Comic-Con, for those who don't know, is the world's largest comic book convention, though, I use the words "comic book" loosely. I suppose there must have been a period when the convention actually revolved around comics, superheroes, etc. But these days it's very Hollywood, very commercialized, and disgustingly crowded. Don't get me wrong, I dig celebrities just as much as any US Weekly reader, but Hollywood's growing presence at the convention is directly responsible for the ridiculous number of attendees and probably indirectly responsible for the stabbing incident this year. Like I said earlier, I had a good time but trying to walk around the convention center was one of the most sickeningly oppressive experiences I've ever had.
This being said, I'm not really a superhero comic fan. I've read some Astonishing/Uncanny X-Men and Geoff Johns' Blackest Night/Brightest Day but I'm really an alternative press, zine, Fantagraphics girl. Since there's an entire convention here in San Francisco devoted to the sorts of comics that I usually pick up, I spend most of Comic-Con attending TV panels. So yeah, to a certain extent I'm one of those celebrity obsessed people who've made the convention the gigantic clusterfrak that it is today.
I was a Comic-Con virgin last year and didn't understand how the convention worked. Like, I didn't know that if you wanted to see a movie/TV panel you were supposed to get there three hours before the doors even opened, stand in a long ass line, and then, once you got in, stand in another long ass line for two hours. (Geeks heart queuing.) But I learned my lesson and this year I was able to get into pretty much every panel that I wanted to see (Big Bang Theory, True Blood, Glee, Bones, Joss Whedon, Caprica, Fringe) and a few that I was totally indifferent about (American Dad, The Vampire Diaries, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Sons of Anarchy, Stargate Universe).
Panel surprises included The Barenaked Ladies performing The Big Bang Theory theme song, which I've captured here on Shaky-Cam:
And Nathan Fillion showing up at the Joss Whedon Q&A.
As cool as it was to listen to Joss--one of my TV writing heroes--discuss his upcoming projects, it was infinity times cooler when I met him down in the convention hall.
This is by far the geekiest picture I've ever taken in my life. Not only because I look like a mega nerd-hobo but there are just so many layers of geekery going on here:
1. We're at a comic book convention.
2. Joss Whedon, creator of Buffy, Angel, Firefly, etc. = geek icon.
3. Joss is wearing a Scott Pilgrim shirt.
4. I'm wearing a Jedi beanie.
5. My overbite is out in full force.
When I saw Joss, he was with some woman near the mellow end of the convention hall--this is the area where comic books are sold/the area almost no one at this "comic book" convention visits. I sort of interrupted him as he was talking (by "sort of," I mean totally, unmistakably, and rudely) and then I pulled that dick move where you hand your camera to the famous person's non-famous friend and have them take your picture. Joss and his friend were pretty cool about it, though. I mean, there was no eye-rolling or annoyed sighing from either of them and I felt like a real champ afterward. Like, I could have flown back home right then, satisfied with Comic-Con 2010.
Other celebrities seen while walking around include, Jerry O'Connell (who was power-walking so I couldn't take a picture of him without chasing him down), Adrianne Curry--the first winner of America's Next Top Model--dressed as Leeloo from The Fifth Element...
and Mark Hamill.
Seeing Mark Hamill was incredibly bizarre. He was just sitting on these steps by himself, looking sort of dejected. No one was swarming him or really even talking to him. Of course, being a Star Wars nerd, I refused to act as if he were just "some guy" and asked him if I could take a picture.
I think the fact that no one was asking him for an autograph or hovering around him sort of speaks to the Hollywoodization of the Con. So many people are there to see Angelina Jolie or Michael C. Hall, etc., that the convention is starting to lose touch with its nerdy roots. After I took my picture, some girl asked me who the guy sitting on the steps was. I told her that it was Mark Hamill. "Oh," she said, disinterested. Her boyfriend asked her who the guy was. "Mark Hamill," she said, followed by, "who's that?"
One of the most exciting things going on at Comic-Con this year, at least for me, was the "Scott Pilgrim Experience."
(Scott Pilgrim is this awesome manga-styled, pop culture/video game influenced series by Bryan Lee O'Malley. If you want to know more about the books from the POV of a fan, I suggest you check out these posts at Soft Nonsense.)
The movie comes out next month and the public relations/marketing departments promoting it are some of the hardest working and most creative people in the entertainment business (and if I ever met one of them I'd give that person a very earnest high five). At the Scott Pilgrim Experience--which was across the street from the convention center--you could make your own Scott Pilgrim t-shirt, create a flipbook of yourself doing some crazy Scott Pilgrim inspired martial arts stuff...
...play the new Scott Pilgrim video game (which is only being released on PS3 and not Xbox. No one's getting a high-five for that), and get autographs from the stars of the movie.
While you waited in line (I stood in line for 2 hours!) there was someone handing out free garlic bread and t-shirts.
By the time I finally got to the front of the line, I was told that they weren't doing anymore autographs. To be honest, I wasn't that disappointed. I already have Edgar Wright's (the director) autograph from this Hot Fuzz thing I went to a couple of years ago and I was fine with just seeing some of the stars, taking some creepy paparazzi pictures of them, and leaving with all my free shiz. But after I finished making my flipbook, I accidentally wandered into the autograph line. By the time the security guard noticed, a lady in a wheelchair had made the same mistake and wandered in line behind me. Because he couldn't very well deny a woman in a wheelchair an autograph, he had to let her stay in line. And because I was in front of her, he had to let me stay there too or it would have looked like discrimination or something, I don't know. Anyway, I got autographs from Edgar Wright, Michael Cera, and Jason Schwartzman (who said he liked my beanie).
I got so much free crap (t-shirts, bags, comics, buttons, books, posters) while I was there that I'm considering having a blog giveaway. I'm going to New Orleans tomorrow but I'll post some pictures in the coming weeks of all the swag/junk and gauge interest. Until then, here are a few photos...