Friday, August 28, 2009


Apologies for being away for awhile. I've been spending more and more time working on stuff for the show, along with @ThePeterPixie. Here's a recap of the past couple of weeks:

* This past Sunday, we talked about online comics, particularly Longbox, an iTunes-like service that will debut in the fall.
* The week prior, I wasn't available - that's a story I owe you - so I left Peter not one, but two guests: The Nerdy Bird filled in for me as a guest host, and we were visited by a new Twitter friend of mine, Kat Hill, aka the Action Flick Chick.

This Sunday, though, we'll talk to our biggest guest yet: Richard Hatch of BSG fame - both of them. We'll cover topics like:

* His involvement with a new geek-centric dating service, SoulGeek
* His work as a motivational speaker
* His prolific workrate in the '70s - seriously, dude appeared on just about every show for a few years there
* Playing not just the original Apollo, but Tom Zarek
* His connection to the original BSG, which inspired him to make his own trailer for a sequel to it:

Plus we'll be announcing an ... experiment I'll be undertaking on behalf of the show. Hope you can join us Sunday - 7pm PST, 10p EST!

Friday, August 21, 2009


I stumbled onto The Cool Table while looking up mash-ups online, and became a fan within seconds. For awhile now, I've associated the genre with DJs and clever studio work. But these guys (and gal) do it live. Check out these first two clips:

Not bad, right? "Dreaming of Mr. Brightside," for me, was even better - it's part of a new karaoke project (yes, I have karaoke projects).

Thursday, August 20, 2009

OWIE: The Extended Remix

Ok, so I've been doing a lot of clean-up around the Hall of Justice, and recovering from a week of TECHFAIL. While we're clearing the decks, this post needs some explanation. The accident actually happened four years ago last month; the text that ended up here was taken from my original blog post the night it happened - yes, I blogged after getting in a wreck - and the full story surrounding it has become one of my favorites. So let's start over, with the original text in italics.

It was just after 5 p.m. Tuesday and I was leaving work, turning east onto Rancho Bernardo Rd. just after the light had turned green. I was making my turn when I vaguely remember a shape coming in from the driver's side, toward the rear of the car. Then everything shook.

My next memory is of laying in the driver's seat while a guy -- I think he had a goatee -- asked me how I was and said he was calling 911. I have another vague recollection of talking to medical personnel. And that's about all I remember from the street.

I presume that's all I remember because I either blacked out completely or was sedated by EMTs after being loaded into the ambulance. Either way, while I was taken to the hospital, the emergency call went out to the SLB House, where Brothers J-Mac and Kev-Fu were watching tv as usual. They were all set to head up to the hospital to check on me - only they had literally just ordered a pizza before the hospital called them. So they waited for the pizza guy.

"The guy probably thought we were crazy," Kev-Fu later told me. "When he got to the house, we grabbed the pizza, put it in the refrigerator, and practically threw the money at him before we took off."

Next thing I know, it's past 8 in the evening and I'm in a hospital. My roomies Jim & Kev-Fu are already there, having apparently been alerted by the authorities. (Did I give them the house number? I wonder.) My spirits were pretty high, all things considered. I didn't notice the pain until later. I apparently asked the boys four times how their days went, confirming my concussion. But otherwise, things were okay: we joked around and I tried, vainly, to get one of the cuter nurses to come over and re-examine me. I also asked if we could import a particular female cast member in a nurse's outfit. I'm blaming that on shell-shock.

In the years since, the boys have never failed to remind me that I didn't repeat the same question four times. In fact, one exchange apparently went like this:

Dazed Me: So, what time did you get the call?
J-Mac: 7:30, just like the other seven times you asked.

We apparently ended up going round and round in this discussion for a few minutes while my brain adjusted itself back to consciousness. I do, however, remember the moment it all clicked back into place: a nurse asked me, "What do you take for pain?"

