What I learned from my first time at San Diego Comic-Con
Plus the most exciting movies and shows announced on stage at #SDCC2022
As someone who has lived and breathed fandom in its many forms, from academic study to fan activism to just plain geeking out, attending San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC or simply Comic-Con) was always on my bucket list.
Over the past few years, I have taken on an array of fandom projects, which have led me to the role of Wonder Woman’s Internet sidekick and Co-President of my favorite nonprofit, Fandom Forward. When I was asked to represent Fandom Forward on a Comic-Con panel, I dove in and planned to make the most of the experience.
If you’re a fan of comics and pop culture, Comic-Con will make you feel like a kid again in the best way possible. The buzz was palpable, with an estimated 135,000 attendees all clamoring to make up for the lost pandemic years. Though I am merely one human and couldn’t experience even a tenth of the con programming I could with a Time-Turner, I did come away with many highlights and lessons learned.
Creators and fans alike can’t resist the pull of nostalgia
Though many new characters were introduced via announcement trailers throughout SDCC, revivals and comebacks reigned supreme, and for good reason. Even as naysayers balk at a lack of “original ideas” in Hollywood, the truth is that revivals are a safer bet for studios and are generally favored by audiences.
I piled into ballroom after ballroom with thousands of other con-goers to watch special preview clips for revivals of past hits, including animated shows like Beavis and Butt-Head. Though I was never really a huge B&B fan to begin with, I found myself hooting and hollering with all the Mike Judge fans, ready to hear what those iconic teen weirdos from the 90s would have to say about TikTok videos, memes, and the state of our increasingly frenetic online culture.
Cast and crew rewatch podcasts and discussions also contributed to the sense of shared nostalgia at SDCC. During a panel for their Avatar: The Last Airbender podcast, actor Janet Varney (Korra) announced a new film in the franchise and actor Dante Basco (Prince Zuko) hosted an interactive table read of famous Avatar scenes, with cosplayers in the audience selected to read for key roles. This led to my favorite moment of the con when Basco and Jack De Sena (Sokka) reunited to reenact their iconic “My girlfriend turned into the Moon” scene on stage.
While tapping into nostalgia can verge on pandering, I can’t say I mind. Sometimes you just want to see what your favorite characters are up to in the year 2022.
At Comic-Con, you’ll find unparalleled merch of all kinds. It’s enjoyable if you can move past your choice paralysis
Though I loved my panel and the sessions I attended in between, nothing was more exciting to me than the Exhibit Hall, which featured over 900 exhibitors across comics, merchandise, video games, television, and film.
While I tend to value experiences over merch, my eyes widened at the possibilities. I saw handcut shadow boxes featuring Star Wars starfighters, hats and posters advertising mythical places like Rivendell and The Shire, Golden Girls tiki mugs, a life-size Lego model of Skeletor from He-Man, a “Funkoville” village dedicated to the world of Funko Pops, and countless other products and experiences.
I spent several hours each day at SDCC walking from aisle to aisle, scanning carefully to ensure I didn’t miss anything in the Exhibit Hall, writing down booth numbers so I could craft a wish list and return to make purchases later. Though I started to feel anxious about all the possibilities, I decided not to sweat it too much. I came away with a few nifty T-shirts, posters, and baubles but ultimately focused on the programming and experiential aspects, whether it was the chance to meet my favorite actors, check out video game demos, or pose with Lego Skeletor.
Comic-Con cosplayers exist on another level
SDCC cosplayers range from simple (Disneybounding) to incredibly elaborate, including prosthetics and even custom 3D printed helmets. Among the cosplayers, I spotted Batman, Mr. Spock, Wonder Woman, Chewbacca surrounded by a gaggle of Stormtroopers, and countless others.
One of the most popular franchises for cosplay last weekend was Stranger Things. Still fresh off of its stunning 4th season, I saw many self-proclaimed Hellfire Club members, Scoops Ahoy employees, 80s Mall Elevens, and even a large Vecna perched atop a remote control mini vehicle.
Whatever your fandom, dressing up for Comic-Con usually means bringing your A-game.
Con crud hits different in the age of COVID
This was the first year Comic-Con was returning to in-person programming after the rise of COVID-19, and preventative measures such as vaccination or negative testing requirements and masking were heavily enforced. Though masking and frequent hand washing double as a safeguard against the common cold, flu, and other types of “con crud,” there are other forms of wear and tear at SDCC that will make you feel cruddy if you’re not careful.
Ironically, the long line to verify my vaccination status became a crud culprit; having planned to be inside a convention center all day, I didn’t bring sunscreen and experienced an uncomfortable sunburn and mild heat exhaustion after waiting out in the sun for an hour.
When packing for a long day or weekend at a convention like SDCC, it’s generally a good idea to pack supplies that will help prevent exhaustion or discomfort in various weather situations. I recommend some hand sanitizer, a mini fan, water, sunscreen, and a jacket in case it gets chilly. Above all, it’s a great idea to slow down and pace yourself, so you don’t burn out after a few hours of excitement.
Comic-Con trailer announcements revealed just how exciting the next couple of years will be for TV and film fans
Whether you’re a fan of never-ending franchises like the Marvel Cinematic Universe or looking forward to seeing something new, studio announcements at Comic-Con didn’t disappoint. These are just a few of the sneak peeks I saw:
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Chadwick Boseman is irreplaceable, but this stunning teaser has Black Panther fans eagerly waiting to see who will take up his mantle.
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power
Who knew Sauron would look so much like Eminem? Or that the young Ned Stark would become young Elrond? Like many Lord of the Rings fans, I’m looking forward to Prime Video’s foray into the Tolkien universe this September.
John Wick: Chapter 4
John Wick’s rage and love for dogs continue to be relatable, and fans still can’t seem to get enough of Keanu Reeves. We’ll take it.
Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves
DnD players may be a little skeptical about this one. However, Hugh Grant won hearts and minds as a character actor in Paddington 2, so perhaps we can give this a chance?
House of the Dragon
Even if you were disappointed about how Game of Thrones ended, this HBO prequel is bound to be exciting for fans of the books and original series.
With all of these movies and shows slated for late 2022 and next year, it looks like the Remarkist community will have plenty of watch parties to host. Join us, and you can have your own SDCC-esque experience in our fandom app and ecosystem, all from the comfort of your home.
Not a Remarkist member yet? Here’s how to get started:
Step 1: Join our beta as an early adopter and grab your unique @membername. Install our app using the instructions here, and be one of the earliest to collect our KRNL token while earning rates are high. KRNLs fuel Remarkist’s fandom economy of events and collectibles.
Step 2: Join our Remarkist Clubhouse Club—Clubhouse is a separate mobile app on iPhone and Android that we use right now to meet and watch content together. You’ll need it to actually join us for our real-time events, and you’ll need to be a member of our club there to see those chat rooms.
Step 3: Join our Discord Server—this is where hundreds of Remarkists are geeking out over the shows we love 24 hours a day, and it’s where you can get the latest developments on the project.
Step 4: Check our website at remarkist.com for a splashy birds-eye view of the biggest stuff happening in our ecosystem.
Step 5: Subscribe to future newsletters so you can stay up to date on all the exciting stuff coming to Remarkist in 2022!