Comic-Con, Everything Else, Festivals & Awards — July 28, 2014 at 11:20 pm

THE 2014 SAN DIEGO COMIC-CON PHOTO ESSAY

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While the geek world waited with expectancy on Twitter all weekend, over 100,000 of my closest friends (well, close is a relative term – I literally mean they were very, very CLOSE to me because there were so many people there) and I flocked to the San Diego Convention Center to check out everything and anything that was to be offered to us from the worlds of comics, TV, and Hollywood. The weekend was filled with sneak peeks, celebrity sightings (and meetings) and of course, Cosplay. Lots and lots of Cosplay. And I did my best to capture it all. I’m looking through my almost 200 pictures and trying to pick out the best of the best to share with you all… Let’s just see how crazy long this gets.

Enjoy!

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That’s my best intro picture with the signage and stuff. I think it’s cool, so you should too.

First things first… there’s a crapload of people at Comic-Con. On our first day there, we were just trying to take it all in, honestly. When I saw the massive waiting lines for anything that was considered desirable (this includes greasy convention food) I decided that our rule for getting maximum enjoyment out of Con was the following: “Disappointment and frustration are inevitable… so just don’t be.” It’s amazing how decisions become easier when you realize that MOST of the people at Con did not see the Marvel panel live in Hall H. So it’s okay that I didn’t either… but I did see it. But more on that later…

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Lego had a decent-sized presence at Con this year, which makes sense coming off the success of The Lego Movie. These pieces were all displayed around their area and while Smaug was definitely cool, I really dug that Spidey on the wall. There was also a line to just GET IN TO SEE the Star Wars Lego options for purchase. And if you think I’m joking about the amount of people there, just know I’m really, really not.

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Now this picture was taken LEAVING the convention center. What’s interesting (or tragically funny, depending on your viewpoint) is that there is really only one real intersection out front. With two crosswalks. And a train track right on the other side of it. So backups happen… all… the… time. You’ll stand there for up to ten minutes, depending on how long the train sits in front. What’s refreshing is how no one complains about it…. (yeah, right)

I can’t go any further without mentioning those yellow signs you see in the image above. Yes, the Jesus people are there. And yes, they’re loud and obnoxious. It really boggles my mind why they think they’re going to get through to people dressed up as Deadpool with business cards that say “Get Out Of Hell Free” on it. On the other hand, the Con attendees who choose to yell and scream at them, well, I don’t see any value to that, either, EXCEPT, when you’re dressed up as Olaf from Frozen and you’re shushing/mocking the hecklers so you can perform a song. Then it’s completely acceptable and also, hilarious:

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I’ll reveal my favorite sign a bit later but the award for my favorite promotional piece/hashtag/use of the city’s landmarks has to go to the people over at TNT’s “Legends” which features Sean Bean in a lead role. I know nothing about this show (much like Jon Snow) but I do know that Sean Bean is gonna die at some point, because that’s just what Sean Bean does. OR… does he?

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Brilliant.

Also of note is how the entire city takes on the convention with open arms. EVERYTHING is comic-based. Hell, even the little guys on bikes who act as taxis get in on the fun:

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And what better way to promote your show than to the change an entire legion of bike-taxis into the Iron Throne?

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But enough of outside the convention… you want to go to the floor, don’t you? Well say no more…

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Guardians of the Galaxy had a pretty prominent place in the main hall and as they should – the film ACTUALLY comes out next week, unlike 90% of the films being promoted. I have several predictions for Guardians based on my Comic-Con experience: it’s gonna open huge, Rocket Raccoon is going to be the most popular part of the film, and next year there will be many Star Lord costumes… at least more than the maybe TWO I saw the entire weekend this year. And don’t believe me on Rocket? Just look at this thing:

2014-07-24 11.48.19Oh, and those Pops toys, or whatever. Huge. HUGE!! I mean, they’re everywhere. Did I buy any? Of course I did. My first two Pops: Doc Brown and Marty McFly. Obviously. (And if I’m not careful, they will be the first two of MANY!)

Toys are all over the place, of course. Some aren’t for sale, though, and others might as well not be because they’re so damn expensive. Here are a couple examples, with Mattel’s preview of their WWE line on the right (basically every wrestler you can think of) and a bunch of Batman stuff on the left. Because Batman.

