The final day of Comic Con was also the quietest, with only two events that I was interested in.
First up was Viz Media’s regular old panel, which followed the special press-only announcement of Shonen Jump Alpha on Friday. Much of the 2nd half of the panel was indeed devoted to that, but there were also a few other announcements. The manga title I was most interested in was Jiu Jiu, which is the new title from the author of hiatused Tokyopop series Clean Freak Fully Equipped, Toya Tobina. It’s about a female demon hunter and her two hot bishie familiars, and looks to be a lot of fun! It ran in Hana to Yume for a period, but the publisher/author has now moved it to the 6 times a year The Hana magazine instead. It’s 3 volumes and still ongoing.
The second and final manga announcement was a license rescue – the 2nd of the con! Yes, Viz has picked up Loveless from Tokyopop, and will be releasing it starting with Vol. 9, which is where it left off. This title runs in Ichijinsha’s Comic Zero-Sum, and is another of those “not quite BL but has many BL elements” series. It’s still running in Japan, and I think fans will be excited about this.
Other than that, there was a lot of discussion of their VizKids properties. Mameshiba is quite popular, and they’re doing a series of graphic novels next summer. The trailer was adorable. There’s also a new series of books based around Mister Men/Little Miss, and more Voltron Force books as well. They’ve partnered with Netflix to bring anime fans all of Naruto up to Shippuden, as well as the first Bleach movie and the 4 Inu Yasha movies. They also confirmed – finally – the Final Inu Yasha TV series, which will be out next year.
And yes, they too are working on an Android app. :)
After this, I mooched around the con for a while before it was time for the Classic Warners and MGM cartoons on Blu-Ray panel. I knew the San Diego Comic Con presenters wouldn’t be there, but they managed to get a nice all-star cast of panelists. The moderator was Gary Mariano, WB Home Video’s marketing director. On the panel was Will Friedwald, co-author with Jerry of the most famous WB cartoon books out there (The Warner Brothers Cartoons and Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies); Greg Ford, director of The Duxorcist and Blooper Bunny; Doug Compton, who was an animator on Blooper Bunny and has also been an animator on Doug, Pinky and the Brain, etc.; David Levy, director of the film Grandpa Looked Like William Powell; and Bill Plympton, famous animator and director of Academy Award nominated short Your Face.
They mentioned the Tom & Jerry and Looney Tunes Platinum collections are out in 2 weeks and 1 month, respectively. The LT sets are numbered, so some lucky fan may end up with #1 if they buy it from Amazon. They showed some clips of the restoration work, with Flirty Birdy being the T&J clip and the Looney Tunes being represented by Feline Frame-Up. I’m no great judge of differences between the current DVDs and the Blu-Ray, but I thought the slips looked great.
There was then a brief casual discussion of Warners cartoons – it was clear the audience liked Tom and Jerry, but were there for Bugs and Daffy. Same with the panelists. Ford mentioned he liked Chuck Jones’ ‘dark’ cartoons such as Fresh Airedale and Chow Hound. Plympton likes Clampett and Avery, of course, and Levy warmed my heart by talking about Frank Tashlin, my own favorite WB director. They noted the fact that the personality of each director was so easily visible – you look at a cartoon and you KNOW it’s Jones or Clampett, without even needing a credit. They also likened the animators to jazz bebop groups. The music was also mentioned, with Mariano noting the long sequence of St. Louis Blues in Flirty Birdy, and his suspecting MGM had to pay a royalty for that. Carl Stalling was mentioned, and his relationship with Milt Franklyn was likened to Duke Ellington’s with Billy Strayhorn. It was also noted by Ford that music students listening to Stalling were reminded of Prokofiev.
We then watched The Great Piggy Bank Robbery, which was as fantastic as ever, even if the audience seemed a bit subdued. Q&A followed, though I had to duck out early. Yes, someone asked about the Censored 11. Mariano said he had nothing to announce now, though when some audience members booed he noted he was not saying “No plans at this time” – they have plans, they just aren’t ready yet. There was also discussion of Mel Blanc, and the new shorts being made using his old records.
After that I went and had a nice dinner with friends, and then after much public transport wackiness (those who know my Ryouga Hibiki-esque sense of direction can guess what happened), I am now back home.
Comic Con was a lot of fun, though its size is very daunting. I’m not claustrophobic, but the time spent on that show floor was enough to make me a bit edgy – it’s just a huge crush of people. I was very appreciative of the anime panels – at least the industry ones – being on the north side of the center like all the other panels – it made for far less walking. And I think I will simply have to accept arriving an hour before each panel to wait in line as something I need to do from now on. Still, I will definitely be going back again, and I thought they did a good job at keeping everything manageable.
And thanks to all my fellow manga bloggers, as well as my friends Merc, Alan and Richard, for their delightful company. Also, thanks to the representatives at Viz, Yen and Vertical for not having their eyes glaze over *too* visibly when I went on about what magazine series debuted in or exactly why I think Beelzebub is still unlikely to be licensed.
Any other Comic Con thoughts? Comment away!