Several weeks back I attended my second Comic-Con. Last year I didn’t spend any time in Hall H, so I never got an appreciation for how big it is or how early one needs to get in line to ensure a seat inside. This year I found myself waking up at 4:30 one morning and 6:00 another in order to sit a combined 8 hours in line for Hall H, once inside, I spent 20 hours in Hall H over the course of two days. Knowing full well I wouldn’t get anywhere near the stage, and not wanting to look like the goofballs who take pictures of celebrities on the projection screens and pretend they were actually sitting that close, I opted to leave my camera in the hotel room. For that reason I’ve got very few pictures, and for that reason I’m going to try and keep this concise, so here’s a bullet-point review of my Comic-Con 2012 experience.
666 Park Avenue – It stars Terry Quinn from Lost and felt a little Lost-esque with the mystery surrounding a New York highrise apartment building and the tenants who all seem to have made deals with the devil. The first episode they showed piqued my interest, and I’ll be setting it on my DVR.
Arrow – It’s a CW Network take on the Green Arrow. The first episode was interesting, but this one wasn’t for me.
The Following – A serial killer death row inmate has gained a large number of followers through internet forums who aide in his short-lived escape to finish what he started. The first episode we saw was good, and Kevin Bacon is in it, so it’ll make it to my DVR, but I don’t think this one will last.
Revolution – A vision of a post-apocalyptic future in which electricity is no more. Interesting idea, and NBC is pumping a lot of money into advertising, but it’s got weak writing and a weak cast, it won’t last.
Cult – Stay with me here, it’s a TV show, about a TV show, about a cult, that gains a cult following. A likely flop even by CW network standards.
Paranorman – Stop-motion cartoony zombie movie that looked good.
The Big Bang Theory – Jim Parsons was unable to physically attend the panel due to his grueling Broadway schedule doing a revival of Harvey, but he used Sheldon’s mobile presence device to make an appearance. After taking ten or so questions from the audience, NASA astronaut Richard Searfoss walked on stage and presented Simon Helberg (whose character Howard blasted into space in the season finale) with a chance to take a real flight into space aboard the Lynx Experience (valued at just under $100,000). Simon seemed shocked and declined, but suggested they give it to an audience member. So those who had asked questions were asked to come on stage and given envelopes, one of which contained a golden ticket good for a space flight. To my utter disgust, the winner was a woman whose question was essentially “Penny, who is a better kisser, Raj or Leonard?”
The Walking Dead – We got to see some tidbits of season 3 with Michonne and the location for the next season, a jail.
Game of Thrones – The only panel that gave swag. They didn’t have any clips to show, but hearing George R.R. Martin say “boobies” about ten times was a highlight of my day.
Total Recall – Well, this one has already come out and while it’s supposedly more faithful to the short-story it and the original are based on, it looked like crap, and movie critics agree.
Looper – In a future where time travel exists, the mob can’t kill people, so they send them back in time where a hired gun waits to do the dirty work. Which is all well and good until the hired gun is faced with killing his future self. While I really like Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and they did an impressive job of making him look like a young Bruce Willis and this looks to be *gasp* an original Hollywood idea, it just seems dumb and my gut says it’ll be a big Hollywood turd.
Elysium – By the writer-director that did District 9 and starring Matt Damon and Sharlto Copley (from District 9). A vision of the future in which there is an enormous wealth gap, the wealthy have built a giant space station and the rest live in poverty on earth. I imagine the movie focuses on bridging the gap.
Django Unchained – Pretty much Kill Bill but set in the Antebellum south. Jaime Foxx plays a slave who gets purchased by a German bounty hunter and trained in the art of bounty hunting. He then uses his newfound skills to seek revenge on the plantation owner who has his wife and anyone who gets in his way.
End of Watch – Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña are two cops who piss off a notorious drug cartel and get marked for death. The clips they showed had a very real feel to them, and the director seemed very passionate about law enforcement. I have high hopes for this movie.
