The Simpsons Movie

Much, much funnier and more enjoyable than I was expecting. Why haven't the previous 10 seasons of the show been as good as the movie? Maybe it was my low expectations, but I honestly think this is the best Simpsons story in a decade.

And there was a whole lot of pathos and emotion in the movie that I wasn't expecting. There was some actual character development that the show hasn't really had recently.

I really hope Lisa's new Irish boyfriend shows up during the upcoming season. And when Homer was talking about just trying to make it through the day until he got home to Marge, that was a really great scene. Very revealing. It's been a while since we've gotten to the cores of any of these characters.

And hey, we got to see Bart's yellow, animated wang and Homer flipping a double bird. How great was that?

Much to my surprise and delight, I'm definitely giving this movie two thumbs up.

Also, in the Arclight's lobby before the movie, we saw Kevin Smith.


Nerd Prom recap

One would think that if you're paying nearly $200/night for four nights for a hotel room, the internet access would be free. Unfortunately, that was not the case in San Diego and I wasn't able to check my email, post to the blog or upload any photos to Flickr. And I probably won't be able to do that last one until I'm sitting in my motel room Wednesday night, because it looks like the admittedly spotty Wi-Fi I've been using here is down (I'm using Sarah & Josh's desktop for this post) and all the photos are, of course, on my laptop.

Regarding the following post, you'll have to pardon my exhausted mind. Wednesday morning through Sunday night are all a blur to me, a great amorphous blob of fractured memories and half-heard conversations. The cacophonous din of the convention hall and hotel lobbies still echo inside my skull. I don't remember what happened when, so the following will in all likelihood be rather jumbled.

We arrived in San Diego Wednesday afternoon, around 2 o'clock. Cody, Mike Nelson and I drove down in Ross' Pathfinder, while Chip Mosher, BOOM!'s new director of sales and marketing, and Daniel, the other intern, drove the U-Haul van, which they had filled with, as it turned out, way too many boxes of comics and graphic novels. This was a new experience for all of us, preparing for a convention of this magnitude, and setting up a booth the size of the one we had, and hopefully next year will go more smoothly.

Wednesday night is Preview Night at the San Diego Comic-Con. Generally the quietest night of the convention, this year the hall was packed from when it opened at 6 o'clock to when the wonderful disembodied voice of the PA woman gently prodded attendees toward the exit three hours later.

A quick aside, I love that disembodied voice. She was equal parts good-humored sarcasm and stern enforcer of the "No running" policy. By the end of the weekend, I wanted to get her autograph and give her a hug, but I had no idea where she may have been located. For all I know, she wasn't even a real person, but the ghost of some convention worker who had been crushed beneath the throng of attendees years ago. Whoever she was, I want to give a shout out to the Great Disembodied Voice of Comic-Con.

Thursday involved a great deal of running around (hell, the whole weekend involved a great deal of running around). We were striving to get the booth fully ready before the hall doors opened at 10 o'clock, and I think we did a pretty decent job. Then again, as I said above, the whole weekend is a blurry mess, so I honestly can't remember getting the booth ready, other than helping to get the vinyl banners hung up on the display's velcro walls.

I think we all felt rather quickly like animals in pens at a zoo. From Thursday to Sunday, we spent about nine out of 10 hours inside the tables, surrounded by curious onlookers who would stop and flip through our wares before asking if the comics were free. "No," we'd say, "they're cover price." That became our mantra in response to the most asked question of the weekend, our unofficial motto and a rallying cry all in one.

The company had a pretty big announcement Friday afternoon at its panel. I'm immensely proud of myself for not leaking the news on the blog weeks ago, because it's pretty exciting, at least amongst industry folks. Whether it truly matters to comic book fans won't be known for a little while.

Oh, the announcement? Mark Waid, fan-favorite writer and longtime architect of the DC Universe, co-creator of the best-selling graphic novel Kingdom Come, is joining BOOM! Studios as Editor-In-Chief. I think that news, more than anything else, is what made my decision to return to Omaha to finish my final year of school more difficult than it might have been. I mean, what comic book fan, what aspiring writer, wouldn't want to work with one of the most influential writers of the medium's last 15 years.

I met a lot of creators throughout the weekend, and caught up with a few that I'd met at previous conventions. Kody Chamberlain, artist for one of BOOM!'s best known original titles, Tag (optioned by Universal Pictures in 2006), as well as a number of projects for IDW and the upcoming Punks, had a couple of signings at our booth. He's a great guy, really laid back. He was a calming presence amidst the madness. He drew for me this really amazing zombie samurai. I'll scan it and post a picture when I get back to Omaha.