"Captain & Coke," I answered. Kev-Fu immediately looked at her and said, "He's gonna be fine." I imagine the hospital was only too happy to see us leave.

The drive home was pretty uneventful; Kev, who's sustained three concussions of his own, assured me this first one was easy. We arrived to find our Brother LBJ and cast leader Amy watching Cannibal: The Musical. I came in with both my shirt and undershirt torn, having been cut open by the authorities, exposing the long, slim mark from my seat belt on my left shoulder. They looked at me and probably thought, naturally, "WTF?"

"Mild concussion. Got in a car wreck," I said (or at least think I did.) "Not necessarily in that order."

After that, I relaxed on Amy's lap while pitching into callbacks for the movie, ate some chieken soup and drank Gatorade. I tried to get to bed a couple of hours ago, but I'm too tired to rest, if that makes any sense. I haven't had any nightmares yet about this, so maybe they won't come. Tomorrow, Kevin assured me, would be the most painful day: "It'll be like a really big hangover," he said.

And that's where the original entry ends. To write it, I clambered upstairs to my computer like Gollum to the Ring, just to get it all down on the screen. My roommates didn't get my glasses back from the hospital, so I used an old outdated prescription pair. A week later, I had to drive Kev-Fu's old junkster car to recover my stuff from the hospital lost-and-found; apparently I'd badgered the poor EMTs into packing everything from my car. And, yeah, I drove to get the items. The day after the accident, I decided I had to get back on the road ASAP to get over any fears of driving. But I'd be lying if I told you I don't still flinch sometimes at 4-way stops or stop lights.

The worst part, though, is this: I didn't even hear about the pizza until a year later. They never even saved me a piece.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Shrimpin' Ain't Easy: Arturo vs. District 9!

The much ballyhooed District 9 succeeds at one thing – it leaves you with questions. The problem is, not all of them are of the good kind.

The film's conceit – sticking a million-plus misplaced extraterrestrials in the middle of Johannesburg – is promising. But from there, the story is built on a series of cheats, the biggest one being the rather loud absence of the word that, like it or not, comes to mind once you set the story in South Africa: Apartheid.


It's implied that the District is a stand-in for the Soweto of our own reality. But, again, that's a cheat: we're robbed of a potentially more potent commentary because of that substitution. Getting viewers to say, “Wow, humans are capable of great inhumanity” isn't as ground-breaking as co-writer and director Neill Blomkamp might want to think. And to think that any government would be handling a First Contact situation (as opposed to the internment of its' own citizens) without the U.S., United Nations or any other coalition tugging at its' sleeve isn't sci-fi – it's flat-out ridiculous.

The story kicks off 28 years after the visitors' arrival on Earth, but it's not really about them – our protagonist, and literal tour guide is well-meaning office schmuck Wilkus Van Der Merwe (Sharlto Copley), a Christopher Guest character in way, way, way over his head. Wilkus is placed in charge of serving eviction notices to the District's residents and selling them on the new FEMA government housing they're getting shipped to.

While investigating a squatter's shack, Wilkus is sprayed with some of “the fluid,” a crucial biological material. Not only does it power the aliens' rather impressive weaponry, but it's the key to the escape plan of one Christopher Johnson, as a singularly clever Prawn is dubbed. Christopher has been plotting for 20 years to get the hell off this planet, and needs the juice to power his getaway craft and revive his people's mothership, still hovering over Johannesburg.

It's worth noting that Copley co-produced the inspiration for District 9, Alive In Joburg, a short film where the aliens get a fairer shake from Blomkamp; one of them gets to talk directly to the unseen documentarians and express a motivation (they just want to get off this planet) and a problem (our atmosphere is toxic to their physiology). There was a similar scene in the trailer for District, but it's not in the theatrical cut, which makes Christopher's positioning as the Noble Other/Savage really troubling.

