Monday, July 16, 2012

The Confectionery - 8 - SDCC

These are the things that I think are great.  So great that I want to sing about them.

My favourite things of the week all come courtesy of Comic-Con.  Every year it sounds amazing, & every year I wish I had gone.  One day, I will get there.  It is written.

Not just a mecca for hardcore comic book readers & gamers anymore, there is probably something at Comic-Con for everyone.  If you don't care about The Hobbit (?!?!?), you might like to see a panel with creators & stars of The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, True Blood, Community, Twilight, or Kevin Smith.  No?  Maybe play the new Tomb Raider game?  Check out the art of Tim Burton?  LEGO?  The Mattel display featuring Greyskull?

Who doesn't like Greyskull?
 If all else fails, there's this:

Hundreds of thousands of fans descend on Comic-Con every year, & it's more mainstream than ever. The media still call Joss Whedon a "cult favourite"...yet he is behind the 3rd biggest movie of all time, co-wrote Toy Story, & has created shows with mass appeal.  We are all embracing our nerdiness like never before, because really, everyone is nerdy about something they love, right?  Whether comic books, film, TV, video games, music, food, sports, science, beer, architecture, the octopus, foreign policy...when you love something, you obsess over it.  The thirst for more knowledge never goes away.

Comic-Con...I will forever want to be there, & here are a few examples of why it is such a shiny shindig.  Before I get started, let's be honest - if you read my Confectionery blogs, you know of my love for Firefly.  So I'll get most of the non-Firefly stuff out of the way first, because there's a lot of Firefly love here.

It's hard to tell if this is Robert Downey Jr. appearing at Comic-Con for Iron Man 3, or Tony Stark appearing at a Stark Expo.  Whichever guy this is, I WANT TO GO TO THERE.

Later, he crashes an Iron Man Costume Contest for kids.  Super cool, super cute.  Watch & imagine how star-struck all those hidden faces must be.

The Hobbit panel previewed 12 minutes of The Hobbit to rave reviews, & also featured an adorable surprise guest, Elijah Wood.  Watching this, I realize I am now in love with Richard Armitage's voice. At 12:13, just try to keep yourself from sighing.

Also, the first LEGO set based on the upcoming Hobbit movies was revealed at Comic-Con.  Unlike the darker Helm's Deep, & Shelob Attacks sets under the Lord of the Rings title, this set features an adorable Bag End, with characters Gandalf, Dwalin, Bombur, Bofur, Balin & Bilbo.

You can see more photos here, including detailed shots of Middle-earth maps on the ground behind the hobbit hole.

San Diego's Petco Park was transformed for Comic-Con into "a ballpark infested with zombies where you will climb, crawl, hide & slide your way to safety".  To add to the realness, the zombie makeup was done by the creative team behind The Walking Dead.  Check it out:

I am a huge fan of both the graphic novels & AMC series, & I can say without a doubt that I would never do this.  I don't do haunted houses - I can't even handle anyone following me up the stairs.  I'm confident that if I had attempted this obstacle course, someone would have found me curled up in a garbage can, sobbing, on the last day.  You do not want me on your zombie apocalypse team, unless you plan to use me as bait.  I can't argue with that logic.

Zachary Levi understands the power of fans.  When his series Chuck was threatened with cancellation in 2009, fans took it upon themselves to not only write letters, but purchase sandwiches in a campaign for Subway sponsorship.  Watch this video of Zachary Levi leading Chuck fans in a mass exodus to a Subway shop to save Chuck.  It worked.

Last year, The Nerd Machine (a company founded by Zachary Levi) launched a separate event in San Diego at the same time Comic-Con was on.  The idea was to host small panels, Q&As, gaming events & parties on a more intimate scale than Comic-Con.  All proceeds go to Operation Smile, & last year $40,000 was raised.  This year it was on track to make $100,000 (no figures have been released as of now).  It is an amazing grass-roots event that this year had fans tweeting about being at a Nerd HQ dance party, sandwiched between Felicia Day & Joss Whedon.  Panels included Dr. Who, Damon Lindelof, Twilight, Joss Whedon, Nathan Fillion, Seth Green, & Zac himself.  Of course, the one I will embed is the wonderful Joss Whedon panel. 

All other panels can be viewed at, & you can read great blogs about the Nerd HQ experience here.

At 3am Friday morning, fans who were camped out overnight to get into the Firefly 10th Anniversary panel were awakened by Joss Whedon.  Joss went down the line to see everyone who was there, taking photos & signing autographs for the people who love Firefly as much as he does.  How can you not love this man? 

You can read an in-depth blog by someone who was there here.

If you've never seen Firefly, maybe you don't understand the big deal around this gathering for a 14 episode series that's been off the air for a decade.  Firefly was treated poorly by FOX - episodes were aired out of order, timeslots were changed abruptly - & it was cancelled after 11 episodes had aired.  The fans rallied & eventually Firefly was resurrected in the form of a movie, Serenity.  Firefly & Serenity continue to have a massive fan base, & if you have yet to watch this phenomenal series, please do so.

The panel itself was both hilarious & touching, & at times deeply emotional.  Much has been said about the love between the cast & crew of Firefly, & it is apparent that this is still true, 10 years later.  Firefly meant a great deal to everyone. The Science Channel will be airing a TV special about this reunion on November 11th.

The entire panel is worth watching, but here are a few highlights:

At the 16:47 mark, Adam Baldwin explains the origins of the infamous Jayne hat, likening it to "a birthday cake in a wasteland".
At the 24:23 mark, watch the hilarious mugging of Nathan Fillion when Joss gets sidetracked before answering "Why was Nathan the perfect captain for the Serenity?", & then watch as he can't contain his emotions when Joss finally answers.
At the 43:10 mark, Nathan delivers a beautiful sentiment about the ending of the show.
At the 47:48 mark, Joss is overcome when asked "What do the fans mean to you?"  Virtually everyone on the panel is in tears along with him as a standing ovation cheers him on.  He finally ends with a touching tribute to the fans & damnit, I'm crying again.

If that's not enough Firefly Comic-Con coverage for you, the post-panel press conference is just as entertaining & moving. Here it is, split into 3 parts.

As Nathan said, "When Firefly died, I thought it was the worst thing that could possibly happen.  And what I realize now, 10 years later, looking out onto this room, is that the worst thing that could have happened is if it had stayed dead.  That it died, is ok."

And as Joss said, "Can everyone tweet that I said that?  I don't want him to have the best."

Those were my favourite internet sweets of the past week.  Come back next week for more goodies!

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