Rahsan Ekedal is the artist for BOOM!'s Warhammer mini-series Forge of War. He's a pretty young guy, 26, I think, and his art is fantastic. I guess he was "discovered" at last year's San Diego convention, or maybe it was WonderCon, up in San Francisco. Either way, Forge is his first professional comic book work and he'll only get better, y'know? He sketched a great-looking half-Mexican/half-Japanese samurai for me (I seem to have a thing for samurai variations, don't I?). He was fantastic around the booth, doing two signings a day for the entire four days of the convention, plus another on Preview Night. He was a real trooper.

Rahsan's girlfriend, Shannon, was with him, too, and we all had a chance to talk and hang out a bit Thursday night at the Hyatt's lobby bar, along with the entire BOOM! crew and various other comic book creators. I was going to give them a call while I was up in San Francisco later this week, but I decided that since I'm so strapped for cash right now, not to mention exhausted from the convention, I'm just going to start back for Omaha Wednesday morning. (Apologies to all my peeps in and around San Francisco. I know we'd been planning to hang out for a while now, and I feel shitty about this relatively last-minute change of plans. I'll be back out this way again soon, either during the school year or after, I promise).

The Warhammer editor for BOOM! is a great guy named Joe Abraham. He also draws the comic book, Hero Squared. He's very funny and a great artist. He was around the booth a lot, helping and hanging out. He did a cool samurai/ninja dude sketch for me.

One of the biggest thrills for me was hanging around John Rogers, and getting to know him a little bit. The Kung Fu Monkey was just a joy to be around. He has a lot of great stories about Hollywood and writing and all the crap associated with the industry. He's a good guy and I can't wait to read his blog about the madness that is the San Diego Comic-Con.

I ran into Ben Templesmith, artist of IDW's 30 Days of Night (the film adaptation of which comes out in October), whom I've known for about five or six years now. Maybe six or seven. We met through email when he was just starting out at Todd McFarlane Productions, and now he's got thousands of fans around the world. I'm glad I got the chance to say "hey" and get him to sign my hardcover copy of FELL, the Image book he does with Warren Ellis.

Speaking of Ellis, that wily bastard. I don't know how many signings he had scheduled throughout the weekend, but I managed to miss all of them. We were so busy at the BOOM! BOOth that we were each only able to get away for maybe an hour a day. And since it's been about 10 years since Warren's been to America, he was surely mobbed everywhere he went, which, to be honest, I'm not sorry I missed out on. Still, I'm a little bummed I didn't get to meet him.

Sitting next to Templesmith was this great writer named Antony Johnston. He wrote this cool little book called Frightening Curves in, like, 2000 or 2001, and I mentioned how much I enjoyed it and he gave me a promo poster for the new book he and Templesmith are doing, called Dead Space. They had a little promo booklet for the comic, too, and it looks fantastic. I can't wait to read it. Johnston also writes a book called Wasteland for Oni Press, which I cannot recommend highly enough.

I met Matt Fraction, writer of Image's Casanova and Marvel's Punisher War Journal and co-writer of Marvel's Immortal Iron Fist, along with Ed Brubaker, whom I also briefly met. Fraction seems like a very cool guy, laid back like Kody Chamberlain. He lives in Kansas City with his wife, the very pregnant Kelly Sue, whom I unfortunately didn't get to meet. She seems like a really fun person, when she's not suffering from morning sickness. I'd been meaning to go to that little comic book convention in Kansas City for the past couple years, to meet them and get some autographs (I don't know why, but I really like collecting autographs), but it just hasn't happened yet. I meant to mention to Fraction that he and Kelly Sue should come up to Omaha to do a signing at Krypton Comics sometime (after the baby is born, of course), but it completely skipped my mind. Maybe I'll drop him an email about it.

The artist of Casanova, Gabriel Ba, was also at the convention, with his brother, Fabio Moon. They're from Brazil and incredibly talented. I got a couple sketches from both of them, too, which, again, I'll scan and post later.

The Brazilian brothers had a mini-comic out called 5, which has contributions from three other creators (hence the title), including Demo artist Becky Cloonan, whom I saw at the Image booth on Sunday. She's really nice and as cute in person as she is in the few pictures I've seen.

I also got to say "hi" to Jamie Rich, former Dark Horse and Oni Press editor, and one of my favorite writers. His Cut My Hair is one of my favorite books, and his new one, the title of which escapes me, just came out. He signed the copy I bought, as did the cover artist, the lovely Joelle Jones, who, like Becky Cloonan, is just amazingly cute and nice. And a great artist. She illustrated Jamie's 12 Things I Love About You and they're working together on a new graphic novel, a noirish detective yarn.

I had emailed Jamie a couple years back, when I was first starting to go back to school. I was doubting myself and my future, and when I look at his career, he's forged a path that I wouldn't mind emulating, from editor to novelist to comic book writer. And he lives in Portland to boot, somewhere I've yet to visit but think I'd really like. Anyway, we talked for a little bit, before I had to get back to the booth. He was very nice and encouraging and told me I should ask Chip Mosher about the time he passed out drunk in front of the Marriot last year. Chip?

