Lightsabers, Han Solo Dazzle Comic-Con San Diego Fans
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July 13, 2015 1:17 p.m.
Beth Accomando, arts reporter, KPBS
Neil Kendricks, filmmaker, "Comics are Everywhere"
Related Story: Lightsabers, Han Solo Dazzle Comic-Con San Diego Fans
From comic book artists just starting out to make a production for Star Wars fan, Comic-Con 2015 arranged the gamut. It was another exhilarating but exhausting weekend in San Diego, most especially for diehard geeks who didn't want to miss a minute of Comic-Con action. That includes my guest Beth Accomando, arts reporter, KPBS.
I got 12 hours sleep during the entire convention.
Also joining us is Neil Kendricks, filmmaker, "Comics are Everywhere". Welcome to
Let's start with the overall impressions.
You can't ignore Star Wars this year. After the celebration which was a convention just for Star Wars, a lot of the fans spreading rumors saying this the moment Star Wars be a Comic-Con. There's not going to be anything left for them to do to while the audience.
At Star Wars celebration, Kathleen Kennedy said the hands are very important to us, they matter. They cannot to Comic-Con they put their money where their mouth was. They brought out the entire cast, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, they said everyone in the whole age could come with them for a special concert of Star Wars music and everybody Light sabers. They were led over by storm troopers. I have friends on Facebook who said I met my wife and got married and then there's this, the three most exciting moments of my life. I didn't get to go but I said I enjoyed it vicariously. I think it was a very fabulous thing. Star Wars has been associated with Comic-Con from the beginning.
Neil, what was your overall impression?
Admixture of acceleration and exhaustion. And it was worth it. It's the Mount Olympus of pop culture. The pantheon of gods are there. At least facsimile. I didn't make it to Hall H, I haven't been in a couple years because that's an entire other events. You have to plan to camp out, you have to plan how you're going to navigate through that.
You really have to plan for that. I haven't been in a few years. I go to the exhibit hall and a look at its books. For me, the highlight was meeting Congressman John Lewis was they are doing a book signing and participating in some panels for his book March which is a trilogy. They just completed book 2. If you want to talk about real superheroes, this is the only real superhero in the house.
I'm glad you mentioned that. He has been there before. As you say, it's a trilogy of this illustrated book he is doing.
It's a graphic memoir. It's beautiful, poignant and powerful. I was reading part of it I still tear up. There's not many, looks that make you feel emotional. This is one go it's his first person accounts of what it was like to be on the front lines of the civil rights movement. He is responsible for a lot of the changes. He's the only surviving speaker for Martin Luther King's I have a dream speech from August August 1963.
Are real-life superhero. He's human and accessible. When he showed up, he went on the line and was shaking hands. A lot of times when you go to signings, it's people I get settled in and out. I found it -- him to be very generous with his time and connecting with people.
What other big movies were highlighted at Comic-Con this year?
For me, Quentin Tarantino is back and talking about the hateful eight. This is going to be as a marsh to the spaghetti Western which he partially did in the kill Bill films. He talked about shooting on 70 mm cameras which I don't think anybody does or has done for a long time. The exciting news was his previous composer is going to score this movie. For film geeks like me, that was huge. That something to be genuinely excited about.
No, you created start show downtown, what was that like?
The show will be up until July 27. If you haven't gotten your comic book fix and you're still Jones in, come out to the exhibit. It's called word balloons, comics at San Diego State University. The title tells you what this is about. This is not the culmination of a project started in 2009 between a friend of mine, who is also an adjunct lecturer and myself. I had an opportunity to teach a graphic novel class in comp lit. What is going to make is different, we will make a real comic book. Is not just talk about comics, let's walk them through the process. I would have my students write the scripts following a format you use in the industry. I would take the scripts that were completed and good to his class and he would assign them to students. We have been putting on a comic book every semester regardless of my class is actually offered.
Does not many classes for students still want to do the homework and the class is not being offered
This is one of them. The show opens, we had a nice reception on Thursday. We had supplied murals done directly on the wall.
I also want to say, this things us back to the very heart and soul of Comic-Con. Beth, I know you spoke on the floor of Comic-Con as somebody who is developing a comic book that was sort of based on orange is the new black.
Yes. The way I like to sit with giant monsters.
We have a little clip.
I like to cram in a lot of details into my covers. This cover for San Diego is a wraparound cover. I want to show the monsters is going to be arrested. He has crushed the convention center and has little tattoos as a monster life. It shows the location of the prison and then we had our little superheroes and superhero cars and people with a set -- swag bag. And then the detox aircraft carrier that has to take them off to prison.
Who was that?
That was Xander Kevin. This is one of the fun things in Comic-Con forgot you stumble on things you're not expecting. I was at the only press food and talking to one of the publicists about what kind of comics they had there. I said I need to see this. It's a done a very lighthearted children's style. It's very cartoony and very accessible. Is -- is still deals with dark things that happen in prison. I bought all of them.
You attended the Eisner award ceremony. What with the trends?
