August 04, 2010

San Diego Comic Con 2010: Part 1

Colt and I ventured to San Diego a couple of weeks ago to attend our third San Diego Comic Con. If you've never been, I can't quite explain to you the ridiculousness and awesomeness of the event. I've seen/read complaints that the event is increasingly not about comics, but I love that it's grown into a giant pop culture extravaganza. I live for pop culture, so it's no surprise that, for me, each year has topped the one before.

The first year, we went for two days. The second, three. This year we did all four days. And man ... I feel like I've accomplished something huge. A couple of days we went back to my Dad's house (where we stay while in California) earlyish, simply because we felt like we were going to fall over. For the most part, however, we stuck it out, standing for hours in line, sitting in giant halls for even longer. All in the name of nerdiness.

Before I get into detail, I just have to say that Thursday was the best day of the Con. I'll explain why in a bit, but I'll even go so far as to say Thursday was one of the best days of my life. The traditional Con line-standing actually started Wednesday night, when we went to pick up our Thursday badges. (We've yet to buy a four-day pass, which is really the way to go. But when money's tight, it's easier to buy the days separately.)

We got to the convention center at around 5:30 Thursday; yes, in the morning. The drive (and the finding of a parking spot) from my Dad's house in Fallbrook takes about an hour. I'll let you figure out exactly how early we got up.

The line for Hall H was already filling up, but that's the norm. Colt and I hopped into line and buckled down to wait. Some friends found us at some point, and at around 9:30, we headed into the building. Our plan was to stay in Hall H all day due to the Scott Pilgrim panel being at 6:15. (A good rule of thumb we've found is that it's essential to plan to get into Hall H or Ballroom 20 (the second-largest panel room) by the panel prior to the one you really want to see. If you don't mind seeing everything in between, it's not a bad idea to just camp all day.) We saw some great stuff, and a lot of celebs, during the day.

Megamind with Will Farrell, Tiny Fey, Jonah Hill and "Brad Pitt":
Megamind looks to be a funny animated movie about a supervillain who finds out not everything is life is black and white. Will showed up to the panel in full Megamind costume—at one point he interjected that his face was burning from the spray paint he'd used. Will and Tina were both funny and witty. Jonah ... I just don't like the guy. He comes off as smarmy and cocky. The Brad cardboard cutout was a hit, however, particularly when Tina held it in her lap and stroked its face.

Tron:Legacy with Bruce Boxlightner, Michael Sheen, Olivia Wilde, Garret Hedlund, Jeff Bridges and some crew members:
This is the third year in a row Tron:Legacy has been in Hall H. And the third year we've seen stuff from the "upcoming" film. Hopefully it is released this December, as it's scheduled to be. Don't get me wrong, it's great stuff. The trailers look fantastic and the Daft Punk soundtrack is going to be wicked. But get on with it already.

Haunted Mansion with Patton Oswalt and Guillermo Del Toro:
Patton Oswalt was moderating what was supposed to be a purely Tron panel that was accented with some neat other Disney stuff. A sneak peek at Pirates 4, and a heads up that Guillermo Del Toro will be behind a new film based on the classic Haunted Mansion ride. He said it's gonna be scary ... and I believe that!

Salt with Angelina Jolie, Liev Schriber and some crew members:
During the Megamind panel, the moderator mentioned that Brad Pitt couldn't be at Con since someone had to watch the kids. So I got excited. I'd heard rumors that Angelina was going to be in attendance, but I didn't want to get my hopes up. I love her and her wackiness. Suffice it to say, she was at the panel, and she was totally lovely and gracious, even when she got asked basically the same thing four times in a row. (Why, Angie, did you choose this role? What did it bring to you? I still feel like I need to know.) Liev name-dropped Naomi. It was cute.

Battle:Los Angeles with Aaron Eckhart, Michelle Rodriguez and some crew members:
This movie, basically, looks like what happened post-District 9—when the aliens come back to kick some human butt for the crappy situation we forced them into—and it's set in LA, rather than South Africa. It didn't look too bad, though. Michelle Rodriguez was totally giggly, which was a weird dichotomy with her semi-bitchy answers to questions.