Speaking of Chip, all weekend he was wearing this awesome white jacket, of which I think I have one or two pictures. You'll see it when I post the weekend's photos to the Flickr site. He looked like a cross between Sonny Crockett and a lounge singer. Personally, I think he slept in the jacket.

On Saturday we hosted a huge signing for some of the cast of Sci-Fi Channel's Eureka, which BOOM! co-founder Andy Cosby created. Three of the cast members were there: Colin Ferguson ("Sheriff Jack Carter"), Ed Quinn ("Nathan Stark") and Neil Grayston ("Douglas Fargo"). The line was huge. They, along with Andy and Johanna Stokes, who's written a couple episodes for the show, must have signed for at least two hours. They were all really nice and down-to-Earth. They all seemed to be enjoying meeting their fans and posing for pictures. I'm sure they must have been exhausted by the end of the signing, but you couldn't tell by looking at them.

Sebastian Jones is the co-writer for this comic BOOM! publishes, called Salvador. He was around on Thursday and then again Saturday, with Salvador creators, the Polish Brothers, filmmakers whose last project was The Astronaut Farmer, with Billy Bob Thornton. Sebastian was super nice and charming. Must've been the British accent. Great sense of humor. We had a great time hanging out with him at the booth and at the Hyatt Thursday night.

The screenwriter of Ray, James L. White, writes a book for BOOM! called Hunter's Moon, and he came down from L.A. for a signing on Saturday. He was very warm and kind, and maybe a little overwhelmed. He's an older gentleman (not that he's old) and I doubt he'd ever been to anything like Comic-Con before. We sat him with Daniel (the other intern)'s attractive friend Elaine in the hopes that she might induce people to come over and get an autograph.

A few of Cody's friends from Chicago flew to San Diego to lend a hand with the show, and they were all really nice and cool to volunteer. One, Reuben, is an artist and graphic designer. His stuff is pretty good, what I saw of it, and he went around showing it to people, making connections, when he wasn't in the booth. Another friend, Shannon (different from the Shannon previously mentioned), is still in town. She came up with Cody and Mike and I last night, and she's flying out tomorrow night. I think we're going to see The Simpsons Movie tonight.

Shannon was pretty great around the booth. She's got a really good sense of humor and she must be a wonderful actress, to act like she cared that much about our comics when speaking with the multitude of people who stopped by the booth. We were all pretty loopy by the time the convention ran down last night, and she kept me laughing, even at the dumbest, most inane comments.

That's what really made the weekend bearable, all the great people we had around the booth. When you're spending upwards of 12 hours a day with someone, you better hope you get along well, and I think most of us around the BOOM! booth were on a very similar wavelength.

Marvel unveiled on Saturday the Iron Man armor for the upcoming Jon Favreau-directed film starring Robert Downey, Jr. I never ventured in for a closer look, because the Marvel booth, which was right across the aisle from us, was always overcrowded with hordes of fans. But Sunday night, after everyone was kicked out except for exhibitors, we got to take a closer look at it. Stan Winston designed it and it looks absolutely amazing. It has a really wonderful steampunk quality to it. There are a couple pictures I took with my phone on Flickr already, and I'll get more that I took with my real camera up when I can.

Last weekend I bought a graphic novel at Golden Apple called Phonogram, which had been getting some really great reviews, and I met the creators, writer Kieron Gillen and artist Jamie McKelvie, at the Image booth. Both are really nice fellas, and Jamie did a very great headsketch for me on Sunday as the convention was winding down.

Friday night me and Cody and his friends hung out for a little bit with a guy named Rich Stevens, who does a Web comic called Diesel Sweeties (really funny stuff), and some of his friends. Before we got to their hotel room, we went on what Cody's friend Sarah called a "bum tour of San Diego," because we weren't entirely sure where the hotel was. So we just wandered around downtown for a little bit. "What better place to be a bum," I said, "than San Diego?"

There's an artist who's done some work for BOOM! named Cynthia Martin. She knew Cody way back when he was a youngin'. She was friends with his dad, and when she saw Cody at the convention, she nearly fell over from shock, because it had been so long since she'd seen him. What was even more bizarre, though, was when she and I were talking and we discovered that we both live in Omaha. How crazy is that? This is such a small industry, y'know? We're gonna hang out when we both get back home.

I volunteered to help out at the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund auction Saturday night. Since I was so busy with BOOM! during the day, that was really the only free time I had to offer them. I don't know if they really needed my help, but they were happy to have it. I always enjoy volunteering for the Fund, because I figure it makes up for the fact that I don't have a lot of money to donate to them. I did buy their new T-shirt, though.

And I was wearing that shirt on Sunday when I met Cory Doctorow, of Boing Boing fame. He noticed the shirt and thought it was pretty neat. I directed him to the CBLDF booth so he could get one, after, of course, I told him how much I enjoyed his writing. He was super nice.

