Thursday, July 28, 2011

Holy Shit, Batman! (Comic-Con 2011)

After missing Comic-Con in 2010, I was excited to get back there this year. Due to some poor planning on my part and gnarly crowds I missed most of the cool programs and panels, but my girlfriend and I still managed to squeeze in a solid day and a half of ambling around, and with said crowds, that was plenty for us.

Beyond the great people watching, here’s some of the noteworthy highlights from this year’s nerd fest.

  • A Song of Ice and Fire: I missed both the HBO Game of Thrones Q&A session and the Epic Writing panel with George RR Martin, but by sheer dumb luck, I wandered by Martin at an autograph booth and nabbed a quick photo. He looks to be in good health, which is good news for those of us hoping he doesn’t croak before finishing A Song of Ice and Fire. I have to admit, I was a bit star struck getting so close to Martin—way more star struck than seeing Adam West, Lou Ferrigno, and two Playboy playmates. I’ve yet to read A Dance with Dragons (it’s been so long coming, I need to go back and read the first four books again first), but I hear it’s good. For a review, check out Ahi Kerp’s blog.

  • The Walking Dead: I missed the panel for the AMC Walking Dead TV show, as well as Robert Kirkman’s spotlight panel (detect a theme here?), but I did catch the trailer for the new season on AMC and it looks pretty bad ass. It’s hard to say from just the trailer, but it looks like season 2 more or less follows volume 2 of the comic book.

  • John Carter of Mars: Not sure if there were any formal previews or panels for this one, but I read about it in a magazine that came with my free swag. Apparently, this is the first live-action movie Pixar has ever done and no one knows quite what to expect—Pixar has never had a critical or box office failure, but then again, Pixar has never made a movie like this. I personally have high hopes. The original Edgar Rice Burroughs book series is one of my favorites and I hope Disney/Pixar can adapt it as well as Disney/Walden adapted the Narnia movies. This trailer here looks promising: 

  • Christopher Moore: How come I’ve never read any of his stuff before? His author spotlight was the one good panel I was able to actually get into, and he was not only hilarious, but very insightful and unabashed in his take on the publishing and movie industries. Upon returning home, I immediately ran to the Bookman in Orange (they stock my two books, so I gotta pimp them out at every opportunity) and picked up a copy of Blood Sucking Fiends. 40 pages into it so far, and not disappointed.

  • Steampunk: The genre is becoming invasive in all facets of media. There were more people in steampunk costumes than any other genre, by my estimation. In the main exhibit hall, there were at least a dozen stalls selling steampunk paraphernalia: everything from clothing and jewelry to games, artwork, fully functional gadgets, and even a steam-powered brass vibrator (or maybe it was just a gun—I was afraid to pick it up to figure out which). Like the current zombie craze, I have mixed feelings about steampunk’s growing popularity. On one hand, with the popularity, longtime fans lose the exclusivity and prestige of being part of a small group in the know, but on the other hand, steampunk is pretty fucking cool and it’s nice to see more books, movies, and TV shows incorporating steampunk milieus. Plus, I actually know Tim Powers and James P. Blaylock, the two dude who more or less invented steampunk, so even if it does get popular, I’m still in pretty exclusive company. Take that, suckas!

  • Slutty Costumes: As cool as the steampunk getups were, the slutty girls still win the contest for garnering the most gawking. Like Halloween, Comic-Con gives ladies full license to whore it up, and not just the good looking ladies. I can’t tell you how many pasty, 200+ lb gals I saw dressed up like Princess Leia from the Jabba the Hut sequence in Return of the Jedi. I applaud the ladies for their gusto and lack of modesty, but still, my personal favorite was these ladies who dressed up like the girls from Sucker Punch. Well done, ladies. Well done. Even my girlfriend was gawking at you for a good five minutes. Only at Comic-Con.

-Garrett Calcaterra

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