Fans rejoice at more relaxed, special edition in San Diego
Many versions of Spider-Man, Wonder Woman, Superman and others descended onto a convention center in a sight San Diego hasn’t seen since 2019.
The pandemic interrupted the longtime San Diego Comic-Con, but finally, the in-person version of the convention returned during Thanksgiving weekend. Normally the famous convention involves 135,000 fans in July, but this was a scaled-back “special edition” with fewer fans and much more breathing room. For a change of pace, fans weren’t constantly bumping into each other in the dealers’ room.
There were some long lines for a few panels, but many fans found they could walk straight into panels without waiting.
The result was a San Diego Comic Con with a more relaxed pace, but fans still showed up in intricate costumes, which varied from a British queen to sorcerers.
One fan came as Geoffrey the giraffe from Toys R Us. He put the head on just for photos, taken by other fans.
Some things never change. Comic-Con is a community where everyone shares a love of fantasy and science fiction, and fans talk to each other as easily as they chat with friends or family. As his mother listened, a young boy dressed as Spengler from “Ghostbusters” was eager to discuss the new movie “Afterlife” with this writer.
Comic-Con also is the place where Hollywood studios and TV networks promote their shows with panels of actors before large ballrooms. It’s normally also where Marvel Comics and DC Comics, the two top comic book companies and the businesses behind many of today’s movies, present their artists and writers.
But this year was different. There were few panels about TV shows or movies, with the most notable one being a virtual presentation of NBC’s “La Brea” actors. There weren’t big DC Comics and Marvel Comics panels.
Instead, this was a less commercial Comic-Con, and the gathering had the feeling of a traditional, fan-run convention with panels covering topics fans love.
One popular panel involved real-life lawyers and judges debating the fine points of issues such as whether Santa Claus violates trespassing laws. The conclusion was St. Nick was fine as long as he got an invitation to enter a home, which could be legally defined as a display of milk and cookies near the fireplace.
By the way, Santa Claus showed up in the panel’s audience and defended himself eloquently.
The panel also talked about whether Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer faced nasal discrimination and whether Frosty the Snowman can sue others for climate change, seeing how he melted into a puddle. The legal eagles discussed the grounds that would make those suits possible.
The esteemed panel, by the way, included Judge John Owens of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, U.S. Magistrate Judges Stacie Beckerman and Mitch Dembin, and Kathy Steinman, deputy city attorney for San Diego.
Other panels touched on sci-fi news such as efforts to reboot the popular sci-fi show “Babylon 5” with a new cast. If the greenlight is given, the show could air on The CW during the 2022-23 season.
And in an unusual challenge, special effects supervisors for movies such as “Inception,” “Star Trek: First Contact” and “Independence Day” were shown clips from classic “Doctor Who” episodes from the 20th century. They then had to figure out how to create those episodes’ old-school effects with ordinary household objects. No pressure.
While there wasn’t the usual number of famous movie and TV stars walking around, Brent Spiner, aka Data of “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” came on Friday to promote his book, “Fan Fiction: A Mem-Noir: Inspired by True Events.” Not everyone got in to see him. The line into the panel stretched over three halls.
But other stars such as Gigi Edgley, who played Chiana on “Farscape,” signed autographs. And Ms. Edgley sat with “Star Trek” writer Jimmy Diggs on a panel looking at the stars closest to Earth. She talked about how the pandemic interrupted efforts to bring “Farscape,” the series about a human astronaut who’s thrown across the galaxy, back on TV.
One Comic-Con tradition remained last weekend. The convention usually ends with a large ballroom of fans singing along with “Once More, With Feeling,” the musical episode of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” It proved to be the right note to end an upbeat but more relaxed convention that fans enjoyed.