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2011 San Diego Comic-Con wrap-up

Peter Dinklage, Jason Momoa and Emilia Clarke at the Game of Thrones panel, San Diego Comic-Con, July 21 2011.

Peter Dinklage, Jason Momoa and Emilia Clarke at the Game of Thrones panel, San Diego Comic-Con, July 21 2011.

San Diego Comic-Con 2011 wrap-up

– by Shawn Conner

The San Diego Comic-Con is over, and did we learn?

That Spider-Man saved Andrew Garfield’s life. That Peter Dinklage is a surly panelist (it’s true, we were at the Game of Thrones panel). That Twilight fans are so rabid they’ll line up for days before to be sure to get a glimpse of the actors. Well, we knew that.

Watch – Andrew Garfield on Spider-Man (live at the 2011 San Diego Comic-Con):

That the second Ghost Rider movie might be better than we expected. (Might. MIGHT.) That the animated Dorothy of Oz that is scheduled for release next August (next August!) better be a great deal more interesting, fun and exciting than the panel, which included Patrick Stewart and was as interesting as hearing about Tom Morello’s comic book. We also learned that Tom Morello is writing a comic book. (Morello is the guitarist for Rage Against the Machine.)

That suddenly the term “showrunner” is used almost as reverently (and knowledgeably) as “director” or “executive producer”. That Jason Momoa is kind of a jerk (read our account of crashing the HBO/Game of Thrones party here).

But that was only a drop in the pop-culture trashbin. There was so much happening at any given time it was impossible for this comics fan/pop culture freak to keep his head on straight. Besides all the big movie and hit-series panels, which normally get all the play on scoop-hungry sites (we’re usually too intoxicated to be scoop-hungry), there were dozens of panels devoted to smaller shows, shows I’d never even heard but have thousands of fans – from Adult Swim cartoons to USA Network series called Covert Affairs and Psych and CW’s Ringer (the new Sarah Michelle Gellar vehicle). The only thing that seemed to be missing were reality shows and The View (although I thought I saw Joy Behar at the Fantagraphics booth… kidding).

Flash mob of Harley Quinns outside the San Diego Convention Centre, July 22 2011.

Flash mob of Harley Quinns outside the San Diego Convention Centre, July 22 2011.

In the directors’ chairs, Steven Spielberg made his first (or so I heard – there’s always the chance he showed up one year dressed as a Star Wars stormtrooper) appearance to pimp The Adventures of Tintin, and Francis Ford Coppola’s Twixt failed to excite. Steven Soderbergh’s Haywire looks really, really good (according to Vulture, the clip Soderbergh showed on the Haywire panel was a thrilling, long-take action sequence).

Immortals, the latest from The Fall director Tarsem Singh, is bound to be, if nothing else, visually stimulating, with or without hot talent like Henry Cavill and Freida Pinto (more on the Immortals panel). Knights of Badassdom, set for release in 2012, also has potential – it’s a Spokane-shot comedy set in the world of LARP (live-action role-play) with Summer Glau (Firefly) and Dinklage. Apparently, the trailer met with an enthusiastic reception (more on the Knights of Badassdom panel.)

Watch – Knights of Badassdom (trailer):

Kevin Smith, who did his traditional Con-ending question-and-answer, was a weird mix of smugness, modesty and oversharing, but his new movie Red State looks like it could be pretty good. (In his monologue, the director claimed it’s influenced by the Coen Brothers and Quentin Tarantino, and that it doesn’t have any ’80s references.)

My most exciting director moment for this convention-goer though was briefly chatting with Werner Herzog, of all people. The director, whose latest is the much acclaimed 3D documentary about cave paintings, was making his way back to his hotel from the convention centre when I had a total fan moment. After all, this is the guy who directed Klaus Kinski! (and if you’re not sure why that’s so important, see if you can track down Kinski’s amazing autobiography, Kinski Uncut). Asked why he was there, Herzog said that he was there to support “a friend with a dinosaur movie.” It must be a pretty good dinosaur movie.

But what really made the Con for this first-timer was the passion of the fans and, for this long-time comics lover, the opportunities to meet some of the artists that have dazzled and/or entertained me over the years. Subversive humourist Johnny Ryan, Marvel penciler Michael Golden, underground pioneer William Stout, Playboy gag cartoonist Doug Sneyd, and alt-comics creators Anders Nilsen, Chester Brown and Jaime Hernandez were just a few of the hundreds of artists signing books, drawing sketches and rolling their eyes at the craziness.

Jerry Robinson at the 2011 San Diego Comic-Con, July 22 2011.

Jerry Robinson, creator of The Joker, at the 2011 San Diego Comic-Con, July 22 2011.

Love and Rockets artist Jaime Hernandez at the 2011 San Diego Comic-Con, July 22 2011.

Love and Rockets artist Jaime Hernandez at the 2011 San Diego Comic-Con, July 22 2011.

And my Darth Vader helmet goes off to the fans who took everything one (or two, or three) steps further with amazing costumes (including America’s Next Top Model winner Adrianne Curry, who almost got kicked out for showing too much bum). Even during those Comic-Con moments when I was caught in the crowd, barely able to breathe, never mind move, and cursing the big movie, TV and gaming studios, there would be someone dressed as The Rocketeer or Poison Ivy or Dude in Alien with the Alien on his Face, and I’d smile. I was home.

(And check out our very special gallery Girls Gone Gotham below.)

Gallery – Girls wearing Batman T-shirts, clothes at the San Diego Comic-Con 2011:

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