thing that happened in the movie was
commented on.  I’m all for audience
participation, but when every detail of every scene is spoken about, it really
destroys the enjoyment factor.  Here’s a sampling of what I heard:

“What kind of shoes is she wearin’?”

“Uh-uh!  Don’t touch
that guy!”

“Sookie is so cute.  Sookie, don’t touch that guy!”

“Awwwww.  I want those

This went on during the whole film.  Ninety fucking minutes.  Still, Trick R Treat was compelling
enough to help ease me through the pain and suffering.

After the film, my girlfriend and I headed back to the Hotel (where we
spotted the same two passed-out guys on the chairs next to the bar area…they
had been asleep for about four hours) and quickly launched ourselves into bed.  We were sore, sunburned and our livers hurt.