The Calm Before the Storm: San Diego Comic Con 2012 (Day Three, Part I)



This is it, the big one. The day that Comic-Con 2012 will be remembered for. The day so, big, I had to divide it into to separate posts. So many big-name movie and TV properties are finally being unveiled today. But enough build-up, let’s get right to it!

Marvel Television Presents

Marvel TV’s 2011 panel was a sight to behold. Four new live-action shows announced to be on their way, and several cool new animation projects in development. Which is why I was really excited to be part of the panel again this year: especially with only a few vague comments and a cancellation (AKA Jessica Jones is no more) since last year. I was really looking forward to hearing more about  the announced live-action Hulk TV series spearheaded by Guillermo Del Toro, which I assumed was sure to be pretty far along by now. This was not the case.

Head of the company’s TV division Jeph Loeb came out onstage to present all the latest from the company, which unfortunately, amounted to nothing more than a few new animation projects. Among them was is Marvel Mash-Up, basically taking a page from Youtube users and dubbing over some of the old Marvel cartoons from decades past with unrelated or otherwise humorous dialogue. I used to love stuff like Yu-Gi-Oh the Abridged Series back in high school, so this new series is interesting, but perhaps a bit misguided. This is the kind of thing fans are supposed to do, not the studios themselves. When it starts to become an official thing, there’s a big chance for the whole idea to simply cease being funny. It’s like a blonde telling blonde jokes…it completely loses the humor when the people being mocked start doing it themselves.

The Hulk was namedropped for a new series, but my flash of excitement quickly faded when I learned it was merely a new animated show subtitled “Agents of S.M.A.S.H.” and starring all the main Hulks. From how the liveblog described it, it sounds comparable to Ultimate Spider-Man’s over-the-top, kiddie-centric nature. I’ll pass. Next came Avengers Assemble, and I found it funny to see the company scrambling to assuage the many fans angered by the cancellation of the show it would be replacing, Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. The panelists tried to sidestep the issue by labeling the new show not as such, but “the next evolution” of the Avengers show. A transparent attempt at conciliating fans if there ever was one.

The panel turned towards Ultimate Spider-Man, the current Disney XD show about to begin its second season. The livebloggers proceeded to gush over every little insignificant detail of the footage that was screened; one chick called a scene of Peter Parker unwittingly eating a hot dog from Loki and turning in Spider-Ham “SO AWESOME!”. I can only take so much baseless cheerleading, and had I known the panel would end immediately afterwards, I would’ve cut out right then and there. I realize these guys are paid to praise this stuff and maybe even have a good deal of passion for their work, but there’s a fine line between enthusiasm and being a tool, and these guys crossed it trying to amp up fan excitement for a show that, truth be told, isn’t all that good.

I was very disappointed with the panel this year. Not only was it all about the animation, but there was literally not even a passing mention of all the live action shows – Cloak and Dagger at ABC Family, Hulk at ABC, etc. – that were first announced last year. Instead, the team spent time plugging a show that’s quickly going down the tubes, and it did not pay off for them at all.

DC Comics-All Access: OGNs

I was impressed with DC’s next panel, which seemed to improve the liveblog content considerably by giving more description and being overall less worthless. The panel kicked off with some book about sushi that I absolutely did not care about before getting to Geoff Johns’ Batman: Earth One. Johns name-dropped a Volume 2 to the recently-released first book, which will (SPOILERS FOR BATMAN EARTH ONE) feature the Riddler in what Johns called the character’s “Killing Joke”. The author also described how the book would show Batman becoming more of a detective. Let’s hope so, great detective stories in Batman comics are hard to come by these days.

Next was J. Michael Straczynski and Shane Davis talking about Superman Earth One Vol. 2, the art from which already looks fantastic. I like how the book seems to have its villain Parasite parallel Clark’s own coming to terms with his powers. Shane Davis also praised JMS’s ability to balance inspirational, coming-of-age material and action, qualities I really liked about the first book as well. JMS mentioned that he thinks Vol. 2 will top the first. Here’s hoping.

Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained

After jumping between ComingSoon, HitFix’s Twitter, and Screenrant, no one seemed to be delivering consistent coverage of the event. From what I gathered, director Quentin Tarantino, stars Jamie Foxx and Christoph Waltz, and more showed up for a panel that also screened eight minutes of footage from the upcoming film. Tarantino also apparently came up with the idea for a slave-turned bounty hunter spaghetti western set in the south 13 years ago.

I’ve grown weary of Tarantino’s films, honestly, to the point where I hesitate to even call him one of my favorite directors anymore. You remember when Tim Burton made the fantastic Ed Wood, an homage to the much-maligned director’s old B-movies? Then two years later, when Burton directed Mars Attacks!, a film which many called an Ed Wood B-movie in and of itself? That’s how I see Tarantino’s career from Kill Bill to Death Proof and Inglourious Basterds. Instead of paying homage to shitty old exploitation movies, now he’s actually MAKING them. I mean, the latter two films aren’t so far off the radar as to be abysmal, but they are huge disappointments in my mind, a far cry from the likes of Pulp Fiction. And Django Unchained looks to be in sort of the same vein as Basterds, sadly.

What I did find interesting was this tidbit from (of all places):

Jamie Foxx on what it was like to get into the mindset of a character like Django: “Getting there was really a journey because at the start of this process, QT pulled me aside and said ‘I’m worried you can’t get to that slave’. He said ‘throw your ego out of the door right now so we can get to the work’.”

I’ll give Tarantino credit, he knows exactly what he wants and that’s probably the best bit of direction he could’ve given Foxx on this film.

Marvel Video Games

Just like that, where DC’s blogs got better, Marvel’s deteriorated. This particular panel began with more members of Marvel’s toolchest heaping praise onto the new Avengers: Battle for Earth. I saw the trailer at E3, and honestly, it looks cheap and far from anything special. That didn’t stop the people on the liveblog from losing their shit at the mere prospect of Skrulls being in the game. And I swear, those people must filter out and only post fan comments that contain “AWESOME”, “OMG”, or “YEAH”. Some people really just need to take it down a notch.

The only game that ended up catching my interest at the panel was the already announced Marvel vs. Capcom Origins, a compilation of the first Marvel vs. Capcom and Marvel Super Heroes. I’ve been a fan of the series for a long time, so I’ll definitely be downloading it this fall. Following that, a guy in a Deadpool costume came out on stage and “took over the panel” to present a new Deadpool game. I could practically hear the livebloggers squeal with completely irrational delight through my computer, and I promptly checked out of the panel with a headache.

Keep watching the blog tomorrow when I give my reactions to Warner Bros. and Marvel’s panels and wrap up with my overall reflection on this year’s Con!


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