Mike Cervantes teams up with DG staffers Papa Del Xol and Martin Salazar to explore all things comic book, sci-fi, video game and of course, the random TV shows that don’t belong here.
OK, we got all our stories straight and here’s what we uncovered: Comic-Con has it all, but in order to experience it, you have to brave the massive crowd and be prepared to wait in lines.
For a hell of a long time.
The Main Hall at Comic-Con is like seeing the last boss of a video game for the first time: completely intimidating, which makes you unsure how to attack the damn thing. Like all last bosses, you eventually get comfortable, charging your way to victory, hoping that some fungus doesn’t greet you with “Thank you, Mario! But our princess is in another castle!”
You’ll find a princess, along with superheroes, sword wielders, sci-fi goons, and other-worldly beings in the Main Hall. Don’t make impulsive purchases, otherwise you’ll go home broke.
One of my biggest moments was playing “Abobo’s Big Adventure,” an online game that pays tribute to Nintendo’s greatest titles (“Super Mario Bros.,” “Mega Man,” “Legend of Zelda” and numerous 8-bit gems are well represented). I had read about this game — featuring “Double Dragon” bad guy Abobo as the protagonist — just the day before Comic-Con so it was a real treat to see it in a custom arcade cabinet.
A small crowd gathered behind me, some even commenting that I was good at the game. I had never played this before in my life, but if you’ve spent hours glued to a TV thanks to the NES, you’ll pick up the game quickly. I led Abobo to victory in “The Legend of Zelda” level against some towering boss. I felt like hot shit after the win.
In a hall filled with two-story booths, two heroes stood tallest: a gigantic red Power Ranger near the east side of the hall and a colossal Optimus Prime at the Hasbro booth.
The Hasbro booth was located at the center of the hall, definitely the meatiest section of Comic-Con. These were the high-traffic areas, Marvel, Hasbro, Square-Enix, Capcom, Warner Bros., Showtime (wait, Showtime, what does that have to do with Comic-Con? Sigh, we’ll get to that later) and dozens of others.
At the Capcom booth, I put my “Street Fighter” skills to the test by defeating a random opponent in “Marvel vs. Capcom Origins.” Victory came in a close contest only after I connected a super with Captain Commando. I ensured the win by mashing the shit out of the buttons on the joystick, draining as much life off of my opponent’s health bar (mashing is normal in this instance, ask any “Street Fighter” player). Another hot shit moment.
It’s also humbling to see merchandise you had as a kid that’s worth serious coin now. I turned to Daily Girth staffer Martin Salazar and told him I had the Ectomobile from “Ghostbusters” when I was a kid. If I had proper foresight as a kid, I would have known this toy would one day be worth more than $100. I definitely wouldn’t have fucked up the Ectomobile by dunking it in the water while in the bathtub or dropping it in the dirt at grandma’s house.
Somehow, we were able to get into the Marvel video games panel. We expertly waited in line (more on lines later) more than 90 minutes and our waiting resulted in getting prime seats. Other people were smarter than us, they waited in line to see the panel before Marvel video games. What was the panel? “Phineas and Ferb.” That packed house that sat through “Phineas and Ferb” was only there so they could see the Marvel panel. I doubt any of them really gave a fuck about a shitty Disney cartoon.
Marvel showed off some cool games, but fan favorite Deadpool arrived decked out in full costume toward the end of the panel, interrupting the Marvel dudes in a staged announcement for his new video game. The game looked awesome and the guy dressed as Deadpool gave a great performance, he was funny, enthusiastic and charismatic. That means it definitely wasn’t Ryan Reynolds of “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” fame. You suck, Ryan Reynolds.
Tons of people took over San Diego for this mega convention, forcing street closures and car traffic to come to a crawl. Not even college football games garner this many bodies in one area.
Naturally, pro-Jesus folks preached on outside the Convention Center. They didn’t bother anyone, they mostly held up Comic-Con traffic. One guy dressed as Darth Maul took the time to make a sign among the Jesus-this-and-Jesus-that preaching. The sign said, “Turn to the Dark Side.” What would have happened had Anakin Skywalker not followed Darth Maul’s advice?
Once again, I wasn’t impressed by the cosplayers at Comic-Con. Yes, people dressed up, but you can do a 360 spin at some moments and not find someone dressed up. That shouldn’t happen at an event of this magnitude.
The best cosplayer in my opinion was a small child dressed as GoLion, or as people in the U.S. known it as, Voltron. A crowd gathered to snap pics and his parents even eased him into shots, telling him to face different directions so Comic-Con-ers could get the right angles. That’s hard core, parents.
Comic-Con’s growth has been legendary, unfortunately there are negatives associated with this, namely stuff that doesn’t have a fucking thing to do with Comic-Con. I don’t give a fuck how nerdy those dickheads are on “The Big Bang Theory,” that shit doesn’t belong at Comic-Con. “Glee,” fucking “Glee,” are you kidding me, how is that relevant?
Showtime had a booth and I love their shows, but “Shameless,” “Homeland” and “Dexter” don’t have a place at Comic-Con. Emmy Rossum is really hot, by the way.
“Person of Interest?” No. “The Expendables 2?” No. ABC’s “The Neighbors?” Fuck no. Adult Swim and its cartoons and poorly dubbed anime belong at Comic-Con, but “Childrens Hospital” sure as hell doesn’t, I don’t care how good Rob Corddry was in “Hot Tub Time Machine.” By the way, “Hot Tub Time Machine” does have a place at Comic-Con, it’s time travel, everyone. However, no panel or booth was there.
Normally, Anthony Bourdain of Travel Channel should be excluded from Comic-Con, but not when he has a graphic novel called “Get Jiro!” to promote. See, relevance, people, that’s how you get nerd street cred.
Papa Del Xol, DG’s design director, ran into one of his mancrushes, former WWE superstar John Morrison. Papa wanted a pic with the former Johnny Nitro, but Morrison declined, saying he would be signing autographs and taking pictures in 40 minutes.
“How about now?” Papa asked. He never got his pic.
He also ran into Sean Astin, best known from the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. Astin played the guy who had an obvious boner for Frodo Baggins. Or is Astin best known for “Rudy?” Whatever he’s best known for, Papa wanted to take a pic with Astin, claiming that his wife would love to see such a photo. The toll for such a pic was $40. Astin didn’t even have a gun and ski mask for such a demand, this C-list celebrity actually wanted $40 to take a picture with him.
Lines were ridiculous as always. If you plan to spend time at Comic-Con, be prepared to wait in line. I watched G4’s coverage from Saturday and four saps walked in with Nathan Fillion (“Firefly,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”). Why did they walk in with him? It was the least Fillion could do for his fans, those guys waited in line for eight hours and didn’t get into his panel. Big fun, guys!
The DG team headed home, stopping by at a local Jack in the Box in San Juan Capistrano. Salazar had to use the bathroom and endured a vile smell some customer had left just moments before. I also endured the foul stench the Jack in the Box customer produced. The wretched stink was almost alien, now that’s something that belonged at Comic-Con, although it would definitely be unwelcomed.