Tuesday, July 27, 2010

San Diego: What Kiel Wrote!

San Diego, man. Woof. What a long, strange, tiring, exciting, stabbing thing. As normal, I thought I'd take the massive gap in posting the collective Cool Kids underwent because of the show as a cue to fill up our corner with some ego stroking in the form of posting all that I wrote over the past week for CBR. But before I got to patting myself on the back, I wanted to note the following:

1 - For all my coming congratulatory bullshit, there is absolutely nothing that I did this weekend or ever will do at any show that will hold a candle to the unstoppable reporting prowess of Team CBR. At the end of the weekend, our on site panel coordinator – and all around chipper dude – Seth Jones sent out a text to the 30+ staffers we had on site thanking them for their hard work, and in it he said simply, "Best crew ever...I want you ALL back next year!" I couldn't agree more. At the risk of sounding like a total dickcheese, I take an extreme amount of pride in the fact that CBR probably covers this show with more depth and passion than any other media outlet – not just comics press or nerd press but ALL press. If you doubt me, check out our Comic-Con coverage index where the team delivered more reporting on panels than you can even imagine with more pouring in every day for this week and likely into next. Having so many people who were professional, timely, thoughtful and smart made what little I had to do administratively a breeze, and I swear to God I've never seen Jonah Weiland so laid back around late July ever. Thanks so much to everyone who kicked in.

2 - Holy fucking shit, Robot 6 and Spinoff Online! I would honestly be a hot mess if it weren't for the ladies and gentlemen behind those blogs, you guys. Every time I had some con-related news come across my desk last minute where we were all freaking out, I'd e-mail the Robot 6 crew and they'd not only respond immediately with a "YES!" but in some cases would actually say, "We were already chasing that." Can you fucking imagine how awesome those guys are?!?! They broke a lot of news on the show itself all by their lonesome and gave more better round ups of the breaking news of the show than any blog on the internet. Amazing, amazing, amazing, A-MAZE-ING, you guys.

And Spinoff? I can honestly say that when Jonah and I dreamt up the idea of a bigger media blog for the CBR network while doing drunken girly phone chats one night, there's no way we imagined it'd be as strong as its been in its brief life under Graeme, Kevin, Josh, Erik Jeffrey and the rest of the crew. We wanted to make a place on CBR that could expand out our coverage of other media that our readership seems to dig without sacrificing one iota of our comics coverage or comics focus, and I think we've done exactly that...and when I say "we've done" what I mean is "they've done, but it's so nice they put my name on that site too." Super aces, bros.

3 - Finally before I link to something that more than three of you want to read, I just wanted to say that I got back from this San Diego more excited about my working future and my future in general than I've felt in a long time. So everyone who hung out and said nice things and kept my positivity up all weekend...basically to all my friends at the show: THANK YOU. I went into this year's show not knowing what experience I wanted from it but walking away with the best one possible, and that was hella keen.

OK, so...content!

* I don't want to foist every piece of pre-con news that I worked on upon y'all, but in the ramp up to the show, there were a few legitimately newsworthy stories and/or just plain fun interviews I got to do that were tangentially tied to the con. For one, I was happy (and a little surprised) to be the only person to reach out and get comment from Jimmy Palmiotti and Larry Young as two of the principals in this coming Kickstart Comics company that's going to be hitting comic shops and Wal-Marts later this year. I know a lot of people throw automatic sneers at any company run by Hollywood folks, but my view is always that if someone is paying creators to get comics done, printed and sold, they deserve a shot to talk about that process in a forum where their potential readership can come and get facts on the product.

On the flip side of that particular story, it was nice to speak to Mark Waid and Matt Gagnon about their changing roles at BOOM! Studios. For being a place whose name carries "the S word," BOOM! has pretty much proven its commitment to comics first, and I'm always glad to see more healthy players of that stripe in the market.

Finally, there were a shit ton of product announcements and product announcement interviews from me in the ramp up to the show, but if I had only one to steer you towards, it'd be this one with Scott Snyder on his upcoming Detective Comics run. I don't know how well it reads through in the final copy, but I haven't spoken to any creator who was as flat out enthused over his new gig that Snyder in I don't know how long. It's nice to see new guys who are fucking hungry in comics, you know?

* Once I landed in San Diego on Tuesday morning, things pretty much started to fall on me left and right. For one, Jonah hatched some hairbrained scheme to get me onto the floor of the show before it opened (my brief photo set is here), and I'll admit it was kind of fun in its fake clandestined-ness. I think aside from all the other awesome perks, fans who want to become professionals should chase that brass ring with the knowledge that when they get that coveted exhibitor badge, there are few things more creepy awesome than walking the floor of Comic-Con when it's totally fucking empty of people.

The other major bit of Tuesday insanity for me was the fact that despite traveling to the show on little to no sleep, I'd committed to doing the latest of our new "Marvel T&A" column for the Friday of the show. We didn't want to miss a week so early in our new weekly column for any reason, so I called up Tom Brevoort from the Taxi stand of the San Diego airport for what I thought would be a ten minute "what do you do when everyone else is at San Diego?" chat and ended up with over 40 minutes of Q&A. If you're at all interested about the inner workings of Marvel Editorial over the product discussion these things usually gravitate towards, you may want to check that out. Also: Brevoort owes me a dollar for including that "T&T" gag in there.

