July 25, 2008

Report on Comic-Con 2008

My pal Victor Rocha and I spent a few hours on the Comic-Con floor Thursday. Here's what we observed:

  • The major comic-book companies have had a smaller presence in recent years. This year they seemed smaller than ever.

  • As usual, movie studios and TV networks advertised their wares. The latest Hollywood juggernauts got their due, with displays for Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and Dark Knight along with the upcoming Watchmen and Star Wars: Clone Wars.

  • Toy companies were a major force this year, with large displays by Mattel, Hasbro, Lego, and a company called Sideshow Collectibles. A lot of the smaller booths were selling statuettes, dolls, stuffed toys, clothing...anything but comics.

  • Making up for the lack of major comics companies was the incredible diversity of independent comics and artists. The talent and creativity on display in booth after booth was nothing short of amazing.

  • For some reason, zombies were big this year. You could find a zombie version of almost anything--for instance, Hot Zombie Chicks and Zombie Jesus.

  • Once again, there were almost no minority-related projects. (That's not counting Japanese anime, which isn't minority-related in Japan.) A few black-owned comic books and that was about it.

  • The Indian presence at Comic-Con was almost nil. Victor bought an oversized book of Edward S. Curtis photographs and a copy of Native Americans in Comic Books by Michael Sheyahshe, which is finally out. He also bought a print of worried-looking cowboys facing--wait for it--zombie Indians. We saw a toy diorama of savage Indians chasing Indiana Jones and a splash page from an old Tonto comic. Other than that, Indians were basically invisible.

  • The show seemed a little less crowded than previous years--perhaps because they didn't sell daily passes at the door. Attendees had to be pre-registered. But a few times we hit crowd conditions approximating a can of sardines--especially when someone foolishly designated an aisle "one way."

  • Celebrity sightings: Avery Brooks of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, John Barrowman and Gareth David-Lloyd of Torchwood, boxer Randy Couture, and the inevitable Lou ("Hulk") Ferrigno.

  • For a look at all the wackiness, see Pix of Comic-Con 2008.

    Below:  John Barrowman in Torchwood, a good British sci-fi series similar to The X-Files.


    Anonymous said...

    Since you've brought him up: John Barrowman is actually an interesting case study for the comics/politics overlap right now. He's in talks to play Captain America, but he's getting flack from fans who (for some reason) don't want a gay actor in the role.

    writerfella said...

    Writerfella here --
    John Barrowman as Captain America would get writerfella's seal of approval. Next, let's talk Shia LaBeouf into playing Robin to Christian Bale's BATMAN...
    All Best
    Russ Bates

    Rob said...

    I don't care if the actor playing Captain America (or any superhero) is gay. All I care about is whether he's right for the role.

    Unfortunately, Barrowman doesn't look or act remotely like the standard conception of Cap. He's too smug and cocky to play the relentlessly sincere and heartfelt Avenger.

    Nor should it be anyone in the Tom Cruise/Matthew Mcconaughey/Ben Affleck mode. Rather, the role should go to someone who can project Cap's belief in the American Dream--a Matt Damon type.

    I could almost see a limited actor like Jason Statham getting the role. After all, Cap is supposed to be stiff and awkward with people. But Barrowman? I don't think so.

    alanajoli said...

    Jason Statham's got the actual martial arts work down, too, so there's a plus. That's always a plus for anyone in my book, though, as fight choreography trumps CGI for me.

    Given the size and expanse of comic con, why do you think there was such a small showing of minority-based projects? Is that indicative of what's there in the industry now? Or is that just what was at the con?

    Rob said...

    Good point, Alana. Most superhero fights--indeed, most movie fights--look kind of staged. Someone like Statham could bring more realism to the role.

    I've commented on the minority presence at Comic-Con for years. It's been better, but I don't think it's ever been good. And I don't know why. It may be the lack of minority projects in the industry plus the prohibitive cost of renting a booth.

    But I'm glad to report that Arigon Starr made her annual trek to Comic-Con. Even if we didn't see her, that makes two Indians at the event.

    writerfella said...

    Writerfella here --
    Unusual for writerfella, but Jason Statham now gets the vote. Problem: as a trained actor, can Jason do an American accent?
    All Best
    Russ Bates