Friday, July 29, 2016

Comic-Con Con Job

This past week I was either fortunate enough, or crazy enough to attend Comic-Con San Diego.  If you didn't see or don't remember my post from a couple years ago, Comic-Con is an annual convention covering multiple genres of entertainment and comic books.  It was originally just for comics and sci-fi/fantasy movies and TV, but has grown exponentially to highlight nearly all of pop-culture arts - animation, anime, toys, action-adventure, card and video games, horror, webcomics and fantasy- novels, TV, movies and 2D art.  Forbes calls it "the largest convention of its kind in the world."

Your's truly, dressed as a Comic-Con tourist, with my beautiful wife.
And that description is true to form, with over 130,000 attendees each day, which makes the exhibit floor VERY crowded.  You can't walk more than a few feet without needing to squeeze through a throng of people.

This picture must have been taken on a really light day.

This is my fourth year in a row and I enjoy going, for the most part.  Some of the fun is seeing all the attendees in their costumes- or Cosplay as it's called.

Black Widow and Hawkeye from the Avengers
My Godson, the Predator, and a female Loki (Thor's ne'er-do-well brother or is it sister?)

Ms. Marvel looking Marvelous

Part of what makes the floor so crowded is the ability to get free or exclusive stuff.  The lines for some of the booths are crazy long, because they are most likely giving away or selling something that a fan can only get at Comic-Con.  The staff does a good job of keeping things organized, breaking up the lines and continuing them against a back wall or even out into the lobby.  Pops figures are really popular, although I don't quite get the appeal.

While the crowds are heavy, that doesn't really bother me, but because it's gotten so popular, the exhibit floor is really the only guarantee one can expect with the purchase of a ticket.  The convention has outgrown the San Diego Convention Center and has expanded into the ballrooms of nearby hotels and even those are crowded.

My wife and I wanted to see a Game of Thrones exhibit in the Hard Rock Hotel across the street, but that line was just too long for us.  One fan, dressed as Robb Stark told me that he had been in line for seven hours, and he was still 50 people back from the entrance.

The convention has an incredible variety of panel discussions, covering every type of entertainment mentioned above, some with the biggest stars from the biggest movies and TV shows.  Hall H is where the biggest of the biggest panels are held,.  That's where the first Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer was debuted last year, to include 100 Stormtroopers marching past the people waiting, and each attendee getting their own Light Saber.  This year it covered Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, Dr. Strange, never-before-seen clips from the still-in-production Justice League-

And the movie getting the most buzz at Comic-Con might be one of the biggest of the summer- Suicide Squad:

But getting into those events requires some serious determination, a little bit of luck, and a willingness to burn most of the day.  For some of the biggest panels as I mentioned, a fan has to line up several hours, if not days ahead of time.  I heard that some people lined up on Wednesday for a Hall H event on Friday.  I'm a fan of the superhero movies and would have really enjoyed seeing many of the Hall H panels, but camping in the heat wasn't worth my time, and I've grown too accustomed to air-conditioned comforts.  I only had a two-day ticket, Thursday and Sunday, so I couldn't have gotten in line for the big Friday/Saturday panels anyway.

The panel I thought I'd have the best chance of seeing was for The Last Ship.  I got in line an hour before it started though and barely got in before it was cut off.  I didn't realize it was that popular.  It's about a Navy Destroyer crew after a virus outbreak across the world.  It's not the best show on TV, but it's about the Navy, it's pretty exciting to me, and it's actually really well done.  Sure, the main character is a little Harmon Rabb-ish - 

You remember him don't you?  Good looking Navy guy, Tomcat pilot turned JAG Officer, sniper, Astronaut, all around bad-ass.  In The Last Ship, that character is portrayed by CAPT Tom Chandler (actor Eric Dane), good looking Navy guy, Surface Warfare Officer extraordinaire turned Special Ops warrior, Combat Search and Rescue expert, diplomat and savior of the world.    He's now the Chief of Naval Operations, mainly because that virus in season one wiped out the rest of his competition.  He's still onboard the USS NATHAN JAMES (DDG-150), but has handed over the helm to his former XO, CAPT Mike Slattery who is also an all around bad-ass.

That actor, Adam Baldwin (no relation or political compatriot to Alec), is a big fan favorite at Comic-Con due to his work on one of the more popular sci-fi shows of the past- Firefly.  He's played several military roles in the movies and I really like the guy, especially after hearing him rave about the Navy during the panel session.  He spoke about how amazing it is that we have young men and women of every race running the ship, from weapons to navigation to engineering, and that the crew, like everyone in the military, are the ones keeping us free.

