"2005 San Diego International Comic Con Report: Day One"
Now it is time for Day One of the International Comic Con. I wake up at 7:00am, take a shower, brush my teeth, eat some breakfeast (complimentary of the hotel), which includes Fruit Loopes, strawberry yogurt, and eggs. Then we head outside, where a shuttle bus is waiting for us to take us to the convention center. We get to the convention center and, unsurpringly, there are tons more people here then there were on Preview Night. We get in line and wait. And wait. I start to wish that I had "Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince" to read to kill time. I pull out "Ultra Maniac" and start to read that, which is cute, but something tells me I would rather be reading this while sitting on a fluffy couch while listening to Kenny Chesney. Thirty minutes later the doors open, but they only let one line of people enter the building at a time, so we get in fifteen minutes later. We make a note to not come so early, as it's clear that it doesn't make much of a difference when we get here, as we enter the building late anyway. The first thing we decide to do is go buy another sketchbook (luckly, my mom picked up the tab this time). We then head over to the Penny Arcade booth once again, and ask Gabe if he could do a new sketch since we lost our sketchbook.
Gabe not only does the sketch he did yesterday, but he also does a new sketch too! Nice guy I tell you. Tycho is still trying to get $10 from me. I buy some of their $1 stickers instead. Then we head upstairs to get some seats for Viz Media's anime panel. We sit for awhile and are surprise very few people show up. Shortly afterwards though, more people start coming into the room. I take a picture of the people just so that I have something to do.
Finally, at 11:00am the representatives from Viz Media show up, and they have video clips, slides, and free goodies for everyone to see. They make a couple anouncements first, most of which you can read online at other news sites for more details, but I'm going to make special mention of Viz released thirteen episode box sets of uncut "Naruto," and I'm glad that Viz is FINALLY getting around to releasing "Hikaru no Go" on DVD! For those of you who haven't seen the show I highly recomend you buy this series when it comes out. It's very[italiazed] good. The manga is also being released by Viz, and is on volume four. You can read my review here. They also make mention that if you buy "Inu-Yasha The Movie 3" at Best Buy, you can get the soundtrack bundle from them exclusivly. Makes me wonder if I'll have to buy the movie twice: One from Best Buy (to get the soundtrack), and one from Waldenbooks (to get the reflective cover). Shortly after they show everyone some clips from "Naruto" and "Inu-Yasha The Movie 3," it's Q & A time. Most of the questions were about "Naruto's" translation and everything, but there was one girl (who everyone nicknamed Kagome, because she was dressed up as Kagome) who got on everyone's nerves pretty quickly. The first question she asked was what was taking so long to release the forth "Inu-Yasha" movie, why they do this and that, and how she had to download the movie because she couldn't wait seven freaking months to see it.
Viz Media was quick to point out that pirating anime does not help get stuff released here faster, and that they would release one movie a year (which is very reasonable if you ask me). When they went to her again (why they did this I'm not sure), she spends almost five minutes asking them about future "Yu-Gi-Oh!" DVD's, only to have Viz tell her that they don't have the rights to the "Yu-Gi-Oh!" anime. They have the rights to the manga, but NOT the anime! This was, unfortunetly, the last question they were able to take. What a wasted question. These are the little moments in the Q & A sessions that most news reporters forget to report on. Which is a shame because sometimes these little incidents are more entertaining then the licensing anouncements (sometimes). After the Viz Media panel is over, me and my mom decide to go get something to eat, seeing as how the CMX panel won't start for another hour and a half. We go down to the cafiteria and buy a pizza, hot dog, and two drinks. Total amount of money spent: $19.50. We spent almost $20 dollars in food and it wasn't even decent. Big waste of money. We make it a point to make sure that we leave the convention hall and head for a fast food resteraunt for lunch from now on. After lunch we head back on upstairs for the CMX panel. Which is, conviently enough, in the same room as the Viz Media panel was in.
