Plenty of people showed up in San Diego SUPER excited about every single second that they were going to be here. As a jaded Citizen of the Internet, however, it can be pretty difficult to walk into the Comic-Con show floor without bracing yourself for a bunch of terrible things. The lines, the crowds, the blatant marketing, and the fact that no matter how geeky you are, you’ll see WAY nerdier people than you walking around and guffawing in full on Skolnick mode and some of those people will make you sad as you let your mind wander to how they live their lives on a day to day basis.
And you’re going to see a LOT of guys who think they look awesome in this jacket.
And yeah, there’s that blatant marketing of everything that’s surrounding you, with every single table and every single booth trying to lure you in with 2 seconds of new footage or some Comic-Con exclusive collectible that you may or may not actually have been interested in if it had simply been a “back of Toys ‘R Us display shelf” exclusive.
I was pissed that I missed out on this one, but I cleared some space on my shelf and now no one has to know it isn’t filled with an invisible Bilbo after all.
Most of The Hobbit stuff actually looked really cool, but some of those big Hollywood marketing displays just don’t make sense to me at all. Total Recall is EVERYWHERE in San Diego this week, but is there anyone who was walking the showroom floor, not really sure if they were into the idea of a new Total Recall or not, and then saw this plastic looking “future car” and then thought, “YES! That movie looks really good after all!!”
We hit on this a little bit in the video we shot with Devin touring us around the Sideshow booth (and seriously, who does buy a $6,000 Terminator statue?), and as we were walking around looking at each new booth my brain was looking for other good places we could film a bit and let Devin just go to town. We met up with Mondo’s Justin Ishmael and he made a joke about all the pictures of anime girls sitting on toilets this year. Zack Carlson stopped by to warn us against engaging a mentally disabled black Captain America in conversation. And Film Crit Hulk started his visit to the showroom floor by seeing Lou Ferrigno, which led to a whole long conversation about how lame Lou Ferrigno is for charging fans sooooo much for a signature. It was all super snarky, and it was all super fun.
Here’s a Lou Ferrigno autograph you can print out and have for free!
But as we were checking out the live snakes in the Well of the Souls, I got split up from Devin and Meredith for a minute and stepped out into the main aisle to try to find them. And then as I looked across that walkway, something snapped in me and my inner nerd escaped in a gleeful fit of Hulking out excitement... My high school Michael Jackson turned into a growling wolf... The snarky Dr. Jekyll gave in to the Mr. Hyde of geeky bliss.
Except all of that sounds too negative (and kind of weird).
No, the transformation in that moment wasn’t Hulk or Hyde or Werewolf. Instead the thing that was lying dormant in me just waiting to break free was more like a strapping barbarian with a blonde bowl cut who isn’t afraid to walk around in public wearing nothing but a patch of fur around his junk and a random bit of armor over his torso that doesn’t actually protect anything. And in that one instant, I left my snark behind and became He-Nerd, the most powerfully ignorant-of-anything-else-around-me man in the universe!!!
And the thing that did it, of course, was the Mattel booth with the giant Castle Greyskull.
Plus they were playing old TV commercials above the toys! There were dads talking about how much their kids loved them in toy commercials back then!
Now don’t worry, I know full well how lame that is. The “Matty Collector” line of stuff from Mattel is the most blatant, most terrible cash grab that there is on the entire convention floor. Mattel is aware of the nostalgia factor that guys in their 30s have for the cartoons they rushed home from school to watch, and they’re taking the fun out of collecting old figures by re-releasing them all in “limited editions” that anyone can get. And I’m happy to say that I didn’t run over and buy a new Skeletor or anything like that. But I did get transfixed by that Greyskull, and I walked into that booth where I could look at the full display of those toys and just stare in awe, enjoying a full flashback to afternoons in the ‘80s when my brothers and I would argue over whether we were going to stay inside playing with the toys or if we’d step outside and play “us being the guys.”
So for me, it was that sense of nostalgia that caught me by surprise and let He-Nerd out. Meredith got more of her Nerd-Ra freed when we stopped by a Futurama display. Film Crit Hulk is always Hulked out, so he seemed to be happily soaking it in all day. Zack Carlson was super excited about a comic he found by a kid who asked his parents to pay an artist to make a whole issue based on his stories. Devin just walked back into the condo to excitedly tell us about some more video pieces he got with Hasbro where they had an ultra rare Spider-Man variant (but more on that when we get the video up).
And so far, that’s the very best thing about Comic-Con; it’s that moment when you just... go with it. No matter where it takes you, and no matter how long the lines are.
Just make sure you don’t have a credit card with you, or you could get into some serious trouble.
Comic-Con exclusive! Only $7,000!