With Preview Night and Thursday in the bag, it was time to move on to Friday – Day 2 of San Diego Comic Con!
The day started with a Spotlight panel on acclaimed comic writer Dan Slott, famed for his over 150-issue run of Spider-Man, a beautiful 2 volume run of The Silver Surfer, She-Hulk, and much more.
After starting the panel off just a touch early, Dan was interrupted by Comic Con International’s Senior Director of Programming, Eddie Ibrahim. After some brief banter with his co-host, the pair offered Dan Slott a notable achievement: the Inkpot Award! Issued by the Comic-Con board of directors annually, it’s a significant achievement, and it was great to be there in person to see him receive the well-earned reward.
Dan went on to share his origin story with comic books, recounting how he thought comics came from “…my cousin’s basement, the same way I thought peanut butter came out a jar.” He was given a stack of Spider-Man comics to enjoy, and eventually his dad agreed to give him a weekly allowance of 25 cents so that he could expand his comic collection. When a nearby 7-11 advertised that Spider-Man himself would be coming to sign comic books, Dan’s dad gave him a 50-cent bonus to make sure he got the perfect books to get signed.
Finally, the moment arrived: there, in the back of a pickup truck, stood Spider-Man. Shortly after the truck pulled up, Dan recalled “He did something that messed me up for the rest of my life: he jumped out of the back of the truck, and landed in a spider crawl stance. Then he stood up and waltzed in like it was nothing.” That’s it. Dan Slott was officially in love with comics.
Dan went on to share stories of his time in the industry, wisdom he’s gained, and recalling his relationship with other creators that he’s worked alongside over the years.
I was able to ask him about his inspiration for his run of Silver Surfer, which is one of my favorite super-heroes, and his characterization of Norrin is easily one of my favorites. “He’s often depicted as cosmic and other-worldly – what was your lens in your attempts to make him more human?”
The simple answer? “Doctor Who.”
Dan loves Doctor Who, and particularly the idea of having a human companion along to help ground an otherwise distant, cosmically powered being whose ability far exceeds the imagination of any mortal.
There were more fantastic questions and answers, and you can hear RogueSymbiote and I dive into a couple of them in our podcast recap, courtesy of Comic Book Keepers. Keep an eye out for it, soon!
Following the panel, I headed towards the show floor, while more fantastic cosplay was around every corner!
Wandering the hall, I made my first visit to Daniel Warren Johnson’s booth. The extremely talented artist and comic creator turned some heads last year with his fantastic Beta Ray Bill mini series: Argent Star. Widely lauded as a fantastic characterization of Thor’s iconic enemy-turned-ally, Argent Star shone a particular spotlight on Daniel’s ability to balance frenetic action sequences with impactful, emotional narrative. Fans who discovered him through this run also were likely pointed in the direction of the wonderful Murder Falcon – which tells the story of Jake, a heavy metal guitarist who has a chance encounter with Murder Falcon (Murph for short); an other-worldly fighter who needs the power of metal to battle back the forces of evil.
While seemingly absurdist on the surface, Murder Falcon is in my top 5 favorite comic runs of all time. It tells such a wonderful story, with killer art and action sequences, and proper development and amazing characterization of every single entity that graces the pages of that book.
In any case, if you aren’t aware yet, I’m a huge fan of DWJ – and so getting to meet him at his booth was a real honor. Not only that, he provided a wicked sketch for me on the interior of my Murder Falcon hardcover copy!
The last major event of the day was the Hall H presentation for Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero! Hosted by Lauren Moor, this panel presented the first 20 minutes of the highly anticipated upcoming film – with some special guests to boot!
The panel consisted of Toei Animation producer Norihiro Hayashida, as well as both the American and Japanese voice actors for Piccolo: Christopher Sabat and Toshio Furukawa respectively.
Host Lauren Moor pointed out that it was actually the first time both of these voice actors shared the same stage!
Mr. Hayashida explained that while Super Hero was heavily influenced by Akira Toriyama, his son Sasuke was responsible for ensuring his father’s legacy was “carried out”. This seems to confirm the eventual transition of the stewardship of the Dragonball franchise from father to son.
Mr. Hayashida went on to say that fans who enjoy the Gohan and Piccolo dynamic will really enjoy this film. “Fans of the series know that they share a special bond – there will be room for Goku and Vegeta, but for fans of Gohan and Piccolo, you will be very happy.”
There was also a special video message from Masako Nozawa, the Japanese voice actor for Goku. She encouraged fans to see the film “Not once…not twice…but many, many times!” and concluded her message with a classic performance of the Kamehameha blast!
The panel continued into a 20 minute preview of the film – I’ll be providing a separate article on my first impressions of the movie based on this preview very soon!
After one more walk-through the show floor, where I admired some quality He-Man figures and many others, it was time to call it a night!
So I marked the halfway point of the convention…and headed into Saturday!