Seen and heard at Comic-Con

AP News
Posted: Jul 22, 2013 12:32 AM
Seen and heard at Comic-Con

Associated Press journalists open their notebooks at this year's Comic-Con in San Diego:



A big part of Comic-Con is searching for a specific comic book or a special edition graphic novel, or a lithograph bearing a scene from a favorite film.

Those and so much more are up for sale at Comic-Con International, and as the four-day event winds down Sunday, many in the exhibition hall are cutting prices in a bid to sell off their wares.

Comics dealers posted signs offering 10, 20 and even 50 percent off several titles. Purveyors of toys offered two-for-one specials. Down one aisle, a woman hawking manga repeated "20 percent off all the anime!" to entice browsers.

It's a buyer's market, and Nick Louise of San Jose was going to check it out.

"Some of it's free. They don't want to pay to take it back," he said of the items that retailers want to unload. "We'll happily take it home."

— Matt Moore ( )



Artist J.H. Williams III says the artists who illustrate comic books can help change the way a reader perceives the story and have a "huge impact on how the story feels" as pages are turned, images examined and words read.

Williams, whose artwork on DC Entertainment's Batwoman is lush, thematic and flowing, is in the midst of illustrating Vertigo Comics' upcoming The Sandman Overture, working with writer Neil Gaiman to tell a prequel of sorts to the groundbreaking comic.

He said that seeing how visual styles affect reader impressions is what led him to "dabbling in so many different art styles within one story from scene to scene or sometimes from panel to panel. I'll shift the style based on what's happening in the story. It subliminally makes the reader view it in a different way."

Williams said that's only possible in the medium of comic art and, he said, "has a great impact on a story because of it."

— Matt Moore ( )



The prospect of lines — long lines — at Comic-Con International is built-in to the entire experience.

Volunteers are on hand to help shepherd hundreds and often thousands of people headed to see panels featuring television shows, comic book artists and writers and autograph-seekers, too. There's always one at the start, bearing a sign, while still others help keep track of the twists and turns, too, and, finally, the one at the end with a simple sign atop a pole: "End of the line."

— Matt Moore ( )



Matt Smith, the actor who plays the 11th Doctor Who in the revered BBC program of the same name, lauded the costume players at Comic-Con and related how he and co-star Jenna Coleman, in the course of their travels around Comic-Con International, would make a point of tallying how many doctors or Claras they could count and who was in the lead.

He told the crowd of 6,000 in Hall H that they would "roll down the window" and yell to the cosplayers in question. One man wearing a Doctor Who costume was not impressed, Smith recalled.

University Corruption
Walter E. Williams

But then the woman playing Clara tapped him on the shoulder and told him it was Smith, as the car they were riding in drove away.

"Then he was all, 'Oh, no!' It was funny."



A pirate ship. Bates Motel. A parking lot filled with Playboy models.

Those were just a few of the settings for swanky Comic-Con parties attended by celebrities throughout the weekend.

On Friday night, video game publisher Ubisoft Entertainment hosted a swashbuckling soiree on a ship docked next to the seaside San Diego Convention Center. On board, attendees such as Aaron Eckhart and Julie Benz danced in the ship's bay and played "Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag" and "Just Dance 4." No one was forced to walk the plank.

Across town the same evening, "Kick-Ass 2" actors Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Donald Faison held court at an event celebrating their superhero sequel and Playboy magazine in a parking lot transformed into a carnival with tequila-infused popsicles and bungee-jumping stations.

The cast and crew of A&E's "Bates Motel," including Vera Farmiga and Freddie Highmore, toasted their "Psycho" spin-off Saturday with an intimate affair at a restaurant. Attendees were invited to pose for photos in a space mimicking a room in the Bates Motel. Mother!

— Derrik J. Lang ( )