Category Archives: Comics

Screaming at the Scream Awards

Last Saturday, my friend Stacey and I attended Spike TV’s Scream 2008 Awards at the Greek Theater. It was my first awards show and the closest I’ve ever come to a live red carpet. I had won tickets to it at Comic-Con; I didn’t research the show much.

While waiting in line to get in, we marveled at how many people were dressed up in costume. A man in a yellow uniform from Old Trek was with a woman dressed in black & red as a cat. Lots of people were dressed up as Heath Ledger’s Joker. There was a large assortment of goths and punks as well as characters from various horror movies, and Gumby.

The show lasted about 3 hours, only 2 of which were shown on television. Despite that, several awards were not mentioned or awarded at the show but did make it into the press release. That document’s funniest line was about a rousing performance by The Smashing Pumpkins. Admittedly, I am not a fan, but I was so bored during their song that I forgot that they were playing. So unmemorable. Kerli, on the other hand, was awesome. I tried to look more at the dancers and musicians that at her; I figured that she would get most of the facetime during the broadcast. I loved the performance. The dancers wore white masks and black bondage gear; they moved in fluid jerks, successfully generating an eerie scene. I missed seeing most of the climax of the song, Walking on Air, because the confetti and smoke obscured my view of the stage. Despite that, the performance was transcendent. Unfortunately, that energy and otherworldliness did not translate in the broadcast. I think it was the confetti in the air that the cameras could not adequately capture.

Gerard Way seemed to be the most sincerely geekiest happiest presenter. Others were comfortably in their element (Kevin Smith, Rosario Dawson) and others were at home in front of a crowd (Sharon Osbourne). Frank Miller seemed nervous; we couldn’t hear half of his banter. Somehow they edited his words together as a coherent bit for the broadcast.

There were other goofs by presenters. Marilyn Manson seemed to be too tall for the mike. A fan came up and held the mike stand closer to his mouth. It was hilarious even though the sound kept cutting out. Unfortunately, they make Marilyn redo his bit. Compared to the first version, he gave it in a monotone. I was cracking up at his f**k you to the show’s producers. Marilyn, though, is a smart and talented presenter because the low energy version broadcast on tv was surprisingly funny and bearable.

Julie Benz forgot that she was presenting a second award; the trophy girl, Julie, and Christopher Nolan were trying to find their way backstage when a producer came out and made them take their places again. I feared another complete do-over, as happened with Marilyn Manson. How did they not capture his speech? It flowed in an enjoyable manner. What torturers were these producers if they were making him give another version of his acceptance speech? Luckily, Christopher explained the situation, described it as a pick-up, and repeated the last line of his speech. Julie announced that Christopher and his brother had also won best screenplay; there were more speeches. That doubling-up of award winners was a common, and puzzling, occurrence. On a couple occasions they didn’t even bother to list the other nominees.

The producers ran into technical difficulties not related to speeches. Rosario Dawson had to repeat announcing the winner of the best film award because the Batman prop didn’t light up properly the first time. They also kept Tim Burton in the balloon for several minutes. He looked so uncomfortable. I do not know what caused them to stop his trip about one-third of the way across the audience. He was racing out of the basket once he landed.

We were told that there would be audience participation during the finale. When the green lasers went off, we were supposed to wave green glow sticks. When the sticks were passed out, though, a different set of instructions were taped on; now we were supposed to wave them when Samuel L. Jackson began talking. Right before the finale, the announcer came back on and asked us to break open the glow sticks but hide them until the appropriate time. Of course, he did not specify what that appropriate time was. My friend and I dithered – do we wave them when Sam Jackson starts speaking, or when the lasers go off? In the end, we followed the crowd and started waving when Sam walked on stage. From the broadcast version, I now know that we were wrong to be lemmings. The editors definitely had a hard time finding footage without the the glow sticks in motion. The audience was rowdy; several people threw their sticks onto the stages, at the Stormtroopers, and across different sections.

The producers did keep the crowd entertained during breaks. Before the Smashing Pumpkins went on, an aerialist entertained the crowd. During the regular commercial breaks, they showed the original trailers for Blacula, Terminator, and Escape from New York. They also showed trailers for obscure offerings, including The Sinful Dwarf and The Multinauts. I must watch the latter.

The Gardens of Adena

My friend and I were in the cheap seats above on the right side. Although there was free beer & wine available, no one seemed to be assigned to our section. We had to highjack another server. Direct views of our area by the cameras were obscured by the bank of lights on the railing. No matter. If you re-watch the awards, listen to the first woo in response to Frank Miller’s name-dropping of Jean Giraud, aka Moebius. That’s me. I cheered loudly, then stopped and realized that I was about the only in the entire audience woo-hoo-ing. I sat in my seat embarrassed yet happy, wishing that the volumes of Moebius were back in print.

All in all, I had a grand time at the show. I’d like to go again next year, in better seats, and perhaps in costume

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“The Only Comic Book My Girlfriend’ll Read…”

As an avid female comic book reader, I have heard the above quote in comic book stores across the country as well as read the darn phrase in numerous letter columns. And I am sick of it.

Comic book enjoyment is not limited to one gender.

The following flame is directed towards comic shop personnel.

Guys, you may be saying the phrase in order to be nice and helpful, but it makes you sound clueless.

If I have been buying several titles at your store for more than 2 years, I am not in the same category as the chick with whom you are sleeping.

She is trying to find common ground whereas we already share it. You know what I read; you sell me the comics; we have heartfelt discussions about them. Just because your girlfriend and I are both female does not mean that we automatically share the same tastes.

So if you want to recommend a comic to me, try saying “Hey, this one’s good.” And if you are using it as a pick up line (as in “it’s the only comic book my ex-girlfriend read,”) it doesn’t work.

8/00: Since writing this screed, I have actually found a comic book store where NO ONE has ever asked me the question: Golden Apple Comics. Visit it today, tomorrow, and the next.
Thank you, Golden Apple family.

12/07: I am happy to report that seven years later, I still have not heard that phrase at Golden Apple. Bless you all, Golden Apple family.