When we get to the panel, I am a little surprised that there are no protestors in front of the door. From what I heard, a bunch of people were going to stage a huge protest about the "Tenjho Tenge" censorship controversy at this panel, but from the looks of things this wasn't going to quite be the case. We entered the room and took our seats, and noticed that there was still ten minutes before the show officially started. After fifteen minutes of waiting we realized that the panel was late in starting. What was worse was the fact that no one from CMX appeared to have arrived yet. Finally a guy in a red shirt named Ben Abernathy showed up at the panel, and sheepishly told everyone that the other three people who were supposed to be here couldn't make it, and that he might be the only person at this particular panel. I thought "Great, what rotten luck for several of the panel members to not show up for this." Luckly for Mr. Abernathy though, a second DC Comics representative showed up to help with the panel (his name escapes me, and for some reason other Comic Con reports I've read don't mention him. Strange, wouldn't you say?). After apologizing for the lack of representatives that showed up, the preasentation began...and it was a HUGE disapointment! This is saying something since there really wasn't all that much they had to do to impress me.
This was the first Comic Con I've been, and this was only the second panel I attended for the whole convention. So why is it that, with me having nothing to compare this panel to, did this panel still come off as one of the biggest snores I've ever witnessed. These guys had nothing to show but a few manga covers, a few announcements, and every single one of them were great (it would be EXTREMELY brave for a representative to actually admit that he doesn't care for the series he's promoting). There was a minor chuckle when the second guy held up two CMX sample books, told everyone that there was a sample book for teens and one for mature readers, and not to get them confused, but otherwise the presentation left far too much to be desired! My mom actually fell asleep halfway through the presentation. I don't blame her though, as I was tempted to follow suit myself. After the presentation finished Ben told the audience it was Q & A time. The first lady who raised her hand asked about the release of one of the series they picked up. I found my patience being stretched VERY thin at this point! Would there be ANYTHING going on that would justify me coming to this panel?!
I got my answer when the next person asked (somewhat rudely) "why should we buy CMX manga when they are, in fact, edited." Well, as much as I hate to admit it, THIS was the reason I came to the panel in the first place: To see how CMX would handel questions regarding their censorship issues! Surprisingly (or not surprisingly, depending on who you are) Ben and his friend either didn't know anything about the censorship issues, or they couldn't talk about them. Their response to the the question above was that they were the only ones releasing the stuff, and that if you wanted to read one of their series you had to buy it from them. The next person they went to asked "why was 'Tenjho Tenge' censored in the first place?" Answer: "I don't know, we can't really say." After a few more questions were asked I got to ask my question. My question was "with all the controversy, letters, and news articles about the 'Tenjho Tenge' controversy, why has CMX's response to all this been to simply ignore it?" The answer they gave me was, as many would point out, the most hilarious answer they gave at the whole panel: "Um...that's a good question. Next question." After everyone stopped laughing, Ben looked at me and apologized, saying that he simply just did not know why CMX wasn't commenting on the situation at hand.
To some credit though, the Q & A sessions wasn't NEARLY as heated as some sites claim it was, and was actually pretty well balanced for the most part! There was almost always a question about one of their new series, a controversy question, regular question, controversy question, and so on. After awhile Ben's starting to look like he's about to cry, when one guy asks "what do you look for in a series that you want to aquier?" Sounding pretty shaken up, Ben says that he wasn't ready for that question, and comments that "there's too many things going through my head to answer that question." After a few more questions I raise my hand again for a second question. Amazingly enough, Ben points to me again, giving me a look that says "Come on, do your worst." I stall for a second. I'm looking at this, looking like he was about to cry, being eaten alive by the fans, and I suddenly don't want to ask the question anymore. "Well..." I stutter as I try to think of another question to ask. I am about to just pass on asking a question, when a light bulb goes off in my head: I've thought of a question that Ben can not only answer, but one that most likely was NEVER going to be asked in five years at this rate! I look at him, and ask "what series has been the best received by the fans so far?"
