San Diego Comic-Con 2017 - Line Buddies
With Chris Lopez on July 21, 2017

This is the second update from Chris Lopez at the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con. - editor

Comic-Con cultivates many things among fans, and patience might be foremost of them. I thought I had seen it all coming from the world of theme parks and consequently long lines (Central Florida) but no one told me about the infamous Hall H lines at San Diego Comic-Con. These lines are comprised by groups and individuals willing to wait over 24 hours just to get a wrist band to be able to wait in another line to get into Hall H the next day where they could (if they wanted to) wait over 24 hours again!

So what makes it worth the wait? Around 7000 people crowd into this massive ballroom to watch never before seen trailers for forthcoming mega blockbusters and hit TV series. In addition to these sneak peaks, lead crew and cast form a panel to reflect on the meaning of their projects and share their experiences in making them. What’s interesting is that now most of the “releases” end up online much faster, usually thirty minutes after the panel. So why irrevocably damage your neck lying on a frayed blanket on the sidewalk? Based on the responses from the people around me: the anticipation, the opportunity to meet people as devoted to these stories as you, and, obviously, to say, “I saw it first!”

While I’m loving the adrenaline-pumping thrill of Comic-Con and meeting new people, it just didn’t seem worth it. But then we saw a couple, which my wife had met while eating breakfast, waiting in the wristband line – they had a prime spot. After brief introductions, the husband, Scott, belted, “Pull out you chair and sit with us!” Overcome by this generosity, I kept asking, “Really? Why?” His reason: “Someone did this for us last year, and we wanted to do the same for first-timers this year.” And like that, we had made line buddies with a couple from Northern California and a twenty-two year old university student from Mexico who comes up to Comic-Con every year.

The benefit of having line buddies at Comic-Con is that you can take turns holding the group’s place in line so each person can get to the many other panels and events held throughout today. And because of the generosity of Scott and Stella, I was able to get to see some great stuff while attaining my wristband – woot!

My first panel was the 5th annual Musical Anatomy of the Superhero Film panel (cool name, but a mouthful). Each year this panel hosts some of the industry’s finest composers who have scored highly successful and highly anticipated action films and comic-book adaptations, among their many other accolades. This year joining the panel was Brian Tyler (Thor: Dark World, Avengers: Age of Ultron) Dave Russo (Rage Against Machine, Gotham) Mark Isham (Blade, Once Upon a Time, The Accountant, Cloak & Dagger) and Ludwig Gorannson (Creed, Black Panther). Each composer brought along with him either an audio clip or scene from a film to demonstrate their work and illustrate their reflections. It was fascinating to hear how these accomplished artists navigate the dehumanizing push-and-pull of scoring for major motion pictures. Gorannson finds it an exciting artistic challenge that engenders subversive creativity, which aspires towards good music and honors the shared cultural text. At the end of the panel there was a Q&A session where a young woman asked the panelists for their thoughts on why the community of music composers for motion pictures is so homogenous in terms of race and gender and how they think that could change into something more diverse.  About half of the room roared with approval, and the panelists fumbled their way to an unsatisfying “We don’t know.” Overall it was a great panel and had me anticipating forthcoming series like Cloak & Dagger and Gotham – be on the look out!

In the afternoon, Marvel Comics held a panel comprised by editors, writers, and illustrators; Marvel Legacy is the banner under which the publishing company will introduce news titles and build current titles upon the recent events chronicled in Secret Empire. Marvel Legacy will also bring classic moments from beloved and critically acclaimed moments in some of Marvel’s comics history. Along with being homages to the great work of the past, their aim is to fuse the meaning and history of past comics with the new characters and titles of the present. Among the new titles, some big mentions are: Captain Marvel: Dark Origins; Doctor Strange; Thanos: Thanos Trumphant; All New Guardians of the Galaxy; The Immortal Ironfists. The diverse group of Panelists was very passionate about their work and hospitable to all of the fan-press questions in the room. As I big Marvel fan, it was great to see.

To conclude my already exhilarating Comic-Con day, I thought I’d make it to one more panel before the wristbands were handed out. I sat in on the panel for the upcoming Marvel Television ABC series, Inhumans. The panel consisted of lead cast and crewmembers and they screened several clips from series, which have now been released on the Internet. I’m skeptical about this show, not only because of the underwhelming trailers but the Inhumans are similar to the X-Men in that they struggle against xenophobic threats and are considers outsiders and rejects. Watching the trailers, a big “been there, done that” sits heavy on me. I was more impressed with the technical and stylistic choices of the filmmakers who chose to use IMAX cameras for every shot to capture the height, depth, and detail of the comic book aesthetic. The first two episodes of Inhumans will be released in IMAX cinemas August 1st and subsequent episodes will be televised weekly on ABC.

Oh yeah - I got my wristband! Thanks, Scott and Stella.

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