It can be the best of times, and the worst of times.
The best, because it’s pretty much everything you love under one roof (unless you happen to be a sports fan too – there’s not much of that besides MMA). From comics to movies, toys, video games, wacky T-shirts, weird Japanese stuff, cult celebrities and more, the entire geekosystem is on display, and the sheer amount of like-minded folks here can result in the ability to start a random conversation with just about anyone and know more or less what they’re talking about.
On the other hand, if you want to actually see all that good stuff, you have to work your ass off to do so, fighting crowds and waiting in line forever for that one thing you like, and in the process missing five other things you like. If you’re press, you get to do all this while lugging around a hefty computer and saying a silent prayer that the wi-fi will hold up just a few seconds more just so you can tweet that Rocket Raccoon looks like Rocket Raccoon ought to.
I come not to bury Comic Con, but to praise it. And to vent. Venting is necessary. But let’s start with the good:
1. How Revealing!
The big reveals are the main reasons we get all excited. After wondering what the hell Guardians of the Galaxy will be like, the discovery that it’s every bit as smartass as anything else James Gunn has made. The revelation that the Man of Steel sequel will have Batman in it, or the Avengers’ signature accessories morphing into the comic-accurate face of Ultron. A Warcraft movie proof-of-concept bit that will probably only ever be seen at Comic Con.
Here’s a Nova Corps dude, by the way…
2. Shut up and Bankrupt Me!
I’m almost beginning to wish NECA would make like McFarlane and start taking on a few licenses I don’t care about, just so I don’t get tempted to drop even more coin. Their Aliens figures were the hottest ticket at the toy vendor booths, while the promise of 18″ Heath Ledger Joker, battle-damaged Iron Man, Arkham Origins Batman, Dutch Schaefer and even an in-scale Hulk make my wallet already hurt and my shelves preemptively strain. Also, they’re doing old and new Planet of the Apes? If they do a box set of the Statue of Liberty head, I think they can print money.
And with Hello Kitty as one of their properties now, geek wives everywhere are going to be hooked as well. I know mine will be.
3. Unintentionally Inappropriate Things.
Hitler the Mechanic has the final solution to your automotive problems…
The original Ambiguously Gay Duo…
The Turtle Centipede.
4. Oppan McFarlane Style!
Though Todd’s presence in terms of new product was pretty much nonexistent as far as I could tell, his influence on toys is making a comeback, with diorama-style, limited-articulation figures on bases having seemingly found a new sweet-spot price point of $24.99. Dark Horse has Game of Thrones in this fashion, while Diamond Select is expanding their Marvel Select style to more obscure Universal Monsters and – in a more unexpected choice – Sin City, the movie. No photos were permitted of the Bruce Willis Hartigan, but he has more articulation than the NECA version, a piece of the docks as his base, and of course color/black-and-white variants.
5. Clothes Make the Man.
Tom Cruise’s Edge of Tomorrrow battle suit is cool…
…Christoper Reeve’s original Superman suit is way cooler.
Look at him. Seriously.
How did Mattel not manage to screw him up?
7. These Cosplayers.
I didn’t see as many great costumes this year, though I probably noticed about 50 Daenerys Targaryans. Those that went above and beyond deserve props.
Up next: the worst.
1. From the Breaka Breaka Dawn, It’s On!
I remember the year V for Vendetta was going to be the big-deal panel in Hall H. I got to the convention center an hour early, joined the line that was near the back of the building by that point, and got in.
I remember a couple of years later when Watchmen was the big deal, and I got in line two hours early, made it to the grassy part of the line, and got in.
Those Twilight fuckers ruined everything by showing us you could camp out overnight. This year, I decided I could skip The World’s End and just line up after during the Veronica Mars panel. Six hours later, I wasn’t even inside.
The next day, I had a new plan. Get a wakeup call for 4:30 a.m., because no way in hell was I gonna miss Godzilla. I got there at 5:25 a.m. Here’s what it looked like by then…
The line was already as long as it had been for V for Vendetta back in the day. Meaning I probably could have gotten in, but instead, I found a friend who’d been there since 3 and plied him with favors like a Monster energy drink. This was the view from my new spot:
It wasn’t as rainy as it looked, but it wasn’t dry, either.
To answer the inevitable question: press passes do not get you any privileges at Comic Con, besides a badge free of charge. VIP access to a panel is up to the studio or people running the panel; they may choose to give you a pass if they like you, but with the New York Times and Wall Street Journal coming to cover the show now, who do you think gets priority?
2. Mucho Effort, Meager Reward
It used to be that the long waits in line paid off with exclusive swag, but now it’s like the studios really don’t care because they know people will camp out anyway. Kudos this year to Fox, for doing it old-school with enough X-Gear to make us forgive the complete lack of any formal X-Force movie talk.
That second shirt is for Planet of the Apes.
3. Uninspired Rip-Offs
Really, you’re gonna run with that as your premise? Okay then.
4. Intentionally Inappropriate Things.
5. Fucking THIS
I find out who say yes to this I break their back make them humble worse than the Kevin Von Erich.