WWAC Roundtable: A Post-SDCC14 Rundown
If you were not at San Diego Comic Con this year, congratulations! You and countless others watched from afar, bitterly whispering to yourself “one day I’ll go”as you scrolled through the endless stream of announcements pinging your phone. You may also be saner for having stayed home, with more money in your pockets, too. It is just as likely that you are in the could-care-less-about-comic-con camp, a position that is not looked down upon in these parts. We are an increasingly large and varied group of tastes here at WWAC, which means we are equal parts excited and underwhelmed by the many announcements from this year’s SDCC. On to the staff reactions!
The past few years have seen such a large spectacle made of TV/film announcements, this year seemed non-eventful by comparison. That may be because comic book adaptations are so beyond the norm now, it’s business as usual for Hollywood; announcements about an upcoming superhero film are made week after week throughout the year. Even a year ago, I could have seen Warner Bros. saving those Superman: Dawn of Justice images for comic-con. It’s like everyone, from film studios, comic book publishers, and creators, have realized that projects are likely to be drowned out by the deluge of press releases at comic-con. The large investments made by studios in the past to promote at comic-con that did not translate to box office success might also have them scaling back their presence at SDCC, which would be preferential for many con-goers more interested in the source material anyway.
I always suffer a little envy for SDCC. I’d love to have the budget to go some year. I followed the Jim Lee sketch scavenger hunt and giveaway with delight. Guardians of the Galaxy has hit hype saturation with me, and is bordering on hype aversion. The Korra announcement really upset me. The Avengers 2 panel being after the “Women Who Kick Ass” panel was genius. As for the movie itself, I’m ambivalent. I’m excited about Rhodey and Falcon appearing, but disappointed about Josh Brolin (as Thanos).
I like to act like “SDCC, blah, overrated” but really, I’d be thrilled to go. Going to it is on my bucket list. I was happy to see so many women lead panels on the schedule this year, hopefully this gains traction at other cons, too. The one thing that I found really exciting out of the Eisner Awards was that Art Baltazar and Franco’s Itty Bitty Hellboy won the award for Best Publication For Early Readers (up to age 7). That was some cute shit.
I had an absolute blast attending last year as press and if it wasn’t so costly and exhausting to go, I would have been there this year, too. There is so much more to comic-con than movies and television, there really is something for everyone (and despite popular opinion, plenty of actual COMICS at comic-con). That doesn’t mean it is everyone’s cup of tea though!
In terms of “would I like to go,” absolutely not. It sounds noisy, hot, crowded and large, and once you factor in queuing and such, enormously dull. In terms of announcements made there, as far as I’m concerned they could have been made anywhere and I’d have been just as likely to hear about them. We get press updates from a lot of publishers no matter where they first tell other humans face to face, and I don’t think we’d be able to cover more if we were actually there!
Thinking about it as a cultural phenomenon, I care in terms of how much it seems to progress year by year (or if it does. You get me). I care that Kotex had a booth and that they seemed to approach as insiders (making fandom jokes, etc)—I’m interested to learn whether they were actively trans-inclusive. I care about harassment policies and how people with or without the right badges were treated here and there, and what have you. I was glad to hear that some Marvel panel was scheduled directly after a pro-women panel, forcing those interested only in the latter to hear the former, and we were glad to hear about the first SDCC panel on trans representation. But in the personal sense . . . SDCC means practically nothing to me.
This seemed like a very ho-hum year, announcement-wise. Last year, I was jazzed about the X-Men: Days of Future Past panel gathering its enormous, star-studded cast—and it proved to be my favorite superhero film of the year (so far). I’m becoming increasingly bored with the MCU, however, and their continued lack of diversity in their leading roles. For example, look at the Ant-Man panel. There have already been a million snarky jokes on the internet about how no one is really looking forward to an Ant-Man movie—especially with Edgar Wright off the project—and the news that Janet Van Dyne is pretty much a non-entity in the MCU while we’re getting two freaking Ant-Men is a sign of how much the MCU higher-ups don’t get it. Wasp was a founding Avenger! She NAMED the Avengers! Get your shit together, MCU.
