Highlights from San Diego Comic Con #1

 

Wondering who the #1 most talked about villain was at the San Diego Comic Con?  Darth Vader?  Nope.  The Lizard from “The Amazing Spider-man”?  Nuh-uh.  Loki from “The Avengers”?  Hardly.  Everyone from “Game of Thrones”?  Nay.  It was the Fire Marshal – a malevolent and unseen being who imposed Nazi-like restrictions on any activity that looked like resting or relaxing.

“You can’t sit there,” an A-1, top-notch, unarmed security guard (i.e. volunteer) would say to you just as you lower your aching bones, twenty pound backpack and two bags full of comics (and cheap giveaways) to the ground.

“Why not?” you’d reply.

“Because of the… (da, da, dum) FIRE MARSHAL.”

I’m sure that sitting near a door, or leaning against a wall, or walking too slowly through a hallway has been known to cause buildings to spontaneously erupt in flames, but come on.  If SDCC was a gathering of sports fanatics, or perhaps a convention organized to celebrate standing for long periods of time, then there would be no problem, but we’re just geeks geeking out on geeky stuff, man.  Let us park it for a minute.  Seriously.

Somewhere, illuminated by the back light of a controlled burn off the 8 Freeway, the Fire Marshal laughs to himself.  “Next year,” he mutters, “attendees will not even be permitted to slow down.  Four and a half days of walking! Perpetual walking!  Mwwa-ha-ha-ha!”

 

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Why “The Avengers” Was Awesome: Reason #2

Power is central to a comic book character’s success.  It defines who they are and what they can do. And, more often than not, it gets way out of control.

Characters can easily become so powerful they become boring and indistinguishable.  Maintaining a story where there are “levels of power” (i.e. this thing is more powerful than that thing) is critical to making team-oriented stories work.  If someone can never be defeated then there’s never any “real” jeopardy they can be in, which means the audience can easily tune out.

“The Avengers” keeps everyone’s powers in balance.  In a movie where everyone can be the best, not everyone is.  In a movie where everyone can be a god, not everyone is.  Some people were strong, others were stronger and a few were the strongest.  And everyone’s individual strengths remained distinct.

Why “The Avengers” Was Awesome: Reason #1

Hulk not suck.

Three movies later, they get the big, green guy right.  Yay.

Mark Ruffalo does a great job playing a man with a love/hate relationship with the monster that he really is.  The anger is palpable in both Banner and the Hulk.  His rage defines his actions, both as Banner (trying to hold it back or deny it) and as the Hulk (relentless smashing of friend or foe).  Also, I liked the allusion that the Hulk wants to keep Banner around, possibly for a greater purpose.  Cool.