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There are also props and costumes from films littered throughout the floor. One spot in particular had Mystique from the original Singer films (not Rebecca Romijn herself, unfortunately), the head of the T-Rex from Jurassic Park (presumably very difficult to capture) and then a long line of badass outfits from The Expendables:

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Also found on the floor were Gollum and Smaug from The Hobbit films, Bumblebee from Transformers, the outfit that Rorschach dons in The Watchmen and then… this giant thing that sat outside the convention center. I still don’t know what it’s from… but it had Stan Winston’s label on it so I applaud it’s presence. I kinda figured it was just there for looks but as I thought about it, I figured Stan’s work had to move in some way. Was I right? I was! It took several engineers about an hour (and them even getting inside the big guy) to get it to work, but it started moving it’s arms and then a little alien guy popped out of the helmet thingy behind his head and started “talking” with the crowd surrounding the creature. It was pretty cool, even though I really wanted it to start walking and freak some people out. Beggars can’t be choosers though.

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Arguably the two biggest shows on all of television are “Game of Thrones” and “The Walking Dead” and both were featured prominently. They both had their own panel at the giant Hall H and the latter also had Terminus (I’m guessing this is the new prison… I don’t watch “The Talking Living” anymore) put up on a neighboring hotel.

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You never know who you’re gonna run across, either. We caught glimpses of Natalie Dormer (from “Game of Thrones” but who was there at the moment for Mockingjay, the next Hunger Games film), Robert Rodriguez (doing a signing – for $40 you could meet him and get him to sign something), and the triumvirate of Orlando Bloom, Luke Evans (face covered by Bloom’s hand in the below picture) and the beast himself, Andy Serkis.

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Well speaking earlier of The Expendables as well as never knowing who you’ll run into, the first day got a bit exciting for me as we sat at a bar outside of the convention center. As I said before, there are things going on everywhere. So I’m sitting there drinking a beer and this lady sits down at the table next to me and says to her friend “I think that’s Jason Statham over there.” Well I about jumped off my stool!!! As soon as my girlfriend got back from the restroom, I went over to where the lady had said and I took a very expectant look… alas, it was not Jason Statham. HOWEVER, it was Randy Couture (who I assume she thought was Statham), Dolph Lundgren, Kellen Lutz and Wesley Snipes! They were doing a little interview thing for The Expendables 3 and it was cool to see them laughing and chatting. Well afterwards, Wesley Snipes comes wandering over the edge to talk to some lady I think he knew. There weren’t a lot of us in that particular area, so I jumped at the chance – I went over and talked with Blade himself! I told him that it was good to have him back and that I loved White Men Can’t Jump. He put his hands together and did a little samurai bow before I asked him if we could take a picture. He obliged, shook my hand (I executed the dap very well – thanks to all my black friends over the years for properly training me!) and gave me the highlight of Comic-Con. Boom!

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Of course, it’s not all celebrities and stuff. There’s also the now-famous world of Cosplay. I would say 70% of the people attending Comic-Con are representing something much different than themselves. I wore movie-related graphic t-shirts each day and felt fine… but definitely under-dressed. Some of my favorites included the 1966 Batman cast below (plus Batgirl because, well, why not?) and the hard-core Iron Man (who, in another picture below had a fun stare-down with a mini Spidey, who was unsure about taking a picture with the big superhero). Quick question… what the hell is that big blue thing with the red overalls?!?!

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Like in that picture right there, it’s always neat to see kids there. I mean, yeah, all the nerds are essentially kids still… but to see actual kids there makes you feel all warm and fuzzy. Well, except when they’re walking directly in front of you and making things very difficult to make it through the room. But even if they do, there’s still this:

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So that’s all sorts of awesome.

And sometimes you see duplicates walking around the convention floor. And sometimes you have to take pictures of the twins because even though (or rather, BECAUSE) she may not have been as decked out, I was much happier walking around all day with the Minion on the left.

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I also would recommend not mocking Cosplayers. As much as it seems like a good idea, some of them can get a bit carried away…

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It’s actually a lot of fun to get yourself snapped alongside something from a movie or a TV show, whether it will actually appear in the thing or if it’s just a large representation of something that is on screen. Fortunately for you, I made sure I got a few shots alongside figures, ranging from a White Walker from “Game of Thrones,” a cool figure from the Big Hero Six display, a Stormtroooper, and thanks to the magic of green screens and computers… I got to pretend to stand up to Godzilla.

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There’s also a TON of artists at Comic-Con. They are all worthy of being there for different reasons, but some really stand out. I saw some awesome images featuring the likes of Star Wars characters, the Ninja Turtles and Marvel of course, but the fan art outside of the Godzilla display was by far my favorite:

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And this one was my favorite piece of art I saw all weekend:

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Even though Disney did not have a panel this year (a shame) to flaunt Star Wars there were plenty of props and collectibles to look at. For a mere $6,000 you could own Han Solo frozen in carbonite. You better believe I thought about it. Also, check out that Darth Vader Hot Wheels car… it was huge… and awesome!

