There's no question that Kevin Smith knows how to work a room -- he's even making you wait for it these days. Smith showed up almost twenty minutes late for his Saturday solo question-and-answer session at NYComicCon, but still arrived to roaring applause and a long line of question-askers. Unfortunately, only a small percentage of the audience members who lined up to ask questions had anything cogent to say -- in fact, most of them could be broken down into three distinct categories -- the person who tries to turn a question into a three-hour conversation, the person who tries out-funny Kevin Smith, and the person who asks "I heard you don't like XYZ -- how come?" There were a few lightbulbs on out there, however, and Smith was able to quickly give out some details about his upcoming slate of projects, which you can read about right here. Soon after that, he was defending his supposed anti-Transformers stance, from Clerks II. "I don't have a lot of hate for the Transformers, either. It's just kind of an easy target to make fun of," Smith began.
"It was a generational gap to kind of exploit. Randall would be my age, probably, and I was not a Transformers guy. Those were cartoons that came out after my time -- I was in high-school at that point and way too cool to watch cartoons. I don't miss cartoons where nobody died and shit like that, like Transformers and G.I. Joe. G.I. Joe -- it's a war with no stakes whatsoever, just a lot of property destruction." A clever questioner next tried to get Smith to comment on the Ryan Phillippe/Reese Witherspoon break-up (Smith is enemies with Witherspoon over some incident from the days of Overnight Delivery) and Smith jokingly responded by talking up some rumor he heard that the break-up may have sprung from a sex tape circulating that shows Phillippe engaging in "twink-like" behavior and being a "party bottom." When asked what comics he's been reading lately, the only book he could come up with was The Watchmen, which is of course on the fast-track to a big-screen adaptation.
When asked what he had to say about the Joel Siegel feud -- Siegel tried to stage a mass walk-out at a screening of Clerks II -- Smith reiterated what he's said previously, that he couldn't care less if Siegel walks out as long as he doesn't disrupt the film for the other critics. "I didn't care that he walked out. He did a Jerry Maguire -- 'who's with me!?' -- and there was no Renee Zellweger in the theater." Someone else had the presence of mind to quiz Smith on Southland Tales, which is now stuck in some kind of semi-permanent limbo status. Smith chose his words carefully, and said the film "is a real uphill battle. It demands a lot of its audience," and that it was always a "really challenging" project. When pressed for his current thoughts about the state of superhero fandom, Smith came out with the opinion that old superheroes like Superman and Spiderman should be killed off, the sooner the better, and that it would do them good in the long run.
Superman should go because "you can only do so many things with the character" and he's been around long enough to have told his most interesting stories already. Smith compared Superman to Jesus, who went out on a high note and got lots of acclaim for it. He said that Spiderman suffers from the same kind of problem, and that both of the comic icons should be killed off in high style and then left alone so that the "new Citizen Kanes" of the comic world can have a chance to rise to the top. "Give Speedball a chance!" he said. A tangential discussion also arose about the Superman Returns movie -- Smith admitted not liking it. "It was kind of....boring," he said, before launching into a diatribe on the lameness of Lex Luthor and the silliness of pitting a superhuman alien against a real-estate scam artist. "I'm gonna get a mortgage at .4 percent!" Smith joked. He said that X3 was better than Superman Returns, and also went off on another tangent, about supposed logic problems with the film.
According to Smith, the logic problems occur if you accept Bryan Singer's premise -- that Superman Returns picks up where the second film leaves off, with Superman having sex with Lois, then giving her an amnesia kiss and taking off to go find his relatives and whatnot. When Lois finds out her kid in Superman Returns can throw a piano, and is therefore Superman's kid, why is she not very surprised? She should have no memory of having sex with Superman, so when she visits him in the hospital, shouldn't her first question to him be -- Smith's words -- "When did you rape me?" Various other tidbits were scattered throughout the 90-or-so minute talk; Smith told fans not to expect a Clerks animated feature anytime soon, because Weinstein holds the rights to Clerks II, but does not hold the rights to the original film, and it would be a huge rights tangle to get something like that made. When asked to list his favorite superhero films, he named The Rocketeer, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, X2, and Tim Burton's Batman -- all in all, a pretty entertaining talk.