San Diego Comic Con 2012 wrapped up last weekend, bringing the most dedicated of fanboys and fangirls together with the people and the swag that make them geek out the most.
SDCC has come a long way in recent years, evolving into a celebration of pop culture as geekiness continues to shed the social stigma it once had. And, with great popularity comes great publicity – SDCC has become a launching pad for movies and television shows that manage to make a big splash with the crowds. It’s also a great way for many to prep for Halloween – though, the way things are going, it wouldn’t be a surprise if it became vice versa. Comic-Con cosplay gets more artful every year, as fans show their love for their favorite characters. Then, there’s the swag. Can’t forget about the mounds of free stuff, or the merchandise that will end up on many shelves, to the chagrin of many significant others. Here are the highlights from this year’s Comic-Con.
It’s not Comic-Con unless people can spend hundreds of dollars on stuff that will sit on shelves for years to come. Comic-Con 2012 did not disappoint in the least.
The Hello Kitty x Street Fighter plush dolls were out in force, with Hello Kitty looking more ferocious than ever, done up as Chun-Li and Ryu. She’s also pictured donning the garb of the dictator, M. Bison, which is appropriate – she was well on her way to taking over the world, anyway. They were on sale at Comic Con, but the Hello Kitty x Street Fighter line is slated to spinning bird kick its way into Hot Topic, Sanrio stores, and Toys ‘R’ Us soon enough.
The Hoff was present for a celebration of Knight Rider, with KITT being unveiled in Hot Wheels form. Also making an appearance was the pictured 1:64 scale model of everyone’s favorite talking car. And, since this is Comic-Con, and Comic-Con demands the best, the scale model was stocked with audio files from the show itself. The perfect piece of merchandise for a classic television show, whose image can never be tarnished. Huh? What failed television remake? I don’t know what you’re talking about.
Loads of new LEGO sets and mini-figures were shown off at Comic-Con, including a glut of new superheroes that will satisfy fans of even the most obscure comic heroes. Both Marvel and DC characters will be getting the LEGO treatment, including Bizarro, Shazam, Venom, Phoenix, and loads more characters both more and less famous. The upcoming movie adaptation of The Hobbit will also be accompanied by new sets, and new Star Wars LEGO sets are on the horizon, because the world can never, ever have enough LEGO Star Wars sets. Then, LEGO Ninjago. Not really based on anything in particular, but, you know. Ninjas.
Marvel unleashed its five-year movie plan, featuring sequels to Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America. Iron Man 3 will feature Sir Ben Kingsley as the Mandarin, one of Iron Man’s greatest nemeses from the comics. Captain America: The Winter Soldier is the official name of the Captain America sequel, implying the return of Bucky Barnes as the Winter Soldier. The Thor sequel will be called Thor: The Dark World, and I’ll be honest, I’m not really sure what that’s in reference to. We can all expect to find out November of 2013. Iron Man 3 is set for release next May, while we’ll have to wait until 2014 for the next Captain America.
On top of that, Marvel teased movie versions of Ant-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy, in attempts to stir up excitement for the brand’s lesser known heroes. Before Comic-Con, there was a healthy dose of skepticism over the viability of the size-changing Ant-Man for the big screen. Test footage of a potential Ant-Man movie met with a warm reception at Comic-Con, though, increasing the chances that we could see the tiny superhero on the big screen sometime in 2014 or 2015.
But, Iron Man 3 being on deck, footage was required. Footage was delivered by none other than Robert Downey Jr. himself, so far into character that it’s getting a little hard to tell if Robert Downey Jr. and Tony Stark are even separate anymore. Downey Jr. (or Stark, take your pick) danced onto stage, waving to the crowd with an Iron Man-gloved hand. He capped it off by hanging out with kids in full Iron Man costume all weekend, to the delight of fans of all ages. Not a bad showing.
Marvel wasn’t the only one showing glimpses of what is to come on the big screen. Neill Blomkamp (District 9) is directing Elysium, which will feature a world thrown into poverty thanks to a bunch of rich people taking all the money and going to a space station in the sky. That space station, Elysium, has some nice medical technology. Matt Damon will star as a man dying of radiation poisoning, who could really use that nice medical technology. He doesn’t have any money. Fighting and explosions ensue.
Rounding out the list of promising movies were a new Godzilla that looks to be a throwback to the lone, unstoppable force of the original incarnations, followed by Pacific Rim, a movie being directed by Guillermo del Toro, which will also feature giant monsters, who will be fighting equally giant robots. Godzilla in particular got crowds excited, as the voice-over from Robert Oppenheimer, one of the creators of the atomic bomb, played in the background during the concept trailer suggested that the film will be a more serious take on Godzilla as metaphor for nuclear war, as it was with the original Japanese film.
A couple of new television shows slated for this fall made waves over the weekend. Arrow will appear on the CW, and will follow the original story of the Green Arrow, a DC comics hero who wields a bow and a bunch of souped-up arrows of his own creation. Being on the CW, there will be plenty of room for love interests, intrigue, and young and attractive stars and co-stars, but most on-hand for the pilot came away enthusiastic about Arrow, which looks to be another superhero success story for the CW.
Revolution will appear on NBC. The story picks up after every piece of technology using electronics on the Earth suddenly fails, without warning. Fifteen years later, the world has moved on, and sword fighting and crossbows are back in fashion. It is a J.J. Abrams show, though, so there’s always the chance that it will be awesome for a few years before going off the rails. Let’s hope it can stay on track – we don’t want to end up in purgatory again.
I would also be remiss in failing to mention that The Venture Bros, on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim, will be returning for a fifth season in 2013. Any show that features David Bowie as a recurring character (as the head of a worldwide villainous organization) and a super-villain dressed as a monarch butterfly needs to be savored while it lasts.
Last, but not least, the part that makes Comic-Con truly unique. Cosplayers were out in force, and while there were too many zombies to count, there were a few particularly inspired outfits that managed to stand out from the crowd.