Josh and I got a later start for Sunday of Comikaze, which was on November 1. For one thing, the show started at 10am rather than 9am like it had the day before. Plus, we didn’t have to worry about picking up our badges, since we already had them. I had planned on leaving at 9am, but I slept in a little later than I should have (yes, despite the extra hour we gained due to setting the clocks back to end Daylight Savings Time), and by the time I got ready to head out, it was about 9:45am.
No worries though, since the only thing I was really concerned with seeing was William Shatner’s panel, which was at 11am. I was kind of hoping we could get there by 10:30am for the 2001: A Space Odyssey reunion, though. Anyway, so Josh dressed as Marty McFly again, and this time I dressed as Jennifer, Marty’s girlfriend. Traffic was pretty smooth for the most part, and this time we parked in the South Hall, since that’s where we were going first anyway, and especially after how crowded it was in the West Hall parking area on Saturday. It was a little bit crowded over in the South Hall parking garage as well, but then our walkie talkie friend from Saturday came up to us, told us to turn right, and lo and behold, we found a goldmine of empty parking spaces!
2001: A Space Odyssey Cast Reunion, Hot Topic Main Stage
Just as we walked up to the Hot Topic Main Stage, the 2001: A Space Odyssey panel was just starting! The panel included Keir Dullea, who played Dr. Dave Bowman, and Gary Lockwood, who played Dr. Frank Poole. Keir got things started off by telling us a funny behind-the-scenes story about the voice of HAL. At first, on set the voice was done by a British actor, but Stanley Kubrick didn’t like that the accent sounded too British. Keir then imitated what the heavily British accented voice of HAL sounded like when they were on set! Ultimately, the voice was replaced by that of a Canadian actor named Douglas Rain.
Keir and Gary also talked about the practical effects that they had to use in the movie, since there wasn’t CGI back when it was made in the 1960s. Specifically, they talked about the scene where it looks like Keir’s character, Dave, is walking upside down to bring something to Gary’s character, Frank. Gary talked about being harnessed for that scene. Keir pointed out that Gary was in the first episode of the original Star Trek series, so Gary talked about that experience for a bit.
Keir then talked about how the dialogue for 2001: A Space Odyssey was a challenge for him to learn, because it contained a lot of technical language, so he spent a lot of time going over his lines again and again to memorize them and make sure he got them right. There was one speech in particular that he still remembers to this day, which he recited word for word for us! He totally nailed it. It was pretty awesome.
Audience members were also given a chance to ask questions. One attendee asked what other Stanley Kubrick film the panelists would have liked to have been in. Keir answered Paths of Glory, while Gary answered Dr. Strangelove. Throughout the panel, both spoke very highly of Stanley Kubrick, and how he was a great person to work with, and that it seemed like everyone else who had worked with him seemed to think so as well. Gary recalled a conversation he had with actor Slim Pickens, who had starred in Dr. Strangelove, when he told him he had just finished filming with Stanley Kubrick. Gary imitated Slim Pickens’ cowboy accent as he told the story! Slim seemed to have enjoyed working with Stanley Kubrick.
Another audience question was what was their favorite scene was in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Keir said his was when Dave dismantled HAL, and said for him it was like the scene at the end of Of Mice and Men when [spoiler alert] George kills Lennie. Gary agreed that was his favorite scene as well. The 25 minute panel quickly came to an end, but before the two left the stage, Gary wanted to say one more thing about 2001: A Space Odyssey. He brought up the scene with the apes when a bone is thrown, and then it cuts to the future with the space station orbiting. Gary wanted to point out that the bone symbolized a nuclear weapon.
With that, Keir Dullea and Gary Lockwood exited the stage. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen 2001: A Space Odyssey, probably not since high school, but I have to admit, it was pretty amazing seeing these guys on stage who are pretty much living legends. That movie is almost 50 years old, so it was pretty neat that we were able to hear these guys speak about their experience. I feel like this was a pretty unique panel that you don’t often see at other comic cons.
I’ll let Josh take over from here and tell you about William Shatner’s panel!
