Heroic Coverage of Comic-Con

For the Los Angeles Times’ pop culture blog Hero Complex the opening of the San Diego Comic-Con is the pinnacle of the geek social season. Here is a sampling of its extensive coverage.

There’s a roundup of celebrity appearances and odd entertainments in Cumberbatch, Radcliffe sightings and more in San Diego:

Daniel Radcliffe is coming to Hall H: But not to discuss his most famous role as the Boy Who Lived. Rather, the “Harry Potter” star will be on hand to talk up a decidedly different turn in the horror movie “Horns,” which premiered last year at the Toronto International Film Festival. Based on the Joe Hill novel, “Horns” tracks Radcliffe’s Ig, who gains unusual powers after he is accused of murdering his girlfriend and wakes up looking much like the monster he’s suspected of being.

The work of IDW special projects editor is celebrated in IDW’s Scott Dunbier champions comics artistry with heroic precision, producing hardcover art books using scanned-in original artwork.

Artwork used for Artist’s Editions is scanned and reproduced in full color so that readers can see the non-photo-blue pencil lines artists use to lay out a page before doing detailed art — lines that disappear in other means of copying.

“You get more of a sense of what was done, what the artist was thinking, what changes he made, what corrections he did, what corrections he didn’t do — there’s a lot to be studied,” said “Hellboy” creator Mike Mignola, who collaborated with Dunbier on a newly released Artist’s Edition collection of his own work.

Using full-color reproduction on black-and-white pages was a lesson Dunbier learned in the 1990s while trying to photocopy Neal Adams pages he had for 60 or so fellow comic book art enthusiasts in an amateur press association.

Two Comic-Con exhibits by a famed film director are described in Guillermo del Toro takes fans into ‘Crimson Peak,’ ‘Pacific Rim’:

The director helped create two immersive worlds for the Legendary booth at the convention, a virtual reality encounter where fans can train to pilot a Jaeger–the giant, neurally linked robots from his 2013 science-fiction epic “Pacific Rim”– and a Gothic gallery they can stroll through to enter the world of his next project, the 2015 haunted house film “Crimson Peak.”

To enter the “Crimson Peak” portion of the booth, which Del Toro gave press a tour of Wednesday night, fans walk through snow-covered gates into a space that includes evocative props and costumes from the film. Set in a deteriorating mansion in 19th century northern England, “Crimson Peak” stars Mia Wasikowska as a young author who discovers her charming husband (Tom Hiddleston) isn’t who he seems to be. The objects in the gallery spell out clues from the film — there’s a book on the history of insects, a bloody knife, a portrait of an intimidating matriarch. A moth print in the wallpaper spells out the word fear.

Somewhat disappointing is Hero Complex blogger Rebecca Keegan’s article “Outcry, action against harassment grows”, a lengthy but superficial account that repeatedly fails to probe the claims of people on both sides of these important questions.

Geeks for CONsent’s petition is taken at face value, despite gaining a trivial number of signatures compared another social justice effort, last year’s petition against the movie made from Orson Scott Card’s novel.

On the other hand, Comic-Con’s David Glanzer is allowed to avoid accountability for refusing to upgrade SDCC’s anti-harassment policy, while boasting about the event’s security and city-mandated emergency services — as if the only misbehavior worthy of concern is something that would require intervention by the police.

“Anyone being made to feel uncomfortable at our show is obviously a concern for us,” Comic-Con spokesman David Glanzer said in an email. “The safety of our attendees is a primary concern of ours. For this reason we have more staff and security than other events of our type. In addition we also have a command post in the lobby of our event that is staffed with members of the San Diego Police Department, fire and other emergency services.”

Then, despite her awareness of John Scalzi’s personal policy towards cons which lack anti-harassment policies (“Last summer, Scalzi wrote a blog post titled “My New Convention Harassment Policy,” saying he would only be a panelist or guest of honor at a convention that has a clear, visible and enforced harassment policy. More than 1,100 people, including several other authors, co-signed his post.”), she gives him a complete pass –

Though Scalzi’s publisher, Tor Books, had already booked him to attend Comic-Con this year, he decided to hold his event, a reading and signing, at a location outside the convention center.

— by failing to ask how this appearance within the orbit of Comic-Con reconciles with his policy.


4 thoughts on “Heroic Coverage of Comic-Con

  1. A threat of rape for a critique of a comic book, as stated as having occurred in the article, is in fact (or ought to be if in your jurisdiction it is not) a criminal act, and the police should be brought in. It is beyond the pale, insufferable, not to be borne.

  2. Comic Con *has* an anti-harassment policy. From what I can see, the Geeks for CONsent folks want it to include a list of specifics regarding sexual harassment while Comic Con says the policy as written is deliberately general so that it will cover a broader array of potential occurrences, including all of the things GfC are concerned with. I know that once you get into specifics, people then start looking for ways to weasel around those specifics so I’m not sure that Comic Con’s idea isn’t the best way to go. As to the police, when you’re dealing with as big a crowd as Comic Con gets — including people who aren’t necessarily part of the “fan community” — having the police there to deal with things isn’t necessarily a bad idea. Certainly it might make people think twice before they act, rather than thinking they’ll just have to deal with some guy from the convention committee whose most aggressive act would be to take their badge away.

  3. Craig: Amen, so mote it be, and so say we all. Excellent observations!

    Plus, there is the added virtue of “security” convention staff members not letting things go to their heads when real police are present. Back when I lived in L. A., a mutual acquaintance working “con security” actually made the claim to me that his badly press-typed “Security” pin-back button gave him all the authority of an actual police officer.

    The late Bruce Dane’s deliberate habit (for just this reason) of labeling of door watchers as members of convention “operations” rather than “security” helped in this regard as well.

  4. Craig: You turned the spotlight on an aspect of the question that I think I will save for a post. However, I will say that Comic-Con’s policies about badges, costume weapons, and other topics all contain numerous specific and concrete examples of behavior they’re trying to restrict. Why should I believe Comic-Con’s defense of its antiharassment policy when it seems to find objective examples so helpful in communicating every other policy?

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