Comic-Con Day Three Report: V, Fringe, True Blood | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Comic-Con attendees against Twilight

Comic-Con Day Three Report: V, Fringe, True Blood

Plus: We Attend an Actual Comic Book Panel – DC Universe

Aug 05, 2009 Comic-Con 2009 - Day Three Photography by Wendy Lynch Redfern Bookmark and Share

I thought it might be good to start off day three of Comic-Con with an actual comic book-related panel (imagine that). Apart from the Eisner Awards and watching part of a panel on writer/artist Darwyn Cooke, my first two days of Comic-Con had been spent attending panels related to TV shows. The common complaint among diehard comic book fans, and longtime Comic-Con attendees, is that Hollywood has taken the convention hostageand it’s hard to totally disagree, even as I chose the lure and star power of many of those Hollywood panels over comic book ones.

DC Universe Editorial Presentation:

DC is probably the comic company I’m most familiar with, both in terms of their history and of following what they are doing now, so I hit up the DC Universe Editorial Presentation panel. DC’s Senior Vice President/Executive Editor Dan DiDio, who often writes the DC Nation column at the back of all of DC’s comics, moderated the panel, and it featured various DC writers and artists. After the panel was introduced, DC Vice President of Sales Bob Wayne was awarded the Inkpot Award, which Comic-Con gave out to a few people during the Con (including Mike Allred). Much to Wayne’s surprise, a montage of funny photos of him was flashed up on the screen.

Then Didio went though various upcoming titles and events that would be coming to the DC Universe in the coming months, with each being accompanied by some sort of advanced art from the title. If one of the panelists was working on the title then they would comment on it.

It was revealed that J. Michael Straczynski’s run on The Brave and the Bold would commence with a team-up between Batman and Dial H for Hero. There will be a new Doom Patrol comic and the 2nd feature in that comic will be Metal Men. Acclaimed comics writer Geoff Johns (Blackest Night, Green Lantern) was in attendance. He said that a new Speedster will come out of Flash: Rebirth (which brought back Barry Allen, the second Flash, who died in 1985). Johns will also be writing the new Flash monthly series when Rebirth is finished and is helping on the script for a Flash motion picture, which he’ll also be one of the producers on. The Justice League of America will have new team members, including Mon-El, former Robin Dick Grayson as Batman, Donna Troy, and the Hal Jordan Green Lantern. The Justice Society of America, meanwhile, will be splitting off into two teamsone for the old school members and one for the younger members. Blair Butler, the host of the Fresh Ink segment on G4’s Attack of the Show, will be appearing, in photograph form, on the cover of Booster Gold #23. She’ll be decked out in a “Booster Gold Fan Club” shirt. There’s a new Batgirl coming, but her true identity has yet to be revealed (someone joked that Sarah Pallin was the new Batgirl and that’s why she was stepping down as Governor).

DC has acquired the rights to two sets of characters originally published by other comics companies and will be incorporating those characters into the continuity of the DC Universe. The first of these is T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents, who were a superhero team originally published by Tower Comics in the 1960s. Then DC has licensed all of the characters from Archie Comics’ Red Circle Comics. This includes a patriotic character named The Shield, who is similar to Captain America, but who actually debuted more than a year before Captain America. J. Michael Straczynski will be responsible for introducing some of the Red Circle characters into the DC universe.

Didio that there will be a lot more conflict between Green Arrow and Black Canary and that something big in planned for Green Arrow later this year. Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian, who was on the panel, will be writing a new Lobo two-issue miniseries entitled Highway to Hell. Ian said that he’d also love to write a Batman story at some point. The Teen Titans will have a new team and a new team leader, the supervillain Deathstroke: The Terminator. Wonder Woman writer Gail Simone revealed that Wonder Woman and Black Canary will go undercover as cage fighters and that Wonder Woman is going to denounce the gods and declare that she’s no longer an Amazon.

