Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Best Con Ever?

There is nothing on earth quite like Comic-Con and perhaps that’s a good thing because if there was I’m not quite sure I would survive it. Make no mistake there is NOTHING I look forward to or enjoy more each year than the annual geek-fest that is affectionately known simply as Con by all those who attend, the insanity that is the annual San Diego Comic-Con is enough to kill almost any man drawn out over a long enough period of time. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

This year marked approximately my twelfth appearance at Nerd-Mecca and I can honestly say this was maybe the second best Con I’ve been to. While I’m not sure anything will ever be able to top the 2007 Con when Paramount came out and for all intents and purposes drew a line in the sand and dared all the other studios to cross it, this one came pretty darn close. That was the year that we first witnessed the awesomeness that would be IRON MAN, saw bits of STARDUST, learned about STAR TREK and had George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and Harrison Ford address us all and with this one still so fresh in my mind it’s hard to say if this Con will live up to the infamy of 2007. I do however feel confident in saying that the 2009 Con definitely gave it’s predecessors a run for their money.

One of the things I find so fascinating about Con is just how HUGE it has become. When I started going a dozen years ago you could do the entire sales floor in day and still have time to kill. There were panels but most people were completely unaware of them and even if they were they tended not to care. Somehow all that changed several years ago and as a result Comic-Con has become THE biggest pop culture event in the world. If you are a studio and you want your product to get noticed you take it to Con and plaster it before the eyes of the 6,500 screaming fan-boys (And girls) huddled in Hall H.

Someone described Con as the biggest film festival in the world where no actual movies are screened, but honestly even that doesn’t really hold true anymore. This year alone saw screenings of DISTRICT 9, INGLORIOUS BASTERDS, TRICK OR TREAT and at least a half dozen other films that I can’t remember off the top of my head.

Simply put for 4 ½ days (Almost 5) San Diego is the epicenter of the entertainment industry. It used to be no one had a clue what I was talking about when I told people I was going down to Comic-Con, now literally every major news outlet in the world is there. CNN, Fox News, USA Today, The New York Times, G4, you name it they are all front in center reporting almost nonstop from what used to be barely a blip on everyone’s radar.

The Con has branched out from just the convention center and now infects the surrounding hotels and pretty much all of downtown San Diego. This year alone there were after parties for almost everything at almost every bar and restaurant in the Gaslamp District. HBO and TRUE BLOOD completely took over several places for most of the Con where you could buy beer in TRUE BLOOD glasses, with fangs floating in them. Disney created a walk through of many of the props from Tim Burton’s ALICE IN WONDERLAND as well as a recreation of its infamous tea party. They also took the time to devise a massive scavenger hunt that eventually led you to an exact recreation of Flynn’s Arcade from TRON complete with real working 80’s arcade games and a life-size Light Cycle.

Some people complain that Con has lost it’s specialness that it’s too commercial and that it’s gotten away from what it was really always meant to be about. I’m sorry but I think those people are dead wrong. Con has always been about celebrating the popular arts and specifically the geeky popular arts. They have exceeded at this in every way because for 4 ½ days (Almost 5) there is NO ONE cooler than the 120,000 people lucky enough to make it to Con. Over the past few years being a geek, in essence being who many of my friends and I have been our entire lives has become cool and this extended weekend lets us all celebrate and revel in it. This is why this year’s Con attracted the likes of Johnny Depp, Robert Downey Jr., Denzel Washington, Gary Oldman, Megan Fox, Sam Rockwell, Don Cheadle, James Cameron, Robert Zemmeckis, Peter Jackson and so many more that it would literally wear out my keyboard to type them all.

Needless to say there was a lot to take in and a lot to report on over the past weekend. Megan has done a great job of giving you an up to the minute blow by blow account of what we saw and over the next week or so I’ll be checking back in with some more in-depth reactions to everything we experienced. Just know that I am a very happy geek at the moment and despite the crowds and the insanity I’m already counting down the days until next year. You’ll be hearing from me again real soon.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I don't remember seeing Lucas at the Indy panel just Speilburg via sattelite.