Mr. Cellophane

In a location adjacent to a place in a city of some significance, what comes out of my head is plastered on the walls of this blog.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

12:49pm

I run like a madman out of the convention center. I must look like a freak to the people walking around...the people dressed like various characters of TV and film. Work with me, here.

A car pulls up in front of the center. The window rolls down.

"Get in!"

"Glen?"

Security's nipping at my heels. I dive into the back seat. The car peels off.

I glance at something wrapped in plastic. Action Comics #1.

"What the hell is this?"

"Oh, that's just something I picked up."

This ain't hard to figure at all. "You stole this!"

"I stole it back from the son of a bitch who stole it from me. Fair is fair."

"Well, Billie Jean, your little mission could get us arrested."

"That's a hell of a way to say 'thank you'."

"I've never been in trouble with the law before. Why would I say thank you?"

"I'm really getting this from the guy who went onto Craigslist looking for Comic-Con tickets?"

"Fair point."

1:22pm

My luggage sits on the curb in front of the hotel. Kind of a miracle nothing was stolen.

I grab my things and head back into the back seat.

"Does this car go to the airport?"

3:35pm

Sucking down quesadillas at the airport. Not the most auspicious ending to this year's Con, but, hey, at least I didn't get arrested.

I glance up at the television screen. There I am again.

I guess this meal is to go.

4:22pm

My flight doesn't leave for another three hours. Not sure I can avoid detection for that long. Still, getting a taste of awesomeness for a few days only to have it cruelly snatched away from you when you need to return to real life...isn't that what Comic-Con is all about?

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Sunday, 12:00am

"What do you mean, 'he's not here'?"

Monty advances on me. "I'll try again in English: he's not here."

"We each got back around ten. He's gone." Lila glances from the bed.

"Where do you think he went?"

"Hell if I know."

"I don't know about you, but I'm going back to bed."

"Me too. Glen knows the way."

"Yeah." I strip my clothes off and settle into bed. At last, there's room on one of the beds. Still, what the hell happened to him?

8:22am

I get up. Everyone else seems to be dressed, but they don't look very excited.

"What's wrong?"

"I don't know about you, but we're headed for the airport."

"But there's one more day of Con."

"Yeah. Sunday."

"Besides, there's only so many times I can watch that "Buffy" episode with a crowd."

"Well, I want to get the full four day experience."

"Do whatever you want."

"I will."

9:04am

What a bunch of babies. I don't need them. I just need these next few hours of fun. Ah, pancakes. Breakfast of champions.

9:55am

My shuttle bus pulls up. Those guys don't know what their missing. I get off the bus.

10:12am

Maybe, it's the performers or the stories or something in the water, but I find myself drawn to these direct-to-DVD "Scooby-Doo" movies. This new one, "Frankencreepy", looks decent.

10:56am

I head for the show floor. Time to take advantage of discounts.

The crowd gathered around the comic has recommiserated. Action Comics #1 is gone.

I turn around. Pictures of the Con-victs flash across a big screen.

I'm not sure if my picture has appeared yet. I run the hell out of there.

11:35am

Okay, I probably should be hiding, but I want to see at least one more panel before I get pinched.

What better one than "Cartoon Voices"?

12:39pm

All right. I've managed to avoid capture and let go of my stress, for now. All I need now is to find a way to get back to the hotel. No doubt the drivers have been made aware.

12:46pm

I'm not quite out of the center yet. I just need to get past that gathering of "Adventure Time" cosplayers. Man, those guys don't mess around.

A hand grabs my shoulder. My heart stops right then and there. I fall out.

It's Angelica. "Whoa. Are you okay?"

"Sort of."

"This wouldn't have anything to do with your picture on a screen in the show floor, would it?"

"Hashtag, Craigslist, six people in one room, curfew, mad haxxor skills."

"I didn't understand one word of that."

"The threat of incarceration tends to jumble my thoughts."

"Well, you best get the fudge out."

"I'm trying." I hurry off.

I'm almost at the exit. Better slow my roll, so as not to arouse suspicion.

"Hey!", I hear someone shout from high above me.

And that plan's down the tubes. I doubt this would've happened at C2E2.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

2:24pm

"Angelica?"

"What's up?"

"Just having some lunch."

