by RJ Ryan Seutter, contributing writer
Comikaze was not what I expected it to be. Though there were many big-name stars of science fiction attending, they were largely inaccessible. It was odd. They had these sort of troughs for their more noted speakers (and an entire Labyrinth around Stan Lee). At first, I thought it was just a way to keep fans in line and the flow of people from becoming congested. However, it was also used to make sure that no one could approach the guest without paying a hefty fee. Beneath the glitz and glam of the big-names celebrities, though, was a solid line-up of less-known, but incredibly talented people. I got to meet Len Wein, the creator of Wolverine; the voice of Skeletor from the original He-Man series, Alan Oppenheimer; as well as a wealth of independent artists and merchants that gave the entire event much more substance.
At one point, I decided to wade through the massive crowd surrounding the main stage in order to get some shots of the panel. I recognized one of the men as Rob Liefield, the creator of such characters as Deadpool and Cable. Liefield sent the audience into a frenzy when he answered a question about whether Ryan Reynolds would, indeed, be in the Deadpool movie. “Ryan is Deadpool! Ryan, look, Ryan Reynolds … the guy is ridiculously talented. He has a huge, huge passion for Deadpool. Deadpool’s not happening [the project was stalled]. Because he was a giant star, they said, ‘Ryan, what do you want to do?’ And he said, ‘Deadpool.’ That’s why it happened! They would have no faith otherwise. That movie is because of his passion. He put together the team. I think the writers … they would tell you that Ryan had input on the script.”
About Cable, Liefield explained, “So I sat there with a bunch of uh, producers, and we sat for several hours, and we talked about, you know, different ideas. And I kinda tried to steer them in … directions I think. I mean for instance, I’ll tell you, first question, they said, ‘Rob, does Cable need to be in the Deadpool movie?’
“And I said, ‘No, Deadpool deserves his own … function and Cable should come in in his own movie.’
“And they were like, ‘Ok, because we were thinking about …’ And then, ‘No, you can do them both separately. They don’t need to be in the same movie.’ We had a long talk, we had some ideas, I can’t share them, some of them made it across the finish line.”
Shortly after I got my coveted photographs, the interviewers opened a microphone to allow the audience to ask questions. Seeing only one other person pipe up, I decided to chime in and ask Liefield a couple of choice questions about the upcoming Deadpool movie, set to release in early 2016. Is he pleased about the amount of artistic control he had over the movie? Would the movie he envisions today have worked with the artistic effects (CGI) they had ten years ago?
He didn’t exactly answer either of my questions, but he did offer some insight as to what they had in store. He said that there is no Infinity Gauntlet for Deadpool, and there isn’t a Days of Future Past. He also explained that Deadpool doesn’t have some long, drawn out story line, so why would the movie? This leaves us to infer that the movie will be self-contained, though he said he thanks his lucky stars that Fox also owns the rights to X-Men, which means that there could be interplay with X-Force or some key characters from that universe (I’m looking at you Wolverine). Aside from that, he seemed pleased with the choice of director, Tim Miller, and the general direction it was taking, assuring me I’d love it.
I also managed to sit in on a small part of a panel with Ralph Garman and Kevin Smith, the men behind Smogcast and AMC series Comic Book Men. They talked about the evolution of Batman throughout the years, in honor of the reunion of the cast members from the 1966 iteration of the caped crusader (including Adam West, Burt Ward, and Julie Newmar) that took place that day. The line for it stretched around two hundred people long, if not more, but regardless of how packed it was, the energy was high and the panel well-received, as the fellows delivered a rousing discussion.
Overall, I found pursuing the big-ticket stars was a fast track to waiting in lines for hours on end, and missing out on what, in my opinion, made this con worthwhile: the fans, the artists, and the vendors: all those people who poured their hearts and souls into expressing their love for storytelling and art with such a fiery passion. This was a solid event, but Comikaze had better be sure it doesn’t alienate the fans and lose touch with its roots.