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They also had a large section dedicated to the new “Star Wars Rebels” animated TV show that is coming to Disney. The figurines they had were large and impressive and the footage that was being shown actually looked pretty cool. There’s a good chance they got at least one extra viewer because of their display!

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Oh, and there was also this. Which is cool:

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Fox had a large section outside of the convention center that included a zip-line through Gotham (which I would have loved to do… but I’m not lying to you when I say the wait was upwards of 3 hours… for a 10-second jaunt down a mostly horizontal wire) and a gigantic Homer Simpson head to support their #EverySimpsonsEver campaign… as well as the little Simpsons for the little ones to take pictures with.

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Before I get to the panels, I have to bring up my other favorite things (you know, so then I won’t feel so bad). My favorite Cosplayer of the entire weekend was a guy I saw on several occasions because, well, he was impossible to miss. And even though I don’t think The Green Mile is really something that is supposed to get Cosplayed, when you’re a gigantic black guy, you gotta go for it! Also, he walked around stoic the entire time. This dude was in character so much that he couldn’t even PRETEND TO HAVE A GOOD TIME! So funny…

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And now, my favorite sign, which appeared amidst a bunch of yellow Jesus signs:

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Too funny.

And way on point.

This brings me to the Marvel panel. For those people who don’t want to wait twelve hours outside to get into the vaunted Hall H (I overheard a guy saying he got in line at 10 pm the first night and was let in at 9 am the following morning… so he made it. But he had to sleep outside. So there’s that) Comic-Con provides a Recap Room at a neighboring hotel where the panels are replayed, only minus the footage that the studios present. Now, some might say that’s the only reason that you go to the panels, but let’s face it – the footage is gonna get online at some point anyway. I like the behind the scenes stuff and the interviews and that’s what you get with the panels. And for my money, the Marvel panel was tons of fun.

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So let me talk about that Edgar Wright poster real quick. I have already vocalized my opinions on the Wright departure from Ant-Man so I won’t go into that again. But I will say this much: When Kevin Feige (top right, above) announced Peyton Reed (bottom right, below) was coming to the stage, there was barely a sound heard. If they had brought Edgar Wright on-stage? Thunderous applause. I promise you. And for the thousandth time… THAT’S why there was a problem with what happened. The whole Ant-Man portion of the Marvel panel, in fact, felt very icky, except for Paul Rudd, who seemed nearly giddy about being there. But that’s just Paul Rudd being an awesome guy, like usual. Even when they formally announced Evangeline Lilly as Michael Douglas’ daughter (and probably Rudd love interest) it wasn’t met with a ton of excitement. The anticipation of something original like Guardians of the Galaxy is not going to happen with Ant-Man no matter how much they tell us that Peyton Reed grew up loving Marvel comics and felt it was his calling to direct this film. It’s just not.

But enough about that… the Avengers 2 panel was everything that the Ant-Man panel wasn’t. Robert Downey Jr. came out first in full Tony Stark mode, with a briefcase of flowers which he joyously tossed to the front rows of Hall H. Following him out was everyone minus an ailing Joss Whedon and a pregnant Scarlett Johansson. And then the moderator of the panel, Chris Hardwick (AKA The Guy Who’s Job I Most Want In This World) went down the line and asked a few questions of everyone there. RDJ. Jeremy Renner. Mark Ruffalo. Chris Hemsworth. Chris Evans. Cobie Smulders. Samuel L. Jackson. Aaron Taylor-Johnson. James Spader. Elizabeth Olsen. It was impressive the crew they put on that panel. Then they showed some footage that we didn’t get to see (much to the dismay of all of us) and the panel appeared beyond elated. Like… they were going crazy. Oh well… we will get to see it all soon enough.

And then, RDJ takes the mic and says that Marvel always has something up their sleeve and announces that not only do they have what they’ve shown us, but they also have… Thanos! And out walks Josh Brolin with the gold glove thingy. Crowd. Goes. Crazy. He then walks over to Downey and says into the mic that he’s mad that all the flowers are gone. Downey pulls out one last flower and dramatically hands it to him. Brolin grabs it and proceeds to put the petals into his mouth, eating the flower. Then they hug and look like friends who planned the whole damn thing. Basically, it was all very, very cool.

Oh, and then they announced Guardians 2 is set for July 28, 2017.

So it was a big deal.

