It’s not the team they’ve put together, but what a team. Radical President Barry Levine and Exec VP Jesse Berger sign on as producers along with Sam Worthington (yes, that Sam Worthington, he of Clash of the Titans and Avatar fame), who brings his Full Clip Productions onboard to exec produce. Worthington himself is locked in as, Graham Bricke, the curmudgeonly charming lead, and F. Gary Gray (The Italian Job, The Negotiator) attached to direct. And Levine and Berger’s Radical Pictures partners with IM Global’s Stuart Ford to finance the now much-anticipated Last Days of American Crime. But it’s not the team they’ve put together. It’s the idea itself.
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There’s a Romeo Y Julietta No.2 drawing to ash on the tiny table positioned right next to the oversized leather armchair in my office. A holdover from Xmas, it was the kind Churchill smoked, and it’s the only thing from last decade I’m really ready to tolerate near me right now. From the horror of its opening act, the shock & aww hell of it’s crescendo and the bitter disappointment at the new Executive branch of government, the noughties seem to gratefully have run their course.
I’m an hour and a half early.
A walk around the convention center finds scurrying vendors, convention center staff carrying a table between the same two spots and industry professionals strategically stacking original art with splash pages on top. And I, soon to be known as “the guy with the camera”, watch like an orphan on Thanksgiving.
Who wouldn’t want to go to a Comicon?
Well, possibly a lot of people.
But that’s because there are only a few images that may come to mind, and nearly all of them feature an overweight man in a very, very undersized Captain America costume with a shield made out of a pizza box.
You see, I love that guy. But what I also love is the reality of a comicbook convention – the comraderie, the humility and the simple joys associated what that moment in which the doors open and the con-goers begin their assault.
When 125,000 people converged last weekend for the 40th San Diego Comic-Con to meet those who shared an interest comics and comics related media, I expected chaos. I was warned about how crowded this year would be, and that traffic would be backed up for hours on I-5 South. Another friend warned me about a man who would be dressed as the Hulk and randomly tackle attendees, but not be reprimanded because he was just being his character. On top of these random assaults, there would be so many people that we could hardly move. It was nothing like that.
After a quick two hour drive, Brea Grant and I went to the IDW Publishing booth to do a signing for our forthcoming series. Everyone there was extraordinarily nice, especially given that most were working all day at the convention, starting at 5:00am. Since our 1920’s zombie comic doesn’t come out until early next year, we made limited edition CDs, with lo-fi songs we wrote that retell the stories of seven horror movies from the narrative perspective of characters in the films, to sign and trade. People were really friendly and traded everything from dances to push-ups to a drawing of Brea fighting zombies with a speech bubble that said, “Zane I know you are my brother, but when the zombies attack, I will trip you.”
As we looked around for old friends and comics stars, continuing our trading and shopping spree, the rest of the weekend became dizzying. I traded Jason Shawn Alexander (Abe Sapien, Empty Zone) for a shirt with a zombie eating a dog and picked up a signed copy of Dark Horse Comics re-invention of the Creepy series. He took the time to say we were weird for making such a CD. Becky Cloonan (Demo, American Virgin) traded us some beautiful limited prints and books. Jimmy Aquino (Comic News Insider) traded a copy of Fat Chunk Vol. 2, an edited collection of zombie comic short stories, a few of which he penned. Derek Kirk Kim (Same Difference and Other Stories) traded us a copy of Lowbright, and the list goes on and on.