Why is Christopher so much smarter than his fellow refugees? How could he be the only one trying to find a way out, or to know/care enough to clothe himself in a “human” manner? And, if humans and Prawn are able to understand each other by the time the “footage” is released, why did the documentarians – because that's how the first half of this film is framed – exclude interviews with any of the aliens in favor of black South Africans telling us how threatened they feel, and white South Africans denigrating the species as a whole?

We get no insight into any of this, because the movie retreats, very jarringly, into the realm of summer schlock after Wilkus' infection. As he becomes a test subject, a fugitive, and a less-than-altruistic ally to Christopher, their characters run headlong into caricatures: a wheelchair-bound, voodoo-influenced Nigerian gangster exploiting the Prawns for cash and weapons while eating their body parts on the advice of a “priestess”; and a xenophobic mercenary charged with turning Wilkus in to his slimy CEO father-in-law.

Copley isn't bad at all – his Wilkus is a terrific anti-hero. But could Christopher and his son, both CGI characters who summon up more “humanity” than the real-life Shia LaBouf, really have been less palatable figures for the audience and creative team to rally behind? Because the story we get, with awesome-looking alien tech and a white hero standing up for the Oppressed, doesn't end up going anywhere Torchwood didn't just saunter through with more brains and less blood; at least Russell T. Davies would've given Christopher's race a name. By the time the film reaches its (open-ended) conclusion, you're left hoping the visitors would return for vengeance – so that you could root for them.

Friday, August 14, 2009


Last night, two Facebook friends asked me the same question: how did Chris Kattan get his own miniseries?

I'm working on a review of the answer right now - it's called Bollywood Hero, and it aired on the IFC network a few days back. I don't have any clip of CK actually doing the Bollywood thing, but here's the trailer for those of you who missed it:

Aside from Kattan, though, most of the film's cast are Bollywood veterans, including Neha Dhupia, seen below with Sunny Deol:

On a personal note, I'm actually surprised, in the wake of Slumdog Millionaire, that we're not even hearing about more Bollywood crossovers into the States. But it should also be noted that, even before Slumdog, we had Bride & Prejudice, starring Aishwarya Rai, although in this number, the spotlight also shines on somebody you Losties might recognize:

Monday, August 10, 2009

Open Thread: The Best Of The Doctor

As reported by Tennant News this morning:

Doctor Who Greatest Moments is a new series taking viewers on a journey through time and space to relive all the action from the legendary sci-fi show, featuring exclusive interviews with key actors offering unique insights on the classic moments.
In the first hour long episode, the likes of David Tennant, John Barrowman, David Morrissey and the League of Gentlemen's Mark Gatiss guide us through the Time Lord himself's greatest moments.

Watch Doctor Who's Greatest Moments: The Doctor on Thursday 20th August at 20:00pm on BBC Three.

So that got me to wondering: what are your favorite moments from the series? Whovians old and new are invited to chime in.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Tonight, HOUR 42 goes Hollywood!

Tonight, @ThePeterPixie and I welcome our first guest with his own listing on IMDB - Ray Griggs, writer and director of the new independent superhero film, Super Capers! We'll talk to him about his experience so far as a relatively new filmmaker, and try to get a few good Adam West stories out of him.

Peter and I will also trade notes on G.I. Joe - what, you thought I'd let him get away without seeing it? Also:

* Just two weeks after San Diego, Chicago hosts its own comic-book convention - we'll bring you the highlights.
* We'll talk about some of the rather ... interesting creative choices that were published this week. Bottle of grappa, anyone?
* Plus YOUR comments and questions at 646-716-4799

In the meantime, if you want to catch up on last week's show, which featured even more guest-stars, just click on the handy-dandy player below - then come on back and join us at 7pm PST (10p EST) tonight for HOUR 42!

Friday, August 7, 2009

More 'Oh No' than 'Yo Joe': Arturo vs. G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra

The most surprising thing about G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra? It could've been worse.

