For those still recovering from the pop culture onslaught that was the 2012 San Diego Comic-Con, it’s hard to believe that today already marks one week since it began. While the memories, sleep deprivation, and muscle soreness are still fresh, I begin the first of four photo wrap-ups following my own day-by-day journey through the event and its surrounding exhibits.
My time at Comic-Con actually began on preview night, a 3-hour sneak peek of the show floor. It was the only night I had time to post a wrap-up immediately afterward, with the up-at-7, return-at-midnight schedule for the following four days allowing me only enough time to post highlights each day. So technically my day-by-day report begins there.
Everyone’s experiences at Comic-Con are entirely different, with overlapping schedules and varying interests drawing attendees in separate directions. Friends and families quickly split up to explore the show floor, attend panel discussions, buy merchandise, and gawk at cosplayers. So this and the four forthcoming posts take a look at the 2012 San Diego Comic-Con as I saw it. Your con may vary.
San Diego Comic-Con, Day 1 – Thursday, July 12, 2012
The first full day of the 2012 San Diego Comic-Con began for me and my wife Michelle at around 8:30 a.m., arriving to the convention center.
Surrounding the area each day were religious zealots loudly encouraging all Comic-Con attendees to accept Jesus as their savior. They got heckled - a lot.
We were up early to get in line for Hall H, the massive 6,000+ seat hall that holds Comic-Con's biggest panels. First up: Twilight.
I have no affinity for Twilight but Michelle loves the series and had a blast with last year's panel. Fortunately, the Walt Disney Studios panel was scheduled to immediately follow, so we were really waiting in line for both... along with thousands of others, some of whom who'd camped out for a couple days.
As Michelle held our spot, I quickly ventured off into the nearby Petco Park parking lot to visit the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles van.
After checking in on both of our phones using a special TMNT app, I nabbed two trucker hats, one for the Turtles and the other the Foot. I was told I should wear them at all times while at Comic-Con as there was a possibility of being given free Turtles swag. So I did.
In the same parking lot, I caught a preview of what was in store for me many hours later: The Walking Dead Escape. More on that below.
There were quite a few exhibits and booths set up in this area, including one handing out free posters for Quentin Tarantino's upcoming film "Django Unchained." I grabbed I couple and quickly headed back to our place in line.
Leaving the Hall H line is dangerous and only should be done for brief amounts of time. While I was gone, the line began to move and it took some effort to find a Comic-Con volunteer to escort me back to my place, which he had to verify with others around me. No line skipping.
Finally, around four hours after we'd gotten in line, the first presentation started, which was a series of 3D movie trailers. Most were amusing, but the majority of those in Hall H were there to see the "Twilight" panel, which started a bit late but ultimately excited all the screaming girls in attendance (young and old).
All the main cast was there, including Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, and Taylor Lautner. They showed off the first few minutes of the final film with lots of excited, swooning noises emitting from the mouths of those surrounding me. Yawn.
In the end, it became the biggest "Twilight" panel ever at Comic-Con, as even more cast members showed up on stage. They were herds or hoards or bands of vampires and wolves, I think.
And just when everyone thought it was over and began shuffling around to find new seats between panels, "Twilight" creator Stephanie Meyer took the podium to introduce a first look at her upcoming film "The Host," which confused and bored most people in the audience. Double yawn.
Finally it was time for the Walt Disney Studios panel to begin, hosted by Chris Hardwick of Nerdist and AMC's "The Talking Dead." First up: "Frankenweenie."
Tim Burton took the stage and introduced a few new clips from the film, which were far more entertaining than the previous panel. "Frankenweenie" definitely has a Burton stamp on it, feeling more like his older films rather than newer ones like "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" or "Alice in Wonderland." The cast of creepy kid characters will make this film.
The Q&A portion of Comic-Con panels is always entertaining, as you never know what odd person will step up to the microphone next. One group dressed as years of Burton characters and played their parts well.
You can watch the whole “Frankenweenie” panel in the video below, minus a couple of the film clips. Comic-Con does not allow recording of any material presented on screens during presentations, but Disney did release the B-movie style trailer that debuted there, which is included here as well.
Next up from Walt Disney Studios was "Oz the Great and Powerful," discussed by director Sam Raimi and stars Michelle Williams and Mila Kunis. Much of the discussion focused on how the new film relates to the original, much-beloved "The Wizard of Oz," and how this movie will stand out from it.
The entire “Oz the Great and Powerful” panel is available to watch below, including the first-look at footage from the film in a fun trailer:
Everyone in the audience seemed to be excited about “Oz” after seeing the clip and walked away with tickets to later redeem for exclusive posters. Freebies are always a Comic-Con bonus.
Last on the schedule was "Wreck-It Ralph," with director Rich Moore and stars Sarah Silverman and John C Reilly. Much as "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" did to bring animated characters together across studios, Disney has licensed a variety of video game characters to be featured in "Wreck-It Ralph," a sufficiently nerdy topic to be discussed at Comic-Con. It was revealed that Nintendo wanted too much money for Mario and Luigi though.
