Virtual SDCC Feels The Same To Me

Unlike last year’s false advertising, this is really the fiftieth anniversary of San Diego Comic Con. This year everybody’s got armchair reporting because it’s the only option! How egalitarian! Now my blog finally has the same level of convention coverage as professional news sites!

Once when I was little, I attended SDCC as a graduation present. Since then I’ve had to read about it secondhand. This year’s convention was wisely cancelled due to coronavirus because contagions & conventions shouldn’t commingle. (Wear a mask in public to protect yourself & others! It’s super easy, barely an inconvenience!) So now everyone gets the same level of access. Fans who didn’t have the privilege of attending in person have been asking for years to be able to watch the panels online. This new format dramatically reduced fan comments disguised as questions. If SDCC@Home is a success, will convention organizers begin selling passes to stream panels remotely? Will anyone bite since 2020 showed this could be free?

Comic-Con@Home’s schedule features lots of informational & academic panels. (Comic Con Museum is more crafting & less museum than expected.) Now that these are being uploaded to YouTube to watch at your leisure, there’s the possibility to see more of them. In fact the potential to watch them all is daunting!

Last year’s convention yielded shockingly few trailers. With productions shut down (Beeboverse filming supposedly resumes in August) & release dates TBD, we saw even less this year. The biggest “H-Hall panel” I watched was for Bill & Ted Save The Music, which sprang for animation to spice up its delightfuly wholesome Zoom meeting. The New Mutants poked fun at how delayed it’s been. Hellstrom looks generic AF. The Agents of SHIELD panel focused on science. Marie Avgeropoulos & Tasya Teles are on opposite ends of taking souvenirs from The 100 spectrum. Farscape’s panel had no concrete news about a revival but it’s lovely to hear from the cast again. Gotham had no presence at intangible SDCC (aside from Chris Chalk in a collection of some of my favorite supporting actors), but this second Wizard World panel with Crystal Reed, Francesca Root-Dodson, James Carpinello, & Michael Cerveris is fun for fans of villain guest stars.

Gotham_cake

There are three distinct videos where Stabby Babs insists she’s not cake. (Dear denizens of the future: This was a big existential crisis mid-July because 2020.)

Does that finally put the emphasis on comics back into Comic Con? They’ve finally resumed publishing them after all. (There was big kerfluffle in the interim about DC doing new digital-exclusive stories to circumvent Diamond Comics Distributors’ direct market monopoly halting digital sales that led to DC ditching them. There was also controversy about the importance of comic book shops. It’ll also have its own DC FanDome event in August.) This year’s publishers’ panels appear to be lumping most of their output together, so they still have an afterthought vibe. I haven’t actually gotten around to watching the comic panels yet, so I’m possibly part of the problem. The “floor plan” wasn’t conducive to artists & smaller vendors either.

Whilst physical publishing was on pause, more comics creators were accused of sexual misconduct. This is in addition to the industry’s poor working conditions, which weren’t secret. Even if you don’t work for The Big Two, other publishers are likely still filled with bastards. (Why would anyone support Nazi-adjacent Comicgate when they crowdfund amateurish ugly covers?) Publishers don’t do anything to remedy toxic environments unless outsiders call enough attention to them. So in that regard, comics are just like any entertainment industry! (Some panels on sexual harassment would be really useful for next year.)

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You can still purchase offcial SDCC merch for the convention that never happened!

NECA’s TMNT Musical Mutagen Tour convention set looks superlative yet thankfully inessential since it sold out swiftly during  a Target kerfluffle. Although maybe I want those demented hinged grins & denim vests more now that I can’t have them? It is less likely to be reissued than the previous convention TMNT sets. My vague memories of seeing the musical on VHS are that it was terrible aside from Shredder revealing he hates music, yet the real story behind the Coming Out of Their Shells tour is charming.

Hasbro showed off less Marvel Legends reveals than at a regular SDCC (Gotta save something for virtual NYCC!), which is probably good considering the pandemic has greatly strained everyone’s disposable income.  First appearance Storm has nifty interchangeable rubber capes instead of the cheap fabric ones though neither connects to her bracelets, whose color remains uncorrected from Toy Fair. She’s a Target exclusive packed with Thunderbird, whom oddly doesn’t include fists. Judging by the packaging, Marvel actually managed to trademark Storm. Pre-orders sold out in seconds without even being an “SDCC” exclusive!

The Magneto & Xavier set includes the wrong wheelchair because it’s pre-recycled from the “SDCC” older Logan & Xavier set. Unless you wanted a generic wheelchair, everyone would’ve preferred the one with the iconic X-wheels. What justifies these movie toys costing more if they couldn’t at least tool two sets of wheels? It’s not like the money went towards X-23.

They finally showed off the Hellfire Club set on Tuesday in a video still using Fan First Friday branding. (Hellfire Club is sometimes shortened to HFC despite Hellfire being a compound word, making the acronym Hellfire Fried Chicken.) Jean Grey & Selene have to share custody of the Black Queen body, as do Sebastian Shaw & Donald Pierce for fists. Black Cat’s whip with claw is included despite not being a riding crop. It is missing Harry Leland & Mastermind. I’m kind of glad it doesn’t include a Hellfire Club guard, but those need to be available as single releases. I like the gold embossed gate flap, but I could’ve gone without the blotter & letter if it’ll reduce the price. It will be sold online … in September? Why can’t I pre-order them now since I have money saved up? Who knows if it’ll still be there in September or whether I’ll have frittered it away on fripperies like food by then?

A yellow degloving piece was shown. Since the forthcoming Rogue in the set with unseen Pyro has green gloves, is another Rogue on the horizon? Or is this simply a bonus piece to be used with the previous figure? More exciting was Stilt-Man’s interlocking leg! Stilt-Man himself isn’t a large guy. He can be released all by himself in a series with plug-in leg attachments to his height. Now every other figure in the series would also come packaged with his leg extensions. He’d technically be a BAF albeit just legs.

Finally, a Carnage statue with a butt-tendril!

Cy-Gor is coming back … in toy form! That’s way more surprising than McFarlane Toys’ Batman-heavy DC lineup.

Sideshow’s 12″ Harley Quinn has the right costume, but they couldn’t even throw in her pop gun for that absurd price.

The iridescent 12″ Mer-Man looks really snazzy! It cost $250, which is a dollar for each of the total units produced. Thankfully it sold out so quickly my poor impulse control never had the chance to click purchase.

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Despite being virtual, SDCC 2020 still stretched on through Sunday. So that’s how we lost a week. At least it was refreshingly laid back for a change. Hopefully we’ll be back on schedule for The Umbrella Academy season two review next.

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