San Diego Comic-Con is like Mardi Gras for sci-fi/fantasy/horror lovers -- a chance to party down with other fans, catch exclusives and rub elbows with the writers, artists, actors and creators who make all the stuff about which we love to geek out. As the 2014 edition recedes into memory, we take a look back at our favorite parts of the event. Check it out below!
As claustrophobic as it can seem sometimes with thousands of people crammed in there, there's nothing quite like being in Hall H when you're seeing something that no one else has seen before and the crowd is going wild. That moment for me came this weekend during the unveiling of the footage for The Avengers: Age of Ultron at Marvel Studios' panel on Saturday. Not only was the footage itself incredible, but to hear and see 6,000 fans lose their collective minds as we watched the Hulk throw a car at Iron Man -- something we've only ever experienced in the pages of comic books and in our own imaginations -- was and always will be an unadulterated rush of geeky joy.
I know it's not a popular thing to say these days, but it was the comics whenever I got away from the press rooms. I got down on the floor each day and got into the publisher booths and Artists' Alley and saw lots of activity and money spent. Sure, the older retailers selling back issues will complain about the way Comic-Con doesn't fill their pockets, but as a consumer, I'm there to meet comic-book creators, to buy comic books from them or the publisher and show them where I like to spend my money, because that's what shapes the health of comics. Panels regarding comics were packed, and there was an excitement about many homes of creator-owned comics and upcoming projects, especially at Image, Dark Horse, IDW, Oni, Boom/Archaia and many others. To me, it was unmatched by whatever was being announced in the movie and TV world.
Comic-Con is always a blur of press rooms for me, but I do try to get some "me geek time" on the floor before the whole things goes *poof* on Sunday. This year, I was able to make it to the Alien: Isolation booth to get a look at the gameplay for the upcoming Alien sequel videogame. The featured level looks amazing and ratcheted my pre-order expectations through the roof. Movie-wise, talking to Guillermo del Toro about Crimson Peak and then visiting Legendary's haunted house experience on the floor also gave me the gothic vapors for his upcoming film featuring Tom Hiddleston and Charlie Hunnam. Did I also mention I had a Butterbeer doughnut? Yeah, that was a moment, too.
I was wearing a Batman 1966 utility belt replica, he had on a Mouse Rat Pawnee concert tee and hers was a Luke Skywalker/Zelda mashup. We probably all had an adult beverage in hand. After a long day running around, I'd just completed a presentation at the National Geographic Channel Nerd Nite, held at the SILO in the Maker's Quarters outdoor space. My talk had been on 1939, and the world that Batman entered 75 years ago, and I was super beat. But the young couple came up on the side of the stage to discuss my presentation, and we proceeded to geek out for a half hour. Before they approached, I could think of nothing but bed, but these folks energized me as we covered everything from Batman's proclivity for killing in the early days, the Scott Snyder/Greg Capullo Batman run, and a hodgepodge of other nerdy topics. This was a pure moment, and what I really think San Diego Comic-Con is all about. It is about partaking in a community of passionate fans and letting the adventure take you through some awesome experiences. We also took a dozen photos Batman poses with both of them wearing the utility belt -- as you do when you have a utility belt. Well, that and fight crime.
Each year, San Diego Comic-Con gets bigger and more aggressive. The lines are longer, the weather's hotter, and the price of merchandise continues to skyrocket. My favorite thing about the Con had nothing to do with panels or interviews; it was about spending time with my Blastr family. After years of working together online, a group of us finally met face to face. I got to talk sci-fi with professional nerds at the world's largest geek gathering. It doesn't get much better than that!
Comic-Con 2014 was awash in Oculus Rift experiences -- at various locations in and around the show, you could use the nifty VR headset to stand on Game of Thrones' Wall, operate Cerebro and visit Sleepy Hollow, among other things. But as a long-time lover of mecha and giant robots, my ultimate rush was Legendary's Pacific Rim Oculus Rift show, in which I got to ride along in a Jaeger as Charlie Hunnam's voice and digital persona guided me through a battle with a kaiju. It wasn't quite as cool as actually piloting my own giant robot, but for those 90 seconds, it was a hell of a ride, and pretty awe-inspiring for this PacRim fan.
Were you at San Diego Comic-Con 2014? Did you follow it online? What was your show highlight? Let us know in the comments.