He knows this because the Navy supports the show, allowing them to film on active Arleigh Burke Class Destroyers a couple times a year.  Off duty or former Navy SEALs also serve as technical advisers on the show.  In one episode, CAPT Slattery had to carry a heavy machine gun through the jungle.  When he was fatigued, he asked the SEAL about it and was met with the response "Get stronger."  These advisers help keep the show on course and realistic, as much as a fictional show can be.

The Navy is apparently happy with how he wears the uniform in The Last Ship and with the show itself.  “They love it,” Baldwin tells Breitbart News. “They were thrilled, and the funny thing is, you have a dedicated fan base, and a built-in fan base, from the Navy, because our goal was to portray the Navy as realistically as we could within the scenario and within our Hollywood creation.”  Source
The show does stretch the limits of what an actual CO would do and the senior writer, Stephen Kane admits as much, but he says it just fiction, not reality TV.   While Eric Dane admits his character always leaving the ship and charging into action is unrealistic, he knows they can't kill him off.   Adam Baldwin just asked them not to put him in a red shirt.  As for how well the Navy is portrayed, Kane he recently received the Distinguished Public Service Award from Navy Secretary Ray Mabus for his work.

Raven from Teen Titans

Thor and Captain America, as well as their female counterparts.
 I had fun, but I probably won't be going again next year.  I'm a fan, but I realized that I'm not a big enough fan to want to buy any of the exclusives, nor wait in line to do so.  I don't have a favorite artist or want to commission a work from one of them.  I also don't want to pay $300 for a four-day pass and wait in the long lines for the popular panels.   It's a good time and there's a lot to see, but I heard that they broadcast the big panels online in real-time anyway so I don't think you'll have to sit through another Comic-Con post next year.

Unless you really want me post about it again.  I can go as a freelance blogger and Sarge can cover my expenses!


  1. "...Sarge can cover my expenses!"

    Yeah, right!

  2. Tuna: Get stronger.

    Sarge: You gotta send him!

    One small question... If they stand in line for three days, how do they, er, well you know.

  3. Either a friend waits, or they get passes to get back in line. The fans are pretty cool about it- nobody cuts in line and everyone is pretty friendly.

    1. That sounds civilized! So nothing like the opening bell at walmart on black friday. Still, after berry many hours in berry many lines on berry many deployments I still break out in hives when I see a line, so I'm not sure I could hack it.

  4. Excellent post Tuna, there's two more movies I want to see, loved the clips.

    As to covering your expenses? Yeah, that'd be great. But like Skip said...

    1. Sarge, c'mon man! You got all that TDY money from your boondoggle this week. Throw Tuna a line!

    2. Well, I do have to find someplace to spend...

      Oh wait, not sure if I get to keep that. My company pays me for those days, taking the state's money would make me...

      Not rich, that's for sure.

      (Hhmm, labor unrest at The Chant!)

    3. Like we're gonna strike for better pay. Ha!

  5. " hours, and he was still 50 people back from the entrance." That reminds me of the time my son and I went to see J.K. Rowling.

    Paul L. Quandt

  6. I saw a couple of episodes of The Last Ship and about wanted to throw my remote through she screen. Yeah, I know it's fiction/fantasy, but jeez. (Have they ever shown an UNREP?)

    I limit my viewing to the original NCIS, which has never bothered to investigate a ship's store break-in, a small-scale drug ring on a DDG, or cover up some accident. So yeah, that's also pure fiction, but I like most of the characters.

    1. Aw, c'mon, you're being WAY too critical. Haha You'll never see true reality of what the Navy is like on TV because it's actually a whole lot more boring than it seems. And an unrep? Zzzzzx I'm sure the Nielsen Ratings would tank.

    2. Tuna, did you know that Comrade Misfit was a SWO?

    3. Somebody needs to invent full immersion, full contact, full dimension-ovision. The unrep ratings would go through the roof when someone on the couch catches a crate of frozen food in the face or the helo salvos a load of bomb fins onto the neighbors prius...

    4. Or the fun during refueling when the probe pops free and douses everyone on the refueling station with DFM.

      Next, on The Last Ship: Be there as the XO conducts his daily inspection of messing and berthing spaces! Thrill to the drama of Sweepers! Experience the suspense of a PMS check on a watertight door! Marvel at the CHENG's ability to drink massive quantities of coffee!

      (What, where'd all the viewers go?)

    5. And I have to share this from one of mine and this from the Lexicans.

    6. Heh, what'd I tell ya Tuna!

  7. Thanks for the AAR, and nope, I won't be going either... Not THAT big a fan.


Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)