William Shatner’s Man O’ War: Cinematic Graphic Novel, Hot Topic Main Stage
After 2001: A Space Odyssey, William Shatner had a panel on the main stage at Comikaze. He was also joined by a few people from the company he is working with on his next project, various individuals from LNL Partners. William Shatner’s panel was to push his new motion comic, War Chronicles. Shatner had written sci-fi novels which LNL is now adapting to comic book form, but in a digital format. You can view specific details on his project at www.shatnersingularity.com, but William Shatner gave a basic rundown of the plot of the story–Mars has been colonized, and is being mined for resources to be sent back to a depleted Earth, and the inhabitants of Mars are beginning to get frustrated with Earth’s lack of appreciation and the Martians eventually begin to revolt. Shatner likened it to the American Revolution, which seemed to sound pretty accurate.
William Shatner described his approach to the graphic novel, which is basically making a digital comic book, and providing very simple animations to it, but still leaving the text to be read by the reader, as the first of its kind. William Shatner then provided a small clip for the audience to see. I have to say the story looked pretty interesting, so I might consider taking a look at it. The panel also noted that the first 4 issues were free on their website.
Another project that William Shatner announced involved working with a special guy named Stan Lee. Stan Lee came out to help with the announcement, and that announcement was that LNL would be doing the same “cinematic comic book” experience for a poem Stan Lee wrote, entitled God Woke. Stan Lee made a remark about this poem as being about the superhero to top them all–God.
It was interesting to see Stan Lee yet again, and he surely is a busy guy at Comikaze, showing up at every other panel on the main stage, it seems like. It was also interesting seeming William Shatner in person as well. I have to say, he looks great for his age. He looks late 50s/early 60s, though he is 84 years old.
I do have to contest a little bit about them marketing this cinematic motion comic as a brand new thing though–the 8th season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer was basically a motion comic, and I would bet there are numerous other properties that have done similar things with their mediums, but it certainly is a newer frontier for comic books, and could be a good way to get people who are not quite ready to make the leap to comic books, but want to get into something like it with a bit more action going on. If done correctly, I think this medium could be very entertaining.
One piece of news that did come out of fan questions was that William Shatner said he would not be in Star Trek: Beyond, which puts to rest any question of him being in it–unless he is playing coy.
Meeting Up With Friends
After seeing Shatner, Violet and I met up with @padricksalton (Cheezmo), @corgikohmander (Jason), his wife, and @cyberaug (John) near the main stage. Cheezmo came up from San Diego for the day to hang out, and Jason returned this time dressed up as the Dark Archer from Arrow. We wandered around in the South Hall for a while, took a look around the Phil Tippett Museum of props, and then just hung out and talked. We meandered by a booth that had been tallying the different number of cosplayers that had walked by, and he noted that there had been 8 Marty McFlys and 2 Jennifers (from Back to the Future).
The group then made its way over to the West Hall, and we wandered around there for a bit. We wanted to see Stan Lee’s Museum, but it was closed off for Stan Lee signings. Jason and his wife had to take off around this point to head to a party. The rest of us wound up hanging around talking for a bit, then decided to hit the Hot Topic booth for a couple exclusive Funko POPs (look for these in upcoming giveaways!) A funny note about this experience–all of the people working at the Hot Topic booth were pushing their $10 dollar “underoos”… We all had a joking discussion about picking up some He-Man and She-Ra underoos. It was a funny moment. We then meandered about the hall a little bit more. At this point my stomach was getting the better of me, so Violet and I said our goodbyes to Cheezmo, and took a “selfie” so that I could put some fuel in my belly. We made our way out of the hall and back to the car so I could drop off my hoverboard and the Funko Pops.
We then made our way over to El Cholo, a Mexican restaurant we had been to a few times. We got their Carne Asada meal to split which is amazing. I am really glad that we refueled, and I felt a lot better then.
We then made our way back to the con, back into the West Hall. We wandered back to the Stan Lee museum to see if it had reopened, but it had not. This was right by Elvira’s signing area, which also had a pretty long line. I thought it was interesting that Elvira was dressed rather plainly when signing. I would have thought she would have had the whole goth makeup thing going on. Violet and I wandered a bit more, and happened to bump back into @cyberaug yet again. He had met up with a friend of his, Megan Albertus, who is a model on the show Face-Off. The four of us chatted for some time, discussing cosplay, our pets, and a lot of other things. A kid “Marty McFly” came up and wanted to take a pictured with my wife. How dare he try to steal my woman! (kidding of course). He had a really clever take on the costume though–he had built some fake legs that had a hoverboard attached to the feet. He wore black pants on his real legs to make them less noticeable, so it gave a neat appearance of the board actually hovering. I should have thought of that–out smarted by a pre-teen.
