The Con Is On Part 2
While many fans flocked to the annual San Diego Comic Con, arguably the biggest global event of its kind, and homegrown stars were certainly out in force, as well as assorted film and sci-fi publications, there are few distributors who make the trek to America’s West Coast.
Leading UK anime specialist Manga has spotted the potential in going along, not just for meeting other companies, but also spotting trends and talent. This year, Manga’s Jerome Mazandarani was joined by Thom Leaman from sister company Anchor Bay, out there, among other reasons, to find out about the next series of Spartacus.
We’ve already had one report from Mazandarani; here he gives us further thoughts on the event, after, firstly, some words from Leaman on the next and final instalment of sword and sandals franchise Spartacus…
“There was a great time had at SDCC. For me it was obviously all about Spartacus (although dinner with Michael Biehn was also a pretty momentous life event).
“Spartacus fans got their first chance to see footage of the final season War Of The Damned and I think it’s fair to say it didn’t disappoint. Some of the fight scenes look like nothing I’ve certainly ever seen before. To say we’ll be going out with a bang is an understatement and a half.
“The Spartacus panel discussion with producer and writer Steven DeKnight and cast members Manu Bennett (Crixus) and Liam McIntyre (Spartacus) was one of the biggest draws of the whole weekend and fans were queuing for several hours to stand a chance of getting a coveted place in the hall. It being the final season it was a somewhat emotional event and during the panel discussion the late Andy Whitfield fittingly received a several minute-long standing ovation. Fans were then truly spoilt when the rest of the cast made a surprise appearance.
“During the weekend I also got a chance to play on the brilliant new Spartacus PS3/Xbox game Spartacus Legends which will be out in January, and should push the franchise further still and land in time for the Tx of War Of The Damned.”
Thom Leaman, Anchor Bay
“I enjoyed our annual AGM with Funimation, the largest anime distributor in North America. We have some amazing new titles to release next year including Guilty Crown and Aria The Scarlet Ammo.
“But my personal highlight of SDCC would have to be the IGN Expendables 2 and Capcom Resident Evil 6 parties held simultaneously on top of the Hard Rock Hotel on Thursday night. Free cocktails galore and Jermaine Dupree on the decks. My night was made when I spotted Karen Gillen (Amy Pond from Dr Who) and Matt Smith. I also got to bug the shit out of Richard Moffet(!) Who plays Rob Stark in Game Of Thrones and was attending his very first Comic Con. He is a smashing bloke and Karen was also equally lovely and gracious.
“The UK is really over-represented at Comic Con. BBC America has a massive booth and Dr Who had its first ever Hall H panel (in front of 8,000 people). But it’s not just the acting, directing and creative talent on shows produced on this side of the pond (Sherlock, Who, GOT) but also our amazing array of incredibly talented writers and artists doing us proud on the floor at the con. People like Jock, Mark Miller, Garth Ennis, Alex Garland, Grant Morrison, Anthony Johnson and so many more. Their unique creative vision is what is fuelling the latest batch of hi-concept superhero movies, TV shows and games. It’d be nice to see our lame-ass UK broadcasters take a bit of notice of these guys for once and actually cover them. These guys are real Hollywood players and their influence on the entertainment business cannot be under-estimated.
“In the same week that it was reported that BBC Worldwide accounts for over a third of the Beeb’s operating profits during the last 12 months and is on course to accounting for more than half of the corporation’s revenues over the next several years it doesn’t make sense to me why their production budgets slashed. Our original scripted drama is amongst the best in the world. We definitely have the acting and directing talent too. If the Beeb isn’t prepared to support then we’ll just keep bleeding talent to the States.”
Jerome Mazandarani, Manga
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