Day One At Comic Con

July 19th, 2013 by Max Allan Collins

Though throngs are in attendance here, with a good number of attendees in costume, the opening day seemed less crowded than before, or at least the dealer’s hall was easier to navigate than in recent years. This may have to do with the room being laid out somewhat differently, to satisfy the fire marshals, or perhaps fewer four-day passes have been sold.

For me, it was a fun day with some business stirred in. I bought a slug of books at 50% off (classic strip and comic book stuff) and did some more wheeling and dealing on artwork. People are friendly and even the security staff has lightened up.

I had a long business lunch with Ken Levin, my producing partner on numerous projects, and got updates from him on QUARRY and several other TV/movie projects. Tomorrow I will be signing one last document and the QUARRY deal should be complete (nick of time, since they start shooting on Monday).

Only disappointment was that I hoped to get a picture taken with LONE WOLF AND CUB creator Kazuo Koike, and to generally pay respects to a great writer. I have heard conflicting reports about how he feels about ROAD TO PERDITION, from being a fan on the one hand to being bitter on the other. Looks like the latter is more likely, because those around him would not allow us to meet. (Nate, on the other hand, got some autographs from him at a Dark Horse signing).

As many if not most of you know, I have always acknowledged Koike and his great manga as an influence on PERDITION. This has been exaggerated, however, in countless casual references to my graphic novel being an Americanized version of Koike’s. The notion of a shogun being like a gangland boss and his executioner being like a Godfather’s top hitman certainly has roots in LONE WOLF AND CUB, as does the father and son going on the run. But the two stories are not overtly similar…starting with Michael Jr. being an adolescent, not a baby. Plus there is also the overriding John Woo influence, and the real-life story of John and Connor Looney (and the lieutenant who betrayed them), as well as my desire to do a father-and-son variation on my own MOMMY film and novel. I doubt Koike knows anything about any of that, and doubt he’s actually read PERDITION, which I don’t believe has a Japanese translation.

Sad as I am that someone I admire apparently has bad feeling about me, I do get a kind of a kick out of the parallels – that in a way Koike is the Shogun, and I am the renegade Lone Wolf…with Nate as Cub.

Nate did a bang-up job on a very interesting translation panel, where every question came from the audience. Good panel all around, with a lot of interesting ground covered. Well-attended, too.

Our evening drew to a terrific close by dining at Buster’s Beach in Sea Port Village with our friends Alice and Leonard Maltin. Leonard and I discussed, to the edification of all around, the merits of Joe Besser, Clayton Moore, old Warner Brothers cartoons, Henry Aldrich (again!), the Bowery Boys and much more. Nate was convinced that Leonard and I were making up the names of the various movies we discussed….


Leonard Maltin SDCC 2013


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