Ben looks at me wide-eyed, as if a huge load had just been lifted from his shoulders. He happily answers that "Land of The Blindfolded" has been their best reviewed series yet. I didn't have the heart to point him to my review of the series, but it was nice to see him smiling again. Sp what question was I originally going to ask? My original question was "What does the phrase '100% Pure Manga' actually mean?" Don't give me that look, you know very well what answer I was going to get if I asked it. I'll ask them this question next year...if they even do another panel like this at San Diego Comic Con next year. Shortly after I asked my second question the panel was over, and I think we were all glad to be out. At the end of the day, I felt the CMX panel was a big waste of time. The presentation was as boring as you can get, and the Q & A session, while interesting to observe, didn't really clear up anything for the fans. Of course, the one emotion I had for the entire panel was actually that of pity. This was a sad panel, though not for the reasons many people might be thinking. Three guys didn't show up, someone (who wasn't even an official member of the CMX manga line) was thrown to the wolves, and the fans were merciless to this poor guy. I really felt sorry for them, and hoped that they would one day be treated better by DC Comics.
It was going to be a couple of hours until the Geneon panel started, so me and my mom decided now would be a perfect time to go to the "Superman: The Movie" booth and get a signature of Margot Kidder.
This resulted in what was, for the most part, the only real sour part of the whole trip. So we go up to the "Superman: The Movie" booth, and are kind of surprised that there is no real line (but at the same time grateful since this meant that this would be quick and easy). We look at the stuff on the table in front of the actors. Various photos, DVD's, and merchendise is on display for all to buy. I have my "Superman: The Movie" DVD in hand, waiting for Margot Kidder to sign it, when a guy shows up and asks whether or not I wanted him to sign my DVD or not. Before I continue, tell me if you can recognize who this guy is:
I ask you this because I certainly didn't know who this guy was. In fact, he didn't look familier at all. So I ask this guy "Well, who are you?" He says "I'm young Clark Kent," and then holds up a picture of himself as Clark in the movie. I look at the picture and then at him, and there is definetly a resemblence, so I tell him "sure, you can sign my DVD." He signs the DVD and then says "Okay that will be $20." I start to laugh because I think he's joking, when he looks at me with a confused expression and says "That will be $20." "You're joking...right" I say, and he responds "No I'm not, my signature is $20." Now I'm angry. Who did this guy think he was? HE offers to sign my PERSONAL DVD of "Superman: The Movie," signs it, and THEN decides he wants to let me know that he'll be charging me for his signature?! Absolutely amazing. His response to the charging was that this was how they were making their money, and that "you wouldn't go to work for free would you?" So let me get this straight: Going to the Comic Con for free and meeting people who want your signature because they enjoyed something you did is considered work? Man, I must REALLY be out of the loop, because in all honesty, that sounds like a lot of fun!
I'm pretty mad now, but what can you do? I pay Margot $20 so she can sign my DVD, and once she gets my money and signs the DVD she stops talking to me and go back to doing...whatever it is she was doing (there was no line at this point). Well, I am so ticked off that I decide to go complain about the con artists who were invited (because that's exactly what this all was; a con). Well, to make a long story short, the vice president of San Diego Comic Con ends up getting involved with this whole affair, and tells us that while he can't do anything about what had just happened, he was very, VERY sorry it happened in the first place! He then goes on to explain that many other people have been complaining about these guests, how they were thinking of telling them to get out, and then recalls a similer situation he had with Adam West (who refused to give him a free autograph DESPITE the fact that he was the vice president of Comic Con). The lesson in all this, I guess, is that if you go to get something signed by actors who haven't done anything signifcant in years, make SURE to ask whether they are going to be charging you or not! This way there are no surprises. After all this was over, we decided to go get something to eat, since the next panel we wanted to visit (Geneon Entertainment) wasn't going to start for about an hour and a half. We get in a stupidly long line for the food, spend over $20 for just the two of us, and we eat what is arguebly the worst food I've ever had in my life. Oh, and I took this picture while I was waiting in the super long line: