With the annual San Diego Comic-Con now over, I would like to take the time to share my own experiences I had while I was at the event over the course of this past weekend. Comic-Con has become one of the biggest events of the year for entertainment and pop culture. Each year it’s becoming increasingly difficult to attend as a fan. With hundreds of thousands of attendees each year, the convention has truly become the center of pop culture and fandom.
My experience this year was definitely one to remember. I was lucky enough to be able to attend the convention for free because for the last two years I have been a member of the volunteer program. What that means is as a volunteer you can attend any or all of the 4 days of the convention for free as long as you volunteer for 3 hours each day you attend. So instead of having to play luck of the draw with trying to purchase badges each year, I am able to attend the biggest nerd event of the year, in my own city, for free!
My first day of the convention was pretty uneventful but still filled with a lot of cool experiences. When I arrived to the convention center, the trailer for the upcoming DC Universe series Titans dropped and was the buzz of the morning. Everywhere I went I overheard everyone voicing their thoughts on the controversial trailer. I really enjoyed the trailer myself, and if the talk of that trailer was any indication, I knew this Comic-Con was going to be an interesting one for sure.
In the early portion of the day before I had to report for my volunteer assignment, I was casually walking through the sails pavilion and I walked by Helen Slater (who portrayed Supergirl in 1984), John Barrowman (who portrayed Malcolm Merlyn in the Arrowverse) and Benedict Wong (who portrays Wong in Doctor Strange and Avengers: Infinity War). These celebrities all had their own designated booths where they were selling photos and autographs to fans. Even though I didn’t have any direct interaction with these individuals it was still a pretty amazing experience to see them all in person.
When it came time to report for my assignment for the day I was lucky enough to not be needed so I was given the rest of my day to do whatever I wanted at the convention. The rest of my day was spent mostly walking the convention floor, going to the Mattel both where they had an Aquaman display, full of action figures, dolls, a life-sized figure of Black Manta, and Aquaman’s trident where you can take a photo holding it. I spent a lot of time at the DC Comics booth where they have full displays of the suits and costumes worn in both Aquaman and Shazam. While I was at the DC booth I did manage to see and speak to Tiffany Smith (the host of DC All Access and guest on Collider Jedi Council) and see Geoff Johns while he was signing autographs. The DC booth is always one of my favorite places to be while on the floor because I’m such a huge DC fan as well as the fact that there’s so much to do while there as a fan of these characters. As my first day at the convention came to a close, I took the opportunity to try my luck at the Funko booth to try to get a convention exclusive Pop! figure. I did manage to walkaway with a Cad Bane figure.
The following day I got up extra early, because that morning was the panel for Young Justice: Outsiders and I knew that would be a hard panel to get into. When I got to the room where the panel would be held, the line was already wrapped around the entire room. After nearly 2 hours of waiting, we were let inside and I managed to get a seat right in front of the panel. The panel consisted of art director Phil Bourassa, executive producers Greg Weisman and Brandon Vietti, voice director Jamie Thompson, and voice actors Troy Baker (Geo-Force) and Stephanie Lemelin (Artemis). It began with the amazing new trailer for the upcoming season. The panel itself was probably the most enjoyable panel I had ever been to. The show runners and vocal talent gave little insight into the new season beyond small bits of detail regarding some of the new characters but still gave the audience enough to hold them until the series returns. As a huge fan of the show, it was definitely a fun time had by all in attendance and I myself can’t wait for the new season.
Following the panel and my volunteer assignment for the day, I was casually walking through the floor and saw Superman writer Dan Jurgens. His work on the death and return of Superman arc in the 90’s laid the groundwork for much of the character’s story arcs of the last few years. As a lifelong fan of Superman, I couldn’t help but talk to him and ask for his picture. While it was a brief conversation it was truly an honor to speak to someone who I consider an idol and legend within the comic book industry. His recent work on DC Rebirth is also pretty incredible and got me back into reading comic books again. This is an example of how amazing Comic-Con can be—you can be casually walking around and end up running into one of your idols. No other nerd experience can really beat that feeling.
My day closed out with a pretty significant event, the world premiere of the latest DC animated film, The Death of Superman. I’m not sure how but I managed to get a front row screening to the premiere/panel of the film. The film itself was definitely better than I thought it was going to be. I thought to myself initially, like many others, “Why do we need another adaptation of this story? We have seen it once in animation and in live action already, why?” But this interpretation of the story was more faithful to the original source material than the previous animated film. Also this film is the first of two parts leading up to The Reign of the Supermen. Following the film the cast and crew came out featuring the voice talent of Jerry O’Connell (Superman) and, Rebecca Romijn (Lois Lane), among many others. This panel and screening was a great way to cap off an already amazing day at the convention. The film comes out digitally on July 24th and on Blu Ray on August 7th! If you’re a Superman fan this is a film you don’t want to miss.
My final day at the convention was easily the most enjoyable and the most eventful. It began with myself attending the Avatar: The Last Airbender fan panel featuring the voice cast of Dante Basco (Zuko), Jack De Sena (Sokka) and Dee Bradley Baker (Oppa, Momo and other creatures). I was unable to stay for the entirety of the panel but it was pretty awesome seeing the voice actors and hear them read some of the recent Avatar graphic novel in their characters voice after all these years. Even after 10 years the fanbase is as strong as ever and this panel proved that with the amount of people who got up early like I did to attend the panel.
Following my early exit of the Avatar panel, I headed back downstairs to the DC booth where I waited for nearly two hours for the casts of Aquaman and Shazam to show up for their signings as well as the debut of the new trailers for the films. In that time I was able to watch the trailers for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindlewald and Godzilla: King of the Monsters, both in my opinion were incredible. Godzilla especially wowed me in the visuals and score alone. Those trailers were both good warm ups to what to expect from Aquaman and Shazam. Around 1:00pm the cast shows up with me having a pretty close view of them. The first to appear is Patrick Wilson (Orm). As no one immediately recognized him, I took the opportunity to say hi to him and he waved back at me. Following him was Yahya Abdul Mateen II (Black Manta). I, again, took the opportunity to say hi to him and he actually had a conversation with me! He asked me for my name and what I thought of the suit and of course I told him how awesome I thought it was and how excited I am to see him in action. The rest of the cast soon followed, including Jason Momoa (Aquaman), Amber Heard (Mera), Nicole Kidman (Atlanna), and director James Wan.
Once the cast had finished the signing, Tiffany Smith announced the new trailer and it immediately begins playing. The entire crowd was enraptured by the trailer, myself included. There wasn’t a single moment in the trailer that I wasn’t glued to the screen. That was until Zachary Levi and the cast of Shazam showed up at the end of the trailer for their own signing. As a fan of the DCEU seeing both casts made my entire day. While I couldn’t stick around to see the trailer for Shazam, being there in person to see the cast was enough for me.
Not very many people get the chance that I do to experience events like this. Comic-Con is easily one of my favorite times of the year. Being lucky enough not only to live in San Diego, but also to be able to attend Comic-Con for free is something I’ll always be grateful for. I only wish more people can experience the same things I have been able to. With Comic-Con 2018 now at a close, I think I can confidently say that this was one of my favorite cons of the eight that have attended in my life. Now we must wait a whole year to see what the next Comic-Con has to offer.