The Nerdy Bird’s First Flight to CCI – Part 1

Sun, July 26th, 2009 at 6:28am PDT | Updated: July 31st, 2009 at 10:23am

Comic Books
Jill Pantozzi, Contributor

I think I am in love. It’s name is Comic-Con International. It’s not a person in the traditional sense, but I won’t let that stop me. It’s just so pretty. I don’t think this is going to be an exclusive relationship. CCI has lots of suitors, and my heart will always be held by the East Coast, but damned if I’m not going to make the most of it while I’m here in San Diego.

I flew in Wednesday and almost immediately headed out to the San Diego Convention Center to check out Preview Night. The entire town seemed alive. I kicked my scooter into high gear and was shocked at the size of the convention center. From the outside. I thought for sure I was doomed. “This entire trip was a big mistake, I should just go home right now,” I told myself. Then I stepped into the exhibit hall. CCI is technically not much different at first look from any other convention I’ve been to, but there was definitely an amazing buzz in the air. Not to mention, it’s HUGE! I didn’t know where to go first but decided to visit the IDW Publishing booth to pick up the one item I had my heart set on – the “Locke & Key” limited edition Ghost Key produced by Skelton Crew Studio. I love keys and Joe Hill’s comic series, so I was relieved to find that they weren’t already sold out. I’m now the proud owner of number 76 out of 500. I hope they decide to produce the rest for public consumption. I also swung by the DC booth and saw some of the awesome looking new figures they’ll be selling. Adam Hughes’ Cover Girls line is obviously gorgeous, but it’s the squat Blammoids that entertained me the most.

After getting a brief lay of the land on Wednesday, I was even more excited for the first day of the actual convention. My agenda for Thursday was getting some sketches and checking out a few panels. My first stop was Alex Sinclair in artists alley. Sinclair, of course, is doing the coloring on “Batman & Robin” and “Blackest Night” right now, and I’m highly impressed with both, not to mention his past work. In case you didn’t know, my sketchbook theme is illustrations of me. Some artists are a little apprehensive doing that, while others jump right in. Turns out, Sinclair used to do caricatures and, although he said he was a little rusty, he did a fantastic job. I got my first sketch with a tiger! I also told him I’d be back the next day when I was in my Red Lantern costume.

I said hello to Dennis Calero from “X-Men Noir.” He, like most people, got a kick out of my blog title, hence a sketch where boobs and comics were very prominent. The last sketch I was able to get was towards the end of the day. “Wonder Woman” artist Aaron Lopresti is a favorite of mine. He draws Diana beautifully, so I was eager for him to take a crack at me. It was the strangest half-hour I’ve ever spent. I started posing for him while not smiling so that’s how he began. We had a fun time trying to keep my face straight. What can I say? I’m a naturally happy person. It didn’t help that a few fans of my blog came up while I was there to say hello and take pictures. After a while though I had the slight smirk down and told him I felt like Mona Lisa. Lopresti told me he wished he had more time to spend on the sketch and handed it over. It’s absolutely gorgeous.

The Twilight camp

Thursday was a lot more crowded than I expected it to be, so I missed out on some panels which I totally expected. Don’t hold it against me, but the first one I attended was the Summit Entertainment panel. You know, for "Twilight." I was stunned at seeing a line of tents the day earlier to get into Hall H for the event. I actually got in a little early and saw the cast of “Tron 2” speaking. I love the original film and I was very skeptical about them doing another but let me tell you right now. It’s going to be out of this world. They premiered a few scenes, one in 3-D and it made me feel all giddy inside. I had to sit through a few more short presentations before the cast of “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” came out. Now, I’m a fan, but I’m not one of those fans. I will admit to screaming like a teenage girl at least once though. My eardrums are still a bit sore from that one. You can visibly see how uncomfortable both Robert Pattinson and Kristin Stewart have become from the mayhem but Taylor Lautner still seems to be eating it all up. He couldn’t help but driving the crowd wild, at one point saying, “We all of course want to please you.” Famous last words.

I missed a few DC panels I was hoping to go to, so I was glad I was able to make the “DC JSA: The Great Society” panel. The big news is the JSA is splitting up pretty soon. Don’t worry, they aren’t disbanding the team, just adding another book “JSA All Stars.” Bill Willingham, of course, is taking over “JSA” proper pretty soon, and it was announced that his Vertigo cohort Matthew Sturges would be taking the second half of the team for the new book. As much as I love the large JSA, I think it’s probably a good idea to split them up so that all of the characters can get a chance to shine.

Matthew Sturges asked the audience who their preferred match for Stargirl would be: Billy Batson or Atom Smasher. The crowd was pretty evenly divided. I’m for Atom Smasher all the way. Jimmy Palmiotti then briefly discussed what’s coming up in “Power Girl.” Some of Karen’s personal life is the straight answer, but it was a fan question that really got the jokes rolling. She said, “Is there any talk about filling Power Girls hole?” I thought the entire panel was going to burst a blood vessel from laughing so hard. Palmiotti quickly chimed in with, “It’s why I took the job.” He also performed for part of the panel as Stan Lee. It’s a wicked impression.

Of course, the day would not have been complete for me without getting pictures of some amazing cosplayers. All your usual staples were there, Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Catwoman but I was happy to see my all-time favorite character (from outside comics) Leeloo. People who know me know I have an obsession with all things “Fifth Element.” I even have the tattoo. I think I may have given the girl the idea to get it for real herself. Seeing the new “Batman: Arkham Asylum” version of Harley Quinn was pretty cool, as was a spot on recreation of Madame Mirage. I was pretty shocked not to see lots of Green Lanterns or the other colors of the spectrum. Here’s hoping mine’s a big hit tomorrow!

I also made my first trip to the Hyatt bar that night. And that’s all I have to say about that.

Can this love affair last? I don’t know, it’s pretty intense. I’m only here until Sunday but I’m going to take advantage of this thing we call Comic-Con International if it’s the last thing I do. And if CCI doesn’t love me back, well, we’ll always have Paris. I mean, New York.

Love,
The Nerdy Bird

TAGS:  cci2009, jill pantozzi, nerdy bird, twilight, jimmy palmiotti

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