Looking over this post, it appears that all I did was meet people and get autographs and sketches. Not true, however. There was a lot of work being done at the booth. A lot of comics were sold and connections made. People kind of just flocked to our booth, because of all the press BOOM! has been getting lately. When you sell a few projects to studios in a matter of weeks, as BOOM! did earlier this year, people tend to take notice, I guess.

Well, I've been at this for a couple hours now and I think all my laundry is finished. I'll let you stop reading for now. If I remember anything more, I'll be sure to throw it up here when I have a chance. I know I'm leaving out a lot of stuff, and probably a number of people, too. Sorry about that if you're one of them!

Everyone take care and I'll talk at you more later.


Signing off (for now)

We leave in the morning for San Diego. I'm not sure how much I'll be blogging during the convention, but, if nothing else, I'm going to try to take lots of pictures to post to the flickr site each night, provided I'm neither too exhausted nor too drunk to do so.

I'm not sure anymore if I'm going to head up to San Francisco after the convention. I'm already pretty wiped out from it and it hasn't even started yet. Money is starting to be a factor, too. I don't know if I can afford those extra few days out here. Plus, it's starting to get to the point where I just want to get home, to sleep in my own bed again, to not be someone's guest anymore ... I dunno. I probably won't know for sure until Monday or Tuesday, when I've had a day or two to recover from the weekend.

I'll have my cell phone with me and I'm gonna try to check my email at least once a day, so if anything vitally important happens, you know how to find me. Other than that, I hope you all have a nice rest of the week and a relaxing weekend, while I will be up my to eyeballs in nerds.

Ah, Nerd Prom, thank god you only happen once a year.



I took Josh & Sarah and Cody out to dinner tonight, as a very small token of my appreciation for being so generous with, in Josh & Sarah's case, their home and their patience, and in Cody's case, with his time and his friendship. They've each helped to make this internship, and my time here in L.A. in general, that much better and more memorable.

After dinner, Cody and I met up with a friend of mine from school, Katie, who's also interning here in Los Angeles (Santa Monica, actually), at an ad agency. The three of us went to see this play, I guess you'd call it. A three-man spoken word performance about race relations called NWC, or NIGGER WETBACK CHINK. You can read about it here, and there are a couple clips up on Youtube.

The show was absolutely hysterical. I hadn't laughed so hard since I've been out here. It was Cody's idea to check it out tonight, since the show's closing next weekend when we're gonna be in San Diego. Funny thing, though, the show is going to hit Omaha in the fall, at Creighton, and I've kinda got an in to see it again.

I was wearing my Sandman T-shirts tonight and as we were getting our tickets, this guy pokes his head out the door and mentions it. Turns out that it's Steven T. Seagle, co-writer of NWC and writer of a number of great Vertigo comic books, like House of Secrets, It's a Bird... and American Virgin. He and Cody had also met previously, when Cody interned at Vertigo years ago, but neither quite remembered that until after the performance.

Steve will be down in San Diego for a few days, too, so hopefully he'll stop by the booth and say 'hi'. And he gave me one of his cards, so I can get in touch with him about that Omaha NWC show, which will be really fun. It'll be interesting to see how well the performance goes over at a Midwestern Jesuit university.

I also poked my head into Golden Apple Comics, just down the street on Melrose, early this afternoon, just to see what had come out in the past couple months, and I started talking to a couple of the clerks about San Diego, and this guy comes up to me and says he heard me talking about BOOM! Studios, and it turns out he works for the agency that represents the company I've been interning with. I tell ya, L.A. might be home to 10 million people, but it's still a damn small world.

And with that, I bid you good night.


Homeward Bound (after San Diego, of course)

Before I drove out to Los Angeles to begin my internship at BOOM! Studios (Check out the site, buy some comics, why don't ya?), I raised the possibility of being offered a job while I was out here to my parents. That sounds perhaps a tad more vain and egotistical than I intend it to be. People are offered jobs where they intern all the time, no? I simply didn't want to be caught flat-footed were a job offer to come my way. I wanted to be prepared, to know what I was going to say, other than the requisite, "I'll need some time to think about it." My parents, of course, stressed their desire for me to finish school, as I knew they would. I tried to set benchmarks, like, "If the offer is this much, then I'll take it," and my parents smiled and nodded and probably secretly hoped an offer wouldn't come, so that I wouldn't be tempted to not finish school.

As strange as it might sound, and believe me, it's weird for me just writing this, I've actually enjoyed going to school these past couple of years. I'd been away for so long, I didn't know what to expect, especially from myself. Given that I hadn't actually taken college seriously since my first year at Youngstown State (which, I have to say, was a pretty easy year as far as classes go), I didn't know if I could take it seriously anymore.

But I was determined. I had pissed away my early and mid-20s working crap jobs, whiling away the days years by fooling myself into thinking that one day I'd go back to school again, as I kept enrolling and dropping out every couple of years or so. When I came back from California in early 2005, I set for myself the goal of finally, after all those idling years, finishing school and getting a degree in something. Anything. By that point, all I wanted was that damned piece of paper. I almost didn't care what my major was going to be.

