News & Views

Comic-Con 2013

by Contagious Team

The 43rd annual San Diego Comic-Con has come and gone. Here's a rundown of the convention's biggest moments.

Over the weekend, costume-clad fans descended on San Diego for the largest Comic-Con in the US, eager to see the peeks, geeks, and freaks from their favorite fandoms. Since its inception in 1970, the annual gathering has become a petri dish for what's popular in entertainment, far beyond its humble beginnings in action figures and silver age rarities. Naturally, we kept an eye on the action, so here's your need-to-know update.

Dunununununununu...Superman? /

Perhaps the biggest headline of the convention was the surprise announcement that Batman and Superman will appear in a joint film in 2015. Helmed by Zack Snyder, who directed Spartans in 300, Dr. Manhattan in Watchmen and Clark Kent in Man of Steel, the film will star Henry Cavill as Superman. No word on who will don Batman's cowl; recent Caped Crusader Christian Bale has said he will not return.

Don't expect the two superheroes to team up and fight crime together, though. Snyder cited a line that Batman says to Superman, in a 1980 graphic novel, as informing the upcoming film: 'I want you to remember, Clark...I want you to remember my hand at your throat. I want you to remember the one man who beat you.' Now let's just hope they don't double down on the idiotic 'How would Superman shave?' ad campaigns.

Disguised in his own skin /

In one of the more lighthearted moments during Comic-Con, Bryan Cranston, star of AMC's hit series Breaking Bad, walked around the convention floor entirely undetected. His disguise? A mask of his own face, as meth-maker Walter White's alter ego Heisenberg. The big reveal came when Cranston sat down to speak on a panel and removed his own face. Things went a bit south from there, with both Cranston and co-star Aaron Paul planting kisses on the lifeless Heisenberg visage.

Dr. Who star Matt Smith pulled a similar stunt, walking around the convention floor wearing a Bart Simpson mask.

This is not a stunt /

It wasn't all fun and games at Comic-Con this year. In the convention's tensest moment, a stunt crew setting up for a Kick Ass 2 promo noticed a woman dangling from her 14th floor apartment's balcony. The team rushed to the apartment and grabbed the woman, stopping the suicide attempt. Onlookers initially suspected that the rescue may have been a stunt, but it was later revealed the woman was intoxicated and distraught after a breakup. All involved were luck that the crew was on-hand at the time to act as true superheroes. Said one stunt team member, 'We're trained to deal with these situations should they arise.'

Once is never enough /

It'll be no surprise to anyone who has seen a movie in the past decade, but many of Comic-Con's most anticipated announcements were for sequels to already successful films. Beyond the Man of Steel announcement, convention attendees were treated to promos for follow-ups like Avengers: Age of Ultron, a sequel to The Amazing Spider Man, the Hunger Games series' Catching FireCaptain America 2X-Men Days of Future Past300: Rise of an EmpireDawn of the Planet of the ApesThor: The Dark World, and no doubt hundreds more.

Director Joss Whedon - himself part of the problem, given his involvement with theAvengers sequel- summed up the trend thusly: 'Pop culture is eating itself at a rate that is going to be dangerous. Too many narratives are built on the resonance of recognition. That's going to become really problematic.'

Loco for Loki /

The most surprising appearance of the convention involved Whedon's Avengers series. Actor Tom Hiddleston interrupted the Thor: The Dark World panel dressed as his character from the series, Loki. 'Look how far you've fallen. Lining up in the sweltering heat for hours. Huddling together in the dark like beasts,' Hiddleston taunted fans. They, of course, ate it up.

Hey, actual comics! /

In a surprising turn of events from the convention that has increasingly ditched its comic book roots in favor of film, some actual comic book news was unveiled. Principal among the announcements: hit cartoon series Bob's Burgers will be immortalised in its own comic book series. Publisher Dynamite also announced a Twlight Zone comic series, which will be penned by J. Michael Straczynski, the story editor during the series reboot's final season in 1980. Rock legend Alice Cooper also made comic book news, announcing that he will again be portrayed in pulp. He requested that the artists portray him with 'great abs.'

The comic book industry has seen a rejuvenation in recent years, as publishers and software creators have embraced digital comic books. According to comics news site ICv2, digital comic books accounted for $70m in revenue in 2012, up from $8m in 2010. Leading the way are companies like ComiXology, Emanata, and Madefire, as well as traditional publishers like DC Comics.

Outside the grounds /

Finally, in what seems to be a growing trend amongst conventions and festivals, marketers expanded their efforts beyond the convention hall floor, setting up shop around San Diego in an attempt to bring bigger spectacles to the masses - at a fraction of the rent, no doubt. Leading the pack in these off-site experiences were pop-ups from Summit Entertainment's Ender's Game and Warner Bros.' upcoming Godzilla reboot. AMC also rehashed their Walking Dead Escape, which debuted in 2012, allowing fans to participate in a zombie-filled obstacle course set up inside San Diego's Petco Park stadium.