Didio spoke about Wednesday Comics, DC’s great new weekly series that is presented in the form of large newspaper comic strips. “It’s truly ironic for us to be innovating with an idea that’s about 50 years old,” said Didio. Didio asked the audience which continuing story in Wednesday Comics was the audience’s favorite. One guy yelled out “Metal Men,” which just happens to be the one Wednesday Comics story Didio is writing, so Didio jokingly gave the guy some cash.

Throughout the panel, Bob Wayne seemed to think that they were giving away too much info on forthcoming DC books. “Dan, when does your panel ‘Rosebud the sled’ happen?” Wayne joked, referencing the ending to Citizen Kane. One girl was dressed as The Question (complete with no face) and got a laugh from the room when she got up to ask a question and simply said, “Hi, I have a question.”

The Simpsons:

It’s hard to believe that The Simpsons have been around for 20 years now. I caught the tail end of the show’s panel, as series creator Matt Groening was revealing that he and composer Danny Elfman were responsible for adding the “s” at the end of “The Simpsons” in the show’s opening theme tune. Apparently, when the choir sang the show’s name it was hard to hear the “s” at the end (“The Simpson”) and so Groening and Elfman had to sing the “s” part later and fix it in post. When asked what his favorite Simpsons moment has been, Groening replied, “I like it when Bart skateboards naked to the Kwiki Mart in The Simpsons Movie.” At the end of the panel Groening was presented with an award from the Guinness Book of World Records for being the Longest Running Sitcom and The Longest Running Animated TV Series. Groening concluded the panel by proclaiming, “There is no end in sight. Simpsons forever!”


V was a beloved miniseries and TV series that aired from 1983 to 1985 on NBC and centered on a humanoid alien race (referred to a The Visitors) who come to Earth preaching peace, but who had much darker motives (and lizard-like bodies under their fake human skin). Fans were no doubt skeptical when it was announced that ABC would be remaking V as a brand new show. The show’s Comic-Con panel began with a screening of the entire pilot episode.

The pilot wastes no time introducing the main characters and having the alien ships arrive. As the characters are introduced it seems as though an earthquake is taking place, but it’s actually the ships entering our atmosphere. The leader of The Visitors is the beautiful Anna (Firefly and Serenity‘s Morena Baccarin) and she appears on video screens underneath the ships with a message of peace to the world (“We are at peace, always.”). The series’ main characters come into focus as they react to the history-changing event. Erica Evans (Lost‘s Elizabeth Mitchell) is an FBI agent and a single mother who is on the trail of terrorists. Her son, Tyler (Logan Huffman) is immediately smitten by The Visitors, in particular the young and beautiful Lisa (Smallville‘s Laura Vandervoot), who he meets when The Visitors start offering free guided tours of the mother ships. Father Jacky Landry (The 4400‘s Joel Gretsch) is a Catholic priest who has a crisis of faith now that the existence of aliens has been thrust upon the world. Ryan Nichols (Boyz n the Hood‘s Morris Chestnut) is planning to propose to his girlfriend and is receiving mysterious phone calls. Chad Decker (Party of Five‘s Scott Wolf) is an ambitious TV reporter who has no qualms about sleeping with a White House aid in order to land an interview with the Vice President. Because of his loose ethics, Decker is chosen by The Visitors to be the sole reporter allowed interview access with Anna, provided that he doesn’t ask any questions that could portray The Visitors in a negative light.

Based on the pilot, the new V seems to be faithful to the basic story components of Kenneth Johnson’s original miniseries. In one interesting change, it is revealed that some Visitors have already been on Earth for years in sleeper cells. In a funny play on current events, The Visitors also offer the world true Universal Healthcare, but it becomes clear in the pilot that their real motivations are much more nefarious. The pilot sets up some compelling situations and ideas that will be played out over the series, but it remains to be seen how well those ideas will be implemented. The original V famously worked best as two connected miniseries, but faltered when it continued as a regular series. Will V sustain itself over multiple 26-episode seasons, or will all its good ideas be played out quickly? I, for one, will keep watching for a while to find out.