And here I am, nearly two years after those first trepidatious summer classes back at Metro, 10 months away from getting that degree, in Journalism of all things. Graduating from college has been the singular goal of my life for the past couple years. I wouldn't let anything get in my way. I was even going to bed at reasonable times most nights, so I'd get my eight hours of sleep. Nothing was going to deter me from finishing school. And then I was confronted with something that gave me pause: a job in the comic book industry.

As we're hopefully all aware by now, I'm a big geek. Movies, TV, comics, novels, I proudly and openly wave my geek flag. I like what I like and I don't care what anyone thinks about it. I've wanted to write comics since I was in middle school, when I first realized that people actually got paid to make stuff up and put it on paper. I read as many books as I could, all the "classics" of the medium: Will Eisner, Frank Miller, Alan Moore. I immersed myself in the history of the industry. (Did you know the original comic book publishers were Jewish gangsters who also published pornography?)

Next week is the San Diego comic book convention, the biggest, craziest five days on the comic book schedule. The industry practically grinds to a halt as everyone makes their plans. I've had my post-convention plans in place for a month or so now, head up to San Francisco to visit Rose & Johnny, and Kristie, and then head on back to Omaha to get ready for the upcoming Fall semester, which begins on August 27. As we've been drawing closer to the convention, to my final days here at BOOM!, I began to wonder if and when a job offer might come. We were running out of time, and, for a short time, I was kind of hoping it wouldn't happen, so I wouldn't have to make the decision.

But then Ross asks me into the conference room and we have a little chat, during which he asks me to, instead of heading home from San Francisco, drive back down here to L.A. and begin working for BOOM! Ross proceeded to sell the company to me, which, to be honest, wasn't really necessary. I know a lot of what's coming for BOOM! and it's all pretty incredible stuff. From my first week here, I got the feeling that this company was going to, if you'll pardon the pun, explode onto a bigger stage. Speaking simply as a comic book fan and not as someone who's spent the past couple of months working for the company, I'm pretty excited about some of the projects that BOOM! has in the works. I would love to work for this company. When I'm back in Omaha, I'm going to feel like I'm missing out on all the cool stuff. I was, to be honest, more tempted to accept the offer than I thought I'd be. It was a difficult decision, until I spoke with my cousin, Terri.

Terri runs a production company here in Los Angeles. She's lived and worked out here for a while now and I figured she'd be a good sounding board for my concerns. Her opinion, because of her experience out here, was going to carry a lot of weight with me, moreso than pretty much everyone else whose advice I solicited (no offense, everyone). And, while speaking with Terri, she reminded me of one of the reasons I went back to Omaha to finish school in the first place.

She said that when she looks to hire someone at her office, an assistant or whatever, she won't even consider them if they don't have a college degree. And that reminded me of when I used to sit in my apartment in Fullerton, scanning the Internet for jobs in L.A. And I'd come across just the lowest possible entry-level jobs ... and they all required a college degree. To work in a mail room at a production company, you need to have a degree. And I remembered how surprised I was when I first realized that, back in '04/'05. And I remembered that the reason I'm out here in the first place, the only reason I drove across the country to work for BOOM! Studios: so I would receive credit for school, so I could graduate from college.

And it all sort of clicked into place after that realization.

Just being offered the job was ... I don't know if I can describe the feeling. I'm just so appreciative of the opportunity Ross gave me this summer. He and Cody have made me feel welcome and comfortable and I honestly couldn't have asked for a better experience. The job offer was icing on the cake, and part of me wanted to grab it, to, once again, say to hell with school (because, let's be honest, I know me, there's no way I was going to finish school out here if I had taken the job). But I've been so focused on school, on graduating ... I can't throw that away. Ten more months. And if BOOM! is hiring next May, I would come back to L.A. in an instant. And if they're not, oh well, y'know?

I concluded that I'm okay with passing up the job to finish school. There will (hopefully) be other job offers. But if I stayed here in L.A. and didn't graduate, there's absolutely no way I would have been able to live with myself.


Opinions Wanted

Should I accept the job offer and stay out here in L.A. (and possibly get my degree out here later) and work in the industry I've wanted to be a part of since I realized it existed, or should I head back to Omaha to finish my last year of school and finally get my degree in May 2008 and hope that there still might be a place for me here in 10 months?

Let the comments commence!


Two Weeks 'til Nerdi Gras!

I was feeling much less pain in my back Monday morning, only to have my neck start to ache. I must've slept on it wrong. It's feeling better by today, though there are still a few aches and pains. Sleeping on a futon for the past month and a half has been taking its toll, I suppose. I look forward to returning to Omaha, to sleeping on my own bed.

