Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the San Diego Comic-Con. Make no mistake, though, although the word “comic” shows up in the name of the event, the SDCC covers a lot more than just comics. If anything, I was amazed at the diversity I saw:
- Gender: I had been under the impression that over 75% of Comic-Con goers would be guys. Instead, much to my dismay, the gender balance was fairly even — I did not notice there being especially more girls or more guys!
- Appearance: Before going to the Con, I had braced myself for a mass of stereotypical comic book nerds — either extremely overweight or extremely scrawny, lacking in social skills, and possibly dressed up in cosplay gear. The Con shattered that conception — while yes, there were certainly people who could stand to lose some weight (or gain some muscle), and there was certainly no shortage of “cosplayers” (people who dress up as characters), I was astonished at the sheer of diversity of types of people there. You had people who were clearly big nerds, but right next to them (and oftentimes waiting for the same event) were people who looked like jocks, and people who looked “normal.”
- Subject matter: The Comic-Con isn’t just about comics. There was coverage of television shows (e.g. Smallville, Battlestar Galactica, Heroes), new movies (e.g. Watchmen), video games (e.g. Spore), and even fantasy/sci-fi novels (e.g. I got a book signed by famed sci-fi writer Connie Willis). Stars ranging from Sarah Silverman to Kristin Kreuk to Ludacris to Keanu Reeves were also in attendance. It’s no wonder that the San Diego Comic-Con no longer bills itself merely as the largest comic book convention, but as a pop culture convention.
In any event, what I took away from the Con:
- Maxis’s Spore looks like it will be one hell of a game, but with its sophistication and graphics, I wonder if I’ll need some sort of Cray supercomputer to play it. The concept is that you start out controlling single-celled organisms, and gradually you evolve them to the point where they become space-faring civilizations. Will Wright, the genius behind this game and games like Sim City and the Sims, was there giving an amazing demo and explaining his vision of the computer game as an art form. It was very cool!
- Grant Morrison, one of the greatest comic book writers of all time, is a crazy Scot. Picture a bald guy, dressed in an oddly colored suit, known for writing fairly strange comic books, in a very thick Scottish accent explaining how he views Desaad, the Dark God of Torture, as a guy with an obsession with pornography. And that’s what DC’s Final Crisis panel was like.
- Connie Willis has not only won practically every sci-fi award there is to win, but is a woman with incredible charm and sass. That was a very pleasant surprise, and made the waiting in line for an hour to get her to autograph a book for my girlfriend all the more worthwhile.
- Bill Willingham, writer of my favorite ongoing comic series Fables, is just as funny in real life as he is in his comic works. He apparently started out wanting to be an artist and submitted a sample of his artwork with a quick storyline attached. When he was hired, he asked, “What do you want me to draw?” To which the editorial team replied, “Umm.. the story that you pitched!” Shocked, but not wanting to pass up the opportunity, Willingham proceeded to give up his art pencils for his writing pencils. Oh, and I got his autograph!
- The Watchmen movie looks more and more promising. I attended not only the movie panel, but also a panel highlighting Dave Gibbons, the artist and co-creator of the series, and I have to say I’m very excited. I am still worried how they intend to move what was probably the greatest graphic novel of all time to screen, but if the trailer and the extra preview clips that I saw are any indication, they are trying to recreate the classic as best they can. As it should be.
- Joss Whedon is a genius. But, his new show, The Dollhouse, does seem to be slightly derivative of the Pretender. Oh well, I won’t hold a grudge if it’s any good.
And of course, no post on Comic-con can end without pictures of cosplayers!
Sailor Moon & Friends … fighting evil by moonlight?
Nightwing & Huntress! (DC Comics)
Mr. Fantastic and Spiderman (Marvel) discuss how to save the world!
I sense the Dark Side within you…
Superman and Wonder Woman!