Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Comic-Con: Etc. and Misc.

posted by Nell Minow

I saw Gamer Grub, a specially designed “performance” snack for gamers that won’t leave crumbs on the keyboard or make their fingers sticky.

A lot of people were walking around with dripping wounds on their faces. It turned out to be a promotional temporary tattoo from the “Dexter” people. There was real blood, however, at the Robert A. Heinlein Blood Drive, an annual tradition at Comic-Con.

Among the highlights of Comic-Con for me each year are the presentations from the Comic Arts Conference, an association of academics who conduct serious scholarly analysis of comics, graphic novels, and sequential art. I truly enjoy their serious, thoughtful engagement and especially their vocabulary, using terms like “meta-panels,” “panopticonism,” “historiographic meta-fiction,” “inexpungable relativity,” “multivocality,” and “ret-con.” And I like to think about the way that comic book stories, carrying the same characters through decades of real time, provide an opportunity for scholars to think about the power and possibilities of endless narratives carried forward by many different people through many different eras.

A group of superheroes took on a group of virulent haters when Comic-Con attendees staged a protest against Fred Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Church.

You can buy tribbles at Comic-Con, and these are guaranteed not to reproduce.

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One of my favorite promotions this year was for the forthcoming “Skyline,” about a strange light that sucks people up into the sky. They had a truck that launched small, ghostly white “bodies” made of soap bubbles that floated up past a huge sign for the movie.

No staples, no need for Mylar bags, and your mother can’t throw them away — there are now digital comics for you to read on your iPad or computer. But what will happen to all of the meticulous grading and how do you buy and sell vintage digital comics?

At the huge “Tron” session, the film-makers recorded the audience and promised to include their cheers in the movie.

Movie stars like Harrison Ford, Angelina Jolie, Sylvester Stallone, and Robert Downey, Jr. get a big reception from the crowd at Comic-Con. But they also go wild for Janet Waldo, Stan Freberg, and Tom Kenny. If you know who they are and want to hear a funny story told by Janet Waldo, send me an email at moviemom@moviemom.com

The biggest announcement of this years Con was the cast for “The Avengers” movie, to be directed by Con favorite, Joss Whedon.

Everything is mutli-platform and omnimedia. TV shows spin off games. Games spin off movies. Both spin off comics and graphic novels and they spin off movies, television shows, and apps. I played Glee karaoke for the Wii and it was a blast.

Most popular questions at the panels: What are the DVD extras? How do I get your job?
You are AWESOME! (Yes, I know that’s not a question, but apparently, some people do not.)

No one really was stabbed here, despite news reports. A guy poked another guy in the face with a pen. Everyone is fine.

I spoke to Neil Kaplan, a voice-over actor (he once voiced Optimus Prime) who has created a non-profit group called Audio Theater for Our Troops. He hopes to build a library of audio materials to send to military forces for entertainment and support.

A guy standing at the microphone to ask a question was wearing a black hood and long cloak. The moderator called on him, “Uh, the next question is from, uh, Death?” The guy in the cloak responded with as much dignity as he could muster: “I am a Sith Lord.”

I was captivated by a book called Boilerplate: History’s Mechanical Marvel and got a chance to speak to the co-author, Anina Bennett. She told me her husband is a graphic designer and history buff who originally wanted to write straightforward historical adventure stories that evolved into a graphic novel and then evolved into a book that took a fictional inventor and his fictional invention, a robot, and put them into real, historical events. “People get turned off by the way history is taught,” she told me. Inspired by Gore Vidal and the Flashman books, the two of them worked together to tell true stories through the adventures of the robot, illustrated with astonishingly authentic-looking historical artifacts. The book is simply gorgeous and very inviting, and there is a brief but excellent teachers guide available. J.J. Abrams has announced he will make the movie.

There are enormous displays on the Exhibition floor, some costing a quarter of a million dollars. We could have our photo taken on the throne of Asgard, in the zombie house from “The Waking Dead,” or lifting a car like the superhero members of “No Ordinary Family.” But what I found most moving and inspiring was the rows of displays from people with their own comics and graphic novels. It isn’t the marketing blitz; it’s the power of imagination and the need to tell stories that is the real energy behind Comic-Con. And I cannot express how impressed I was with the talent, dedication, and professionalism of everyone I spoke to.

Can’t wait for next year!

And yes, there are two more Comic-Con posts coming, one on movies and one on television. Stay tuned. And if you’ve read this far, send me an email at moviemom@moviemom.com with Comic-Con in the subject line. First one will win a Comic-Con souvenir.



  • Alicia

    I love, love, love the ComicCon protest against the Westboro Baptist Church. Satire is the perfect way to deal with those without a sense of humor. Bravo.

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