On a more positive note, I’m really excited about the Steven Universe panel, which confirmed that at least 85 (!) new episodes are on the way, and Rebecca Sugar sang a cute new song from an upcoming episode.
I am looking forward to Ant-Man! I saw a lot of people complaining about the lack of BIG NEWS at the Marvel movie panel, but I wasn’t that surprised. It’s possible that they meant to announce at least one more thing at SDCC, like Dr. Strange casting, but couldn’t get contracts negotiated and signed in time. Things like that happen. I’d be pretty surprised if they announced their whole slate through 2019 anytime soon. Five years is a LONG TIME, especially in the entertainment business.
I imagine Marvel is also waiting to see how things go with GotG, which I am also looking forward to. They’ve already greenlit a sequel, but I know I’d want to see what challenges come with introducing the public to a slate of characters nobody’s ever heard of before announcing Captain Marvel, Black Panther, etc. I know people are anxious to see those characters—I am too!—but I want them to do it right. That takes a lot of groundwork-laying.
In actual comics news, when Marvel announced writers for their new Star Wars series, I said to myself, “I think I just became a person who reads Star Wars comics.” Jason Aaron and Kieron Gillen are two of my favorite writers right now, and Mark Waid has been a solid bet for years. Gillen’s writing a Darth Vader ongoing? Yes, please!
I was also really stoked to hear about Marvel’s upcoming Star Wars comics, but those announcements were a foregone conclusion after Disney (Marvel’s parent company) acquired Lucasfilm. It is also bittersweet to see these characters move away from Dark Horse, a publisher that has nourished this property and created a really exciting expanded universe that is now just . . . gone. Marvel has never really done right by anyone else’s IP (see their first attempt at Star Wars comics in the late 70s) so I’m hoping this will be a historical shift for them.
Me too! I read a lot of Dark Horse’s Star Wars comics back in the day, and the Star Wars EU-Dark Horse association is in there with my fond memories of childhood/teenage fandom. Even though the Dark Horse Star Wars universe won’t officially be a thing in Marvel continuity, I’m guessing / hoping that the new creators will have consumed a lot more Star Wars media than the creators of the 70’s comics, so they’ll have a more solid take on what a good Star Wars comic would be like.
For me, this was the standout announcement from the Big Two companies. Speculation and hints about the Marvel movies have been floating around the Internet for months, so the MCU news mostly confirmed what we already knew. Even the big reveal from DC—Wonder Woman’s costume in the upcoming Batman vs. Superman movie—wasn’t much of a surprise; I expected it to be fairly grim and gritty and yet impractical, and all of those expectations were fulfilled.
However, I am excited about the announcement that Season 5 of Game of Thrones will feature two Asian / Pacific Islander actresses (playing characters who don’t get victimized or assaulted)! Asian / Pacific Islander actors characters are seriously under-represented in fantasy media and often fetishized or passed over on mainstream TV, so this is a potentially major step forward.
I’ve never been to Comic-Con. It sounds EXHAUSTING, although I admit I’ve never been to a con where I wasn’t an exhibitor. You probably can schedule your day and take more rest breaks when you’re just an attendee, which sounds luxurious. I think I would have a good time as long as I didn’t get too emotionally invested in whether or not I got into particular panels. I would have fun checking out the show floor and looking at cosplayers, and I’m sure there are a ton of interesting panels I could sit through that are under-attended because everyone is lined up at Hall H!
I’ve never been to SDCC but I would like to go one year just for the experience. I love the con atmosphere and while SDCC may be overcrowded and even overhyped, I would still like to have that big geeky experience under my belt.
I was a tad underwhelmed with Marvel this year. I didn’t expect much since it seems like they’re trying to keep their future projects under wraps—perhaps because they can feel fans’ discontentment. If anything, I think MCU execs have become complacent. Fans have supported and clamored to them for years since DC has failed to produce anything of real worth. Now DC is getting a leg up. Even if fans aren’t excited for another grim dark tale of Superman vs. Batman starring the crack team of gritty Nolan and Synder, DC is bringing something to the table.
