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July 24, 2008

Alan Ball gets some Comic-Con love

Comic-Con -- "We have three more days of shooting and then we will wrap," says Alan Ball, creator of "True Blood," when asked how far into production he is on his HBO vampire drama's first season.

Ball is sitting before an enormous ballroom that's overflowing with sci-fi fans who have not yet seen his show. Yet the fans burst into applause at this most minor of revelations.

“I just want to say,” says a fan to Ball, “I look up to you very much for your writing.”

“It’s a great honor to be in your presence,” says another. “I think ‘American Beauty’ is the finest film ever made.”

Sitting against the back wall of the ballroom, I’m undergoing post-TCA culture shock. It’s another ballroom, another panel for HBO's “True Blood" -- just like at critics tour. Yet here, the audience's questions are extremely polite and the crowd is insanely appreciative. No wonder studios are ramping up their TV product presence at Comic-Con. Presenting a show here is like slipping into a bath of velvety love with worship bubbles.

Ball mentions the rather extensive online marketing extensions for the show. Pro- and anti-vampire Web sites. An online blood test for determining which kind of blood you’d like to drink. A “20/20” style documentary on vampires coming out of the closet. And beer-like ads touting a nonexistent “True Blood” drink.


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