Coraline's Pink Palace

One of the highlights of San Diego Comic Con for me was the Laika Experience. The stop motion movie studio Laika took over a space a couple blocks from the convention center in the historic Gaslamp District and converted it into a miniature version of their studio in Portland. In addition to tons of excellent displays of props, sets and figures from many of their films, they had a functioning model shop and shooting stage, with artists on hand to demonstrate and answer questions. They even had free themed ice cream when you exited. But I'm here to tell you about something at the beginning of the tour, visitors waiting in the queue got a great view of this fabulous LEGO Ideas hopeful from Laika's very own Holly Webster, Coraline's Pink Palace.

Yes, it is generally the policy of BrickNerd not to feature LEGO Ideas campaigns unless it's very special circumstances. For instance a major stop motion movie studio displaying a set built by one of it's employees at a special venue at the craziest comic con on the planet. Holly's version of the apartments has all the charm of the original, which is easy to verify because the real set was just a few steps away.

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There's even a full set of custom minifigures made with the assistance of the talented Jared Burks, featuring Coraline, Other Mother, Other Father, Bobinsky, Wybie, Coraline Doll, and the cat. The back of the house splits open to reveal a detailed interior of rooms any fan of the film will recognize instantly.

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The LEGO Ideas campaign is going now, and thankfully is still early enough that it has a strong chance of making it, especially with the exposure from this past week. Head on over to LEGO Ideas to cast your vote and make this wonderful set a reality. I'd like to give a huge shout out to Holly for granting us access to not only her set, but the fascinating and awesome Laika Experience, it was unforgettable. 

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Nerdvanna

Yesterday as many of you know I took a break from my family vacation at Disneyland to make a one day pilgrimage to the holy land, San Diego Comic Con (leaving Disneyland to go to SDCC, #FirstNerdProblems). It was a whirlwind tour of just the exhibits, no time to see any panels or stand in line to buy stuff.

The first significant stop was happening upon the legendary Bill Plympton, who was kind enough to sketch me an addition to the BrickNerd Art Project. He was ultra cool and it was a pleasure to meet him. You can bet this is going to get framed and hung on the studio wall as soon as I get home.

I continued my long trek, weaving up and down the aisles of the show floor after that, which is no small endeavor, especially with already tired legs from two days of theme park walking. If you've never been to SDCC, there's really no way to describe or explain it. It's absolutely enormous, and there's so many enthusiastic nerds from all over the world collected in one space that it's almost overwhelming, almost. There's SO much love there, so much joy for so many things. From comics to movies and from toys to fine collectibles, there's something for literally everyone there.

The next significant event needs a little setup. Back in 2005 I worked on Guillermo del Toro's masterpiece film Pan's Labyrinth. After principal photography was done, I was cleaning and organizing the camera gear we used at CafeFX and I ran across the insert slate, the little board you mark with what scene/shot you're filming. Normally I would have just wiped it clean and got it ready for the next gig, but by then we were far enough into the film I knew that we were working on something important and special, so I set it aside. It sat on a shelf in my office for several years after that, and when the company folded in 2009 I kept it as a memento. Fast forward to a few months ago and I was digging around on my workbench in the garage and I happened upon it. Just days earlier I was watching a video tour of Adam Savage's man cave on Tested.com and saw that he has a special GDT shelf among his amazing collection. He has props and mementos from many of his films. So my first thought was "this needs to be on that shelf, on display where it can be appreciated, not collecting dust in my garage".

I tweeted a picture out, but got no response from Adam. While packing for this trip I happened upon it again, and thought "what the heck, there's an incredibly remote chance I'll see him there and can just give it to him" and tucked it into my backpack. Fast forward again to yesterday, as I continued my way across the hall. I made to the Prop Store booth, one of my favorite stops every year to look at all the props and fun stuff from movies I love. While admiring an insert slate from The Empire Strikes Back I remembered the slate in my backpack and recalled that Adam usually makes his way to this very booth during one of his famous Adam Incognito videos. Not 45 seconds later, while admiring a full body prop from Terminator 3 I see Kylo Ren in my peripheral vision. Just last week Adam posted a video about making the neck piece for that costume and I thought "no way". Then I heard him talking and it sounded like him so I said "Adam?" It was him. I washed back and forth between giddiness to have found him, and utter shock to have found him. I told him I had something for him and dug it out of my backpack. It took a moment for him to realize what he was holding, and to register that it was for him. But his reaction after was great, I couldn't see him smiling under his mask, but I could tell by his body language (and huge hug) that he was pretty stoked. He needed to get get going so we snapped a quick pic and he was on his way. I wandered off too, content that I had just won comic con, mission accomplished.

