This year’s Comic-Con International in San Diego was packed to the rafters with fans reveling in all things pop culture! From Preview Night on Wednesday straight through to closing on Sunday, the aisles were swarmed with fans of every stripe, from sketch-hounds looking for comic art to cosplayers showing of their stuff. Hall H hosted many panels for movie and televisions stars whose fans lined for hours or even days in the hopes of getting a seat. In one of the week’s more spectacular moments, a cosplayer interrupted the panel for The Amazing Spider-Man movie only to whip off his mask and reveal himself to be star Andrew Garfield!
To deal with the immense crowds raffled ticketing as become par for the course for many of the bigger signings, meaning fans have to stand in one line to wait and for a chance to win a ticket to stand in another line for the actual signing. Many autograph seekers were frustrated by this system but it does seem to be the most democratic method for exhibitors to manage crowd control.
My main reason for attending this year was Nickelodeon’s new animated show, The Legend of Korra. A sequel to the hugely popular series Avatar: The Last Airbender, Korra takes place 80 years later with the titular character having succeeded Aang as the new Avatar. Creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, along with co-executive producer Joaquin dos Santos, supervising producer Ki-Hyun Ryu, and composing team Ben Wynn and Jeremy Zuckerman, treated fans to an preview of the new series along with production art and announced that animation veteran Lauren Montgomery and comic artist Joshua Middleton have been added to the team. Middleton also provided the art for the limited print Nickelodeon had for sale at their booth (pictured at left). Several Airbender fans held their own tribute panel as well with guests writer John O’Bryan, storyboard artist Ian Graham and fan artists Kevin Coppa, Kim Miranda, and Booter-Freak. Voice over actors Jennifer Hale and Dee Bradley Baker made a surprise appearance and Baker announced that his daughter booked her first voice over job playing a younger Korra in the new series! He also performed a demonstration of how he voices Appa and Momo.
Across the street from the San Diego Convention Center several artists held an event called Tr!ckster. Founded as an alternative to the big budget of SDCC, Tr!ckster focuses on creator owned work and hosted many panels, signings, concerts, and cocktail parties for artists and fans alike. One of the coolest events was a small, intimate performance by Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello (aka The Nightwatchman) who announced he is writing a comic book called Orchid which will be published by Dark Horse. He spoke with Tr!ckster founder Scott Morse about the comic and established his nerd cred with stories about playing Dungeons & Dragons and reading comics in his youth. Then Morello played several folksy, acoustic songs to an excited crowd who demanded no less than three encores.
Other highlights of the convention included meeting legendary British artist Alan Davis who sketched for charity at the Hero Initiative booth, Bande desinee creator Pierre Alary making a rare US appearance courtesy of Stuart Ng Books and Flesk Publications, and finding a woman cosplaying as Cindel from the Ewok Adventure/Battle for Endor TV movies! San Diego is a great time but oh-so tiring and time-consuming. I vow that I will never, ever go back… till next year.
You stay classy, San Diego!