Big Picture Big Sound

Comic-Con 2012 Kicks Off Today and We Are So There

By Lora Grady

The Con is on!


For those who may not be familiar with San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC), it's pretty much mecca for pop-culture enthusiasts of all flavors and persuasions.  Started in 1970 as a straight-up comic-book fan gathering, it has grown and branched out over the years to showcase multiple forms of media and entertainment: comics and graphic novels, books, gaming, television, movies, artwork, collectibles, and other fannish pursuits. It takes place over four days in mid-July, and people wait all year to see who will be attending and what will be promoted.

In recent years, film studios have used SDCC as a kickoff to promote tentpole releases such as "The Avengers", "The Hunger Games", and the "Twilight" films. TV networks use it to preview genre-friendly fall schedule offerings or to highlight returning favorites.  Online gamers gather at Comic-Con to learn about new releases and upgrades.  Fans of all kinds meet up to spend a couple of days hanging out with like-minded souls who will appreciate their depth of knowledge, passion for the obscure, and the minute detail of the replica costume they are sporting.  And through it all, one mainstay remains: the comic book writers and artists who attend to meet up with fans and peers at panels and workshops, during signing opportunities, or just walking the floor of the cavernous San Diego Convention Center.

It's also a must-attend for people hoping to break into comics production or certain subsets of the film industry. Producer/director Morgan Spurlock's recent documentary "Comic-Con: Episode IV – A Fan's Hope" provides a solid overview of 2010's Comic-Con, as he profiles a cross-section of attendees (a comic book dealer, an aspiring illustrator, a DIY costume designer) and watches them pursue their respective dreams over the four days of the con.

Into this year's SDCC madness insert one Big Picture Big Sound reviewer: a genre fanatic, with a solid background in film and television history and trivia, but sketchy knowledge of gaming, comics, and technology.  My nerd-lite credentials include having played Dungeons & Dragons as a teenager, owning both volumes of Art Spiegelman's "Maus", and at one point spending so much time playing "Quake" online that I used to have dreams set in its trenches.

On the other hand, I had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the iPhone-world (update: now I can't live without the thing), I'd rather play pinball than "World of Warcraft", and I still own a television set that was purchased at Sears.  In the 80s.  (As a "Supernatural" fan, I've come to the conclusion that this TV is the only thing in the world with the power to make Jensen Ackles look unattractive.)

So here is my mission over the next four days: to absorb as much as I can about comics, gaming, and technology while reporting on as many movie and tv-related items as I can.  I won't be wearing a costume.  I will be wearing comfortable shoes.  I've lined up a couple of movie reviews and interviews, I'm on the list for a few parties, I'll be checking out film clips and fall previews, and I'll be doing my best to provide up to date info on the interesting stuff that's going on in San Diego.

I've learned over the past couple of weeks that the Comic-Con schedule is an ever-evolving kaleidoscope of events, so there may be some late-breaking developments, but here are a couple of features I'm planning to bring to BPBS readers over the next few days:

...and, I hope, much, much more.

I will be providing updates to BPBS as often as I can.  And, as I've become fond of saying, I'll be tweeting as bandwidth allows, so please feel free to follow me: @lelizgrady

OK, on to Comic-Con!

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View all articles by Lora Grady