Ballroom 20 was the place to be yesterday. The panels I'm hearing the most about: True Blood, obviously, which was much better than last's year panel. This was Alan Ball's last Comic Con appearance (for the show - not in his lifetime) and the audience seemed to really appreciate him, many giving him a standing ovation. If you went, you got to see some of the cast do stripper moves and walking handstands, as well as a preview for the rest of the season. There will be 3 new romances, if you care - but not, hopefully, any more new characters because that show is already bulging at the seams.
The Vampire Diaries also seemed to inspire a lot of that Ballroom 20 line. Vampire culture should just have its own Con at this point. Maybe it does.
Do people not care about The Simpsons anymore? That panel used to be so anticipated. I guess it's passe now. Once Upon A Time talked about the new characters/storylines joining the show, including Claire from Lost. Breaking Bad stirred up a lot of excitement in its first Comic Con appearance - see the trailer below.
The Hobbit panel showed an insane amount of footage - over 12 minutes. There has been a lot of negative talk about this movie, but this panel seemed to get the fan feeling back on a good track and people seem willing to accept 2 or 3 or however many films this breaks into. In fact, I'll say that this shot up to the list of the most-anticipated movies.
In an opposite direction, the Pacific Rim panel left mixed feelings. Guillermo del Toro is kind of a god at this point (ignoring last summer's Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, which fell off the radar fast) and I think he might be getting to a place in our cinematic pantheon where expectations are ridiculously high. While some people admittedly liked the robot-monsters, others came out muttering that it was just a low-brow destruction fest unworthy of del Toro's brilliance. I think it's best to realize that Pacific Rim was never intended to be as arty or nuanced as Pan's Labyrinth and accept and enjoy it for what it is. In any case - no footage available. Sorry.
Django Unchained worked its Tarantino magic and showed footage that had people spellbound. Seriously - while it's always generous of producers to show any footage at panels, sometimes it just feels like watching a trailer. Other times, the footage is crafted to completely rivet the entire room and unleash a tsunami of buzz. Tarantino proved he knows just how to do it. (The regular trailer is below.) Unfortunately, we have to wait until Christmas for this one.
Also noteworthy in Hall H - Robert Downey Jr's special entrance, where he danced up the aisle before the taking the stage for Iron Man 3. There seemed to be a lot of excitement in general for Marvel's plans for Thor, Captain America and Ant Man. Yes, Ant Man.
Also getting buzz: Elysium, from Neill Blomkamp (District 9.) There have been so many mediocre sci fi films in recent years, all CG bombast and cliches, but this looks pretty gripping, if violent. Although I am getting burned out on Matt Damon.
I missed Mythbusters and Lost Girl and have heard nothing on either. I'll assume they went well.
People seem excited and titillated that the next Resident Evil will have nudity in it. Oh my gosh. Seriously, people, this is a big deal? I'd like to introduce you to this thing called the Internet.
And because this is Comic Con, there are weird little ghosts hovering over the collective dialogue of the movies that aren't here; everyone (that I know) is discussing The Dark Knight, Knights of Badassdom, and World War Z. We Comic Con fans and our insatiable hunger to be entertained - we're never satisfied.
The Ray Bradbury tribute was amazing. But I have to say, between that and all the anniversary nods - Love and Rockets, Lenore, etc - the literary/comic book side of this Con is feeling a bit well-tread. It seems that all of what's new and fresh is happening on the TV/movie side. Maybe I'm just missing out on the hot new title panels. (One thing I did like: James Robinson teaming up with J Bone to release Saviors from Image, which looks promising.) Or maybe all the brewing digitization of comic books will help usher some new artists and writers into the spotlight. If you discovered some great new titles, please share in the comments because I usually excel at this each summer and I seem to be failing miserably this year.
All in all, I'm ready for Comic Con to be over. Thank god it's Sunday.