Thursday, November 3, 2011

Comic Con 2011 Recap - The Panels.

With authors Bob Fingerman, Veronica Rossi, Stefan Petrucca, Nancy Holzner, Tahere Mafi and Tom Sniegoski. Moderated by Drew Magary.

This panel was an in depth discussion regarding paranormal characters and stories of the above authors.  When asked why they write about paranormal creatures, the reasons were varied.  Bob says he likes to take people and put them in tough situations and likes to "de-glamourize" the situation. He writes about what he wouldn't want to happen. For example he feels that being a vampire may be pretty lousy.  Nancy Holzer, who is a Medievalist (how cool is that?) said that paranormal elements were viewed as real in Medieval Times, so why not write about them as if they are real?  Tahere said that even though her character is paranormal, she wants to be accepted for who she is, just like any other teen.
Another question I thought was interesting was if they invented their worlds to communicate something in real life.  Veronica explained that she liked to explore where we could be going with technology and playing with the opposite.

After the discussion, the panel took questions from the audience.   When asked about original material, Nancy Holzner said that it isn't "...the idea, it's the execution that makes it yours." "It's how you twist it."  advised Tom.  Tahere stated, "Emotions are universal, whether you're a shapeshifter or not.  People recognize emotions."

The panel.
Regarding their influences, Nancy Holzner told us that being a Medievalist, the Mabinogian is hers.  For Stephan it is Dashiell Hammott and Joss Whedon, for Bob, Phillip K. Dick and Phillip Roth.  Veronica had a very unique answer.  She said it was the book, Natural History of the Senses, and that it makes you think our senses are otherworldy.  "Magic is going on every day."  She said.   

Aaron Sagers.
Aaron Sagers gave a humorous and interesting presentation on the topic of celebrity ghost stories. (He is not affiliated with the show.) "The first thing is you need to be able to do is trace the story," explains Sagers.  The rumor that Michelle Williams saw Heath Ledger after his death has not been substantiated by Michelle herself.  There are, however, many other celebrities who have documented a ghost story. 

I'm not really sure I believe in "ghosts" per-se, but during the talk, I realized that supernatural stories are more prevalent than I realized.  Sagers pointed out that there are even ghosts in the Bible. Mark Twain studied parapsychology and had foreseen his brother's death a month before it occurred.  Emily Dickenson wrote down her ghost story and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was a big believer in the afterlife.  There are even many presidents who claim they have seen ghosts in the White House. 

Apparently author R.L. Stine never had an experience but he is always looking.  When he travels to schools, he encounters many students who believe in ghosts and they tell him their stories.  Sagers said when doing his own research he encounters celebrities who explain, "I don't really believe, BUT..." and they go on to tell him of their unexplainable experiences.

So, if you have had a paranormal experience, you can say you are not only in good company but in famous company.

(l-r) Miriam Parker, Marcus Dunstan, Patrick Melton & Stephen Romano.
Here is a little story.  I used to love the show Project Greenlight.  I read all the scripts online and waited to see which one was picked.  I remember specifically reading Feast by Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton and had my fingers crossed that was the script they would pick and I was so excited that they did.  I watched the show religiously and the ups and downs of bringing this film to life.  When I finally viewed the finished movie, I loved it.  It's a movie that just stuck with me.  The characters, the plot, the simplicity of the story.  My favorite scene was when a handsome man runs into the bar and announces, "I'm the guy who's gonna save your ass!"  Then Bam!  The monster grabs him.  Ha! I didn't see that coming!  So, when I saw that Marcus and Patrick were going to be on a panel at ComicCon I was very excited.

(l-r) Marcus, Stephen and Patrick.
Marcus, Patrick and Stephen Romano wrote Black Light together and their panel was moderated by Mulholland Books Marketing Directer Miriam Parker.  She was very enthusiastic and did an amazing job with relevant and unique questions. 

One of the things they liked about writing a book was that they didn't feel as constrained as with a movie script.  "In a book," they explained, "you can make anything happen.  In a script, you have to make sure it can be executed and is in within budget."  They all have a horror background, but they pointed out that Black Light is a ghost story.  They wanted to tap into something different besides horror.  My favorite quote of the discussion is by when he said "...everyone has that quiet moment when they believe in a ghost.  It comes from an intimate place." 

The authors discussed their childhood.  The funniest stories came from Marcus and they are where he draws a lot of terror from.  One was when he went ice fishing with his dad and fell in.  Another is the "Hawk" story when his dad had to rehabilitate the bird and one of the feeding times took a turn south.  And the last was a story about when his dad took him to check some traps and had to put down an animal that was still alive. 

When writing for the Saw movies, they said they "...tapped into a twist of anger." and they have a "reservoir of stuff to use, from paper cut stories to 'what if's'."  They discussed their kill scenes and how they figured out what would work and what wouldn't.  They liked to write together because they could brainstorm and get feedback.  Talking helps get your mind going and apparently your darker side too. 

A Panel of artists and writers from the Vertigo line assembled and the audience was able to look at new comics coming out.  We got sneak peeks at Voodoo Child, IZombie and Sweet Tooth.  The comic I am looking forward to is American Vampire.  It takes place in the 50's and is about a young, rockabilly vampire hunter who puts in fake teeth and rips the throats out of vampires when he catches them.  Payback!  The mystery is he doesn't remember his life before he is seven years old and his parents are dead.  Sounds like a very cool premise!

In this panel we skyped with Lara Parker who talked about her visit to the set of the new Tim Burton version of the movie.  She said the experience was "dizzying."  Everyone was very kind to Jonathan Frid and told him they wouldn't be there if it weren't for him.  Parker was thrilled to meet Tim Burton, Johnny Depp and even Alice Cooper who was on set one day.  She also was able to watch a scene with Michelle Pfeiffer and Helena Bonham-Carter, but she couldn't discuss it for legal reasons. 

Lara is almost finished with her third novel about Quenten and his werewolf curse.  Tor suggested she print her book in red ink to go with the whole vampire thing.  She asked the audience what they thought and the concensus was a big "no." "I thought it was a little silly myself." She revealed.

Lara earned a degree in Creative Writing in 2004 and has written two books that are Dark Shadows-centric, Dark Shadows: Angelique's Descent and the sequel Dark Shadows: The Salem Branch.  Click HERE for more information.




Karen said...

You got o a lot of cool events! Thanks for letting us have a peek ;-)

Jenny said...

Ahhhh! I so wish I could have gone to this! Lucky you:) Thanks so much for sharing all the info and the pictures, it almost makes me feel like I was there. And I had no idea Mark Twain studied parapyschology, very cool:)

Logan E. Turner said...

You must read American Vampire! I did a review of the first 2 volumes a few weeks back if you're interested ( And I picked up Dark Shadows today! Looking forward to reading it!

Bookish Brunette said...

Wicked jealous chick!!! Looks super awesome!!!

Midnyte Reader said...

@Karen-I feel fortunate that I live near NYC to be able to do all this stuff.

@Jenny-I didn't know that either. I'm going to look into it more.

@Logan-I'm coming over to visit your post!

@BB-Thx! It was fun.

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