This year’s Comic-Con was almost nothing but a great time. For starters, not once did I have to go to Hall H. With how fast word travels, thanks to twitter, and how quickly panels are posted online, there’s no need to campout for news and, in some cases, footage that’ll likely become available to everyone not in San Diego. For those that are willing to sleep outside in line all day to only see a few minutes of footage and movie stars promote their films, well, good for them. The fans with that level of extreme passion is something to admire, not mock – which, of course, so many people love to do.
“Comic-Con is all about marketing,” is a popular opinion, and it’s one I don’t fully understand. What goes on in Hall H is a very, very small part of Comic-Con (only about 3% of Comic-Con’s over 120,000 attendees can even fit inside Hall H at one time); it’s just pretty much all that film blogs tend to cover. A good amount of the panels at Comic-Con aren’t advertisements. Trust me, nobody is trying to sell you anything at the panel about making your own Star Wars costumes.
As for the “shills,” the people only attending to hype their film or television show, so what? Having a problem with that part of Comic Con is like saying it’s silly to get excited over a trailer – a piece of marketing. Sometimes a piece of marketing is awesome, even if the actual product is not, and to feel excitement for it with over 6,000 people, all buzzing on the same wavelength, is an experience. It’s not an experience that’s particularly meaningful or enticing to me, but the appeal is undeniable, and sometimes it’s quite infectious. I haven’t seen a single episode of Starz’s Outlander, and nor do I know what it’s about, but watching that charming panel, surrounded by passionate fans, convinced me to check out the show, and I don’t think that makes me a sucker.
This year I was lucky to cover the panels that interested me most: Hannibal, special effects in live-action, and discussions focused on the craft of filmmaking. As I sat down to interview director F. Gary Gray (Straight Outta Compton), he asked me about Film School Rejects and what our interests are, and the more I thought about that question, the more blessed I felt. I thought, I’m at Comic Con, getting paid to pretty much write about whatever I want. If I want to write about how CG urine is made, then I’ll get to write about how CG urine is made (and I did!). For Christ’s sake, I once got paid to write about Rumble Fish. How many movie journalists can say that these days? Anyway, I’ll stop blabbering on about how awesome Film School Rejects is. I think you all know that by now.
Another reason to love Comic Con? The free booze. The parties are generally a blast, almost always filled with friends and familiar faces. Always an enjoyable time is the Playboy party, which this year was sponsored by the runaway box-office hit, Self/Less. Nothing better than hours of dancing and no sleep after a day of almost nothing but walking around.
Also, I must thank Collider’s Haleigh Foutch and JoBo’s JimmyO for their company and sizzling dance moves. A man is nothing without his dance partners, and those two were more than up to the task to pickup my slack and make me look better with every single one of their moves. They’re real troopers.
As fun as the Comic Con parties are, they don’t beat the quality time you get with friends, and the experience of making new ones. I spent my last few hours at Comic Con chatting with Battleship Pretension’s David Bax and /Film’s Angie Han as time flew by and the bar emptied out – talking about movies, relationships, and whatever else came up. I wouldn’t have spent my last night in San Diego any other way. They’re two people whose work I’ve always admired, and to have the chance to get to know them a little, it was a reminder of why I love coming to Comic Con: the people.
With that in mind, I want to thank the people who made this year’s Comic Con a wonderful experience. So, thank you Krisily Kennedy, my aforementioned dance partners, David Bax and Angie Han, Germain Lussier, Jeff Bayer, Neil Miller, and many, many other fine folks.
Also, above all, thank you, Metro US’s Ned Ehrbar, for letting me be the one to lie in the gurney for a magical moment at the Playboy party. Let the above image of me sink in and haunt your dreams for a little while, as I eagerly await for more danced-filled, drunkenly adventures at Comic-Con.