Nerdvana. Geek Mecca. The Place of Hopes and Dreams. San Diego Comic Con. The ultimate pilgrimage for geeks world-wide kicked off last night with a the annual Preview Night, attended by professionals and a few thousand lucky general pass holders. It’s the night where you can get the jump on all the wicked exclusives put out by the myriad of companies, get a chance to rub elbows with creators, movers and shakers of the comic and entertainment world. And if you’re not careful, you will spend all of your well-saved cash in one evening.
Comic Con is unlike any other comic book or anime convention in the US. It is a true trade show, with the big comic book, video game and entertainment companies creating lavish displays and featuring all the amazing things to come out in the next year. They do have their fair share of vendors, hawking vintage comics, toys, and the general miscellany you would find at most larger shows. The artist alley and small press features a great array of well known and independent creators.
Preview Night did not disappoint. When I walked in I was immediately confronted by Optimus Prime, towering over me and beckoning me gander at the upcoming line of Transformers figures. Around the corner was My Little Pony, with a case displaying their two exclusives – glow in the dark Zicora, and a mighty size “Derpy Hooves,” a fan favorite in the pony community. To our immediate right a full line of Avengers toys begged to be played with.
The sights were overwhelming.
At one point my group stopped by to oogle the Monster High dolls. A gentleman told us we should attend their panel on Friday, I thanked him and remarked, “So you must have something to do with these toys, huh?” Thinking he may have been one of the designers, or at least a very knowledgeable booth worker. He smiled, extended his hand and introduced himself as Garret Sander, the creator of the dolls! Our group gushed, and my best friend exclaimed how his toys have had such a positive impact on her life – as a creative individual and fashion designer. Seeing Garret blush at that, and simply meeting him, made our night.
Then it was on to the big entertainment booths. Warner Bros. had on display the motorcycle Catwoman sports in the upcoming Batman: Dark Knight Rises film. Neill Blomkamp (District 9) had one of his space ships from his new flick Elysium out for show. The Hobbit display was one of my favorites, but I wasn’t allowed to look at it because one of my party refuses to see anything before the movie comes out. I will be visiting it today.
Even the TV networks had their A game, with life-size sets from AMC’s The Walking Dead, and teasers from the next season. Adult Swim invites fans to put on a “cone of shame” and win the ultimate Deathklok prize – a golden ticket to their Friday night concert and to meet with creator Brendon Small.
In the back corner, some big name video game companies were on hand demoing some very exciting titles. I played some of Transformers “Fall of Cybertron” and I can’t gush enough about the graphics and the multi-player’s side of the game . It’s like Halo, but with giant robots. Speaking of, Halo 4 was sporting some mighty fine merchandise and game play. Another title to be on the look out is DC and NetherRealms’ collab on a new Mortal Kombat-style fighting game – DC Injustice: Gods Among Us. The character designs are beyond epic, and if you loved Mortal Kombat vs. DC, this game is for you. I’m going to make a bee line for the Tomb Raider booth today, because Crystal Dynamics supposedly has some exciting new information to announce this weekend.
For a first timer, SDCC is overwhelming. There is so much to see and do and buy. Today, the big panels and all the announcements begin. If you want to get up-to-the-minute information, follow my twitter at http://twitter.com/mplacko. Phone willing, I’ll post everything I see and hear about as it happens. Otherwise, just wait for tomorrow.
Thanks to Pat Loika and Chris Maze for these amazing photos. You can see more shots from SDCC weekend on Pat’s flickr page right here.