Comic-Con happened. And when I say "happened," I mean "was the best fannish experience of my life." I committed to being one of the crazy camping crew this year, and was ridiculously rewarded in the form of Joss Whedon at 2am (he yelled at my Sharpie and signed my Jason Palmer shirt), Ian McKellan at 1am (he took my hand in both of his and was genuinely humbled when I told him how much I still love Gods & Monsters), and the sight of Captain America and Femme!Loki taking on one of the picketing religious zealots. And that was just during my time in lines.
It was a typical Thursday at Comic-Con - we braved the mad throng in the exhibit hall, where I went to war to score a spot in the Mattel exclusives line, then hit Ballroom 20 for Psych (awesome, as usual), Beauty and the Beast (not entirely awful), Elementary (surprisingly solid, considering my Sherlock bias), and Dexter (marvelous). A drink and some good conversation at CBLDF party rounded out an early night, because there were camping chairs in our immediate future.
My Friday night campout with templeandarche began at 1:30 and netted us a prime spot for things like Community (where Allison Brie freestyled and Danny Pudi had fun with innuendo), Legend of Korra (where we had a blast doing a wah wah session with the cast and crew), Arrow (where I actually got on board with a non-Hartley Oliver Queen), and Breaking Bad (where we'd moved up to the sixth row and had a great view of Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul in their hazmat suits). But the act of camping out was all about Firefly, and was worth every single second of trying to catch a few Zs through surprisingly-frigid temperatures and shockingly-loud train whistles. Joss cried. Nathan cried. Summer cried. Everyone cried. And laughed. And cheered. And relived exactly what made this show, and this fandom, so special. It was, hands down (and especially in combination with the hour-long Just Joss panel we had later, courtesy of Dark Horse), the most magical experience I've ever had as a fan.
Saturday, I struck out on my own. Sara and martinigrl were bound for the Once Upon a Time/Being Human/Shameless panels, but, aside from Firefly, my only can't-miss panel of 2012 was The Hobbit, and not even going solo was enough to make me miss it. I got in line at 12:45 (perfectly timed, as it turns out, to meet Mr. McKellan), had my Supernatural bag stolen by a fellow camper (no good deed goes unpunished), and proceeded to freeze for most of the night. But oh man, was it worth it. I had an amazing second section center seat, actually managed to find fellow brown people to sit with (good seat buddies are all-important when you're ballroom-camping alone, doncha know), and actually had leg space in front of me (thanks to two empty slots left for wheelchairs).
Quentin's mouth, of course, completely dominated the Django Unchained panel, but the footage was amazing, the cast is incredible, and in the moments when someone else was allowed to speak, Christoph Waltz was endearing, Kerry Washington was amazingly insightful, and Jamie Foxx managed to be more genuine than douchey. Everything I'd seen related to End of Watch looked like yet another Training Day/Dark Blue/Street Kings (not surprising, considering who's behind it), but the actual clips they played were intriguing. Someone needs to reevaluate how this movie gets marketed. (In the interest of full disclosure, one of my seat buddies and I totally ducked out for food during the Silent Hill panel. I don't need those kinds of nightmares.)
Pacific Rim. I'm not sure what there is to be said about Pacific Rim, beyond HOLY SHIT. Guillermo del Toro is at his world-building best, which should come as a surprise to absolutely no one, but hearing him talk about this film - the care and the practicality and the passion - was absolutely thrilling. His thoughts on the use of CGI alone would have been worth the nine hours I spent on the street. He said they're going dark on the movie until at least December, and I can't help but feel incredibly privileged to have gotten this early look.
The jury's still out on Man of Steel. It's no secret that, though I have massive issues with Singer and Superman Returns, Brandon Routh was my Superman. I think they missed the ball on the footage presentation, especially in light of the gauntlet Guillermo threw down just before. The imagery itself is very Nolan-ized - bleak and dark and stripped of color - and there's no mistaking the big, booming signature of Hans Zimmer. But there was nothing in the package to get hugely excited about. Barely a throwaway shot of Michael Shannon, absolutely no Lois (save a desperate-looking kiss on the streets of Metropolis). Basically, it was a lot of Henry Cavill looking angsty, emo, and occasionally bedraggled (and utterly failing to mask his accent), Kevin Costner sounding overly cryptic, and the whole thing being very impressed with itself. Which Zack Snyder was all-too-happy to reinforce on panel. Thank god for Chris Hardwick's moderation. Whatever. I'll withhold judgement for now, but I wasn't exactly peeing my pants.
Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis showed up (surprise!) with a full four-minute trailer for The Campaign, followed by about twenty minutes of harassing the audience, and the urge to pee my pants returned with a vengeance.
Guys, I'm not even gonna lie, The Hobbit panel was sort of an out-of-body experience for me. I've loved the book since I was little, and maybe the fact that so many people I adore are involved in the adaptation was already too much for me, but when the logo came up, and the behind-the-scenes footage started, I got teary. (Though, in hindsight, tears are definitely preferable to the alternative, which is my head exploding at the sheer awesome of Guillermo del Toro and Peter Jackson within an hour of each other.) The LoTR alums were so delighted to be back in Middle Earth, and the newbies were so excited to just be part of it, and guh, it was amazing to watch, and I will forever love Peter Jackson for giving us that before anything else, just so everyone in the room knew they weren't alone in their giddiness and excitement and awe, that the people making it happen felt it all, too. I would recap it all here, but the actual footage he brought (all twelve-and-a-half minutes of it) actually contained the beginnings of The Scene, THE Scene, the Riddles, and my brain sort of broke after that. Which is why I recorded the whole thing. You know, in case of brain breaking. I do remember that Martin Freeman is amazing and adorable and absolutely confirmed my suspicions that there could be no other Bilbo Baggins, ever, that Andy Serkis is kind of precious in all his gratitude and humility and continues to underplay his role in the success of all this, and that an audience member asked Peter Jackson about how he chooses which footage goes to theatrical release, which to the extended edition, and which to the cutting room floor, and he had a sort of fascinating fanboy answer, but I cannot for the life of me remember what it was.
So get this. I still had to face the Marvel lineup. With a broken brain. Let me tell you what happens when you trot out Marvel to a room full of broken brains, folks - there is wild, nonsensical screaming, and shaking, and jumping up and down, at nothing more than title cards. And not, like, animated title cards. Like PowerPoint slides of title cards. As a matter of fact, it went something like this:
"Thor: The Dark Planet!"
*flailing and flying fists*
"Captain America: The Winter Soldier!"
*crying and rending of garments*
"Oh look, Edgar Wright is here, and he has Ant-Man test footage!"
*swooning and fainting in the aisles*
So yeah. By the time the actual Iron Man 3 panel rolled around, the whole room was kind of a sorry state of affairs. Then RDJ waltzed in to Luther Vandross, actaully high-fived me with the repulsor glove, and Tony Stark-ed his way across the stage, and that was all she wrote. There was no more critical eye, there was no more objectivity, there was just shameless, shameless squee. Don Cheadle was particularly priceless, and Jon Favreau was so happy to be there, and Shane Black was such a welcome change after Zack Snyder's smugness, and everything was shiny and nothing hurt. Oh, and the footage was awesome, too. Happy gets to be a full-fledged character and War Machine gets to be a full-fledged hero and I'm always irrationally excited to see what they'll do with Pepper with each new movie. I'm not a Gwyneth fan by any means, but I adore her Pepper. And Guy Pearce and James Badge Dale and Rebecca Friggin Hall (I have no idea how Rebecca Hall isn't a huge star by now, but maybe her luck is changing) and Ben Kingsley as The Mandarin, which means we may get Extremis. So yeah. Altogether amazing.
Then I hauled ass through the hoard to get clear across the convention center and meet Sara for Lost Girl, and I honestly didn't think I was going to make it through the panel without passing out until Kris Holden-Reid was utterly charming all over everything. The rest is a bit of a blur (seriously, I remember walking through the Masquerade watch and waiting for the shuttle, but after that, nada. All the more reason to shop and eat and take it easy on Sunday.
I got my Serenity crew, my Middle Earth fix, and all the Marvel squee I could handle. Not to mention that, in the days since, we've learned that Anthony Mackie's Falcon will join Chris Evans' Cap and Sebastian Stan's Bucky (and hopefully, if they do this right, ScarJo's Natasha). Anthony Mackie as Sam, people. Now, if they would only follow my headcanon, make Sharon Peggy and Gabe's granddaughter, and cast Paula Patton and all her awesome, I would be the happiest fangirl ever. So Comic-Con 2012 was magical and surreal and exhausting, and I totally came home with Con Crud, and I can't wait to do it all again next year.