There may be red carpets and glamor and great big movie stars in great big movies, but at it’s big, beating, heart, Comic-Con is still about passionate fans of the popular arts, whether of the most arcane and all-but forgotten radio programs or comic strips to the most mainstream and squeal-worthy, like the next installment of the “Twilight” or “Iron Man” sagas.
I’ve said it before. Comic-Con is the Iowa caucuses of popular culture. For a while, there was some attempt to tie in the movies, television shows, books, games, and music on display here to comics. There was almost always some element of fantasy or action. But now even a suburban sitcom has come here to give its first previews. The Comic-Con audience is fearless — they never care what anyone else has said about something or whether it is cool or not. They are happy to decide what is cool and pass it on to the mainstream. By the time the kids who were too cool to talk to them in high school have caught on to whatever is approved here, this crowd will have moved on to something else.
Or by the time others have moved on, they will remain faithful. One of the most endearing aspects of Comic-Con is seeing the audience enthusiasm for people whose work has been overlooked or forgotten by the mainstream. It was a thrill to see a packed ballroom cheering for Stan Freberg, who talked about his experiences doing voices with Mel Blanc for more than 400 cartoons, helping to create “Beany and Cecil,” and revolutionizing advertising with his cheeky commercials for Pizza Rolls and Contadina.
One of yesterday’s highlights was a “Coraline” panel with author Neil Gaiman, writer/director Henry Selick, voice talent Teri Hatcher and Keith David, and some of the other people who worked on the movie. They brought some of the figures used in the film and the detail and sheer beauty were astonishing.
I’ll be posting more pictures later, plus my interviews with the Winner twins, two of the stars of the forthcoming “Boondock Saints 2,” and more, so stay tuned.