"Yeah, I can see that. Any plans for later?"

"Well, I'm gonna go to the 'Big Trouble in Little China' panel. You?"

"I wanted to go to the Weird Al panel, but tickets sold out, so I'm going to the 'Spotlight on Willie Ito'. He's this animator who worked with Chuck Jones and animated on "The Flintstones" and Lady and the Tramp."

"Sounds awesome."

"Yeah."

An awkward silence.

"Are things really gonna be weird between us?"

She shrugs. "They shouldn't have to be. You're a great guy."

"I try."

I dig back into my burrito.

"So, you seeing anyone else?"

I almost choke. Would she be mad if I was? "I haven't really found anyone yet."

"Oh. Neither have I."

Was that a hint? Does she want us to be a thing? Why can't girls be more overt about this? It would save countless amounts of trouble.

"Well, I'll see you."

"Take care." I take a huge sip of root beer to get my breath back.

3:01pm

Back at the Con. Something happening outside the show floor. Pinkie Pie confronted by Marvel's god of chaos.

Okey dokey Loki, indeed.

3:43pm

I've really been digging the Big Trouble in Little China comic, which is odd when you consider I've only seen bits and pieces of film. Just another one of those things I never got around to.

Still, I can't wait to see where the comic goes. Pretty cool how so many follow-ups that likely wouldn't have been produced otherwise are appearing in comic form.

The mind boggles at how many follow-ups I'd kill to see, even as mere comic books.

4:24pm

The panel lets out. I head for the show floor.

A crowd gathers around. I hear snatches of whispers: '...most expensive comic...' '...give my left nut...' '...been showing it off for fifteen years...'

Action Comics #1. Must be a sight.

5:09pm

I really liked "Gargoyles" when I was a kid, so of course, I felt I should attend the 20th anniversary panel. Should be fun hearing about what went into making it.

6:00pm

What a panel. I thought I was going to go deaf when Keith David took the stage.

"Hey, you!"

"Angelica?"

"You got to stop being so surprised to see me."

"Sorry."

"So, any plans for tonight?"

"I just thought I'd turn in early. There's nothing going on."

"Seriously, grandpa? There's always something going on."

She drags me off.

6:55pm

"...all I'm saying is that they probably shouldn't have put a deaf guy behind the wheel."

"I just hope that poor woman is okay."

"Me too."

She still has me by the hand. Afraid I'll run off, probably.

7:42pm

Don't think I've been here before. A lot of people here having fun. After all this time, I'm still worried about looking foolish in public?

Ah, what the hell.

11:54pm

It happened again. I can hardly remember what happened and I'm breaking curfew. Whatever happened to Dexter and Valk, I really don't want to happen to me. I want to be here for Saturday.

11:59pm

I head for the room, unsure of what yarn I need to spin to avoid "disappearing".

I open the door. "Glen, I know what you're going to say, but..."

"Save it, Shep." Monty greets me.

"Where the hell were you?" Lila stares at me from bed.

"Getting lucky, from the looks of it." Peggy points at my neck. I run to the mirror. A hickey.

Monty shrugs. "I guess I can't be too mad. Oh, and Glen's not here."

"What?!"

Friday, July 25, 2014

Saturday, 7:38am

Okay, Dexter and Valk are gone. What the hell am I supposed to think about this?

The other Convicts are waking up.

They look around. They don't say anthing, either. I guess none of them want to end up as victims. Good call, really.

8:22am

Well, I'm showered and almost about to get dressed. I grab my badge. There's a Post-It on the back: 'Bat zipline - 12:30'. Curioser and curioser.

9:09am

French toast and sausage. Awesome.

9:44am

I drew '4'. Still waiting for the bus. I hope I don't miss the first panel.

10:12am

Unlike the guy from Thursday night, the guy at this door is cool. I guess everyone else - and I mean everyone else - wanted to crash the "Simpsons" and "Phineas and Ferb" panels. Meanwhile, here I am at the 'Why Not Serious?: Comedy vs. Drama in Animation' panel.

My thinking is that animated drama won't sell. Got no problem with that. Still, I might learn something.

10:56am

Interesting panel. Next...a conflict. I flip a coin.

Tails.

11:05am

I really enjoy the "Ninja Turtles" cartoon on Nickelodeon...making it unfortunate that the coin didn't come up heads.

