Written by: Abel S. Pinedo
I had a great spot in line on Preview Night and my target
as usual was the Hallmark booth. Once the doors opened, the chaos and fun began. I hustled over and waited patiently for my
turn at Hallmark. Having secured my Hallmark exclusives, I then proceeded to scope out the exhibit hall. I always like
to make mental notes of what booths I'd want to check out over the next few days. From there I found some sweet Walking
Dead pins and picked up some Family Guy pins as well. I ended Preview Night by checking out the fantastic Artist
Alley. Time for a leisurely dinner because things were about to get hectic!
I began Thursday morning by checking out Super7's retail
store where a room full of Masters of the Universe goodies awaited. Having secured exclusives for myself and a friend, I was
feeling a big famished. My friends and I made our way to Wired Cafe at the Omni Hotel. This is an industry only event that
provides free snacks and booze. It's definitely a welcome respite during the Con.
With my hunger quelled, I went to the 1987: Greatest Geek
Year Ever panel. This panel is a requirement for me every year. Moderated by Scott Mantz of Access Hollywood, the panel is
made up of a variety of writers all well steeped in pop culture knowledge. Films discussed included The Princess Bride, RoboCop,
Lethal Weapon, The Untouchables and Spaceballs. I swear I could listen to these guys talk for hours. Next on the agenda was
the Alien: Covenant Colonist Certification Test, to promote the upcoming DVD release of Alien: Covenant. The test was
fairly straightforward. Your synthetic host tested you, which amounted to watching several rapid fire clips from the film
in two separate rooms. Upon exit, we were given some really nice Alien: Covenant pins.
My evening ended on a somewhat somber note as I listened to
the tribute to Adam West panel. Among the panelists were Kevin Smith and Lee Meriwether. Stories were shared about how Adam
became a part of their lives and how he was ever the consummate professional, even as his career hit a near standstill after
the initial run of the Batman series ended. A portion of a Family Guy video tribute was played as well as one of the final
interviews Adam gave shortly before his passing. Voices cracked a few times but it was a lovely tribute to the Bright Knight.
Friday morning I got an early start and pulled a ticket for
morning access to the Hasbro booth. I was able to pick up my exclusives as well as help out a few friends. After dropping
off my VERY heavy bags of merch at my hotel, I headed back to roam as much of the exhibit hall as I could. I picked up a very
cute Lego Boba Fett print by artist Dan Veesenmeyer. Another highlight for me was seeing the newly revealed Luke Skywalker's
Landspeeder by Radio Flyer. For a princely sum of $499, your little padawan can own the first ever kid sized driveable Landspeeder.
Granted it only reaches a top speed of 5 M.P.H. but regardless, who wouldn't want to own that! Seeing it in person was pretty
cool, not to mention the scores of kids who wanted to sit in it. If I was a younger man, I might have even tried to wedge
myself in the seat.
After a bite to eat and a moment to recharge, I made my way
to the panel dedicated to Shout Factory/Scream Factory as they revealed their release slate for the coming year. This is a
good indicator to how much money I'll be spending on horror Blu Rays in the coming months. Well, I was not disappointed by
the offerings. Coming soon are Collector's Editions of Dawn of the Dead (2004), The Strangers, Silent Night Deadly Night and
Misery. So yeah, I'll be dropping some serious coin. I also purchased an advance copy of Slither on Blu Ray from Scream Factory
as well as scoring a set of free horror buttons.
Friday ended with something unique for me. I was invited to
a screening of a short film entitled Major Grom. This is the first film ever made which is based on a Russian comic book.
The film runs about twenty minutes and is fast paced and energetic. If you can imagine Guy Ritchie directing Run, Lola, Run
then you'll have an idea of what I saw. The basic premise is Major Grom is a police detective who happens to be in a bank
when three men in masks attempt to rob the contents of the vault. I'll say nothing else lest I spoil it but it was well made
and highly entertaining. All in attendance were given an art book with concept drawings of various aspects of the film, including
storyboards and behind the scenes photos.
Saturday was the big day for lots of different reasons. There
was the reveal of the newest trailer for Justice League. There was an appearance by Harrison Ford to promote Blade Runner
2049. And of course, the big ninety minute end of day panel from Marvel Studios. For me though, the day started with the good
fortune to pull a winning ticket for a meet and greet with the cast of Ready Player One, directed by Steven Spielberg. When
it came time we were told that we'd be receiving a mini poster for the film, which we could have signed by the cast
and crew. Everyone was simply delightful. T.J. Miller liked my Boba Fett backpack and mentioned that he portrays a bounty
hunter in the film who wishes to be Boba Fett. I had read interviews with the author, Ernest Cline, who freely admits to being
a child of the 80's like myself and he drew on those inspirations for his book. Spielberg himself was as nice as I had hoped,
and meeting him was a real honor. Tye Sheridan and Olivia Cooke seemed a bit overwhelmed but were in good spirits as well.
All in all, this was the biggest highlight of the Con for me.
Sunday morning I checked out the final few offsite events
I had wanted to see. First I signed up for galactic duty aboard the Orville, in conjunction with the new sci-fi Fox show of
the same name. I was rewarded with a free shirt (always a good thing) and an entry into a grand prize drawing for $25,000.
Next I went to the Michael J Wolf Art Gallery for an exhibit dedicated to the newest Star Trek series, Discovery. I also scored
more free swag, this time in the form of a poster for the new series.
I headed back to the convention center and scored a few
deals on some comic books. Sunday is the best day for non exclusives shopping. Vendors are usually willing to make deals as
it means less stuff they'll have to haul home afterwards. I picked up a few freebies in the form of some paperback books and
I purchased some Deadpool stickers from artist Justin Harder (the man who designed the opening animated credits for the Deadpool
film.) After a few final spins throughout the exhibit hall and a few more goodbyes, it was time to call it a year. Another
Comic Con had come to a close but the memories will stay with me for a long time! Now to start counting down the days till
Comic Con 2018!
About the Author: 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.