By Chris Furguson
For five cooler than normal days in San Diego, over 140,000 fans, retailers, celebrities and professionals spent time mingling and celebrating the popular arts at the 2010 San Diego Comic-Con International.
This year, fans lined up for hours to get glimpses of their favorite celebrities or artists. Hall H, the convention center’s largest area, saw one line that crossed into the next block due to the popularity of some panels. People waited hours to see glimpses of stars like Sylvester Stallone and Angelina Jolie.
The convention itself also saw trailers and announcements of upcoming projects, including “Thor,” “Captain America,” “Green Lantern,” “Green Hornet” and many others.
In recent years, Hollywood studios have used the Comic-Con to generate hype, or “buzz” for upcoming releases and eventual projects.
While the focus has been on Hollywood movies that need the buzz that Comic-Con generates, others are focused on television, video games and other forms of popular art.
Shows like CBS’s “NCIS,” a forensics crime drama with a tech-savvy feel, has a following among “geeks” who attend events like Comic-Con. Additioanlly, the upcoming Hawaii Five-0, which stars former “geek-friendly” actors Daniel Dae-Kim (Lost) and Grace Park (Battlestar Galactica) showcased their show as well. Established shows, like Burn Notice (which stars Comic-Con icon Bruce Campbell) and Psych also had popular panels.
One of the hardest to get into panels for the convention was for the Discovery Channel show “MythBusters.” The room, which holds over 2500 people, was packed for hours prior to the panel and those in attendance saw previews for the NBC “Nikita” remake and Fox’s “Human Target.”
There was even an emphasis on comic-books, the genre that started the whole convention.
Stan Lee, the creator of much of the Marvel Universe, arrived at the comic-con to huge crowds to plug his latest venture, Boom! Comics while other artists and writers spent their time hawking their current projects and talking about new and upcoming ones.
Outside the convention, a display for the upcoming Green Hornet movie, including a replica of the car used in the film, took over a portion of the area while a local restaurant replicated the set of an upcoming Fox TV series “Bob’s Burgers.” Other displays could be seen throughout the “Gaslamp” district of downtown San Diego.
One of the more interesting elements of this year’s Con was the arrival of protestors from the Westboro Baptist Church. The church, led by extreme fundamentalist Fred Phelps, is known for protesting the funerals of soldiers and other popular events.
However, in Comic-Con tradition, the WBC was met by several attendees across the street carrying their own signs in a peaceful counter protest. Not getting the confrontation they were expecting, the WBC eventually left the area.
One other reported incident occurred on Saturday when two friends became embroiled in an argument and one slashed at the other near the eye with a pen. The incident was described as “highly unusual” by attendees, as incidents like these are few and far between.