While I did make several stops at the LEGO booth, it was always wrapped with people hungry to collect their convention exclusives (I was not among them, no special sets for me) and an absolute mob scene. I would have taken some pictures, but you all know what a bunch of people look like, just imagine that with a large LEGO sign hanging above them. I did duck in to say hi to LEGO master builder Erik Varszegi while he was building a giant Batgirl, always nice to see him.

After that it was just a lot of wandering, napping Nerdly selfies (he's so narcissistic), short chats with old friends I ran into and sweating (SDCC is always hot, always). Content I had seen and perspired enough I made my way back to the Amtrak station to catch my train back to Anaheim, SDCC 2016 was over for me. Time to start planning for next year, maybe this time I'll mark the calendar and not plan a Disney Vacation to coincide with the same weekend, duh.

SDCC Recap

I don't have a ton of time to write a whole breakdown of SDCC (I snuck away from the campsite to a nearby town to post at a Starbucks, the lengths to which I go to keep content coming on this blog, sheesh) but overall it was an excellent con for me. It all started Thursday, where I spent a full day wandering the floor with my wife and seeing all the cool nerdy stuff (and scoring exactly zero LEGO exclusives) In the evening I had the privilege of sitting on a panel with Nathan Sawaya, Brandon Griffith and Jim Lee (yeah, THAT Jim Lee!) We unveiled just a few details of the amazing project we're all working on, Art of the Brick: DC Comics. A big thanks to all those who showed up for the panel and especially those who took time to say hi after we finished (Hi Ian!)

On Friday we spent more time terrorizing our poor feet on the exhibition floor for a few hours. Nerdly got his picture taken with several cosplayers (he can't help himself). We saw some familiar faces, made some new friends and just basked in all the geeky goodness. I also scored exactly zero LEGO givaways and exclusives

In the late afternoon we went to the taping of the Conan O'brien Show. It was an amazing experience, we got to see the cast of Walking Dead and Game of Thrones. And if all the laughs weren't enough, we scored an exclusive Conan Zombie Pop!

On Saturday we continued the relentless punishment of our feet with yet more walking the floor. Once we had our fill of that (seemed to not take very long, the crowds were intense) and scoring the customary amount of LEGO exclusives we headed to the Hardrock Hotel where LEGO was showing off Dimensions, an amazing new game and building experience. I'll be doing a full review of that soon so I won't go into much detail on that. In the evening I sat on the second of my two panels with Joe Meno, Paul Lee, Brandon Griffith and Nathan Sawaya. We all talked about how we've taken LEGO and turned it into something beyond just building. I showed my animated short Batman vs Superman and talked about stop motion for a bit. After a Q&A session with the audience I surprised them with the world premiere of the sequel to Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Just Desserts. They seemed to enjoy it. Don't worry, it'll be online soon after I make some last minute tweaks and I've had my fill of s'mores and sunburns.

Overall it was a great time, but I'll continue to sum up SDCC as I always do, "four days of sweaty disappointment" Now to recover and start making plans to go back next year (why do we do it to ourselves?) Now if you'll excuse me, I'm gonna head back to the campsite and grill some burgers.

Tonight At SDCC!

I'm super excited for tonight. I'm on the second of my two panels at this year's San Diego Comic Con, Making The LEGO Fan Scene. Join me, Nathan Sawaya, Brandon Griffith, Joe Meno and Paul Lee as we talk about different aspects of the LEGO fan community and LEGO art.

I'm finally going to get to show my animated short Batman vs Superman to it's core audience!

Join us from 6-7 in room 23ABC, see you there!

Tonight At SDCC!

You remember those little bits on Sesame Street where they sang "one of these things is not like the other", tonight at SDCC is sort of like that. I'm going to be on a panel with world renown brick artist Nathan Sawaya, DC comic legend Jim Lee and the great Brandon Griffith. And while I'm certainly the odd man out in this grouping, I can guarantee I'm going to be the only one with loads of BrickNerd nerd glasses and buttons in his bag.

The panel is DC Comics Meets LEGO Art, it's tonight from 6-7pm in room 25ABC. I'll see you there!

Coming to SDCC?

Hey fellow nerds and nerdettes, are you coming to San Diego Comic Con? Me too! In fact I'll be speaking on two different panels this year.

The first one is DC Comics Meets LEGO Art with world renown LEGO artist Nathan Sawaya, builder extraordinaire Brandon Griffith and comic legend Jim Lee. That will be on Thursday from 6-7 in room 25ABC

The second one is Making The LEGO Fan Scene with BrickJournal editor Joe Meno, premiere LEGO comic artist Paul Lee and Nathan and Brandon again. That will be on Saturday from 6-7 in room 23ABC

I'm super excited for both of these panels, and of course for SDCC. I've got a limited amount of swag I'll be toting around so if you spot me say hi and then mug me. See you later this week!