San Diego By Geoff July 30, 2011 Comic-Con 2011 Greenblatt Wrapup With Contributions From Neil CartyBackgroundFor the past 41 years (yes…41 years!!!), the comic book industry has come together each summerin San Diego, California to celebrate anything and everything pop-culture related.The astounding growth of the convention is legendary: from its first, single day occurrence in 1970,with 300 attendees talking strictly comics, to today, San Diego Comic-Con has exploded into a four-day (five if you include Preview Night) event covering film, television, animation, anime, manga,toys, collectible card games, video games, web series and novels across every genre. Participantsacross the arts emerge as fans to speak with fans, and creativity runs amuck as writers, actors,actresses, artists, musicians, and developers converge to talk, trade, and discover characters,storylines, graphics, and properties of known and soon-to-be-known pop-culture entities.With over 130K people converging on San Diego, the convention has become the largest in theAmericas and the fourth largest in the world. It truly is the definitive celebration of the popular arts.OverviewLots of questions surrounded Comic-Con 2011. Yes, people were excited about it…it‟s Comic-Con…who can complain about costumes, celebrities, movies, TV, and of course comics, all inbeautiful, picture-and-weather-perfect sunny San Diego?But with 2010 marking the announcements of four summer 2011 comic book movies, and withthree of those films having come and gone with a couple good reviews, but ultimately, shrugs,would the convention pull out a stop or two for the upcoming Big Boys of 2012: would there beanything, anything at all, related to The Avengers movie, and by God, could the ultimate Comic-Consurprise be delivered in the form of one of the most anticipated pop-culture events of all time…TheDark Knight Rises?Ultimately, the answers were slightly (some Avengers costume reveals, but that was about it) and aflat-out no (generating even more anticipation, perhaps?), but that‟s not to say that there wasn‟t asteady presence of pop-culture announcements and events over the course of the convention. Therecertainly were. From Captain America‟s weekend release to first-time appearances by StevenSpielberg and Francis Ford Coppola and reveals starting with Alcatraz and ending in Walking Dead,excitement did rage fast and furious, making Comic-Con 2011 a fun and enjoyable event.RecapThe GoodComic-Con kicked off in perfect fashion: the reveal of Captain America‟s suit in The Avengers. It wasa good way to remind the audience (as if they really needed it, but nonetheless) that the moviewould be released over Comic-Con weekend as a lead in to the superhero ensemble tentpole ofnext summer. From there, the stream just kept on coming. Highlights across the board included: TV - A peek at next season‟s Family Guy and Futurama - The return of Beavis and Butthead - Guest stars of next season‟s Simpsons - The first look at JJ Abram‟s first post-Lost series, Alcatraz - News from the cast of Glee
Comic-Con 2011 Wrapup Geoff Greenblatt- Appearances from Fringe, Community, Nikita, Supernatural, Chuck, and Babylon 5- A first look at the season 2 poster of Game of Thrones- The first trailer from Walking Dead Season 2 and an inside look at the property‟s video game- Current looks at True Blood (with Sookie and Bill on hand, no less) and the soon-to-be-aired season of Dexter- A pilot preview of NBC‟s Awake, a show many deemed the best to ever be shown at Comic- ConAs one can see, FOX and the premium cable networks really felt that Comic-Con was a place toreach their primary audiences, while the other Big 3 networks shied away from the event for themost part. This insight has to make one wonder whether or not there is a direct correlationbetween the success of those networks that do offer something to fans at Comic-Con and thecontinued rating slights of those that do not. Comic-Con is certainly key to TV success.Comic Books- News regarding every major character known to man. The biggest: Spiderman, Hulk, Superman, Iron Man, and BatmanVideo Games: Taking A Larger StageWhile the buildup at Comic-Con has increased on a slope year-over-year, with comics-onlyceding to movies and TV, video game presence has always been very, very minimal, with theexpo coming on the heels of E3 about a month later; last year, only Capcom had a floorpresence…in the back corner on a 20 foot platform area. However, the gaming industry didhave a bigger presence this year, with EA, THQ, Microsoft, Sony, Square Enix and Capcom takingover large floor space to show off yet-to-be-released titles. Some of the looks were rehashes ofrecent E3 activity and beta releases, but with E3 being an industry-only event, this was the firsttime for many to play games they are excited about. While CC should not become an eventwhere gaming is a primary highlight (there are enough expos for gaming to shine above all), itis a nice addition for attendees to check out some of the things they may have missed at E3.- Marvel will release versions of Marvel Pinball on Wii U, 3DS, Vita, iOS, Android, and PC. This marks a glimpse into whether or not 3 rd party publishers are already embracing the technology of newly-announced, upcoming platforms and mobile platforms. The answer: yes, yes they are.- Plot and character glimpses and new features of Uncharted 3D, Gears of War 3, and Arkam City- Beta announcement of Resistance 3- Playable demos of SSX and Saints Row 3- Mass Effect will become a movie MoviesAs mentioned, while no footage of any sort was shown of the two most anticipated films thatcomic book geeks and general audiences alike are waiting for, there was no shortage of sneaks,reveals, and most importantly, celebrity wattage to keep fans from salivating.- In one of the convention‟s most talked-about moments, the actor that plays The Lizard in next summer‟s The Amazing Spider Man, was arrested for battery for pushing a security guard. The move certainly brought even more fanfare to the film‟s panel, where a person in the crowd wearing a Spider Man mask raised his hand to ask a question, only to pull off the mask and reveal that it was, in fact, Andrew Garfield, the new Spider Man, himself. The