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Now, while the Marvel panel was awesome, I also got to see one for a series of National Geographic shows that appear to be not only intellectually stimulating but entertaining as hell (“Brain Games,” “Going Deep with David Rees” and “You Can’t Lick Your Elbow with Tony Gonzalez”). It was at that panel that I got to shake moderator’s Kal Penn’s hand… so yeah, it was all pretty fantastic. It was super interactive and very entertaining. I hope that all their shows get some sort of publicity because of the panel they had here (National Geographic’s first ever panel at Comic-Con!).

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I also got into two other panels, one hosted by TV Guide that showcased “Fan Favorites” from a number of different shows. Actors from shows like “Supernatural” and “Orphan Black” were there that I didn’t recognize, but also John Noble from “Fringe” and “Sleepy Hollow” as well as Retta from “Parks and Recreation,” Aisha Tyler from “Archer” and my personal favorite, the lovely Gwendoline Christie, AKA Brienne of Tarth on “Game of Thrones.” She spoke extremely well and proud of her role as Brienne and commented frequently about the role as being important for women and hopefully having a big impact on young girls, as she said she didn’t have many good examples in her early¬† years.

The other panel I saw was for “Family Guy,” a show that I’ve not watched a ton of in the last few years, but still holds mostly fond memories for. Seth Green and several of the film’s directors and producers were present and presented a long clip of the crossover “Family Guy”/”Simpsons” show that is coming this Fall. I think it’s online by now and if it is, you should watch it. It’s pretty damn funny. The highlight of that panel, though, was during the Q&A session when a man came up to the mic and asked how a young animator could make it in the world of television. The crowd went absolutely bonkers as soon as the man appeared on the screen… you can see him in the bottom picture as Matt Groening, the creator of “The Simpsons.” It was a cool moment and one that I was glad to have seen in person, even as one of the few people on this planet who don’t absolutely love that show.

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Across the street from the convention center is Petco Park, where the San Diego Padres host their games (that’s baseball, for you nerds out there – that’s the game with the bat and balls and gloves). At the stadium, they hold a bunch of fun exhibits grouped together in what is called Nerd HQ. Beyond some cool photography stuff and new video game stuff (a new Alien game was being introduced, among others) they also had a small collection of old school arcade games there that could be played for free. Of course, I had to get in on the action for a few moments (although I wasn’t as strong at Ms. Pac-Man, I did dominate on a bit of Tetris later):

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Now let’s get to my Swag Bag (which will be followed by my two favorite pictures of the entire weekend). I didn’t spend that much, but I was able to pick up a couple cool things. I grabbed an awesome little Batman plush (along with a Hulk and a Spider-Man for my best friend) as well as the aforementioned Marty and Doc Pops. They now have a home on my DVD tower, directly beneath my Back to the Future poster. I mean, where else would they go?

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Now, while I got a lot of cool posters and comic book accessories, my favorite one by far was this Expendables 3 poster. And if you have any question why, well, I just don’t know what to say to you:

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Oh, and I did say Swag Bag, didn’t I? Well, I picked up a couple, one promoting the new FOX show “Gotham” but the one I wanted more than any other was one featuring the 1966 “Batman” characters… and I didn’t get it. THAT IS, until my lady decided to go up to one of the nerds distributing said bags and use a bit of her femininity to her advantage… and by association, my advantage. Thus:

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Which brings us to the end of this bad boy… and my favorite two pictures from the weekend. And as much as I love some of those earlier ones, these two pretty much define Comic-Con 2014. The entire weekend was highlighted by Batman’s 75th anniversary of existence and there was a number of exhibits showcasing the Caped Crusader in all of his versions. There was a cool statue that I dug right away and while yes, I got a picture of me in front of it, my favorite was this one, which I snagged as we were leaving the Batman area. I noticed an image of Superman posted just above the area and whether that was intentional or not, I’ll never know. But I’ll tell you this much… this is one cool picture (especially seeing the much-discussed clip from Batman V Superman that was shown during that panel):

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But really, when it comes down to it, Comic-Con is the world of geekdom combined with the world of the, shall we say, normal. You never know what you’re gonna see, even when you’re crossing the street…

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Yep, that’s Comic-Con alright.

3 Comments

  • SDCC is an awesome event. This was my second year at the con, and I’ll likely be glued to my computer again in January/February for over an hour trying to get a 4 day badge for 2015! The first year I stayed away from Hall H and Ballroom 20 – this year I did Thursday in Hall H – have to say – not sure it was worth all the waiting. Sure you get to see some huge stars – but the entire day is promo and more promo. Little insight. Taking on the smaller rooms means you get to do more stuff, and actually learn something. Still haven’t cosplayed .. think maybe Dredd next year! Or a Dalek – haven’t seen that done yet!

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