But make no mistake: if this film doesn't make a Lusitania out of what could've been a fun franchise,the first three elements to go from any sequels should be writers Stephen Beattie, David Elliot and Paul Lovett, with director Stephen Sommers not far behind.

At least the marketing team is in on the joke: using Kid Rock in the ad campaign is a warning that G.I. Joe is years behind its' time – it really belongs alongside Street Fighter and The Crow: City of Angels in a Rifftrax '90s Film Festival; why else would the first words we see on the screen be “In The Not-Too-Distant Future”?


Like another bloated '80s revamp (to be named later) laced with bad CGI and no-dimensional heroes, Rise is crippled most by the attempt to “humanize” its' core characters. In this case, it's done through a romantic subplot between Duke and The Baroness. It doesn't help that, as an action hero, Channing Tatum makes John Cena look like The Rock. But the real disservice is done to the Baroness, who in Sienna Miller's hands goes from a magnificent '80s she-bastard to Girl Gone Mild-ly Bad - with a heart of gold, of course.

Other than the spayed Baroness, the villains in this film fare better than I'd expected. The flashback sequences used as backstory for the men who become Cobra Commander (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and Destro (Christopher Eccleston) actually work, and both Eccleston and Gordon-Levitt manage to wring something out of their cartoonish inspirations. Gordon-Levitt, in fact, stole the film – petty larceny, I know, but a feat I'd expected out of Eccleston. JGL's voice-acting was the film's most pleasant surprise; it holds up admirably alongside Chris Latta's original work.

Unfortunately for the film, the Joes' characters – especially Dennis Quaid as General Hawk – fare as badly as the Cobras' do well. The Army recruiters setting up shop at my local theatre would be much better off showing characters like Ripcord, Scarlett and Breaker in either the film's source material or Warren Ellis' more recent G.I. Joe: Resolute series, where they were naturally cool, rather than the generic grunts we see here.

The only hero to escape the creative team's clutches is Snake-Eyes, proving Ray Park's intelligence as an actor – bad writers can't hijack your character if they can't write dialogue, so Park is left free to do what he does best: the “Ninja Thing,” playing off Byung-hun Lee's Storm Shadow, re-imagined here as a metrosexual assassin. But, as with CC and Destro, at least Stormy isn't a buffoon. And, hey, he also makes with the beefcake, to balance out the "hot quotient" with Miller and Rachel Nichols, I guess.

In the end, though, G.I. Joe will be remembered most as a spiritual cousin to – you guessed it – Transformers 2: a co-tenant at the low point of American summer cinema, separated only by its' lacking Michael Bay's sense of xenophobia. I envy the marketing flacks who have to find positive pull-quotes for this film, but they can have this:
The Rise Of Cobra is better than Revenge Of The Fallen ...
... but not by much. Yo, Stay Home.


In honor of John Hughes, some songs from his oevure. First off, a classic:

Now, as noted in the Oingo Boingo edition of FMJ, "Weird Science" gets played half to death every October, so I won't belabor it here. Because of that, though, you might be surprised to learn that Killing Joke was also on the film's soundtrack.

Speaking of Boingo, as this next song is from Sixteen Candles, I'm attaching the requisite Anthony Michael Hall shot before we move on to the next song.

Lastly, though I grew up to recognize and enjoy most of his work, the Hughes film that connected with me the most while I was actually a teenager was the very underrated Some Kind Of Wonderful. Geeky guy? Hot girl dressed in black? I was sold. I think, at the time, I was most impressed that Eric Stoltz's character, Keith, was written to win the day on the strength of his wits and, ultimately, his emerging moral code. And then came the final scene ...

Good Enough To Pay For?

How much would you pay to hear me sing?

That's the question I'm being cajoled into asking all of you. Would, say, $12 be reasonable?

See, somehow I've qualified for the R&B finals in the local qualifier for the Karaoke Entertainer of the Year contest, to be held a week from Sunday. I guess one of the other qualifiers caught gout or something.

