Sunday, July 21, 2013

Seen and heard at Comic-Con

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



Samuel L. Jackson leaned out the window of a hotel room and watched a little wistfully as the "ant farm" of Comic-Con attendees swarmed San Diego's Gaslamp District on Saturday afternoon.

It's been seven years since he's checked out the annual gathering's exhibition floor when he was promoting "Afro Samurai" and he knows he'd be dropping cash at several booths if he could walk the floor. But those days are gone for one of film's most popular stars. An appearance by the man who's played Mace Windu on the "Star Wars" series and Nick Fury in the Marvel cinematic universe, he knows, would likely lead to pandemonium.

So he's staying away.

"I imagine I could go out there, but I don't want to go on the floor with five big guys like the guy who's with me pushing people out of the way, because that ruins the spirit of what they're in there to do. And I'm not so self-important that I would go in there and go, 'I want to see it anyway so you guys get out of my way.' I don't mind taking pictures with fans, but in this kind of situation there's thousands of fans, there's thousands of cellphones. Somebody's going to go away broken-hearted, and more than likely I'll be the person broken-hearted because I had to do that to all these people who were just trying to show me love."

? Chris Talbott ( )



Where Stan Lee goes, a crowd follows.

Saturday at Comic-Con International was no exception as the co-creator of Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four and other legendary heroes, took time to sign autographs on titles from his comic imprint Stan Lee's Kids Universe, which touts family-friendly fare aimed at first-time and young readers, along with his 1821 Comics.

"There's no better way to tell a story to children than through words and pictures, and as they get familiar with putting the words and pictures together, it makes readers out of them," he said.

As he spoke, passers-by stopped, gawked and whipped out cameras to get pictures of Lee, one of comics' best-known figures.

? Matt Moore ( )



It was a gathering of the old and new for DC Entertainment and Warner Bros.

At a party atop the Hard Rock Hotel, Henry Cavill, the star of "Man of Steel," marked the ongoing 75th anniversary of Superman by sharing a red carpet with an actual copy of Action Comics No. 1, the 1938 comic featuring the first appearance of the Kryptonian do-gooder.

Cavill was joined Friday night by DC Entertainment co-publishers Jim Lee and Dan DiDio, chief creative officer Geoff Johns and President Diane Nelson, among others.

The publisher, and parent Warner, are celebrating the anniversary of the character all year.

The comic arrived under heavy guard and was lent out by musician Jack White. It's a rare edition and other copies have sold for more than a million dollars.

? Matt Moore ( )



Dane DeHaan is about to move front and center for Metallica fans when "Metallica Through The Never" opens in September, but he only recently became familiar with the heavy metal band's music.

Turns out his parents wouldn't let him listen to Metallica's ultra-aggressive albums when he was a kid.

"My parents did this really weird thing when I was younger," DeHaan said during the Metallica panel Friday night. "Whenever I wanted to listen to a CD or whatever, they would buy it first and listen to it and let me know whether I could listen to it."

DeHaan, who pulled double duty at Comic-Con on Friday when he also appeared on "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" panel, plays a roadie in "Never" sent on a mission by the band during one of its concerts. He didn't come into the role unprepared, though. He began listening to the band while prepping for his role in "The Place Beyond the Pines," released earlier this year. The 27-year-old actor said he thought his character would be a fan.

"Then it was like a year later that I got the call that Metallica wants you to be in their movie," he said.

? Chris Talbott ( )



The Eisner awards were handed out at Comic-Con International, with Image Comics "Saga" and Chris Ware's "Building Stories" among the winners.

Image's science fiction/space opera/adventure/romance story "Saga" took home best new series and best continuing stories while its writer, Brian Vaughn, won best writer. The book's artist, Fiona Staples, was not nominated, a move some questioned.

Chris Ware's book took the awards for best new graphic novel, best writer/artist, best lettering and best publication design.

The awards, named for Will Eisner ? a comics pioneer ? are voted on by the comic book industry.

? Matt Moore ( )



Even heroes, with all their goodness, can attract a bad element, at least online.

That's what a study by anti-virus software maker McAfee found. The company compiled its first "Most Toxic Superheroes" list that looked at which heroes' were akin to radioactive waste online when the subject of online searches.

The worst? Aquaman! McAfee said that among searches for the fabled water-breather he had the most bad links to viruses, malware and other online woes.

Who else made the list? Mr. Fantastic, the Hulk, Wonder Woman, Daredevil, Iron Man, Superman, Thor and Green Lantern.

? Matt Moore ( )



While a panel on comic book entrepreneurship explained how to run a comic publishing business for print and digital dispensed solid advice and details, the topics outlined were reinforced by a floor-shaking and thunderous noise.

Turns out that one floor below, some 6,000 Comic-Con attendees were getting sneak peeks at the new "Godzilla" film due next year.

? Matt Moore ( )


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