The Big Apple has always been better known for its unflappable cool than for any geeky tendencies. But last weekend, the city’s third annual Comic Con had geeks of all stripes crawling out of the woodwork to pack the Javits Center. Three days of intense, nonstop excitement have me thinking in superlatives, so here’s the Web’s most insightful summary of some of the weekend’s neatest highlights.
Best Visual Aids: Hellboy II: The Golden Army panel
The presentation started off with some clips from the movie, and when the lights came back on, fans turned back to the stage to see all manner of eerie creatures from the film, as seen in the trailers, staring right back at them. Costumes, even professional ones, are by no means unusual at comic conventions, but these so thoroughly and seamlessly transformed the people under them that I found it hard to believe they could be anything but rebels from the mythical realm. The most disturbing one? A weird, troll-like figure with a baby freak growing out of his belly and sucking on its teat. The infant would sometimes turn its head or look around, increasing the creepiness exponentially.
More on the Hellboy II panel here.
Most Awesome Thing I Totally Missed: The Dark Knight Trailer
Warner Bros. snuck this supposedly amazing new full-length trailer in between presentations for The Incredible Hulk and The Spirit, while I was killing time on the exhibition floor. If only I’d known! I guess I’ll be watching it when WB releases it for real, like the rest of you.
More on the Dark Knight trailer here and The Incredible Hulk here.
Best Inspiration for a Slash Fanfiction: The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian panel
My only direct contact with the Narnia universe has been reading the first book in junior high school, so I could be totally wrong about this. But I’m pretty sure that the (supposedly platonic) relationship between Prince Caspian and Peter Pevensie, as described by this panel, is exactly the stuff racy fanfics are made of. Actors Ben Barnes (Caspian) and William Moseley (Pevensie) talked up the initial tension and eventual friendship between the two characters, all the while joking with each other. It doesn’t hurt that they’re both generically pretty, either.
More on the Prince Caspian panel here.
Smartest Quote: Spotlight on Orson Scott Card
“I actually believe that women are the same species as men.” — Orson Scott Card on how he is able to write such compelling female characters.
Mr. Congeniality: Guillermo Del Toro at the Hellboy II panel
Every presentation I attended had more than its share of eager fans and grateful panelists, but no one inspired greater enthusiasm, and no one accepted it as gracefully, as Hellboy II director/writer Guillermo Del Toro. He was the only panelist I saw who got a standing ovation just for walking into the room. Geeks love his work because it’s heartfelt and original, but they love him because he’s one of them. He knows it, too. All directors claim to appreciate their fans, but Del Toro took it one step further by soliciting internship applications and artists’ portfolios.
More on the Del Toro and Hellboy II here.
Cutest Anything, Anywhere, Ever: WALL•E
If there’s anything in the universe more freakin’ adorable than WALL•E, I don’t even want to know. Sure, R2-D2 can be endearing, but I don’t see him replicating dances from Hello, Dolly to win over his beloved. Disney also revealed a new character from the film, an apparently uptight cleaner robot named M-O. He’s not quite as endearing as Wall•E, but their scene together had me in stitches.
More on the WALL•E panel here.
Cheesiest Preview: Wanted
Remember that scene from Live Free or Die Hard where Bruce Willis takes down a helicopter with a car? Take that scene, multiply it by two hours, add some Matrix-style flourishes, and you have the slick, empty package that is Wanted. Or so I gathered from the clips they showed at the NYCC. In one scene, James McAvoy shoots the wings off a fly, and Morgan Freeman picks up the little fly body and wings to drop them into McAvoy’s hands. In another, Angelina Jolie lays on the hood of her car to shoot at some guy while going a hundred miles an hour. Yes, it’s a movie, not a physics thesis. Even so, suspension of disbelief only goes so far — some things are too incredible for even the fluffiest action flicks.
More on the Wanted panel here.
Best Way to Sound Smart at a Cocktail Party: The four superhero archetypes from Our Gods Wear Spandex
The next time you find yourself listening to a snobby intellectual ragging on traditional comic books (they all like non-traditional comic books), explain that modern superheroes derive from ancient mythology and religious iconography. In fact, according to comics author and pop culture analyst Christopher Knowles, the skintight costumes are actually a PG-13 way of conveying the power and immediacy of the Greco-Roman gods, who were mostly naked. It has absolutely nothing to do with ogling improbably large boobs and tight, round asses.
Best Unplanned Moment: Trouble in paradise on the exhibition floor
At one point during the weekend, I encountered a young man in full Joker costume and makeup on the verge of tears, screaming into his cell phone: “I’m not good enough for you! I can’t make you happy!” It would have been hilarious if it weren’t so tragic, or tragic if it weren’t so hilarious, depending on your sense of humor. That reminds me — I need to go watch Forgetting Sarah Marshall.
And with this sentence, my Con experience is officially over. See you next year!