The full “Wreck-It Ralph” discussion and Q&A can be seen in the video below, though the 10-minute clip from the film that Moore brought for Comic-Con was not released by Disney and is not included. It was quite entertaining, introducing the characters and showing off many of the licensed familiar video game faces, such as Sonic the Hedgehog, Zangief from Street Fighter, and Bowser from the Super Mario series.
The shown “Wreck-It Ralph” clips that didn’t involve known video game characters were not as entertaining and funny as those that did have them. Clips featuring Sarah Silverman’s character (Penelope Von Schweetz) focused on potty humor, with a series of puns surrounding the word “duty.” While there were laughs, the audience responses to the video game worlds were far better than with the silly jokes. Hopefully the film focuses more on the former.
By the time the Disney panel wrapped up, it was after 3pm. Spending time in Hall H can quickly gobble up a whole day at Comic-Con. Outside, I snapped this photo of the Tim Burton cosplaying group, though my camera was still set on high exposure from inside the hall.
With only a few hours left for the day, we set out to explore the show floor for a while. Funko released quite a few Comic-Con exclusives this year, including this Frankenweenie vinyl figure.
The video game section had quite a few elaborate booths like this "South Park" setup.
At the Nintendo booth, I caught Link getting in some gaming.
Warner Brothers erected their own mini studio to show off their upcoming films.
A costume from the upcoming Superman "Man of Steel" film was on display, though the glass case made it fairly difficult to photograph.
A motorcycle from "The Dark Knight Rises" was also on display.
A vehicle from the upcoming "Total Recall" remake grabbed a lot of attention, taking up plenty of floor space.
Just behind that, characters from "Hotel Trannsylvania" were meeting attendees, along with some of the film's creators. Like anything at Comic-Con, there was quite a long line to meet them.
Waiting in line were these two fans... who haven't even seen the film yet, as it doesn't come out until September. They're hoping for the best.
This massive muscular man and group of sexy scientists were subtly promoting "Prometheus," though I don't think most people got the connection.
Nickelodeon had the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles out, always a radical sight. Cowabunga!
I wanted to buy one of these SDCC-exclusive Leonardo figurines but they were sold out for the day. Ultimately, I never got my hands on one, as I kept putting it off each day until Comic-Con was over.
The Comic-Con show floor is filled with swag to grab. Lionsgate was giving out buttons, temporary tattoos, and "Dredd" metal badges.
And for every freebie, there's a booth babe. These two were promoting "Iron Sky," whatever that is.
Amidst the crowded chaos of the show floor, costume spotting is always entertaining, particularly when a giant inflatable Stay Puft Marshmallow Man is walking around. (You can see my favorite Comic-Con costumes here.)
I spotted Catwoman fondly looking at Batman collectibles from Square Enix.
Hasbro is always one of the most popular booths at Comic-Con, with a large Pinkie Pie from "My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic" an easy photo op.
There were almost always "Pony" fans on hand at the Hasbro booth.
Also on display were products for a revival of the '80s cartoon "Jem," including dolls and costumes.
Beyond the big company booths in the middle of the show floor lie all of the independent artists, production companies, and other exhibitors. I made it a priority to visit the booth for The Asylum, a sci-fi movie company who ordered lanyards from us (at Lanyard Lab) for Comic-Con giveaways. They ordered thousands and said they went fast, which I was happy to hear. Naturally, I had their booth babes pose for a picture with them.
The variety of smaller booths at Comic-Con is staggering, some selling the most random collectibles from decades of pop culture, while others focus on a specific theme, like this booth devoted entirely to "The Tick." Spoon!
After already being awake for around 11 hours and wandering Comic-Con all day, there was still much fun in store for me that night. The Walking Dead Escape was set up in nearby Petco Park, unleashing zombies across a grueling obstacle course.
The Walking Dead Escape was the most exhausting activity I have ever participated in, with roughly 45 minutes of non-stop running, jumping, climbing, ducking, crawling, and dodging zombies. Read about my whole experience here.
As of the time of publishing this article, more than 20,000 people have watched me make a fool of myself in The Walking Dead Escape, playing into the zombie apocalypse story with a bit of terrible acting and a whole lot of exhaustion. Watch, be entertained, and laugh in the video below.
As if all that wasn't enough entertainment for the day, Michelle and I capped it all off with a walk through the Dawn of the Con party, set up exclusively for Comic-Con attendees in Petco Park.
Between The Walking Dead Escape and the Dawn of the Con party, it felt like Halloween. These creepy stilt walkers were scaring many who entered in.
A giant stage was set up with a DJ spinning shock rock tunes. The party was said to be hosted by Rob Zombie, though I never saw him.
No Comic-Con party would be complete without a little cosplay, like this Street Fighter gang posing for pictures.
High-quality, heavy stock posters were handed out at the party, each with a unique twist on the creepy theme of the event.
Retro arcade games were also on hand for those wanting a little more interactive fun.
After all that, Michelle and I grabbed some dinner in the Gaslamp Quarter and headed back to our hotel where I published video, photos, and a report from The Walking Dead Escape and finally got to sleep after 3 a.m. Another early morning awaited us the next day.
San Diego Comic-Con 2012 Day-by-Day Photo Reports:
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