San Diego Comic-Con 2011 recap—European directors, B-movie actresses, and comic book artists
It’s a familiar complaint at the San Diego Comic-Con—that the television and movie studios have ruined the experience. For those who can remember when it was just a few thousand fans, there’s some validity to this.
However, it’s still possible to totally geek out—especially if your tastes are a little left of the latest mainstream offerings. And, to be fair, the big money also brings the Hollywood glamour, which can pay off in unexpected ways.
After spending almost all of my first day in Ballroom 20, I was determined to spend Day Two (Friday) exploring the main exhibition hall. Realistically, this is an all-day task. (Ballroom 20 is where TV and movie panels convene. I’d spent the day listening to cast members and creators promote shows such as Psych, Covert Affairs and Ringer while waiting for the Game of Thrones panel.)
I started out at the south-end of the hall, in so-called Artists Alley. Here, comic book artists, painters, and illustrators sell their books and art and do sketches for fans.
Meanwhile, over towards the middle of the room, Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez, co-creators of the magnificent, long-running series Love and Rockets, were signing books at the booth of Seattle-based publisher Fantagraphics. Even better, Jaime was offering “a nice pencil sketch” for 20 bucks a pop.
‘Are you Sybil Danning?’ ‘Are you Werner Herzog?’
On a more random note, I was walking back to my hotel when I noticed, in the swarm of people leaving the con, a woman dressed in black leather and pulling a suitcase. My pop culture Spidey sense, honed by years spent reading Starlog and watching B-movies, went off. “Are you Sybil Danning?” I asked.
It was indeed the late ’70s/early ’80s sex symbol. Danning has a booth here (so does the original Hulk, Lou Ferrigno), where she is promoting various projects, including the DVD release of the 1980 low-budget sci-fi gem Battle Beyond the Stars.
The most exciting moment of the day also occurred outside the convention centre. This time, as I was maknig my way back towards the centre, I noticed a semi-familiar face in the mass exodus from the con. I was somewhat stunned to find myself invading the personal space of Werner Herzog, the esteemed director whose credits include movies such as Fitzcarraldo, Aguire: The Wrath of God and Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call – New Orleans and documentaries such as Grizzly Man and his latest, Cave of Forgotten Dreams.
At that moment, I definitely loved the San Diego Comic-Con. But I was glad I’d left my Incredible Hulk T-shirt back in the room.