Yes, the headline says it all, the husband and wife duo of Stephen and Chada did win big today, but you’ll have to read on to find out how.

If you read yesterday’s Preview Night entry, you know Chada and I found a lot of really keen stuff at this years International Comic book Convention in San Diego. Today being the first official day, we weren’t sure what to expect, and when we got there, the lines wrapped around the convention center. Luckily Chada and I had purchased tickets ahead of time, and because we already had our badges, we were able to slip right in.

Our very first stop was ComicBase the creators of the most awesome comic book inventory application in the world. Instead of waiting to see about acquiring a review unit after the show, I plunked my money down yet again (I’ve been using ComicBase since version 3.0) to get the 10.0 version. Unfortunately, as of 9:00 this morning, a major bug was discovered that Peter was trying to work out. I was assured that if we returned in an hour he would have everything worked out and new copies burned ready to sell. I’ll end this portion of the ComicBase story here, as it plays out nicely in the end. Plus if I give everything away here, you won’t want to read the rest of this article.

So we trudged up to the second floor of the convention center to attend the Batman: Year of the Bat panel which attempted to pack over 300 people into a little tiny space. On the panel was Bill Willingham (Robin, Fables, War Crimes), Greg Rucka (Gotham Central, OMAC Project), and editors Bob Schrek and Joey Cavalieri. Conversation was as expected – fan boys asking fan boy questions about the direction of certain characters. It was interesting to point out that with the conclusion of War Crimes, Bruce Wayne/Batman will have undergone yet another change in his 50 plus year history. If you are confused about that statement think back to Batman of the 60s, the sudden change in the 70s (some of the best Joker/Batman tales there), and the dark Dark Knight of the 80s and 90s and you get the picture of what I mean. It was joked that Batman will become friendlier and give hugs instead of punches. Rucka even commented on how pleased he was DC was open to changing characters and letting writers go in their own direction at times.

DC Panels

Left to Right: Bob Schrek (editor), Bill Willingham (Robin), Jim Lee (Hush), Greg Rucka (OMAC Project).

That is when yours truly raised his hand and asked, “So does this mean that there will be a Fables/Batman crossover?” There was a slight hesitation before Willingham brushed everything off with, “You’re going to have to leave now,” followed by, “I’ve been thinking about something, but this is a question you should ask again later…uh, and I don’t mean later during this panel.” Damn! Willingham totally ruined a great gag I was going to do!

But the fact that there was hesitation is something you should make a mental note of.

Jim Lee walked in late to a round of loud applause. I respect Jim’s work, but why does it always have to be so late? He even made a joke that he had just turned in the pages for All Star issue 5.

More blathering by fan boys followed then discussion turned toward the Batman Begins movie. Before the cast had been announced, DC had already killed off Ra’s Al Ghul, but now they/we know that he will have to return in the Batman titles – somehow, someway. This then spun off to a discussion about the return of Jason Todd (Robin II who was brutally murdered by the hands of the Joker), Blue Beetle, and numerous other DC characters who have died and then have been resurrected (most recently Green Lantern Hall Jordan).

Yours truly raised his hand again. “With all of the death and resurrection that has been happening in the DCU, and the fact that Batman has been very introspective about people returning from the dead, is this leading us to a much larger revelation?”

“Maybe…” replied Rucka, to which Willingham half joked, “There’s your Batman/Fables crossover.”

But was this really a joke? Could he have actually showed his hand to the chagrin of Shreck and Cavalieri who were sitting close by?

Wild Speculation Now Follows:

If you are a reader of Fables, you already know that the storybook characters we loved as children are alive and well living amongst the DC “Normals”. What we didn’t know is that any beloved character will “return from the dead”, depending on how popular they are. For example, everyone knows the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Now what would happen if someone were to put a bullet in Goldie’s locks? She can’t die, children of today still tell the story, and through the shear power of the storytelling, these characters live on (If you believe in fairies clap your hands to save Tink!).

A few years ago in the pages of The Flash, Wally West, trapped in another dimension, was desperately trying to make his way home to his loving wife Linda Park by using the Speed Force. This caused him to jump from one dimension to another until he found his. One of the dimensions he popped into was “our world”. In fact, he popped into a comic book shop where he saw DC comics (complete with Flash, Batman, Superman, and so on) on the shelves.

Could this one panel have given everything away? Could the belief and love of a character in “our world” be enough to resurrect one that has died in the DCU? This would certainly be a great way for DC to always explain the death and resurrections that happen every few years. If the DCU discovered they were real by the will of the reader, would it cause some criminals to become much more savage because they know they will return again, and again, and again? Did Willingham’s joke really tell all? It may be a long shot, but I’m going to place my bet here.

End Wild Speculation

That ended the panel, and Chada and I proceeded across the hallway to see the preview of A Scanner Darkly. I must say I am very impressed by the first look at this animated movie. I’ll have a more in depth article as the movie release approaches (March 2006), but I can tell you it is 70 percent done, is produced by the same person who did Waking Life (using the same software), has 50 animators doing the roto work, and the complete budget (live action included) was only $8 million. I did snag a free Scanner Darkly t-shirt for Chada, and I only had to step on two of her toes while lunging for it.

Finally, we wrapped up the day by finally purchasing ComicBase, and going to the ComicBase User Group Meeting. Yes, the Bruce Campbell session across the hall was already packed and we couldn’t get in. In the meeting, we learned even more about ComicBase including information about the Atomic Café. This will allow collectors to post and sell massive collections quickly and easily. It will be released at Christmas and all ComicBase 10 users will have access to it.

Let me tell you why this is going to be an awesome service available to everyone. I have been searching high and low for the last two years for Batman/Hellboy/Starman #2. Every comic book shop, every convention, and every garage sale I have been to has not had this issue. I came close last night to obtaining it, but the bin was empty by the time I saw the divider. Anyway, Atomic Café will allow me to find this title quickly, make my purchase, and complete my collection. The system works very much like Amazon used books work in that transactions are safe, easy, and reliable.

At the end of the session, a raffle for free stuff was held. Of the three items, Chada and I won two of them. The first is some weird Manga chess set piece that will probably find its way to eBay. The second is a spark gun built to resemble the ray guns of the old sci-fi B-movies of long ago. What makes the gun prize so funny is the back-story and who won it.

I am in the process of reviewing NewTek’s TriCaster system, and they included a toy spark gun as part of the package. For the last two weeks, I’ve been running around the house and scaring Zoe (our cat) and generally annoying Chada with it. When we purchased ComicBase, they threw in a free spark gun with the purchase, much to Chada’s dismay. Then when they were calling out the numbers for the prize gun, I leaned over to Chada and said, “You’re going to win this.” And she did. All she could do was claim the prize and as we left with our winnings she just shook her head…

Yes, the husband and wife team of Stephen and Chada did very well today, finding scores of back issues, some cool swag, and prizes won.

I didn’t get to see Bruce Campbell to day, but tomorrow, we’re getting there early to see Charisma Carpenter.

Until then true believers, Excelsior!


About Author

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment. You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...

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