I will tell you, from here at home, where I'm relaxed and (semi-)rational: I don't expect to win, and will be rooting for my friend my friend Meredith wholeheartedly.

I tell you this here. In the middle of a competitive situation, like any Leo, I will tell you that not even Young MC himself could do his song better than I could anymore. He may get old-school fans going, but can he say he's roused an entire convention full of journalists who'd never met him before? I don't think so.

But, even at my cockiest, I think I'd balk at fulfilling one of the organizers' requests: to hawk tickets to my friends at $12 a pop. The "incentive" they're providing is, the people who sell the most tickets will get better spots in the singing order during the contest. Something about this just strikes me as bush-league.

And part of me - the part of me that will be pacing the floor before we go on, watching the stage for any and everything I can use as a prop, and running through freestyles during the day - wants to see if I can win the damned thing while singing from the worst position.

Monday, August 3, 2009

The End Is The Beginning: Arturo vs. Dollhouse: Epitaph One!

For the most ballyhooed episode that hasn't been part of Dollhouse's brief run, J. Whedon cued up his favorite song: One Girl To Save The World.


Disconnected from virtually the entire season that preceded it, "Epitaph One" is based around a simple premise: everything's gone to hell, and the Dollhouse is the reason. At least, the body-swapping tech it's been using is: as we learn in imprinted flashbacks, what began as a plaything to give people "what they need," as deWitt continues to believe has morphed into a mass commodity. And even Adelle and Topher are horrified by the implications.

As we learn from the team of refugees who stumble into the 'House, what ends up developing is a war between "Actuals" and body-hoppers. "Kids with matches," one character sums up. "Burned the whole house down." (Browncoats will appreciate the implication of "the signal" in this reality, in a cruelly ironic sense.)

We get glimpses of the rest of the L.A. Actives and regulars throughout the episode, as well as an extended visit from Whiskey, in both her Dr. Saunders persona and her "natural" state, which gives us a chance to see Amy Acker look her most otherworldly since playing Illyria a few years back. If what happens from there is to be taken as canon, then Whiskey gets the best character arc of the whole episode, with a small heartbreak as culmination.

And, of course, there's Caroline/Echo. She's referred to as both during the course of the episode, as we learn that her relationship with Agent Helo evolves after Ballard joins the 'House staff. And, again, if what happens here is what's meant to happen in Season 2 and beyond, then Echo might hold the key to salvaging what's left of the world she now inhabits - though perhaps not in the fashion you'd expect.

Reportedly, "Epitaph One" was an effort by Whedon to not only give Fox a 13th episode for overseas distribution, but show them he could make a taut, capable thriller with a smaller budget - and, in this case, the effort was successful. The group of refugees, led by Felicia Day, were developed just enough for viewers to care about them, which made us experience their discoveries alongside them. And the glimpses into the nightmare scenario that ultimately undoes the 'House, and the world around it, are jolting enough to make regular viewers care about the journey even more, now that we know the show's coming back - even if it's still in a Friday night time slot.

ART VS. LIFE: And you are ...?

So there I was ...

I had just bolted from the Heroes panel at Comic-Con and had an hour or so to kill before going to the Pop Candy get-together at the posh Hilton Bayfront. You can tell it's posh because the bar charges an average of $12 per drink - and the staff of leggy European emigres kept looking at me like I was homeless, even though I was wearing ... well, you can see what I was wearing above. Maybe I can't blame them too much for that.

As I was walking around the bar to avoid forcible ejection, I saw Adam from Mythbusters talking to a rather distinguished-looking older gentleman. Nothing says dedication to class like wearing a coat and tie in the Hilton lobby, which is, essentially, a gilded greenhouse. And the gent looked strangely familiar. Buoyed by what I guess was heat exhaustion - I'd waited for close to an hour to even get into the panel. And this was considered a light wait throughout the weekend - I decided to be direct: I walked right up to the mystery guest and said, "I know you." Because I'm an idiot. Could've been worse; in the seconds where I built up my courage, I considered asking the guy if he was Steven Spielberg.

