Marvel Steals the Show as San Diego Comic Con Celebrates 50 Years

By now you’ve probably heard about Disney/Marvel turning Hall H into a head spinning bonanza with the announcement of their Phase 4 slate of movies, as well as their new batch of superhero TV shows set to be released on their new streaming service, Disney+. As we’ve learned covering SDCC (for our third year now at Media Mikes), there’s a lot more to this con than the big studios throwing down the proverbial gauntlet. Although Mahershala Ali being announced as the new Blade is still pretty friggin’ awesome.

Preview Night belonged to Warner Bros., who surprisingly didn’t come loaded with their batch of DC caped crusaders despite another Wonder Woman movie on the horizon. Instead they brought the frights with an “IT: Chapter Two” panel, hosted by Conan O’Brien. While we weren’t able to snag a coveted seat inside of the Horton Grand Theatre, fans didn’t have to wait long to get a new trailer for the next chapter in clown horror. ScareDiego is quickly becoming a must-experience for fans that arrive early for Comic-Con. 

Thursday was the start to the madness as several offsites were activated and vendors on the exhibit floor quickly saw their lines capped in the early morning hours. Funko and LEGO saw the usual amount of hordes, but Mondo was the sleeper hit, with unique posters for films like “Detective Pikachu,” vinyl records (which I’m always surprised are making a comeback), and a tiki mug for “JAWS” that I’m sure the founders of MediaMikes would love to add their fanboy collection. But it didn’t take long, each and every day, for lines to be capped by volunteers to prevent clustering and to make sure people didn’t spend all day in a line where they would inevitably leave empty-handed. Although it can be frustrating being left out of the lottery for exclusives, it does give you a chance to check out the other vendors selling their own unique twist on their personal fandom. As for me, because I love a good deal, the best line was my five-minute wait for a free cricket powder protein bar. The peanut butter and jelly bug flavored goodness was in promotion of the upcoming “Snowpiercer” TV series. 

Just outside the five-decade celebration inside of the convention center, were several impressive offsites dotting the Gaslamp District. After last year’s Jack Ryan activation, some were wondering if Amazon could top their second prime activation. Long answer, sort of, short answer, no. While not as fully immersive, it provided several experiences for fans to interact with on-site actors, get some cool swag, and munch on some free Carl’s Jr. Although my favorite offsite may be a toss-up between Adult Swim’s carnival and the Alfred Pennyworth speak-easy. Both had minimal waits, plenty to do once you got inside, and lots of exclusive goodies. That shouldn’t take away from the nearly two dozen other activations that provided their own chances to geek out, including the “South Park” mini-golf course.

Now, instead of gushing over the panels I attended, I think it’s easier to make note of something, that’s a common complaint every year, but organizers of Comic Con need to recognize the cultural significance of several properties. “Rick and Morty” is too big to be in the Indigo Ballroom. Two hours before the panel on Friday, the line wrapped around inside, down a flight of stairs, through the lobby, outside to the pier, wrapped around again, and then capped itself near the convention center across the way. The same thing happened with Brooklyn 99 on Saturday, but this time in a different, but still significantly small room. I’d be willing to bet money that “Rick and Morty,” who deserves to be in Hall H, will have more viewers this upcoming season than “The Walking Dead,” which was in Hall H at that same time slot. Times change quickly these days in pop-culture and it’s important for Comic Con keep their  finger on the pulse.

For the third year in a row, we’re incredibly gracious that Comic Con has allowed us inside to cover the convention. Despite the long lines, sore feet, the current lack of cash in my bank account and the sunburn I’m rocking because I forgot to pack sunscreen, it was all worth it. It always is and always will be. We look forward to Comic Con 2020. I’ve already begun checking my couch cushions for change because July 23rd-26th, 2020, doesn’t feel that far away.

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