I’m sitting here, pondering where to being detailing my weekend at the largest entertainment convention in the world, and I can’t seem to wrap my head around it. Forty years ago, Comic Con started out as a gathering of comic book fans (come on, the term “geek” is kind of passé now), and now it’s almost hard to pick the true diehards out. It’s a mass media advertising frenzy- books, movies, video games, and TV, and I wouldn’t really be surprised if music was on the horizon for this enormous event.
This was my third year attending- I doubt that makes me any kind of expert or veteran, but I can say with confidence that each year I have gone, it’s gotten bigger and harder to navigate. I mean, the first year I went I remember actually being able to park in Downtown San Diego, and the following year was at least able to grab a seat on the train from Qualcomm Stadium. This year was not the case- didn’t matter what time of day or whether we were coming or going, the trains were packed to maximum capacity, and not once was I even able to sit down on the damn thing. This is all beside the point really- I’m just trying to lay it out for you all how incredibly huge this event has become.
I guess what it all comes down to for Con is what’s trendy- SDCC has nabbed the biggest names in the entertainment industry and it’s not afraid to use them. The biggest, flashiest booths get their place front and center, creating massive traffic jams on the floor, leaving people trampled in a desperate attempt to grab a button that says “I heart V.” The worst part of the whole weekend was trying to grab a look at the new Arkham Asylum video game- it was featured at the Warner Brothers booth, which was literally crawling with people trying to catch a glimpse of the Supernatural cast. Instead of catching a glimpse, I gave up in lieu of breathing room. Sorry folks.
Eh, but before I start complaining about something I have no business griping over, here’s what I scoped for you kids at Con (sorry the list is so short):
• I had to wait in line for an hour and a half to see this for you, my good readers (and I STILL ended up way in the back), but I managed to scope out the most random sequel I’ve heard of in years: Boondock Saints 2: All Saint’s Day. Here’s what you’re all dying to know- is it going to be good? Well, I can’t say for certain whether or not it will suck, but I can tell you two things- 1) it does not look like it will hit the same standard of creativity as the first one, and 2) in place of Willem Dafoe’s fantastic gay cop, we have Julie Benz playing a hot lady cop, whom she described as the woman “every woman wants to be and every man wants to fuck” (to which Billy Connolly responded that he wished he was a transvestite, so he could do both). The lines in the previews seemed badly cliché, the worst of which being Billy Connolly looking at the camera with a gun pointed in his face saying “Daddy’s working.” Bleh. No.
The best part of the panel came with surprise guests invading the Q&A session: David Della Rocco jumped in line and asked if he would be in the sequel (short answer: yes), which was shortly followed by none other than Ron Jeremy running up on the stage and giving everyone a hug. The fan Q&A session was the Most. Awkward. Thing. Ever. Several fans asked if they could have autographs, while one girl had a speech prepared, starting with “Do you remember when I asked you a question seven years ago?” and ended with her wanting to know if the “political atmosphere” matched that of the previous movie (short answer: WTF? No!).
• Sunday’s American Dad panel was good for some laughs. We screened a new Christmas episode that is yet unseen by the public. It was about the Rapture, and it was hilarious (case in point: “Apparently God does love the gays, but only if they’re tops”). The episode will air closer to Christmas, I believe, and will feature an epic brawl between Jesus, Stan, and the Anti-Christ.
One thing to point out that was rather disappointing- Seth MacFarlane seems to have a lot of disdain for his fans. Maybe he was upset that the ballroom the panel was hosted in was half-empty, or maybe it was an off morning, but he was unreasonably snarky and uppity with the fans who came up to ask questions. Obviously Seth, you’re the biggest name on the panel, most of the questions are going to be directed at you. Get over yourself.
• Directly following American Dad was a brief screening of some scenes from the upcoming documentary/movie Paper Hearts. Charlene Yi has a rather quirky sense of humor, in an awkward endearing sort of way, and I think it will translate well into film. The scene we viewed was one between Charlene and one of the members of Human Giant, Rob Huebel, in which he decides that she is a boy and must prove she’s not one by showing her junk. Immediately following, the fan Q&A began, and the first fan to ask a question of the panel wanted her to show her junk, and, uh, she did. She jumped on the table sporting a massive fake penis, which she then placed on the table to wiggle in front of everyone while the panel progressed, and then threw into the crowd once the panel was over. Uh, yeah. Sorry mom.
• Derrick Comedy, the crew that brought YouTube hits like “National Spelling Bee” and “Blow Job Girl,” premiered a short film based on their up and coming feature length film Mystery Team. Basically, it’s like the Hardy Boys if they were all too old for solving mysteries and too stupid to know the difference. The racism is what makes it funny people. Anywho, the boys definitely have a knack for comedy, even if the acting skills are lacking, so it’s something I’d suggest checking out.
Other brief highlights included:
• Geeking out on Kevin Sorbo- Hercules!
• Briefly stalking Lois Lane- Margot Kidder.
• Spotting some fantastic costumes- Ruffio from Hook, Dr. Girlfriend and the Monarch from Venture Brothers, and one guy dressed fabulously like Delirium from Sandman– he had fish swirling around his head and everything.
• The annual Steam Punk parade- I still don’t get the genre, but I love it. Cogs, gears, and Victorian attire- fascinating.
• Discovering that if you run and jump onto an escalator, it will stop, and security will get mad at you. Captain Dan, don’t do that again.
• Shaking hands with my arch-nemesis PJ Perez of the Utopian and Pop Goes the Icon fame. Watch your back dude, I know what you look like.
• Hey kids- who the hell started the “Free Hugs” thing? I want to stab them. Nothing is more awkward than a sweaty, slightly overweight, beady eyed kid coming at you with a cardboard sign in hand and asking for a hug. Or to cop a feel.
• I got to shake hands with one of my favorite creators in the biz- Mike Mignola, of Hellboy fame. I was surprised to see him there- in previous years it was a ticketed event to get in line to get his autograph- you had to draw from a raffle and hope you picked the right ticket. Yet there he was, sitting forlornly in a booth in the very, very back of the Con. I said hello, but sadly, he would not draw me a picture. Bummer.
• For the third year running, I assaulted Scott Bevan and Kent Earle of White Ninja Comics. We chatted briefly about Canada, tigers with lasers, and what level of friendship we’re at. Be on the look out for a potential second interview with them, the first one was definitely a success.
Though I wouldn’t consider my venture to this year’s Con a failure, I can say with steady conviction that I am disappointed. Hell, I blame myself for getting easily bored with crowds. Or maybe I’ll blame the Emperor, for running off to Hawaii for two weeks and leaving things in my (un)capable hands. Yeah, that sounds better.
See you next year San Diego, if I’m allowed back in, that is.