Today, I wouldn't have blamed the guy for walking away, leaving me with a couple of choice epithets. Not to mention poor Adam; when was the last guy, you think, that he got stiffed? Instead, Mr. X was affable. "Just come back when you've figured it out," he replied, smiling. Undaunted, I took three steps back and looked at a young couple that had come up behind me. They weren't any help - all they knew was, Adam from Mythbusters was right in front of them, and they wanted a picture.

Without them to rely on, I turned to technology, punching up the Web on my phone ... when suddenly I heard an echo from within my brain, some lonely voice of recognition, like Jacob Marley after meeting his cousin Bob: JOHHHHNNNN ... LANNNNNNDISSS ... I typed the name into Google Images as if it were an incantation.

And oh crap, it really was John Landis. Mr. Blues Brothers. Mr. Coming To America. The man behind Thriller, for goodness' sakes. I considered marching back up to him and presenting him with his own image, but a rare dose of common sense won the day. Seeing that Mr. Landis and Adam were talking with an unidentified woman, I positioned myself between them and handed her the camera, asking if she would take my picture "with these two distinguished gentlemen." Heat exhaustion, I tell you. I apologized to Mr. Landis for being an idiot fanboy, but he got the last word in, again.

"Hi, my name is Jamie," he said with a laugh, shaking my hand.

P.S: I ended up staying only briefly for the PC meet, but that was enough time to get this shot with the column's host, the lovely Whitney Masterson. If you wouldn't mind, though, please holler at her on Twitter and back my idea for next year's Con: 2010 Pop Candyoke!

The Pop Culture Jump-Off: Notes From The 2009 Comic-Con

You can trace the story of this year's Comic-Con with a line. Not a straight line, necessarily, but one that seemed to wind all over the building at various points all day all four days. If you were at Con, it's almost a given you were in the line, or a line, maybe for hours, maybe even overnight. The phenomenon of the Line marked 2009 as a turning point in the Con's 40-year history, for a variety of reasons.

1.The New Demographic

Besides the Twi-hards, who spawned their own controversy – more on that in a bit – this year was a coming-out party for the latest anime/manga generation. A/M cosplayers seemed to outnumber their “traditional” superhero/villain counterparts around the floor; you couldn't walk more than a few feet without seeing another pair of furry ears, or a group of young people offering free hugs, or busting out some moves to entertain themselves and the crowd:

In fact, from the floor this year's Con looked like it featured the most diverse group of attendees in years. POC creators like Gene Yang, Dwayne McDuffie and Leinil Francis Yu were among those showcased in spotlight panels. And two pro-diversity panels received a strong attendance, from both POC and white fans, despite some at-times questionable panel placement: as we noted before the con, they were booked to start at 6:30 p.m., nowhere near “prime time” hours. There were also more POC-related properties and creators on the floor, a few of which we'll be spotlighting later. The question going forward is, how much attention will this market get from the comics/pop-culture profiteers?

2.The Uninvited Guests
“… The 10,000 Twilight fans at the con really were a problem for the show, but a lot of the reasons that got floated came from a sexist, xenophobic, bullsh-t fanboy place. I actually feel bad even writing this, but truly, legitimately, 6,000 people at the show just for Twilight means 6,000 people that weren’t spending money at the show means 6,000 people that might’ve wanted to go that had an interest in dropping a few bucks at the various vendors? Shut out.”
- Christopher Bucher, co-founder, Toronto Comic Arts Festival

Love 'em or otherwise, the Twilight fans were the topic of discussion throughout the convention, even moreso than the film series they're so devoted to. Some blamed them for the fact that tickets to the event sold out two months ahead of time. The line for Thursday's New Moon panel reportedly started Wednesday, before the convention even opened, and grew to Star Wars-like proportions. Tents even popped up in lines for showing of the series' eponymous opening film at a nearby theatre. Twi-hards, though, encountered a rarity at a geek gathering: a backlash.

