Comic-Con Recap: Day 1
Having not been to Comic-Con since 2009, walking onto the floor for the first time during preview night on Wednesday was like a breath of fresh air, like coming home after a long trip, like, um, taking a hit of crack, probably. San Diego Comic-con, for those that don’t know, which is probably very few of you, is Geek Mecca, a haven for lovers of all things geeky, nerdy, or weird. However, in recent years, Comic-Con has become a major media sensations as well, having been referred to by some as ‘the world’s biggest focus group.’ It’s no secret that Geek is the new Cool, and as soon as studios began to figure this out, they started hyping and promoting all of their latest films and television shows, knowing that the geeks would spread the news on the internet, scattering it about like the wafting scent of BO scatters about the Comic-Con show floor. (Okay, I actually have to apologize for that one. I have never found Comic-Con to be particularly smelly, and get extremely irritated by that assumption and stereotype, but it’s late and I couldn’t think of another metaphor.)
I told myself that I was going to hold off on buying comics, wait until the prices were low on Sunday, but this was quickly proven to be wishful thinking, as I lasted all of seven minutes on the show floor before buying something. I would have felt bad about this, but it was inevitable anyways, so I came to terms with it pretty quickly, and moved on, skipping about the show floor sucking in the various sights and sounds and (yes, sometimes) smells with a gleeful abandon.
Preview night was fairly uneventful, but gave me an opportunity to get the lay of the land. Some things had changed since last I’d made the journey to SDCC, and it was nice to have the slightly-less-crowded opportunity to cruise around, seeing where everything is. When it comes to Comic-Con, planning is essential, and made much easier by knowing where you are going.
Then came today, Day One, Thursday. Once again I spent much of the day on the floor, waiting until tomorrow to really throw myself into panels. I got a chance to play the new DC fighting game, ‘Injustice: Gods Among Us’ for a bit, which you can read my impressions of elsewhere on the site. (The short version: It’s fun, but not great.) After caving and buying one more comic (I may have a problem) I sauntered over to the film/tv side of the exhibit hall, to see what was going on at all the major studio booths.
The Fox booth was giving out the most freebies, from poster tubes, to badass ‘Fringe’-themed hats, to a variety of posters (I nabbed an Archer poster). The other studios were mostly out of stuff to give away and/or show off, but there were some very cool props (like flying cars!) over at the studio booth for the films Looper, Elysium, and Total Recall. At the Walking Dead booth you could pose with a very lifelike statue of Michonne, everyone’s soon-to-be-favorite character, and at the Hobbit booth you could ogle a series of large, gorgeous 3D character posters.
As for games, I teamed up with some kids to kick butt at Castle Crashers for a bit, before trying my hand at Injustice, the new characters for Street Fighter X Tekken, and a bit of DMC. I didn’t really get enough of a chance with DMC to form an impression, but the combat seemed pretty smooth, and visually the game looked nice. As for the new characters in X Tekken, I have no complaints, apart from the weird control scheme that the demo was set up with, but the booth employee I was playing against seemed to have just as much of a problem as me, so I am willing to let it slide.
Throughout the day I witnessed a large variety of costumes and spectacles, including a dog riding a tiny motorcycle, and an extremely lifelike and active R2D2 hanging out in the lobby of my hotel. My favorite thing about Comic-Con is that things like this are not at all uncommon; in fact, quite the opposite. They are expected.
As it got later, I hopped over to the Indigo Ballroom at the Hilton Bayfront to catch the panels for Wilfred and Archer. I got in a bit late for the Wilfred panel, just in time to see the last half or so of the new episode they were airing. I’ve admittedly only seen about two episodes of Wilfred, but the jokes were good, and after seeing the charming cast field awkward questions (most of them directed at Elijah Wood, some of them dealing with LOTR, despite it having nothing to do with anything), I’m definitely intrigued.
After that the Archer panel began, and we got a look at one of the episodes from the upcoming season, which doesn’t start until January of 2013. It was called ‘Coyote Lovely,’ which is already hilarious, and it was possibly one of my favorite episodes of Archer ever. The audience ate it up, and the laughs continued when the cast took the stage to answer questions. H Jon Benjamin, who voices Archer, lived up to his character by being a delightfully unrepenting asshole for the entire panel, backtracking after calling one question ‘stupid’ to say that ‘no, it’s not stupid, I’m sorry. It’s just ill-informed.’
The only other panel I got to check out was the Superhero Kung Fu Extravaganza, which I make a point of going to every year. Rick Meyers, a beardy white man in a kimono, shows you all of the best, most obscure fight scenes and kung fu films, and it’s just as wonderful as it sounds. I had had a few drinks with dinner, so I was especially into it.
And that’s about it for my first day! I walked around a bit in the surrounding area of the Gaslamp District, briefly checking out Nerd HQ and the Cryptizoic TCG headquarters. One of my favorite things about the Con is that it’s not limited to just the convention center, but rather spreads throughout the entire region of the city, with so many things to see and do that you couldn’t hit them all even if you had two weeks.
But I’m damn sure going to try.