Still, I love me some "Regular Show". The crowd goes up in an 'Ohhhhhhhhhh!'. This is going to be a lot of fun.

11:48am

I was right. A preview reel and a script read. Plus, someone asked if Eileen would be featured more. The answer...'maybe'.

Okay, that someone was me. I'm still giddy.

12:06pm

Okay, this was new: Harley and Ivy as Anna and Elsa. Of course, I'm getting a picture. Even with that eye-popping sight, I'm still nervous about this meeting...and even more at the zip-line.

12:24pm

Here I am in line. Should I have been here at 12:30 exactly or am I too early for--

"So, you got my note."

"Lila?"

"That's the name...sort of."

"Why did you want to see me?"

"You're curious about what happened to the others, aren't you?"

"A little."

"You ever see the movie 21?"

"Yeah."

"Bingo."

"What, Glen was banned from coming here again?"

"Most likely. Just keep your eyes open. He might be planning something."

"Okay. By the way, why'd you want to meet me up here?"

"'Cause I wanted to try this, duh." Lila gets hooked in. I try to turn back, but the crowd gets unruly.

"Comic-Connnnnnnnnnn!" Well, she's enjoying herself.

"You next?"

"I guess."

I get strapped into the harness. My heart pounding in my head makes it hard to hear any of the directions the guy is giving me.

"Remember all that, and you'll be fine."

Might as well jump.

A loud, unmasculine scream comes out of me. I'm not afraid of heights, but this is too much to handle.

The people below are certainly looking at me and wondering if a human can really make such a noise.

I'm collected by the guy at the bottom. Somehow, I lived.

12:52pm

I needed to sit down. After what just happened, I wasn't in any mood to move.

1:04pm

I love movie trailers. Produced right, they allow a glimpse at the filmmaking climates of the time.

'Warner Archive Collection: Trailers from Hell Live!'

The lights go dim. The first trailer begins. I feel like I should have some popcorn with this panel.

1:56pm

I head for Ballroom 20 for the "American Dad" panel. Holy balls, this line is crazy.

You know, screw it. I'm starving.

2:23pm

La Puerta. Southern Cal Burrito. There is no substitute.

As I tear into it, I hear a voice.

"Room for one more?"

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

4:57pm

"Why did you run away from me before?"

"You really don't remember last year?"

As clear as yesterday. "I'd forgotten about it."

"Come on." She starts to walk away.

"Where are you going?"

"My next panel starts in a few minutes. I don't want to be late."

"You're on a panel?"

"Please be smart about this."

"Well, I need to get to a panel, too, but we still need to talk."

"Catch you later."

"Definitely."

5:06pm

With all the things that could go wrong, it's a miracle of science that movies even get made. Still, there are those projects that never hit air. I'm about to hear about some of them. Not a lot of cosplayers here. Just serious (and curious) film fans like myself. Neat.

5:35pm

Saw some footage from Jodorowsky's Dune. I've only a passing familiarity with the David Lynch movie, but this sounds even more nuts. And now, someone mentioned the pilot for "Heat Vision and Jack". Interesting.

I glance a few rows ahead. No way. Angelica's here, too? Well, duh. She loves movies. Of course, she'd have a fascination with those that didn't get made.

6:04pm

Taking a few minutes to rest before my next panel. Hey, there goes Valk. What's he running after? Two security guards are chasing him. Hope they don't catch him. Who knows what that could do to my trip?

6:47pm

Simon Kinberg is being interviewed about X-Men: Days of Future Past. It's rather intriguing hearing about how the film came together.

"How the hell did Kitty Pryde get time-travel powers?"

I'm sure that would've come up, but I think the MST3K mantra comes into play: 'Just repeat to yourself, 'It's just a show/I should really just relax'.'

7:32pm

'Rotten Tomatoes Critics vs. Fans'

The urge to defend The Lone Ranger and R.I.P.D. is too strong. Do I dare go for it and risk the scorn of the crowd?

8:29pm

Fuck yes. As the panel lets out, the people passing me either shake their heads, insult me or point and laugh, which you'd think would be discouraged at a place like this.

8:52pm

God, the city looks nice at night. I'd consider coming here at a non-Con time of year, but it just wouldn't be the same.