Silent Hill: Revelation 3D – Garbage, garbage, garbage. I’m sure I’d have more respect for it if I’d played the games, but the bubble head nurses and Scarlet just looked too stupid to be scary. I don’t think this was a popular enough game to make a movie out of, let alone this 3D sequel.
The Hobbit – Got to see some clips of them filming the movie, the last shot of production and wrap-up party. The 12 minutes of movie footage we saw were slightly disappointing, a lot of it was bickering among dwarves before deciding to have Bilbo make the journey. They also chose not to show the footage in their newfangled 48 frames per second format, another big letdown. Even so, it was worth getting in line at 4:30 in the morning to see.
Man of Steel – Christopher Nolan takes his Dark Knight spin on Batman to the Man of Steel. Should be interesting to see if the same realism he brought to Batman can translate to Superman and the main antagonist, General Zod.
Godzilla – We got to see the sizzle reel depicting a world in ruin as Robert Oppenheimer spoke his immortal words ending in the line from the Bhagavad-Gita “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” Slowly Godzilla comes into focus and we hear him roar. Lots of sizzle, but I doubt this steak will be very tasty.
The Campaign – Will Ferrell and Zack Galifianakis made a surprise appearance, no one in the audience seemed to have heard anything about the movie, and no one had questions, so it was a little awkward. I did get to see the slow-mo baby punch scene that seems to be the highlight they put in all the trailers, but never show the actual punch.
Pacific Rim – Guillermo del Toro presented his entry into the giant monster/giant robot battle movie genre popular in Japan. We got to see a very short clip, which of course looked great, I’m optomistic the rest will turn out as good.
Iron Man 3 – The panel began with Robert Downey Jr pulling a “Tony Stark” by appearing at the back of the audience and dancing his way up to the stage to “Never Too Much” by Luther Vandross as the throngs of onlookers cheered and cameras flashed wildly.
Kevin Smith – As expected, he had a bunch of amusing stories to tell and talked about how he’s getting out of Hollywood and focusing on podcasts and YouTube projects. Jason Mewes demo’d Kevin’s new game Too Fat to Fly in which you launch Silent Bob Angry Birds style and get points for hitting and bouncing off stuff. Glad he was able to take that PR disaster with Southwest Airlines telling him he was too fat to fly on their airline and have a laugh at himself.
Max Brooks: Zombie Survival 101 – Max took questions and much zombie knowledge was shared. I though it was very cool of him to take the front row of the audience and had them sit on stage with him in order to fit more people into the room.
Up Close Celebrities:
David Zayas – Chrystie noticed him as we walked by him at Spaghetti Factory, then again as we were heading back to the convention. No one seemed to notice him until Chrystie asked to take a picture, then he got mobbed. It was interesting hearing him speak without the lisp his character has in Dexter.
George R. R. Martin – Passed him going into our hotel elevator, told him we really enjoyed his moderation of the Game of Thrones panel, he thanked us.
Max Brooks – We saw him at a table signing autographs with no line, walked right up, greeted him and Chrystie asked “if it’s not too much trouble, could I get you to sign this” and he signed her copy of The Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks, “Chrystie – if it’s not too much trouble, don’t get chomped”.
Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik – The Penny Arcade guys were at their booth selling their wares. I got them to sign a poster for me and shook their hands. It’s weird to see the creators of the largest gamer convention out there be such small fish in the big pond that is Comic-Con. At PAX they’d be mobbed, here, people walked right past them without a second thought.
Kaja and Phil Foglio – This dynamic duo has plenty of nerd-cred dating back many years, from doing artwork for Magic: The Gathering, running a popular webcomic, Girl Genius, and emceeing the WonderCon Masquerade Ball. They had a booth and were signing their wares.
If you’ve never been to a convention and are curious about what it looks like, or are just interested in seeing the definition of clusterfuck, here is 15 minutes of my attempt to navigate the convention floor during an off-peak time.
They had several Batmobiles on display right outside our hotel:
View all my photos from the event here.