Two weeks from now we'll be caravaning our way down the 405 toward San Diego. I'm not sure how many cars/trucks we're going to have. At least two, I would think, for all the equipment and people. Mike Nelson suggested renting a U-Haul trailer to hitch to somebody's truck, which is probably a great idea.

Cody and Chip met a couple nights ago to further hash out the details from the bigger meeting Friday night. And I'm just along for the ride. Whatever needs done, whatever I can do, I'll take care of.

Despite the stress and madness of San Diego, I'm looking forward to it. There's a live art party Friday night with Jim Mahfood, David Mack, Ashley Wood and a bunch of other artists and DJs. That should be a wonderful stress reliever. Saturday night is the CBLDF auction, which I think I'll try to volunteer at. I'm not sure how much I'll be able to do for the Fund this year, because I'm technically going to be in San Diego with BOOM!, but I'd like to offer my services for at least a few hours over the weekend. I don't really have much money to donate, and when I can't donate cash, I donate my time. Though I'm sure they're going to have something at their booth that I'm going to want to buy, so I might end up handing over both time and money.

CBR is looking for reporters for the convention, too. I'd like to do some work with them again, like I did last year in Chicago, but I don't think I'm going to have any time for attending panels and writing articles. I'll contact Jonah anyway, and let him know I'll be around.

If you look at the programming schedule for the convention, it's utter madness. There is so much going on during these four days, if I had the time, I wouldn't know where to begin. I would almost just want to curl up in a ball in the corner and weep, it's that overwhelming. But, I'll have a schedule at the BOOM! booth, so I won't have time to think about all the cool stuff I'll be missing. The two things I'd really like to attend are a Neil Gaiman panel and a Warren Ellis panel. I'm not sure I'll be able to check out Neil's Q&A, but the Ellis one isn't until 9:00 Saturday night, and the CBLDF auction should be finished by then (I hope).

I suppose I should get to work. If anyone wants to come out to San Diego and work at the BOOM! booth in a couple weeks, you just let me know.


Lucky 7s

Went into work an hour later yesterday, as we were having a post-regular-office-hours meeting to attempt to figure out where we currently stand in regards to preparation for San Diego, and what we need/want to get done in the next ... less than three weeks.

The "planning committee" consists of Mike Nelson, who, in addition to writing a few different titles for BOOM!, also appears to be in indentured servitude to the boss. He is truly a jack-of-all-trades. I finally met Chip Mosher (hi Chip!), who writes an espionage thriller called Left on Mission (the first issue of which is really good; I haven't had a chance to read the second or third yet). He's coming on board the company in a marketing capacity, leaving behind a job at an Apple store, which would have brought him untold riches and a free iPhone. And, of course, Cody and Ross were at the meeting, as well.

I was kind of a fifth wheel. I mean, I'd like to help in any capacity I can. That's what I'm here for. I'm just not entirely sure what I can be doing, regarding San Diego. Whatever is asked of me, I guess. The convention begins on Thursday, July 26th, with preview night the night before. We're going to be driving out there that Wednesday morning, I believe. We need to figure out what we're going to be bringing, in terms of comics, which I suspect will be sort of my area, along with Intern #2, getting all the comics organized. The way my back is feeling, though, other people are gonna be carrying them.

My back is still all fucked up from helping move furniture last weekend. I would have kicked myself many times over for helping with that, only I can't, because it hurts too much to try. I was popping hydro- and oxycodones yesterday, but to no avail. They would help for a little while, but then I'd, well, move, and the pain would return. Even just laying here in bed, breathing makes my back hurt. I need to just, like, not do anything, not even move, for a couple days, but I don't see how I can manage that. I'm hopeful that I'll be feeling better by the time San Diego rolls around.

The boss gave me a couple scripts to read, film scripts. I got through one last night. He'd only given me the first 30 pages to read. It was all right. The writing was kind of choppy, and, after 30 pages, I really didn't care all that much about either of the main characters, though their situations were certainly interesting, and I'd certainly like to read the rest of the script, if only to figure out what's going on. I haven't started reading the other script yet. Maybe tomorrow as I do laundry.

A friend from UNO is out here interning, too. Well, she's up in Santa Monica, at an ad agency. She emailed me a couple weeks ago, but the message got stuck in my UNO account spam filter for some reason, so I didn't get it until, like, Monday. She and her sister are going to a Dodger game tonight, and the stadium is, like, 15 minutes from where I'm staying, so we might hang out for a bit afterwards. It'd be cool to see a familiar face out here.

Josh and I were thinking of trying to find this barcade tonight. A barcade is a bar with old school video games. At least, as far as I know, that's what it is. There's one a couple streets over, apparently, though I've never seen it as I've driven to work. It must be hidden, and have a secret password to gain entrance. Anyway, we might try to find that tonight. Cody was going to come, but he keeps winning free concert tickets, so he's going to see the Decemberists tonight.

