Everything nerdy and a splash of horror invades San Diego Comic Con 2018

Some might wonder about the experiences San Diego Comic Con has to offer given that all the information and trailers released at panels drop onto the Internet a short time later, and in some instances before the panel is even set to begin. Some could simply live it through other’s photos or through their favorite Youtube personality. But I urge those with a tingling sense for adventure, or even a nerdy bone in their body, to attend.

As I stated in my article last year, when I was a newbie, that no matter how much research beforehand is done, you’re going to miss out on something. In my second year of attendance, that still holds true. As I heard from several veterans, it’s finding what you want to do and prioritizing it by day. This year I went with an offsite and inside approach. I’d start out my days checking out the sights and sounds before heading in and joining the indoor spectacle.

For a handful of hours Wednesday night, the massive vendor and exhibit hall was opened for thousands. It’s known as Preview Night. Most in attendance were ready to snag some merchandise while others, like me, simply took in all the sights and sounds. Folks with multiple bags of merchandise scurried about while others waited in lines for several booths and exhibits. The hottest spots were at Funimation, Funko, Hasbro, “The Walking Dead” area and a few usual suspects.

For those without a chance to step inside the hallowed grounds of the convention center, the outdoor areas provided some much needed fun, rest and goodies. “The Purge” offsite was literally handing out shirts, as people got to take some play money and purchase exclusive merch with that play money. It was one of the best offsites in terms of simplicity and swag. “Jack Ryan” offered a training ground, gear and (from what I read on Twitter) free money to those ballsy enough. Adult Swim, in the evening hours, opened up a mock camp site as the sun began to set. But when the sun set, “Adult Swim” staples entertained the masses until the midnight hours. The crown jewel of everything outside though was the “DC Universe” offsite where they offered food, drink, previews of games and shows, a Harley Quinn room and an escape room.

Meanwhile, others kept pace by offering simple things. FXHibition is where folks got to take pictures with some items representing their favorite show. The Experience near PetCo Park also offered a lot in terms of a place to stop for a quick bite to eat, or one of their interactive displays, including an escape room. Escape rooms seemed to be the hot thing this year as several other offsite events had an escape room, something I encourage as escape rooms slowly become even more popular. Even offsites like the Nerdist House scored huge points in my book just by offering free food and drink to those who were smart enough to search it out.

Inside, I managed to once again avoid Hall H. That didn’t stop me from getting curious when I read about some experiences on the Hall H line being easier than in years past. The reason, or the truth, behind those tweets are up in the air. Maybe next year I’ll camp out and see what all the fuss is about in the Hall where folks got a preview of “Halloween,” DC movies and an evening with Director/Writer Kevin Smith.

Don’t be discouraged though. Other rooms offer their own treats, whether it be exclusive footage or on-stage appearances by other celebrities. I found myself inside Ballroom 20 for Marvel’s “Cloak and Dagger” only to be treated to the breaking news announcement that a second season had been confirmed by the creator during the panel. Once inside and away from the Exhibit Hall, you’ll find something fun to sit in on or a group of people with the same interests that you can chat it up with.

The takeaway from fans inside was one of pure joy. Sure the long waits, sweat, frustration, and sometimes ineffectiveness of how things work can bear down on you. But when you unpack the gear you snagged and look through the pictures, you know it’s an event you’re happy to have been apart of. And part of you, just like me, will want to go back and do it all over again. If you’ve been on the fence in the past, it’s time to get off that fence and grab a plane ticket. SDCC 2019 is next July 17th-21st, so mark your calendars and start digging through the couch for some loose change.

Ryan Reynolds talks about his latest film “Self/Less”

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3Ryan Reynolds stars this week in Gramercy Pictures’ new sci-fi thriller Self/Less from director Tarsem Singh (The Cell). Self/Less revolves around a dying billionaire named Damian who’s initially played by Sir Ben Kingsley before he undergoes a groundbreaking procedure to place his mind inside a younger, healthier body. Ryan Reynolds’s body to be precise. Secretive underground sci-fi operations generally not being on the up and up, Damian finds himself fighting to find out the origins of this new body while on the run from people behind the shady organization. Assuring us that he was himself and not Sir Ben, the future Deadpool star sat down in New York to discuss the film as well as some other acting aspirations (hint: let’s let the man be evil for a change!)

What attracted you to this film?
Ryan Reynolds:
As I’ve gotten older–and I guess I can say that now–I kind of, it’s about working with people you want to work with. And Ben Kingsley had signed on before I was involved. And Tarsem, I remember being so taken with Tarsem’s The Cell. A film which I thought was incredible and of course, Sir Ben and basically everything he’s ever done so…I was just kind of excited to get in the sandbox with those guys.