After the pilot screening the cast and producers came out for a quick Q&A session. The original V was an allegory for World War II and the holocaust. “A lot’s happened in 25 years [since the original V] and in the post 9/11 world there’s a lot of paranoia,” said executive producer Scott Peters (The 4400). The cast was asked if they had any memories of the original V, as most of them were kids or teenagers when it aired. “I was totally creeped out by the peeling skin,” remembered Morena Baccarin. “I had huge memories of the alien baby,” said Elizabeth Mitchell.


There was a Fringe panel at Comic-Con last year that was less than full, as the show had yet to premiere. This year the room was packed with Fringe devotees. Co-creator J.J. Abrams was not able to attendhe was at the bar mitzvah for the son of his best friend, actor Greg Grunberg (Heroes)but other producers were there, as well as the four main cast members (Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson, John Noble, and Jasika Nicole).

Fringe‘s first season ended with the realization that Torv’s character, Olivia Dunham, was visiting an alternate universe and, as the camera pulled back, that she was standing in the Twin Towers, which had been spared in this universe. “We didn’t wanted to be disrespectful,” said Executive Producer Jeff Pinkner, who admitted that they had internal discussions and discussions with the network about whether or not the Twin Towers angle would fly. The finale also included a quick shot of a New York Post newspaper from the alternate universe with a headline that read: “Obamas Set to Move Into New White House.” “The Twin Towers were saved and the White House may not have been,” explained Pinkner. In the parallel universe President John F. Kennedy was never killed. The panel hinted that the main characters would likely meet their alternate reality counterparts at some point. Of course, Joshua Jackson’s character, Peter Bishop, is the alternate universe version, as his father Walter (John Noble) was seen visiting the grave of the Peter of the regular reality. “As an actor, you never want to read the sentence, ‘and he looks at Peter’s grave.’ That’s never a good sign,” joked Jackson, who was worried that he was being written out of the show. The cast asked the audience Fringe trivia questions, with free Fringe t-shirts being awarded for correct answers. An old college friend of Jasika Nicole showed up at the panel and surprised her.

True Blood:

I’ve never actually seen a full episode of True Blood, but I’ve been meaning to catch up on it and I have a friend who is obsessed with the show and was tempted to go to Comic-Con just for its panel (she didn’t). So I checked out the beginning of the panel. It seemed as though the entire regular cast was in attendance and the packed audience was incredibly enthusiastic as each actor was introduced. Each panelist had a bottled drink in front of him or her. “True Blood the drink is actually a reality now,” explained series creator Alan Ball. Ball joked that the drink consisted of “a little vodka, a little Vicodin, a little Viagra, and Ecstasy.” But then Ball said that it was actually a blood orange soda and that it would be available starting September 10th. When it was announced that it was actress Anna Pacquin’s birthday (it was actually the day before), the crowd went wild.

Also in attendance was novelist Charlaine Harris, whose Southern Vampire Mysteries series of books True Blood is based on. Harris talked about her response after first seeing the pilot, when she was sent an early screener before it aired. “I called my husband and said, ‘Honey, we’re gonna have to move.’” Apparently Harris was taken aback by some of True Blood‘s racier scenes. Actress Deborah Ann Woll (who plays Jessica Hamby) admitted that she was very nervous to be at Comic-Con. Just before we left the panel, she said: “I’m a nervous person. In fact, I have to warn you I’m a little bit nervous, so I’m picturing all of you in your underwear.”

We decided to skip the nighttime events, but we did walk the line for those waiting to get into the San Diego Comic-Con International Masquerade costume contest, to check out all the crazy costumes. Many in line were holding signs that read: “Twilight ruined Comic-Con!” Apparently, they were unhappy that there was a panel on day one of Comic-Con for the Twilight sequel New Moon. Two women dressed as Wonder Woman even held up a sign that read: “Amazons against Twilight.”

So ended another day of Comic-Con. Three days down, one to go.

Check out a full gallery of photos from the DC Universe panel here.

Check out a full gallery of photos from the The Simpsons panel here.

Check out a full gallery of photos from the V panel here.

Check out a full gallery of photos from the Fringe panel here.

Check out a full gallery of photos from the True Blood panel here.

Check out a full gallery of photos of day three people in costume here.


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