* Once CCI gets underway, the majority of my time doing "live reporting" – that is to say I cover some of the bigger publisher panels as they happen while trying to lose neither my mind or my tenuous wireless signal. I can't complain about it really as doing a panel live means one hour of stressful typing followed by zero work on my part. It's honestly a sweet gig, and I hope that in the rush to catch as much of the news and quote people as accurately as I can, what I produce somewhat resembles readable prose rather that some kind of strange fanboy bulletpoints that need to be decoded by the message board kids. Anyway, the lion's share of these reports included: The first DC Nation panel, the Geoff Johns spotlight, the Marvel Avengers comics panel and the famed Cup O' Joe panel.

* And as part and parcel of that panel coverage, I also spoke to writer Jeff Parker about his plans in taking over Marvel's Red Hulk character with his "Atlas" artist Gabriel Hardman. To be honest, I wrote that story from a couch in the lobby of my hotel at four in the morning during a night of restless, stressful insomnia, so if it makes no sense please don't blame Parker.

* In between that, I found a moment to interview DC co-publisher Dan Didio about the whole "Alan Moore doesn't want Watchmen back or to write a sequel" thing. I mean, I got as much out of DDD as he was willing to give on the subject at least. I honestly don't know what to make of that whole story or even if it's that big of a story, but I'm always interested in hearing the big whigs talk about their big plans – even in vague terms – so it was an interesting thing in that respect at least.

* The other big chunk of my week was spent diving head first into Scott Pilgrim madness. It's kind of insane to me that one of the first things I did as a web reporter on comics was to interview Bryan Lee O'Malley about the release of the series' third volume, and since then the bond I've made with those books and that particular piece of my work life has been an incredibly satisfying and...I don't know? Humbling? experience. I'm going to miss waiting for new books in that world terribly, and I can't think of a better way to have ended my run following them than by live reporting on the star-studded movie panel and then on O'Malley's own comic-themed spotlight.

* I should also mention even though they're not up that for the first time this year, Jonah tapped me to do some of CBR's "Boat Show" video interviews. I hadn't done anything of the sort since the very end of my Wizard tenure where the process of talking to people at the New York Comic Con was as humiliating and degrading work experience as I've ever been through and made me want to stab an ice pick into my inner ear so I wouldn't be able to stand up straight in front of the camera anymore. Anyway, doing it for CBR was a much more pleasant experience, and in the weeks ahead you can all be on the lookout for video of me embarrassing myself in conversation with the aforementioned O'Malley, writer Kieron Gillen and the tag team supreme of Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning.

* If I could point you towards just one thing I wrote at the show you should check out (or the one thing you probably already have), it'd be my writeup of Grant Morrison's spotlight panel. Jonah very smartly didn't make this one a live affair as trying to encapsulate Morrison's thoughts on the fly would do the writer and his fans a real disservice. I hope I was able to cram as many of the interesting ideas, news and quotes I heard in that hour into my final report. and if nothing else it seems to be getting linked around a lot, for which I'm very grateful.

* Saturday evening at the show, some poor kid in Hall H got stabbed in the eye – a fact I learned while sitting in another panel taking notes, which I then had to leave to rush across the con to cover. Incidents like that are never the most pleasant things to write about, but I hope the report I filed with quotes from the police and Comic-Con's David Glanzer helped keep discussion of the event grounded in fact rather than wild speculation, despite the highly surreal factor that came in when I was asking questions of said police alongside local news stations, Entertainment Weekly and the Washington Post. Of course, that wasn't nearly as surreal as typing up said police quotes about the stabbing while sitting next to Todd MacFarlane on the couch on the CBR Yacht a half hour later. Saturday was fucking weird, man.

* I wrapped my on site reporting of the show with a brief chat with Glanzer about some of the events and issues that had sprung up during the week, and you can read that here. I hope to get David back on the phone for one more Con wrap-up talk this week, and I'll have two more panel reports hitting in the days ahead: A Mike Mignola spotlight and one about Paul Dini and Phil Hester's respective new Cartoon Network projects. Please be on the lookout for all of that in the days ahead, and see you next year!


Ben Morse said...

Kiel seriously deserves much praise for all he did at the show, but *especially* the fact that he was, I believe the very first "comic" news reporter on the spot for the stabbing incident and I'd hold his report up against any "news" journalist any day. Great work, buddy.

And I can't believe you're gonna force me to write an entry praising my staff tonight now :-p

Anonymous said...

Kudos! I did one year of panel transcribing at SDCC -- 18 in 4 days! -- and realized what a thankless job it was. CBR's SDCC coverage was great, especially the catch about the stabbing.

Fake Dragon said...

I guess rape can be funny, if done correctly, but I feel like that was in poor taste, Ben.

KP said...

Whoa. Who's talking about rape?!?!?!?

That's got to be a spam comment, right?

Ben Morse said...

Yeah, my thoughts exactly...

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