Five British Things from New York Comic Con

Now that it’s all over but the blogging, here’s a quick look at five items with British angles from this weekend’s Comic Con in New York City.

Graham Chapman’s The Liar’s Autobiography

I decided to resist coming to any judgment about The Liar’s Autobiography based on the weekend panel. The 3D movie is apparently one part biopic, several parts rediscovered audio tape of Graham Chapman reading his memoirs, along with segments by various animators illuminating the life of Chapman.

At the panel, there were only two clips, neither of them in 3D, and a few stills. The creators behind the movie, including Bill Jones, Terry Jones’ son, discovered the lost sound recordings almost by accident, and they said they realized that they could use the audio recordings as the basis for the film. The project, they also emphasized, is very much still a work in progress.

But the question I have is: will it overcome the Python Problem?

Copy of leaflet left on chairs in the auditorium where the Graham Chapman panel was held.

Simply put, the Python Problem is caused by the conflict between the overwhelming desire for more Monty Python material and the harsh reality that, to borrow a phrase, that’s all there is, there isn’t any more. Even if Chapman hadn’t died in 1989, and the group had collaborated again, who knows what the result would have been? It might have been great, it might have been terrible — but it’s pretty safe to say that it wouldn’t have been like the Monty Python we’ve come to know.

Of course, the same could be said for a Beatles reunion, even before John Lennon‘s death. And we know what the result was for the Marx Brothers — whether it was the absence of Zeppo, the failure of the studios to harness their talent, or simply the passage of time — their later films had simply lost the magic.

By taking the Chapman audio tapes, and mixing them with the work of new animators and the talents of the existing Pythons (minus, at least so far, Eric Idle), the creators of The Liar’s Autobiography appear to be trying to recreate — or resurrect — the team itself.

“We would use Graham to direct his own life story, from beyond the grave,” said director Jeff Simpson. “We used his audio as the basis for a scene, we took out his audio and we brought in the other Pythons to play opposite Graham, as it were.”

Terry Gilliam, whose distinctive animation is such an integral part of Monty Python’s work, is participating in the project, but he declined to contribute any animation himself.

 

Tom Hiddleston of The Avengers

The most widely anticipated Comic Con panel was about The Avengers, Marvel’s superhero ensemble adventure movie, scheduled for release next May. Fans loved the clips, shown for the first time this weekend, and the audience addressed so many questions specifically to Brit Tom Hiddleston, who reprises his Thor role as the title character’s brother Loki, that it became a kind of a joke.

Female fans showed constant appreciation for Hiddleston, especially when he discussed his costumes, and went bobby-soxer hysterical when he talked about being dressed in “mostly leather and metal.”

One young woman in the audience, who apparently worked on the movie, went up to the microphone to thank Hiddleston and Captain America’s Chris Evans “for making the extras’ experience in Cleveland amazing.” The woman, who said her name was Natalie, gushed: “We had a great time with you guys even though it was like in the middle of the night, it was fantastic, best experience of my life.”

The cast and crew apparently partied like superheroes.

You can watch the whole panel, which included surprise guest Mark Ruffalo, who plays the new Hulk, right here:

 

The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret

David Cross was on an IFC panel to promote the second season of The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret. The Arrested Development actor is co-creator and star of the series in which he plays a clueless sales manager trying to market an energy drink in Britain.

Here’s Cross at Comic Con:

And here’s a clip from next season, unveiled at Comic Con – which combines flatulence jokes with Yorkshire serial killer humor:

 

Captain Britain

I picked up a couple of Captain Britain comic books from some dealers. They were published by Marvel in the UK, beginning in October 1976. The ones I bought were from 1985, a period after Alan Moore (the writer of From Hell, V for Vendetta and Watchman, among others) had already left, but when writer Jamie Delano and writer/artist Alan Davis worked on it.

For those, like me, who didn’t know, Captain Britain’s non-superhero name was Brian Braddock. He was also briefly known as Britannic. Although he began in Britain — his backstory is that his special powers came from Merlin himself — he has joined other Marvel superheroes around the world, including Spiderman and even Captain America. But he began by using his superpowers to uphold British laws.

 

Characters in Costume

It wouldn’t be Comic Con without people dressing up, or, as it’s now called, cosplay. Here are a couple of Brit-themed characters.

 

Bleeding heart Daenerys from 'Game of Thrones'

Pinhead from 'Hellraiser'