Comic-Con 2011 Wrapup Geoff Greenblatt crowd went nuts, he called it the best moment of his life, and the panel proceeded to introduce a never-before-seen scene of the film. - MIB3 set designs were shown off - Peter Jackson joined Steven Spielberg to talk Tintin and confirm Jurassic Park 4 - Kate Beckinsale made fanboys swoon with a reappearance in another Underworld flick - Kristen Stewart talked Twilight and Snow White - The Darkest Hour premiered its trailer, as did the Total Recall remake - Rise of Planet of the Apes showed new footage - Francis Ford Coppola and a former Batman, Val Kilmer talked their new horror movie Twixt - Hugh Jackman and Sarah Michelle Gellar stopped by to say hello to fans The Crowd There was a substantial difference in crowd size from the convention‟s launch on Thursday to Friday and beyond. Every type of person imaginable was out in full force, and the three day weekend was obvious. Lines were long, sidewalks were jammed, r estaurants were full and bubbling over, and the hallways of the convention center were packed. Families were much more noticeable, as mini-vacations were planned around the event. Kids and parents alike were dressed up, some even wearing matching or group-themed costumes. Comic-Con continues to be a fantastic event for people to enjoy as a clan. Surrounded by a subculture all wanting to bask in the same thematic entertainment, excitement everywhere, and the chance to dress up and see those that are dressed up months before Halloween, CC really is a quintessential family event, something just so nice to see. An event parents and kids will enjoy together and always remember. And it is just about 100% family-friendly. Just about (see The Bad below). A few of the subcultures that were apparent: - Goth & Gore: lots of attendees (women in particular) were dressed in dark thematic costumes, a genre referred to as “Steam Punk” within inner circles. - Bro-Love: nerdy guys and their bros. Lots of best friend pairs who make this trip every year and geek out on gaming, comics and sci-fi. - Family Friendly: families with little kids (LEGO, Hasbro & Mattel) were big draws with LEGO appearing the most interactive. Parents eager to share comic experiences from their childhood with kids (Voltron, ThunderCats, My Little Pony) - The Collectors: There is still a place for comic book fanatics despite the convergence of gaming and film. Comics, anime, limited-edition toys are all big business and passion areas. The Costumes While costumes made an appearance, they weren‟t overly dramatic, as one might have expected. It appears that making your own is a qualification to wear. Pics can be found here: Out N Front Flickr Stream (http://www.flickr.com/photos/outnfront/sets/72157627126988313/)The BadAs with anything great, there are always going to be a few things that are letdowns ordisappointments. While only one specific comes to mind in regards to the actual announcements(no T-Rex in the dinosaur-featuring Terra Nova? Are you crazy Spielberg? You invented the T-Rexfor the screen and now you can‟t bring it to your TV show? Come on!) the big „Bads‟ had more to dowith the floor itself.
Comic-Con 2011 Wrapup Geoff GreenblattFirst off, Comic-Con is a family-based entertainment event. With that said, it is disappointing thatsome studios would find it appropriate to feature porn star signings at their booths. It shows norespect for the parents that are just hoping to provide their kids with a good time. For somethinglike E3, while still not ok, it‟s at least more understandable, as one has to be 18 just to get into theindustry-only event. But at Comic-Con…tasteless and classless.Second, the Geek Girls. Lots of sexual themes in comics, which the “geek girls” play into, and lots ofskin, but there appeared to be a bit of a detest by true comic fans referring to them as “fake fangirls.”The last true disappointment, although by no means a surprise…the segregation betweencelebrities and the general public. The perception of Comic-Con, made complete by today‟s oh-so-dependable press, is that the event is a place where celebrities and fans mingle alike. While thatmay be true in some instances, the fact is, the celebrity panels occur far away from the floor itselfand fans have to wait hours just for the chance to get inside. Of course, there are panels where thehalls can be half empty as well…it all depends on the speaker and his/her following. In the end,though, it would be great if Comic-Con could figure out a way to merge these two aspects together.With that said, many celebrities do try to make the appearances as exciting for fans as possible (ifonly everyone would follow your lead, Mr. Garfield); however, the media‟s portrayal is a bitmisleading.The UglyWhat is this???
Comic-Con 2011 Wrapup Geoff GreenblattSummaryThere was no clear-cut vision as to what San Diego Comic-Con was going to feature in 2011. Sure,there were hopes, but what if those hopes did not pan out? As it turns out, they didn‟t, but in theend, that was ok. There was more than enough movie-tv-celebrity-comic-and-costume content to goaround and keep everyone happy. With a steady stream of big name stars and brands keeping theaudience excited over the entire course of the weekend, Comic-Con 2011 was still a huge success.Sometimes it is worth it to keep things under wraps. And with The Avengers and The Dark KnightRises still confined to deep secrecy post-Comic-Con, fans will only continue to burst at the seamswith anticipation as Summer 2012 approaches. As for next year, when Comic-Con falls over thecourse of the weekend that the final Batman picture is released, the timing could not be moreperfect.