We decided to move around the hall a bit, and ran into a Back to the Future band called “The Flux Capacitors.” We had a chat with “Doc Brown,” and apparently they had performed at the Comikaze Cosplay Ball the night before and were joined on stage by DMC of Run DMC. They seemed like cool guys. Their band dresses up as various characters from the movie–Doc Brown, Jennifer, Marty and Biff. You can view a link of their performance on their Facebook page here.
Violet and I got separated from @cyberaug and Megan for a bit as we wandered the West Hall, and we decided to head back over to the South Hall, to see the Delorean. We checked it out as well as a few other replica/prop cars, and checked out a few other booths. We ran back into @cyberaug and Megan again, and had another lengthy talk about Tim Burton films, the flop of Fantastic Four, the movie industry in general, and various experiences both Megan and @cyberaug had with different actors and on various sets. They had some very interesting stories. Time flew by talking with them, and it was already past 4pm and security was ushering us out of the hall. We moved into the main entrance, and talked a little more. Finally deciding to wrap up our Comikaze trip, we said our goodbyes to @cyberaug and Megan, and headed for home.
The trip home was a bit aggravating, as it sent us out the way, and took a great deal longer than it should have to get home. I decided to finish the night off with a 3 mile run.
Josh’s Final Thoughts:
Overall I had fun at the convention. There were not a ton of celebrities or great panels to view, but I met a lot of nice people at the con, and had a lot of fun with my Back to the Future cosplay. Violet and I had various people stop us to get a photo, which was fun despite my shying away from photos typically. It certainly made me want to prepare another costume for whatever the next con we do. There was one attendee that Violet overheard that kind of made me chuckle–apparently they said something to the effect of, “I am so sick of seeing all these Marty McFlys!” To her I would say, a very special time had just passed regarding the Back to the Future series, and, “Lighten up!” People can dress up however they want to, without having to worry about criticism! But again, the overwhelming response to the Marty McFly cosplay was positive, and a whole lot of fun. Other than that, I want to thank all of the people who made the event fun, and look forward to seeing them and new people next time!
Violet’s Final Thoughts:
As always, Comikaze brought an eclectic lineup. Personally, this year’s lineup did not appeal to me as much as last year’s did. Also, I was a little disappointed that some celebrities that were there, such as Carrie Fisher, Casper Van Dien, Patrick Muldoon, and Greg Grunberg, were not on any panels (at least that I was aware of, based on the schedule), and only signed autographs and did photo ops. I would have loved to hear them speak. However, I was able to see that many panels could have been a really big deal to me had I watched particular shows. For example, I didn’t have cable growing up, but I know a lot of my friends watched All That, so the reunion panel would have been a really cool thing for people in my age group. They also brought in some pretty big comic book stars, such as Rob Liefeld, Grant Morrison, Jim Lee, Todd McFarlane, and Marc Silvestri. Additionally, there were also a lot of cool fan-based panels, and I appreciated the ghost-related panels because of Halloween.
Splitting up the show into the two separate halls was a bit confusing, as one time I was looking for a booth in the West Hall, which turned out to be in the South Hall. But as Comikaze continues to grow, I guess it is inevitable that it would have to spill over into another hall. Maybe next year it will have not only all of West Hall, but all of South Hall too, who knows? It did seem pretty crowded all day both Saturday and Sunday, and it doesn’t look like the comic convention bubble is going to burst anytime soon, so I don’t doubt that Comikaze will be held in more than one hall once again next year. Navigating between the two will just take some getting used to.
Despite only having one or two panels each day that I was really interested in, I still had a lot of fun at Comikaze this year. It’s always great to see old friends that we only ever get to see at comic conventions, to finally meet online friends in real life, and to make new friends! That’s really the best part of comic conventions, is the community of people you meet there. It’s also really neat when you cosplay and people come up to you asking to take their picture with you, and when they compliment your outfit. Cosplaying is still a relatively new experience for us, and after the great reception we got this weekend, we’ve found that we want to continue doing it! All in all, another great Comikaze is in the books, and I look forward to seeing what next year brings!
See below for our photo gallery of pictures from Sunday: