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San Diego Comic-Con Wrap Up 2010

Written By: Abel S. "Honest Abe"



All together now…WHEW!  Another year of Comic Con is now in the history books (shed tear).  Well, let’s dive right into it shall we?  The highs, the higher highs and Kevin Smith.  It’s an action packed Comic Con recap!

For the second year in a row, Preview Night (Wednesday) actually had a few screenings going on but nothing that I cared about.  This is the day to pick up your badge (if you’ve got a four day pass) and to scope out the scene.  I wandered around for about ninety minutes, just getting the layout of the main floor and figuring out what booths had stuff that I wanted to purchase or that I wanted to see.  We called it an early night because we knew we had to be up extra early to secure a spot in line for Hall H on Thursday morning.  Yes kids, I braved Hall H this year but it was so worth it.  One word…TRON.


Thursday morning, we hit the line at just a hair past 7am and were pleasantly surprised to find that the outside queue was now covered by canopies.  No standing in the sun unnecessarily for me!  At 9:30 we were in the door and sat through the first panel of the day, Megamind.  Dreamworks’ new 3-D animated film stars Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, Jonah Hill and Brad Pitt.  Initially, I hadn’t cared about this film and was only sitting through it to secure my spot for the Tron panel but I must say that the 3-D animation was quite impressive and the banter between the stars during the panel was funny.  Only Brad didn’t show but he was represented by a cardboard cutout that Tina Fey lovingly caressed throughout the panel.  The only complaint was that it seemed that their banter was a bit rehearsed.  They only had time for three questions during the Q&A and the first two you could tell were planned. 

The Tron panel was nothing short of mind blowing.  They started off by showing a never before seen 8 minute clip and then brought out the stars of the film including the Dude himself, Jeff Bridges.  I really don’t want to spoil anything that I saw but if I’m willing to plunk down full price for the full 3-D Imax experience on opening weekend when it opens in December, then that’s got to say something.  I was so amazed by the technology represented in this film that I couldn’t stop smiling for the rest of the day.  The only bummer is that I have to wait until December 17 before it hits theatres.  Trust me on this, it’s so worth it. 


Once the panel ended, people quickly filed out of the room.  I’m sure many of them were kicking themselves later when they found out what they missed.  First up was a short 3-D clip of Johnny Depp as Capt. Jack Sparrow talking about the newest Pirates of the Caribbean movie coming out next summer.  Following that was the biggest surprise of the entire ‘Con, the announcement of an all new Haunted Mansion movie to be directed, produced and written by Guillermo del Toro.  When he stepped onstage, the crowd went absolutely apeshit!  He told the story about how he went to Disneyland for the first time at the age of three when he was “just a lump of fat” and to this day he makes at least one visit a year and always includes the Mansion during his trip.   “I couldn't be more excited to be a part of my own adaptation of the original theme park attraction Walt envisioned and that remains- for me- the most desirable piece of real estate in the whole world!"  He also got a big laugh when he said that “…we are not taking Eddie Murphy’s phone calls.”  He did promise that this would be a darkly humorous yet scary film.  “If you bring the kids, they will be scared!”

The next panel was for two films, Battle: Los Angeles and Salt.  Battle was a pretty slick looking trailer that made me think of Black Hawk Down meets Starship Troopers and District 9.  It’s about an invasion of Los Angeles by aliens but told from the perspective of a platoon of soldiers, led by Aaron Eckhart.  I will say that the footage shown was definitely edge-of-your-seat and I’m definitely curious to check it out when it’s released.  Next up was Salt, starring Angelina Jolie. I had seen a few trailers before but none as action packed as the new trailer they presented.  Once the lights came on, Ms. Jolie led the way through the panel while discussing how she did almost all of her own stunts, practically at her insistence.  She took questions from the audience and was quite charming as she pretty much answered the same question from three different people one after the other.  (Kids, here’s a tip.  If the person in front of you asks your same question or at least a pretty close variant, then either come up with something fast or sit down because then you just look stupid.) 

Alright, I’ve had enough of Hall H, so after that it was time to hit the main floor and check out the scene there.  I have got to give kudos to the Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment booth.  This fall, the Alien Anthology will be released on DVD and to celebrate that, they had a replica of the sleeping pods from the first Alien movie.  I noticed that the layout was somewhat different in that while many of the same booths were there, a few were in different locations.  It took a bit to get used to that but that’s a minor quibble.  I checked out the Hallmark booth to pick up my exclusive Star Wars ornaments and got to see some really cool upcoming products from Hallmark.  They have a whole product line of Star Wars barware to be released in 2011 as well as interactive greeting cards from many different pop culture properties (Star Wars, Wizard of Oz, etc…).  Hopefully soon, I’ll have much more information on those items.  We’ll save that for a future article, mmmmkay?  Even though this was only the first full day of the Con, I noticed a distinct lack of freebies, much like last year.  No pens, no bottle openers, very few stickers and only a few posters here and there.  Many times it was a question of being in the right place at the right time whenever anything was handed out.  Damm you, economy! 

Alright, we ended the day with dinner at the Tilted Kilt which if you remember in last year’s article, is a most delightful Irish pub just two short blocks away from the convention center.  Good food, good ambiance and great scenery.  (meaning hot waitresses!)


Friday morning was another early day for us.  Local radio station personalities Kevin and Bean from KROQ were going to be broadcasting live from PETCO Park about two blocks from the convention center.  They were going to be interviewing Kevin Smith, Seth Rogen, Seth Green, and Will Ferrell.  My fiancée is a huge KROQ fan so off we go, arriving just after 7am.  There were maybe twenty five people there and Kevin Smith was already on stage.  We were standing maybe ten yards from the stage setup listening to the broadcast.  When the segment ended, Smith left the stage and posed for pictures and shook hands with the people gathered around.  Time to make a move!  I jumped in and shook his hand while my fiancée took a picture of us.  After, I gave him one of our DigThatBox tokens and he loved it!  He instantly recognized the Space Invader and exclaimed, “This is really cool!”


At that, I left my fiancée behind as she wanted to remain for the rest of the broadcast while I hustled off to the convention.  She did tell me later how thin Seth Rogen was in person, due to all his training for the upcoming Green Hornet movie next January.  Once the doors to the convention opened, I hustled off to wait in line for the panel on The Walking Dead.  Before the panel started, I sat through the panel for the relaunch of the series Hawaii Five-0.  Having grown up with the original series, I’m not sure how I feel about this newer version.  Sure, I’m biased but at the very least, this show will definitely provide Hawaii with a shot at boosting its tourism.  The visuals are quite stunning.  Then again, it’s Hawaii so how could it not be anything short of gorgeous.  Alright, no more island paradise, it’s zombie time!  Those of you not aware, The Walking Dead is a new series debuting this fall on AMC about a zombie apocalypse and its aftermath on the survivors.  It’s based on an ongoing comic book series which, admittedly I haven’t read but I don’t want to jump into it now because with the show starting in October, I won’t have time to catch up.  Also, I‘d hate to have a preconceived notion of what certain characters should be like prior to the start of the series.  The footage shown was badass!  The cast talked about filming under the hot Atlanta sun and the challenges of maintaining zombie makeup in intense humidity.  Producers Gale Ann Hurd and Frank Darabont (who’s also directing the pilot) talked about the challenges in bringing a weekly zombie series to cable television but after what I saw and heard, I’m convinced that The Walking Dead will be one of the breakout hits of the upcoming fall season.  We’ll have more for you once the fall season kicks into high gear.  After that, it was more shenanigans on the main floor.  More tokens were handed out.  More contacts were made.  (We’re going to have some great things to talk about and show you all in the upcoming months)   At the Warner Brothers booth, Corey Feldman and Jamison Newlander were taking part in an autograph session to promote The Lost Boys: The Thirst.  Yes folks, the Frog brothers in person!  They were both nice and humble guys who kept apologizing for being late to the signing.  Once we were done with that, it was time for some chow.  There was a special themed taco truck giving away tacos in support of the new movie Machete but the line was way too long and you only got one taco. (even though it was personally handed to you by Michelle Rodriguez!)  Also, Danny Trejo and Robert Rodriguez were there to present footage from the film.  I was too hungry to wait over an hour to get in though.  Me want chow now so off we go to Tilted Kilt again. (I’ll suffer through sitting in a restaurant populated by a hot wait staff.  I’m known for making sacrifices!)  After a few libations, it’s time to turn in.


Saturday morning I slept in an extra hour.  (Man, this Con stuff really wears you down, regardless of age.)  While my fiancée went to a panel on zombie authors, I stood in line for a chance to meet Michael Chiklis and Julie Benz.  The short version of the story is that they are the leads in a new CBS series this fall.  No Ordinary Family is about a typical American family, whose members gain special abilities after their plane crash lands into the Amazon River.  Now pay attention kids.  We know that many of you are unable to attend San Diego Comic Con for a variety of reasons which means you miss out on all the fun and all the chaos and the occasional freebies and giveaways.  To bring just a little piece of Comic Con goodness into your home, we have two (2) posters for No Ordinary Family signed by Michael Chiklis and Julie Benz.  To win, just send us an email.  We’ll pick two winners at random.

Saturday afternoon brought one of the other highlights of Comic Con for me, the return of the Boondock Saints!  In case you didn’t know, there is a comic book miniseries based on the hit films and director Troy Duffy, as well as Sean Patrick Flannery and David Della Rocco were on hand to sign comics and whatever else the fans brought.  I will say that although the line was quite long, the guys were quite accommodating and signed everything.  They posed for pictures and took the time to greet each and every fan.  Often times at events like Comic Con, you kind of get hustled through the line you know….sign, move on….sign, move on…..sign, move on.  With that in mind, it’s refreshing to experience something like the Boondock signing where you aren’t as pressured and you can tell that the celebs are genuinely happy to be there and meet you.  Later that night, I went to the panel about the Boondock Saints comic book where they talked about upcoming issues and where the storyline was going.  They also revealed a new iPhone game based on the Boondock Saints, coming this fall.  After all of that, it was off to The Field, another local Irish pub for a quick bite to eat and then off to bed.  

Sunday morning is typically when the body starts to break down and you really wonder why you’re doing this to yourself.  With that in mind, we slept in and didn’t make it to Con until after 10am.   There were no panels that we wanted to see on the last day so we roamed the floor picking up a few items and checking out the scene one last time.  Sunday is a good day to shop as many vendors are willing to haggle.  Many will have signs up with reduced prices.  After all, the more they sell, the less they have to pack up and ship home.  Personally, I didn’t do much shopping this time around but I did spot a few good bargains on action figures and comic books.  As I’ve said before, it’s impossible to see the whole vendor area and really get a good feel for what all there is to offer.  Just do the best you can to maneuver the crowds and you’ll find that bargain that you simply cannot believe. 

All in all, I had a wonderful time, one of the better years.  A few of the usual gripes aside about the massive crowds, I was able to do more this year than last year.  A small part of me suspects the lack of Twilight fans but I know they’ll be back next year as the final movie in that ‘saga’ gets released next November.  Oh well. San Diego Comic Con!!! Ain’t nothing like it in the world.  Can you Dig It?  I do and am already planning on next year’s trip.  Don’t forget to email us for your chance at the signed poster.  Nothing wrong with having a little Julie Benz in your house.  I must add that she’s way more attractive in person than anything I’ve seen her in before.

And that’s the Honest truth!

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Abel S. a.k.a. "Honest Abe" has written reviews for Dark Horizons, JoBlo and MusicTap.  He has worked in the entertainment industry for over a decade. He can usually be found at his keyboard ranting and rambling about the human condition or watching Beavis & Butthead.