Red with Karl Urban, Mary Louise Parker, Helen Mirren, Bruce Willis, Warren Ellis (Red's creator) and another guy who was involved with the graphic novel:
I have been excited about this movie since I found the trailer a few weeks back. It was a shame that Morgan Freeman and John Malcovich weren't in attendance, but the rest of the cast was really great. They showed an extended trailer—twice—with this absolutely ridiculous Bruce Willis bit in it. But I won't spoil it for the rest of you; it's hard to explain, and it would just come off sounding stupid. But I promise, it's awesome. After this panel, too, I want to be Helen Mirren's friend. She just seems so dang cool. And she is gorgeous.

The Visionaries: JJ Abrams and Joss Whedon:
JJ Abrams and Joss Whedon have been behind some of my very favorite things—Alias, Buffy, Firefly, Fringe—so it was super neat to hear them talk. They spoke about upcoming projects, where they get their information, told anecdotes, etc.

The Expendables with Sylvester Stallone, Terry Crews, Steve Austin, Dolph Lundgren and Randy Couture:

Testosterone and muscles abounded during this panel. I was actually worried about the stage at one point, but I'm sure they tested it out before all the guys came out. Terry Crews opened his shirt and made his pecs dance for us. I think that might be something he does at every event, but I'm not so sure the majority male audience really got as much out of it as he might have hoped. Sly took over answering many of the questions, whether they were directed specifically to him or not. Randy Couture's obviously got a fight coming up ... more than once people mentioned that. Dolph's aged really nicely, the best of the bunch for certain. They showed a few scenes from the movie and dang, will it ever be bloody and ridiculous. I'm still looking forward to seeing it.

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World with Edgar Wright, Bryan Lee O'Malley, Alison Pill, Mark Webber, Anna Kendrick, Aubrey Plaza, Kieren Culkin, Satya Bhabha, Mae Whitman, Brandon Routh, Jason Schwartzman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Ellen Wong and Michael Cera:

OK, so I said (way) up above that Thursday was probably one of the best days of my life. And now we get to why. As you well know, I'm excited about Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. (We picked up the 6th book in the series on the way to California, and it was a nice ending to a fantastic ride.) When Edgar came out, I got giddy. He brought the rest of the cast in attendance out and asked them each a question they could only answer with one word. Each actor was preceded by a few clips of their character in the film. When it came time for Michael Cera to appear, Edgar introduced him as "one of the top 5 ... hundred" actors in the running for Captain America. Fittingly, Michael came out in this:

Edgar continued to announce cast members even after Michael's appearance—"And Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, who are ... not in the movie." Simon and Nick came out on stage for a bit, but left with dejected faces and Nick even flipped Edgar off. Gotta love those guys.

We saw some great clips and then Edgar said, "How'd you like to see the entire movie?" Of course, the entirety of Hall H—all 6,000-plus of us—erupted with excitement. "This Hall's too big to show it in, but we've got a special surprise for some of you in the audience today," he said. "If you've got a 1-Up pin, you're coming with me." They'd passed out SP pins prior to the panel, which wasn't anything special it seemed, since they practically throw swag from the rooftops at Comic Con. However ... Colt and I and the friends we were with all had, you guessed it, 1-Up pins. (!!!) I think I started shaking when I realized I had the necessary pin. Before the panel was even over, Edgar hopped off the stage and made his way out of Hall H. We followed behind, and raced to the Balboa Theater, where we were treated to drinks and popcorn. We got to watch the entire movie—which is fantastic—and then a mini-concert by Metric (who play The Clash at Demonhead songs in the film).
(Thanks to Chad Hardy for these last two, as well as the background of the top image.)

Amazing, amazing day.

Since this post is pretty epic, check back later this week for more of my Comic Con 2010 wrap-up.

And, if you're so inclined, check out more photos here.


  1. I love how you used the term, "All in the name of nerdiess."

    Freaking awesome, Mands.