Smart-asses bearing TWILIGHT RUINED COMIC-CON signs, while not abundant, were definitely on the premises, even after Thursday. The negative response was, no doubt, at least partially based in gender; here you had a flock of young women not just stepping into a traditionally male-based arena, but stepping into it without the “proper” fandom. Female fans of Joss Whedon and his BBD collection (Buffy/Browncoats/Dollhouse), for instance, tend to get a free pass. And it should be noted that people of both genders also reportedly camped out overnight for Saturday's Lost panel, without catching much flack. But on another level, the complaining about the Twi-hards wasn't so much about the nature of their devotion as it was about what it represented.

3.(Lost In) The Hollywood Shuffle


Most of the biggest panels – and by that I mean the ones that were booked in the SD Convention Center's biggest rooms and drew the biggest lines – shared one disconcerting characteristic: none of them was related to comic books. Iron Man 2, remember, is an ongoing comic adaptation, not an original comic work. The same can be said for the much-applauded panel for Mark Millar's Kick-Ass. But, even if Twilight is being adapted in a manga format, its' panel was part of the ongoing encroachment of Hollywood into what used to be a comic-book convention. There were panels for, among other things, Lost, District 9, True Blood, James Cameron's Avatar, Burn Notice, Chuck, 9, the instantly odious Glee, Stargate Universe, and even web series The Guild – and none of these is based off of a comic book. And these are only a few examples on the tv/movie side. Even Kevin Smith showed up for his own panel, for no other reason than he's Kevin Smith and people will still line up to hear him ramble about nothing in particular.

That crowding for attention has spread from the ballrooms to the showroom. At least one end of the floor was dominated by video-game displays, and there were also booths dedicated to shilling material for films like The Collector and Sorority Row. The allure of the Hollywood dollar could also have bad implications for the Con's core constituency.

4.The Shifting Tide

With a reported waiting list of 300 media/consumer products companies lined up for booth space here at San Diego Comic-Con International, the convention feels absolutely no restraint as regards raising booth rent. What does exist is a totally uneven playing field, where mom-n-pop comics retailers, publishers, and creators are now being asked to pay the same cost per square-foot as the international corporate giants. That being the case, it should come as no surprise that we comics exhibitors are rapidly being priced out of our own house. I heard from several comics retailers who have been here at the convention for decades that they are either cutting back for 2010, or completely pulling out of the show.
- Chuck Rozanski, Mile High Comics

More and more each year, Comic-Con has billed itself as a “pop culture” extravaganza. It's not implausible to suggest this year marked the point of no return in that evolution. With Hollywood continuing to not only pay to play on geeky turf but re-sell geeky ideas and content to the multiplex masses, I heard more than a few local fans complain, privately, that the heart of the city's biggest non-athletic attraction was being torn out.

That loss might be more than metaphorical soon. It was reported during the Con that organizers are already threatening to move the event unless additions are built to the Convention Center, which is hemmed in on all sides by hotels, downtown San Diego, and the San Diego Bay. It's also no secret that officials from Los Angeles and Las Vegas have pitched their respective cities as preferable alternatives once SDCC's contract ends three years from now.

But what convention will we – and by “we” I mean comic-book fans - even be going to by then? If the Con continues to march toward becoming a mass-media trade show, will we even have a reason to go? If a more diverse demographic continues to attend, will the exhibitors pay notice? Will sitting in the Line for hours for the chance watching maybe two or three minutes of clips – the Avatar panel, featuring 25 minutes of footage, has to be considered an exception to the rule – be worth it in three years' time? Will camping out in the Line overnight, or holding your spot with the help of friends and family, now become an accepted practice? And if the Con does end up moving, who would go with it?