How familiar are you with the actual research that people are doing regarding this concept?
Reynolds:
A little bit, I read some stuff on it–there’s actually some compelling science that would suggest that this is something that we could actually achieve…I find it disturbing, actually. I find the whole concept of it disturbing to so abuse this first life and privilege that we have that we would be as arrogant to ask for a second one. It raises all kinds of questions. For some people it raises a theological argument, for some people it’s just a moral issue, for some people it just sounds awesome. So you know, it just depends. I remember when we were scouting for locations for the movie, we met a couple of billionaires here in New York because we were interested in borrowing their penthouse for Ben Kingsley’s character you know, because he’s a billionaire. And every one of them said “is that possible?” [laughs] You know and you just think ‘wow, you really, you would do that, wouldn’t you?’

Did you meet with Ben Kingsley, since you’re playing the young version of the same character even though you don’t share scenes together?
Reynolds:
Yeah I met him. Yeah. I actually spent a lot of time with him. It wasn’t so much that we were shooting together, we had one scene together, but he was around quite a bit. And you know, I would just hang out with him, we had lunch a couple of times. He’s amazing. He’s just an amazing person. I really think he’s kind of like a skin covered nuclear reactor. I mean I’ve never seen a guy with that kind of intensity. He’s got something blowing through him that’s otherworldly.

Lauren Damon: How was it playing against Matthew Goode who’s really playing one of those Archetypal British Villains?
Reynolds:
Well, he British. It helps. [laughter] But yeah the Brits are to me, you know, they embody great dry comedy. But certainly there’s a perception that villainous behavior goes in tandem with being British…Yeah, he brought a great screen villain into the mix for us…He is really remarkable. It’s also great because he’s kind of a leading man type of guy and you know, that’s important. I always think–my dream role is to play a villain. I still, to this day, I haven’t had the chance to play like a proper you know, on screen villain. The Voices [2014] I play sort of a nefarious bad guy, but he doesn’t believe he’s a bad guy so I can’t wait to do that some day. Because that’s just, I love villains because villains never ever ever ever feel like villains to me. I would love to do a villain role because I would play every line like he’s the hero. Because in real life that’s what villains are. Villains are just people with opposing convictions, not necessarily people that wake up in the morning and go ‘I need to kill someone.’

Why do you think you’ve not been asked to play a villain?
Reynolds:
I don’t know. That’s a good question. I don’t know. I also just think that Hollywood tends to cast villains–they tend to cast people that seem like villains…And I don’t know why they do that. I think like–I would prefer that they take somebody who doesn’t necessarily strike you as a villain and make them the greatest onscreen villain to ever happen. So I don’t know. I would love that opportunity though. I mean I look for them, I always look for them. But typically it’s in the writing–you read them and you’re like ‘oh well he’s written like a villain’ that’s why I don’t want to do it…You know, he’s talking like a ‘bad guy.’ I don’t think villains are like that. I think that villains talk like they’re the hero. You know, if you look back throughout history and you think of some of the greatest, you know, most awful human beings and the people that truly did the most damage, they believed in what they were doing. And that’s why they did the most damage. So like that to me is interesting.

LD: Shooting this and then also being Deadpool, a basically unkillable character, did you find yourself giving more thought to the concept of immortality, whether you saw it as a good or bad thing?
Ryan Reynolds:
I don’t know who would want to–to live forever, I feel like that’d just be a sentence. It would be kind of awful. I would not want to, I wouldn’t want to do that. But yeah, as a theme, it’s kind of been around lately for me…I think for a lot of people that’s wish fulfillment and in this film, I think Self/less they kind of tackle it in an interesting way. There’s a real moral argument there. There’s something, it’s a lot to with a class system. There’s a guy who uses his influence, power and money to acquire something that no other human being could really acquire. And to use it in such a way that is not necessarily altruistic but kind of disgusting, that’s the moral journey that he’s on and I think that that is what also derails him. And I found that to be kind of interesting.

LD: Are you going with Deadpool to Comic Con? And do you think you would brave the show floor whether in disguise or not?
Reynolds:
Oh yeah, we will have a presence at Comic Con for sure. Yeah, I’d love to go on the floor…

LD: Deadpool’s really covered, you could do it.
Reynolds:
Yeah I could! But if I wear the actual Deadpool suit from ten miles away, you’ll know it’s me. Because it’s the actual Deadpool suit, which I think is a feat of engineering. No cosplay looks that good. So I don’t know, maybe I’ll go in a Hulk mask or something.

Self/Less opens Friday July 10th
Deadpool is scheduled for release February 16th 2016