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Comic Con Coda


And so, that was the year that was in San Diego, as the pre-budget collapse edition of Comic Con wraps for another year. What does it mean for Mayan Prophecy that the Con is booked for the same convention center at least through 2015?

There were long lines and bare midriffs – my fanboy side couldn’t get into a panel about the “psychology” of Batman (why is he so attracted to bad girls like Catwoman?), but there were still available seats for panels on where and how entertainment was going to be different, reformulated, and thrown back into the viewer’s lap. A lot of these dealt with digital and interactive comics, and one of these, at least, dealt with films, as Francis Ford Coppola premiered footage for his upcoming thriller Twixt. He mentioned he wanted to take the film on tour ahead of its traditional release and perhaps mix-and-match the sequence of scenes, the way the score affects the film, etc.

Or as he told the AP, “If the audience is in the mood to go off on a little bit of a tangent, then you’d be able to go off on a tangent, but if the audience seems to want to cut to the chase, you could cut to the chase.” Where this will leave the film editor’s art (or even the screenwriter’s) remains an intriguing, and very much open, question. And what about actors left on the cutting room floor – sometimes, but not others?

There may be more ephemeral questions about production and costume design contained there, too, especially in films where those aspects “unfold” during a story – meant to reveal a character’s growing dissolution or increasing strength, say.

But those are for future Comic Cons. On the costume question, this one had a panel that was explicitly below the line, as an IA Local – our own 892, the Costumer Designers Guild – sponsored a panel on design for television. Panelists included Jim Lapidus, most recently of 24 and Hawaii Five-O, Shawna Trpcic, with many fan-favorited Joss Whedon credits under her belt, and more recently, the Dr. Who spinoff, Torchwood. Assistant  True Blood designer J.R. Hawbacker also held forth, in the panel moderated by Susan Nininger, who mentioned the feeling of being like “kids in a … costume store!” (Given that Western Costume also co-sponsored the panel, that may have been apropos).

What was interesting was that this was one of the rooms that was nearly filled to capacity – not just because of fan interest in the shows worked on, but also by those wanting to learn more about this particular craft – and how to foment a career doing it. Hawbacker put in a plug for internships (she had one with Lapidus), and Trpcic put in one for the union, mentioning how many non-union hours logged on Mighty Morphin Power Rangers convinced her to join.

Comic Con hadn’t previously been considered a pool of potential union organizing, but as its wings spread to take in more and aspects of pop culture – including trying to work in it, in a retracting economy – who knows?

That, or we need to find one of those parallel Earths were everyone is happily employed, doing what they love. Surely that exists somewhere in the Multiverse?

Meanwhile, in this timeline, Comic Con regroups for the summer of 2012. ‘Til then, true believers…

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