Not that far from curfew. I'd better go back.

I see Peggy at the shuttle stop. I rush up to her.

"Hey."

"Hey."

"Good day, huh?"

"Yeah. Went to 'How to Be a Nerd for a Living'."

"That sounds cool."

"Then, there was the 'Gravity Falls' panel."

"Yeah, that was awesome."

"Then, there was 'The Witty Women of Steampunk' and 'Archer', then 'Orphan Black'."

"Cool." I really should go for it. "So...where are you from, really?"

"Delaware. You?"

"New York."

The bus pulls up.

"One of us should get on."

I start to move my feet, but she gets on first.

"Catch you later."

9:43pm

I'm back at the hotel, enjoying a burger and fries. Another good day down. I can only wonder what tomorrow will bring...and whether I should worry about what happened to Valk.

Monday, July 21, 2014

1:03pm

The crowd, some of whom are dressed like the characters, settles in for the "Gravity Falls" panel.

1:07pm

Kristen Schaal greets everyone as Mabel. The crowd goes nuts. Can you blame them?

1:21pm

That was some sizzle reel. August cannot get here soon enough.

1:47pm

And a script read. Okay, this is in the running for best panel this year.

2:09pm

Not sure what could top that, so I'm just walking around. May as well stop by IDW's booth and get that TP of "Indestructible" I've been avoiding. This is still Comic-Con, right?

2:44pm

I'm actually having a good time just sitting on the floor and watching people. Yet another Anna and Elsa.

3:11pm

I check my schedule. The 'Free Enterprise 15th Anniversary Panel' starts at 3:30pm. Sounds like a plan. I liked the movie. I flip the page.

Holy crap. The "Bob's Burgers" panel starts at 4:00. If my experience last night taught me anything, it's that overlapping panels will not work out in my favor.

"A hunter that chases two rabbits will catch neither." Read it in a fanfiction once. To this day, I have no idea who said it. I'll have to look that up when I get back.

May as well flip a coin.

Tails.

3:44pm

"Bob's Burgers" it is. Damn, what a long line. Don't care. I'm getting in.

4:06pm

And so I did. I glance around. "Tina" from earlier is sitting a few seats down. No one's in my way. I scooch myself a couple seats closer. I don't think she notices.

4:24pm

Neat preview reel. Looking forward to the new season.

4:54pm

The panel ends. I'm still laughing at the Q and A, especially that one question about Louise.

I turn to "Tina". "Awesome cosplay. Can I get a picture?"

"You really don't recognize me?"

"Nnnnnnnnnnnnno?"

She takes off the glasses.

"Angelica?!"

Saturday, July 19, 2014

7:45am

Didn't think this was worth mentioning because, hey, what are the chances it would apply to me, but Glen instituted a curfew for all of us. Dexter broke it and now, he seems to be gone. Okay, either he's been sent packing or he's...okay, that's a little out there.

I wake up and head for the bathroom. Perhaps, a shower will help me to relax.

8:23am

"Okay. Second day of the Con. Just remember what I told you and you'll be fine."

I glance over to "Peggy". I'd really like to get to know her better.

"Anything you want to share with us, Shep?"

"What? No."

"Then why are you looking at Peggy?"

"I thought I saw a fire ant on her."

"There's nothing there."

"Eyes must be playing tricks."

I look away. No way did he buy that, but let's worry about that afterwards.

8:54am

Pancakes and sausage. Very nice breakfast.

9:23am

I drew '2'. Can't wait for today. I get on the shuttle bus. A lot of cosplayers staying in this hotel, most of them seemingly from anime.

10:15am

'The Black Panel'. I've been curious about this for years, but I never could go. Other panels and all.

Really fascinating stuff.

11:04am

On the convention floor. I've got time before my next panel.

Wow. That's a pretty good human Maud Pie. I have to get a picture of her.

11:45am

Really liking this "Rocky and Bullwinkle" short. I can only wonder if it leads to anything more, like a feature. I still say the 2000 movie was too underappreciated.

12:42pm

On my way through the crowd. I see a dead-on Tina Belcher. The outfit, the hair, the glasses...it's uncanny.

"Hey!", I call after her.

She rushes off. I try to follow, but the crowd is so thick.

I lose her. Was it something I said?