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I Left My Heart in San Diego

Comic-Con highlights prove it's still worth attending


San Diego Comic-Con
  • San Diego Comic-Con

Every year, I swear I'm never going back to San Diego Comic-Con, for so many reasons: It's too big. There are too many people. There is too much to do. It's a panic- and anxiety-inducing land of chaos. And yet, every year I find myself reluctantly going back, heading face-first into the crowds and the Hollywood-induced helter-skelter.

Although comics have taken a back seat to the movie studios at the convention in recent years, there were still plenty of comics on display and panels to take in. My favorite might have been the panel discussing the 75th anniversary of Batman, where luminaries like Frank Miller, Denny O'Neil and Scott Snyder sat in front of a thousand people to talk about what makes Batman still relevant after all this time.

Marvel Comics also announced its future plans for the Star Wars franchise—since they've taken it over from Dark Horse Comics—including a book from comics superstars Jason Aaron and John Cassaday that gives us the new, official version of the events that happen in the weeks after the destruction of the first Death Star. That wasn't all the Star Wars that was shown off, however; a small audience (myself included) was treated to a look at the pilot of the new cartoon, Star Wars Rebels. It fills in the gaps between Episode III and Episode IV—and I couldn't be more excited to see the rest of the show.

On the movie front, Zack Snyder unveiled a clip from the upcoming Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice film that teases a hell of a fight between our two favorite superheroes. George Miller wowed audiences in Hall H with a look at the fourth film in his Mad Max franchise. We were shown the monsters Godzilla will face off against next (Rodan, Mothra and Ghidorah), a trailer for the new World of Warcraft movie, and even a panel of kick-ass women in sci-fi talking about how much women kick ass.

But perhaps the best presentation at Comic-Con belonged to Marvel Studios. They brought out the cast of the Ant-Man film, scheduled for a July 2015 release, then teased the audience with a conversation with the cast of The Avengers: Age of Ultron before knocking everyone's socks off with footage from the film. Marvel capped it off with an official announcement for a sequel to Guardians of the Galaxy, coming in 2017.

The great advantage of San Diego Comic-Con seems to wane just a little bit every year, though. Most of the "exclusive" announcements hit the Internet within seconds of being shown to a crowd at Comic-Con; much of the footage shown is available on YouTube within days. However, there are special things you can't replicate. Nowhere else can you be in the room with Robert Downey Jr. as he throws dozens of red roses into the audience, or watch Frank Miller shuffle behind a microphone and pontificate about the "Goddamn Batman." And where else are you going to get stuck in an elevator with George R.R. Martin? Or have your kid bowled over by Vin Diesel on the exhibition-hall floor?

These are the moments you go to San Diego for. Everything else you can see online. And I'll keep telling myself that as I decompress from the convention. I won't want to go next summer, but who am I kidding? I'll be there, seeing what there is to see.

Or maybe I won't even have to leave. We have our own Salt Lake Comic Con now, and though it's pretty clearly not affiliated with the San Diego convention, the older con on the block seems to think we're enough of a threat to send out a cease-and-desist letter over the use of "Comic Con" in the event's name.

Sounds like San Diego knows that Salt Lake City is a force to be reckoned with. Heck, the drive to the Salt Palace is a lot shorter than the line for Hall H.

Bryan Young is the editor-in-chief of BigShinyRobot.com.

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