Walking Dead

A San Diego Comic-Con Memoir, Part Two: Pummeled with Gray Foam Bricks

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The good thing about a sequel is that you don’t have to bother with an origin story. Though my editors, Stu and Ian, will point out I’m so late with this installment I may as well just start writing one for next year’s Comic-Con at this point.

In any case, skipping to my second day at Comic-Con, my fears of a massive hangover after Friday’s ill-conceived night out were well-founded as I headed out to the Se Hotel, a 40-minute brisk walk from the America’s Best Value Inn through gang country – but the gangbangers are asleep at 8:30 a.m., apparently.


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FRIDAY 9:30 A.M.

Jason Momoa is a big man, and not just figuratively given his growing Hollywood profile as the star of the upcoming Conan the Barbarian and from his stint as Khal Drogo on HBO’s Game of Thrones; the man is also literally huge at a muscular 6’5″.

During our interview, though, Conan shows his sensitive side when he admits to being skittish about his sex scenes from Game of Thrones.

“I didn’t want my wife to see Game of Thrones, and she ended up becoming obsessed,” he says. “She was dreaming about it, she was obsessed. We didn’t go to the premiere. I was like, ‘I don’t do anything but do Emilia for the first two episodes. I don’t even speak. We don’t need to go.'”

“It was very hard because I’ve never done that to anyone,” he said, speaking of the violent sex his character inflicts on Daenerys (Emilia Clarke). “I was like, the good news is I’m not a rapist. I don’t like women crying when I’m with them…It was really hard to go there.”

Leaving the hotel, I realize that breakfast burrito tasted better going down.


My next stop is the W Hotel across town to pick up my special press pass from Relativity to attend the Hall H panels for Haywire and The Raven. Steven Soderbergh, who directed Haywire, is outside the hotel on a cell phone, but there’s no reason to approach him.

I entered Hall H curious about John Cusack’s Edgar Allen Poe thriller, The Raven, but I left blown away by the footage from Haywire.

Basically, Soderbergh stumbled on Mixed Martial Arts superstar Gina Carano fighting in a steel cage match and wondered why no one had tried to make a revenge action movie around this woman. So he did it.

The two-minute fight sequence screened for the Hall H crowd leaves the audience, including me, blown away.

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There are no cuts, just two people – Carano and Michael Fassbender – slamming into walls and kneeing and punching each other with such ferocity that it reminded me of Jet Li’s Fist of Legend. This is isn’t some Hollywood starlet like Drew Barrymore being hoisted around on wires or Angelina Jolie throwing a punch and then cutting away to a stuntwoman. Carano is the real deal and I’m in love.

“I had to hit her with a ketchup bottle, and I couldn’t do it,” her co-star Channing Tatum says during the panel. “She called me the p-word, so then I did it for my manity. But then she hit me back twice as hard, and I didn’t want to hit her anymore.”

FRIDAY 3:15 P.M.

One good part of my weekend is that I get my first chance in a year to see my college friend, Colin Ferguson, star of the Syfy channel show, Eureka. We both started out on the McGill University Improv team, where he immediately excelled, while I was pummeled with gray foam bricks thrown by an angry mob. (That is a story for another day.)

I bump into him Friday afternoon in the hallway outside Ballroom 20, where many of the TV shows host their panels for the packed crowd of roughly 4,000 fans. An annoyed looking Syfy exec is trying to herd him down the hallway, but he’s stopping every few feet to take pictures with a new batch of fans.

Two middle-aged women on line for Ballroom 20 call out to him that they have waited five hours to get in for the chance to see him and now it looks like they won’t get in for the panel. Colin runs over and gives them big hugs and then says, “Blame that guy over there,” pointing at me.

That’s my cue to run off to my Walking Dead roundtable appointment before I relive that gray brick trauma all over again.


As soon as I sit down for the first roundtable of that show, I can’t prevent myself from giving Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman a piece of my mind about the comic books. [SPOILER ALERT]