I’ve only been to a comic convention once. It was the London Comic-Con in 2016.
It was actually when I was developing my former site New to Comics as part of a university project. My personal tutor claimed it would be foolish not to take advantage of going to a convention during the period we were all working on our respective MA final projects.
I had no complaints, obviously.
The experience was pretty fun. I went by myself, bought the three day pass, but obviously, being in London, it wasn’t quite the same as the monstrous comic conventions you see in the states, particularly San Diego Comic-Con.
I went to a few panels, perused the various stalls, got a chance to interview people like DC artist Gary Frank (Shazam, DC Rebirth, Doomsday Clock), writer and producer Mark Verheiden (The Mask, Battlestar Galactica, Heroes and the various DC TV shows) and comic-book writer Steve Englehart (The Avengers, Captain America, Detective Comics), and saw actors like Famke Janssen and Jeremy Renner’s table’s get swamped by adoring fans.
I also attempted to get an overpriced Chewbacca comic signed by the late Peter Mayhew, only to be scared away by the forty quid price. I got a handshake though, so that’s something. Seemed a lovely guy.
Anyway, as fun as that was, I always wanted to experience Comic-Con International. It’s where all the big news comes out. Where all the main things happen. I used to cover it when I wrote the news for Vulture Hound and I enjoyed the whole experience immensely, even if I wasn’t physically there.
So when the news came out that this year, due to obvious circumstances, comic-con would be moved online, I was pretty excited. I had planned to cover things as they came out, as if I were an actual attendant at the event.
But alas, I didn’t think ahead and consider that it’s an American event, so watching things live meant staring my comic-con day in the evening (UK-time), and going on until around 3/4am. Doable, obviously, but I like my sleep and I don’t think my girlfriend would appreciate me staying up until the early hours watching YouTube videos while she’s trying to get some shut-eye.
So, ultimately, I haven’t been as invested in the whole event as I planned. But I’ve watched videos in drips and drabs, and here are my three main take-aways so far:
First thing I saw was the New Mutants trailer. I haven’t watched the panel as of yet, but I’ve made a big playlist of all the videos I’m interested in that I’ll work through in the coming months.
Personally, I think it looks pretty wild in a good way. Looking back, I was also interested after watching the first trailer, but my god, it’s just been so long since this whole process of New Mutants release began. I can’t even remember how many times it’s been delayed at this stage, and for a while, I’d stopped caring.
This trailer though; it has it all. It keeps your focus with the various horror elements, making it stand out from it’s superhero movie peers, and yet simultaneously provides all the excitement and action that keeps people coming to see these blockbuster movies.
Compared to the other X-Men films, it looks weird and original in all the right ways, and I am once more quite excited for it.
The first proper panel I watched this year was Marvel’s Next Big Thing. They do this every year, where they talk about the various comics that are coming out and the events you should get hyped for.
I don’t really have much to say on this, because a lot of the information was already online due to the pandemic and the various delays it caused. Still, it’s nice to see creators, such as Tini Howard and the rest of the X-Men team, get so passionate about their work, and interesting how so many comic-book writers have a distinctive look about them: white, middle aged, big-bearded men. I’m not taking issue with that, so much as being amused by the fact every time editor-in-chief C.B. Cebulski would introduce a new group of writers to talk about their projects and they nearly all looked like someone’s nerdy uncle.
Not my uncles of course, they’re all clean-shaved African men, but y’know, someone’s uncle.
I’ve also been dipping in and out of the two of the big main drops Justice Con – the panels featuring Ray Fisher and Zack Snyder.
My relationship with Zack Snyder’s DC universe has been a bit of a roller coaster. I loved (LOVED) Man of Steel. It ignited my passion for Superman.
I did not love Batman v Superman. In fact, when I first watched it I really didn’t like it. I thought it was convoluted and disappointing. And before anyone wants to say I didn’t get it. I did get it. It just wasn’t for me. I was quite negative about the whole experience. Not in the same way some viewers went on to hurl abuse at the creators, but I was disappointed in the movie, and disappointed that this same creative team was going to be helming Justice League.
In the following years, I have grown to appreciate it a bit more. I don’t love it like some do. And I still don’t neccesarily think it’s good, but I can appreciate bits of it.
Similarly, my opinion on Justice League and Suicide Squad have also changed, although conversley this time it’s for the worse. I can watch Justice League and appreciate bits of it, but I think I was so overwhelmed by less bleak nature of the piece that it blinded me to it’s faults.
Same with Suicide Squad, I guess, but that movie has a lot more problems in my opinion.
Anyway, when the #ReleaseTheSnyderCut movie finally saw success, I was intrigued. I’m not wholly convinced that this movie will actually be good, but in the same way I was hopeful that I’d like Batman v Superman and the theatrical cut of Justice League, I’m hopeful that I’ll like this film. After all, out of the DC films he’s completed, I do like half of them.
But to bring it back to the convention, the Ray Fisher and Zack Snyder panels, while not full to the brim with huge news, were interesting. If you’re invested in this series, then it’s worth a watch, and even if you’re not a die-hard BvS fan, but like movies and superheroes, then I’d argue they’re worth watching just to really get a feel of their personalities.
They both seem like such lovely guys. Zack’s enthusiasm for the projects he’s been working on, regardless of whether or not you agree with the final results, are infectious, and knowing he’s had to go through the things he’s had, it makes me happy knowing he’ll get to complete his trilogy of films (I mean, kind of, it was meant to be five films originally, but that’s a different conversation).
Similarly, although he’s not a big name, Ray Fisher was just hugely entertaining to watch. He seems kind, caring and charismatic, and just seeing him talking about his thoughts on superheroes and his approach to standing up to injustice make me want this Snyder Cut to succeed, not because of my love of superhero movies, but just because all these actors and creators – I want all of this mess to end up being worth it for them. I want them to get their happy ending.
Anyway, before I head off, here’s five more videos that I plan on moving onto next. If you’ve got similar interests to me, maybe you’ll enjoy them.
First up, an evening with director and writer Kevin Smith:
Next, a talk on how to make comics:
DC’s own comic-con panel:
Charlize Theron reflecting on her career:
And the folks over at Collider (I miss when they did YouTube panel shows) chatting to a bunch of film directors:
There are plenty more videos coming out of CC@H, and many more that I plan to watch, but these are just some I’m looking forward to getting into. Hope you’ve had a great comic-con weekend, I’ll see you soon!