In front of Transformers was one of the best trailers I've ever seen. It's for this J.J. Abrams movie that doesn't have an "official" title yet. It's being called "Cloverfield" on the IMDb and all over the internets. It's that trailer that's all shot using a digital video camera. It starts out at someone's going-away party before everyone heads to the roof and sees a giant explosion off in the distance. The end of the trailer is on street level, with flying debris heading toward the camera, and one huge chunk appears to be the head from the Statue of Liberty. It's a very cool trailer. I'd link to it on youtube, but whatever I link to would probably be taken down in a matter of minutes. Try to find it, though, if you haven't seen it. Speculation is running wild all over the place, regarding what the movie's about. Some people have said it's a giant monster movie, a new Godzilla movie, a Cthulhu movie (which would be very cool for BOOM!, because BOOM! publishes Cthulhu comics). But no one knows what it's about. It's extremely good viral marketing. Obviously, because I'm talking about it here. The next bit of info about the project is apparently going to be released on August 1st, so keep an eye out.

That's about all I know, I think. Gonna try to get a haircut today. But other than that, I just want to sit around and chill, rest my back. I hate when it feels this way. I feel so useless, because I can barely lift anything. It fuckin' hurts to roll over, for cryin' out loud.

Anyway. Have a happy (and lucky?) 7/7/07.


Explodo Robo Porn

Oh lord, where to begin?

I think I'll start with the things I disliked, because, to be honest, I enjoyed Transformers a lot more than I thought I was going to, despite the god-awful dialogue and nonsensical plot ... ah, I guess that's where I can start.

Okay, a quick disclaimer before I continue: I saw the movie with people from work. That is, writers. Writers whose ideas and opinions I respect. Writers who, also, are friends with John Rogers, one of the writers of the movie (he received a "Story by" credit). (I'd really love to read Rogers' original script for this movie, before it got into the hands of Kurtzman and Orci.) So I just want to have that out there before I move on.

Most of the dialogue was simply atrocious. Seriously. I groaned. People in the theatre chuckled or downright laughed and I just sat there shaking my head. There were a few good lines sprinkled throughout, but for the most part, it was just cheesy one-liners and pseudo-technobabble that wouldn't have made sense had it been written by Stephen Hawking.

Next, the plot. Plot, I hear you say? What plot? Well, yeah, exactly. Something about a cube called the "Allspark" (Allspark, can you fuckin' believe that? What the fuck is an Allspark?) and taking over the world. Whatever. Made no sense. Didn't really have to, but it would've been nice if it did. I guess with a movie about giant alien transforming robots, we were fortunate to get any sort of explanation at all.

The part where Bumblebee shines his chest light into the sky to signal the other Autobots (how'd they even see it, anyway? It didn't seem to be that powerful a light) ... total Bat-symbol ripoff. Very cheesy.

That little fuckin' robot, Rumble, I guess it was, the one on Air Force One and all that, he was fucking annoying. I wanted to rip his little head off myself. That grating noise he made, it raked across my brain like nails on a chalkboard.

And why were the symbols on the cube, and the subtitles when the robots spoke, why did their letters have a distinct Asian flair to them? They swing by Japan 10,000 years ago?

The bit with the red-socked president asking for a Ding-Dong - pretty lame. Not funny at all. But, then again, lots of what was supposed to be funny wasn't. Like the robots acting like the Three Stooges around the Witwicky home. Silly, yes. Funny, no.

John Turturro - can he chew the scenery any harder? I love the man, but wow. He wasn't over the top, he chomped his way right through the fuckin' middle.

I just realized I've been typing "fuck" a lot. Perhaps it's because, if I saw giant alien robots beating the crap out of each other, I wouldn't limit myself to a PG-13 vocabulary.

Women that look like Rachael Taylor simply aren't superhackers. That totally took me out of the movie. I sat there the whole time thinking to myself, "No one that beautiful is that smart and tech-savvy."

Megan Fox is absolutely gorgeous and Shia LaBeouf acted like her having a juvie record was a deal breaker for him. Uh-huh. Like that's believable.

"I gave up my future when I wouldn't turn my dad in! When have you ever had to sacrifice anything in your perfect little life?" - who writes this crap?

Don't get me started on the fact that the vast majority of this film was nothing more than a commercial for GM, who make some of the world's crappiest cars. What self-respecting transforming sentient alien robot turns himself in a Pontiac Solstice? Blech.

Michael Bay is Satan's gift to the film industry. His choppy cuts and split-second edits made my fuckin' head hurt. The man hasn't met a shakycam he hasn't fallen in love with. The only thing he's good at is balls-to-the-wall action sequences, which, of course, this movie had in spades.

The action sequences were spectacularly impressive. I tip my hat to the CGI crew who built those towering Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em robots. They looked amazing. As always, it's the little things. The way their gears and servos would continue to move after transforming. There were moving parts when they walked. You could almost see where all their parts went when they transformed from vehicle to robot. I could watch all the action scenes, hell, I could watch all the non-dialogue heavy scenes over and over again, they were so fuckin' pretty.

