While Comic Con is known for the crowds, costumes and craziness, the core programming of the five day holiday-from-real-life live quietly in the meeting halls where the working folk of the all-media pop world share their experiences and expertise in writing, production, drawing, as well as the legal arena of comic books and intellectual property. In that mix is the “after-market” world of successful franchises, whether it is movies or television. One of those avenues is comics.
The screening of Once More With Feeling happened only after the powers that be at Comic Con negotiated with 20thCentury Fox, after a year of legal obstacles to permit this popular episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer to be splashed across the four big screens in Ballroom 20. And Whedonopolis was tapped to present this event, providing prizes and giveaways in the form of buttons and finger puppets and "parking tickets" to go with the singing and dancing anticipated by Buffy fans well heeled in the lyrics and the waving of lit cellphones.
Beginning with the Serenity/Firefly Convention at the end of October, through the Farscape Convention the day before the walkout, through the double-header of Stargate Atlantis and BSG two weekends before Thanksgiving, the Writer’s Strike hung over the proceedings, but neither those on stage or the fans showed anything other than strong support for the writers. In the friendly and familiar confines of the Marriot Burbank Airport Convention Center, the well-attended conventions went about connecting fans with their shows, while fans managed their own connecting – and parties, meetups and Krispy Kreme breakfasts – just fine.
It might be considered a good morning’s work to have snagged some much-coveted swag at the Warner Brothers booth at Comic Con, but the day was merely beginning. It was a literal stampede when the doors open to the Warner Brothers “tower”, as they were handing out bright red-and-yellow “Smallville” bags made of a mylar weave and about the size of a Mini Cooper. They were also handing out cool cardboard shields to promote the DVD release of ‘300’ and giving out tickets to a special screening of the movie at Petco Park for 10,000 people. Fighting into the fray, I managed to snag both the bag and the shield, although when the rush began, small children and people in wheelchairs were immediately lost in the surge.
Well before the party started, the line forming outside looked for all the world like an Important Special Screening, which, of course, it was. The 300 tickets for the charity screening of Buffy’s musical episode ‘Once More with Feeling’ and Angel’s puppet "Smile Time" took less than three weeks to sell out, once they became available online. In addition to the cost of tickets, "goodie bags" were sold with such treasures as bubble-blowers, glow-in-the-dark vampire teeth, Sunnydale Parking Violations (specially designed by Alikhat), light sticks and "Grr-Argh" finger puppets, that are vital to audience participation in the show. Drawing tickets gave people a shot at owning their own Puppet Angel doll from Sideshow Collectibles or a complete set of Spike: Asylum comics from IDW Comics. Also, items unique to the evening, buttons and bookmarks, were given to those filing in, loudly handed out by Suzanne as "two pieces of crap! Have you got your two pieces of crap?" Never were two pieces of crap more highly prized.