There the highest percentage of women nominated a very high percentage of them winning. There was a lot of diversity in terms of the winners this year. In terms of age, gender and race. It was reflecting some of the growing changes staying in the industry and the broader acceptance of this diversity and comics.
You got a soundbite of offender who is selling the lover James -- lumber James.
This is their publicist.
As soon as the doors opened, we had a throng of people rush our table to try to pick up any lumber Jane's comics, especially volume 1. We instantly sold all of that go any copies of Neverland we had left were all sold out and finally when you won the Eisner award, I had to come and get it. I had to pick it up and see what people were talking about.
100 big evolutions -- one of the big evolutions is the recognition of the costumes. How has that evolved?
Hands down, the best costume I saw was one woman whose dressed as to be hedging from the birds.
I did that one year ago
[ Laughter ]
She had the whole outfit. The green business suit and everything. She was just walking through the floor and at such a simple idea. The outfit was the blackbirds attached to it. Everyone who saw it, you immediately responded to it. I don't take a lot of pictures but that one I definitely posted on Facebook.
What did you see, Beth?
It has expanded a lot. They used to say it's only 6 to 10% of the population dressing up. It has really exploded. Easy parents dressing up their kids, couples coming in costumes, there's the whole cosplay, people are coming in superheroes, cross gender, there's an entire population of professional cosplayers that their people who have booths because they market themselves and they will hire out to parties or event. There's a lot more people creating their own Dr. who costumes go there women who create their own R2-D2 parasols. It's expanding with their universe fashion show where fans create geek costumes and clothing which can be actual close at hot topic you can buy.
Their Bigfoot issues unchanged -- there a big photo shoot arranged.
The quality is amazing. With gorgeous 18th century dresses and they got to go up on the marble stage and get their photos taken and they were gorgeous costumes.
He talked about the marketers I Comic-Con. The different ways people are trying to approach marketing and Comic-Con. Have a clip he took from the MTV booth. I think one thing that makes these activations special is it something consumers can share together. If you get a poster or something like that for free, that's great. This is something they can send out to friends were not at the event and say look how much fun I'm having. In addition to that, it actually engages them more with the brand. It's good for the brand because it releases of their message out to further and further people through the consumer's contacts.
What are these activations?
It's more like you just walked by and get a free poster. MTV was doing a super slow Mo video of you swinging machetes and axes and they would throw body parts at you. They had this sprayer red confetti. You could take that video they would shoot it would be a single second is expanded to 20. You have a super slow motion of swinging the machete and the top of head coming at you but then you go to the kiosk with an iPad and you get to share this on Facebook and Twitter, Instagram, instead of you taking home your poster and putting it up on your wall, he suddenly become exposed to this MTV brand which they promoted to the new scream TV show. They innovated with activation and they gave one of the best freebies. It was a little stool that opened up or you can set. Anytime you are in line, you could sit on that. That and the ash chain from saw, to best floor giveaways ever.
People have lots of reasons for going. Are many looking to make business connections and so forth with their new documentaries, comics are at work?
I was definitely there to network. And also to reconnect with the main subjects of my film. Yes, I think more so not just people doing comics but people doing film, people wanted to break into film as writers, Comic-Con becomes a major destination. At the opening for word balloons, I talked to a former student who went to the portfolio reviews and lined up job interviews as a result. That was just on pretty light.
This is a place where if you really want to get your creativity out, this is essential. Something Beth brought up, the people in costume with people making handmade things, that one moment of glory is about sharing their creativity on the floor whether they exhibit hall for the masquerade. That's legitimate to. I go to the masquerade and I love the joy that you feel that room. When people: stage, whether it's only for two minutes, they could to show you what they made by hand. It's contagious. It sweeps the room and that's the real heart of Comic-Con. The people that love this stuff. Sometimes the media might eclipse that by focusing on Hollywood. When it comes down to it, it's so special because the people and sharing a passion.
It's not just the creativity in the costumes, it's the creativity and the concepts as well. Last year one of the ones that one was Vegas showgirls as Godzilla and Martha doing a chorus line number two 21 singular sensation. Every move she makes, they would kick down another building. The costumes are beautiful and the concept was clever and fun to watch. The audience went crazy.
I have so much more to ask you. When she people look for tickets to be available for 2016.
They don't have consistent time. The best thing is to get your member ID, check your emails, they will be announcing because they do very it. Towards the end of the year is when you will start getting announcements.
You, when is your documentary?
I am officially beginning your five. Documentaries are a big investment in time. You have to fall in love with your subject. I'm actually right on schedule. Most docs of this nature will take six or seven years or even 10. My goal is to hopefully finish wrapping up production in the next year or so. Then go through back into the trenches of applying for grants and so forth. One less thing I would like to add, if somebody is an aspiring artist, word balloon is sponsoring a free event this Thursday where people can go from 6 to 9 PM, bring a sketchbook, will have an artist model in costume, and you can draw.
The documentary is comics are everywhere.
-Speaking with Beth Accomando, arts reporter, KPBS and Neil Kendricks, filmmaker, "Comics are Everywhere".