Hearing Peter Cullen's voice admittedly sent chills down my spine. That's a voice I'll never forget, y'know? It wouldn't have been right had they used someone else to voice Prime.

Hugo Weaving as Megatron - good call.

During that final battle between Prime and Megatron, I couldn't help but think of their fight at the beginning of the animated Transformers movie from '86. That fight was fuckin' hardcore. Those two pounded the crap out of each other, and then Megatron kills Prime. Kills him. Within the first 20 minutes of a kids movie. Hell, half the Autobots were killed during that initial battle. That was pretty shocking for a kid of seven or eight. Of course, they only killed off the characters so they could introduce new characters and sell more toys, but that's besides the point. I didn't care about marketing when I first saw that movie. I cared that these characters whom I had grown to love and care about were massacred before my then-innocent, young eyes.

That was kind of a problem with this new movie, too. I never once really cared about the Transformers. We never got to know the Decepticons at all. They were just evil, which I don't buy anymore. No such thing as pure good or pure evil. Might've worked if I were still eight, but not anymore. And the Autobots ... Bumblebee was nothin' but Shia's puppy. He was E.T. to Shia's Eliot. A pet. There were some cute, Love Bug-esque moments, sure, but c'mon. And Optimus ... his dialogue was some of the worst of all. His exposition, his rah-rah humans-can-be-so-much-more platitudes at the end of the movie - feh. Coulda done without it.

And speaking of Shia's Eliot, I mean, Sam ... that kid, Shia, he's a pretty decent actor. He's got this earnestness about him. He's so into his roles that you can't help but buy into the situation. He makes it difficult not to enjoy the moments when he's on the screen. Hopefully he'll become a better actor, but even if he doesn't, this movie, combined with Indy 4 next year, will make him a huge star.

Josh Duhamel and Tyrese Gibson were very convincing as airborne soldiers, except for the fuckin' lack of swearing. C'mon, these guys are supposed to be battle-hardened soldiers, remember?

When Prime rammed his sword (since when does Prime have a sword?) up through the bottom of whatever Decepticon he was fighting's jaw, that was fuckin' hardcore. That's a battle-hardened intergalactic robot warrior right there.

Did anyone else keep wanting to hear the hard rock soundtrack from the '86 animated movie?

I enjoyed Transformers a lot more than I thought I was going to, despite its inherent silliness. It's certainly not a great film, though it's probably Michael Bay's best one to date (I still think The Island could have been so much more had it had a better writer, such as Andrew Niccol of Gattaca). The explodo robo porn was truly sensational, to which the 10-year-old inside me can attest, as he had to change his underwear when the movie was over.

Given my initial trepidation regarding this movie, and Bay's directing of it, I honestly couldn't have asked for a better film, which I think is the highest praise I can possibly heap upon its scorched and burnished metal chassis.

More than meets the ... ow

So, big idiot that I am, I helped Josh and Sarah move some furniture around on Sunday. For those who are not in the know, let me enlighten you for a moment. I have a bad back. It's my own fault, I'm quite certain, but that doesn't make the pain any less valid, only more, what, justified?

Suffice it to say, I should have known better, and in fact, did know better, than to help move sofas from room to room and door-to-door, but I did it anyone. One couch went into the room I've been crashing in. Another went to the neighbor gals. And the third, the one Josh and Sarah got from some friends, that one, a sleeper sofa, no less, along with a chair and ottoman, went from the moving van to the living room.

The first two were relatively easy to move. Not too heavy. The new chair wasn't too bad, either, nor was the ottoman. That sleeper sofa, however ... oh my FSM, was that thing fuckin' heavy. So here I am, back in knots, pain shooting up and down my spine even when I do nothing other than sit here and type. It actually kind of sucks.

And why, pray tell, did I help move all this furniture? Because Josh and Sarah have been so great to me since I've been out here. Letting me crash at their place, eat their food, annoy their cats. I couldn't not help, y'know? After all they've done for me, and with a little less than a month to go, I felt an obligation to lend a hand.

That'll teach me. I need more pain meds.

The boss is taking Cody and I to see Transformers this afternoon. I can't for the life of me imagine that it'll be good. Fun, sure, but actually good? No way. The very concept is so absurd, isn't? Giant sentient alien robots who turn into GM cars and trucks? WTF? Sure, it was awesome when I was eight and had all the toys, but does everything from 20 years ago really need to make a comeback? Can't we let the past stay buried? They're making a G.I. Joe movie and an animated Thundercats movie. Do we really need these things? Are there truly no original ideas left in the world that we need a Thundercats film?

Two years ago today my friends Ryan and Jami tied the knot, and I was honored to stand by Ryan's side as his best man. I'd like to wish the both of them a happy anniversary, and I hope they have a great day and enjoy their much-needed day off tomorrow.