A character fans have been aching to see on the big screen—heck any screen since the original TV show—for years. While she’s not headlining, this is giving fans hope. If I have the choice of seeing Wonder Woman with a kickass costume being the amazing Amazonian princess that she is on the big screen versus watching Hank Pym kill Janet Van Dyne in a freak lab accident, I’m going to sit my butt down and force myself to watch every second of Batman/Superman angst and manpain for a few scenes of Wonder Woman.
MCU needs to start reflecting their comics that have never been more inclusive. In comparison, their movies aren’t just sorely lacking, they’re just outright lazy and offensive.
I’ve never gone to SDCC. In theory, it sounds lovely and I’m dying to go. In reality, I think I’d miss most of the bigger panels (if not all) because I’m not willing to wait in line or sit in Hall H for hours. I don’t pay attention to SDCC for comic news because it isn’t about comics. It’s dominated by TV and movie announcements and previews while the comics stuff gets drowned out for the most part, which is why I usually wait for the SDCC dust to settle before finding out what the word on the street is.
I was looking forward to Marvel/DC movie announcements and I was underwhelmed. DC/Warner Bros. won with no real effort because they gave us the first look at Wonder Woman’s first big screen costume. I like it, but I’m not a fan of the heels (the reasoning behind them, apparently, is that WW is supposed to be as tall as Superman/Batman and Gal Gadot isn’t). They also offered a teaser look at Superman: Dawn of Justice and, despite hating Man of Steel, I got a little excited because Batman and Superman are on screen together AND it’s loosely based on The Dark Knight Returns.
Marvel was a disappointment. They didn’t announce Captain Marvel, Black Panther, or a Black Widow film. They didn’t announce Doctor Strange casting. They only announced Guardians of the Galaxy 2 for one of the 5 dates they announced a week ago. Marvel just focused on their 2015 films and, yes, they’ll probably make the announcements at D23 but SDCC is where the fans are at! Plus side? Margaret Stohl announced she’s writing a Marvel YA book during SDCC, so I’m excited to find out what that is.
I agree on the anti-waiting-in-line stance. I went to Motor City ComicCon this last Spring and couldn’t stand to wait in line for anything. I’m burned out on lines, man. Would it have been cool to be sketched by Skottie Young, yes. Was I willing to wait an hour? Absolutely not. You should have heard me bitching while waiting in line for twenty minutes to buy a soda. But, I still had a great time at the con because of my deep love of people-watching and eavesdropping. That’s right—I’m a creeper. So even though I would refuse to wait in line for anything short of Lilli Carré and Phoebe Gloeckner giving me high fives at the same time, I would love walking around SDCC. Getting back on topic, I love that Stephen Colbert moderated the Hobbit movie panel.
Another “aye!” for queue-hating. Con-squash aside (though it’s a big factor), I just feel like a huge tool queueing. It makes me feel awkward and like an obstacle, especially amongst a lot of other people who are there for the same GENERAL reason but clearly not all that invested in the specific reason (queueing is fine in the street, because towns and cities make me belligerent). I can think of maybe a couple of people I’d bother for, but that’s no reflection on the quality of anyone else’s work—it’d have to be someone who’s work had made a circumstantially enormous impression on me.
If I was to go to SDCC I’d plan my trip well in advance. Crucial points: Where are the closest bars? Where are the closest quiet bars? Where are all my friends and favourites exhibiting and will they have lunch with me? Are there any secret passages in the convention centre, by which I might avoid hoards of cosplaying hyped up teens? Water fountains or bottle refill stations!?!? You can see where my priorities lie.
As far as this year’s SDCC announcements go, I’m going to level with you—unless I write these things down or set reminders on my phone, they’re gone from me in seconds. We already receive so many press releases that SDCC announcements just sink into that same stew. I need to actively decide to hang on to them or they go poof. And this year, just about everything to do with TV or movies went poof. Like David Brothers pointed out on io9, there was plenty to get excited about outside of Marvel/DC multi-media mega announcements of yawn. Just watching from home, it seemed like this was a particularly good con for professionals—and that’s something to be excited about. When creators and publishers are excited and making new friends and connections, I’m excited too—good comics don’t come from corporate positioning, they come from people building solid working relationships and friendships. Go go small press and indies!