July 22, 2011

Report on Comic-Con 2011

Thursday I attended the opening day of this year's San Diego Comic-Con. As usual, I went with my pal Victor, an enrolled Pechanga Indian. His young friends Rebecca, Eric, Avelaka, and Ava accompanied us.

As always, I looked for signs of Native and multicultural work. Though I wasn't on the floor that long, I didn't see anything that qualified. The only minorities on display were the usual fourth or fifth bananas in movie, TV, or comic-book casts.

Indians were even more invisible than usual, if that's possible. I didn't see any displays featuring them in Cowboys and Aliens or Twilight: Breaking Dawn. All I saw were:

  • The Tonto cover from Dynamite's LONE RANGER comic, now several years old.

  • A sign for Jason Momoa (part indigenous) as Conan the Barbarian.

  • A couple of old TUROK comics hanging on a wall.

  • Oh, and a split-second glimpse of this display:

    "Jeffrey Weissman aka George McFly signing autographs in Profiles in History's booth 1605 at Comic-Con 2011."

    Profiles in History is an auction house that sells pop-culture memorabilia. This time they were advertising the time-traveling DeLorean from Back to the Future III. As you may recall, the DeLorean pops into the Old West--only to be chased by a savage horde of Indians on horseback. Profiles in History had the car posed against a backdrop of these death-dealing Indians.

    Presumably the people at Profiles in History approved this; no one thought it was a bad idea. A shamefully stereotypical portrayal of Indians...and they duplicated it for their customers. If they sell World War II memorabilia next, will they put up a 10-foot banner of the Japanese as "slant-eyed devils"? Because that would be roughly the same thing.

    Other impressions

    As promised, the major studios cut back on their displays for movies. Again, there was almost nothing for Cowboys and Aliens or Breaking Dawn. Or for Captain America or Harry Potter, or the upcoming Avengers movie. About the only movie that got some advance publicity was the Spider-Man relaunch planned for 2012.

    Toy companies such as Mattel may have taken up the studios' slack. The biggest displays may have belonged to Hasbro, with its Transformers, Star Wars, and Nerf lines.

    Other trends:

  • Zombies were as big as ever, though vampires may be subsiding in popularity.

  • Lucasfilm had a large display for some reason. Between them and Hasbro, Star Wars items were everywhere.

  • More people seemed to dress up as DC comic characters than usual. This may have had something to do with DC's announcement of 52 new or improved comics.

  • Children's cartoon characters seemed more prevalent than usual.

  • I did get to spend an hour with Marilyn Thomas, an independent Native filmmaker from British Columbia. She's visiting Los Angeles for a few months to increase her profile and advance her projects. We talked about the differences between Hollywood (no creative control) and Canada's APTN (no money). And how challenging it is to brave the freeways and find your way around LA.

    And we had a couple of celebrity sightings, including Jon Heder from Napoleon Dynamite and Johnny Knoxville from Jackass. But that was about it for our time at Comic-Con.

    For more on the subject, see Pix of Comic-Con 2010 and Report on Comic-Con 2010.


    Anonymous said...

    In my nephews' generation, they've never even heard of Luke Skywalker. It's all about Ahsoka Mary Sue Tano.

    Yay for "vegetarian" vampires (You keep using that word.) losing popularity.

    Jaine said...

    Anonymous said
    "In my nephew's generation they've never even heard of Luke Skywalker..."

    take heart, my daughter (late teens) and her friends know and love Star Wars, but then none of them liked Twilight (books or movies)