San Diegoâ€™s Comicâ€“Con has never been disappointing, but this yearâ€™s 40th anniversary event was especially exciting. The event was sold out even before it opened, and attendance was estimated at 150,000.
Even with bigger numbers, this year's Con didnâ€™t seem as immovable as in the past. Maybe more events in the large halls and side rooms kept the main floor of vendors and comic artists less crowded. There were rooms dedicated to gamers, animation sessions, artist demonstrations, film festivals, and panels on everything from how-toâ€™s to talent searches. The San Diego International Children's Film Festival returned for its sixth year. If all the junior costumed Supermen and fairy princesses and the parents navigating baby buggies between the Hasbro and Disney booths are any indication of participation, itâ€™s a huge success with families.
After last year, there was grumbling that the Hollywood invasion of studios hyping their upcoming films was taking the focus off of the comic artists â€“ the original reason the Con started. That didnâ€™t seem an issue this year. Thereâ€™s no denying that the attendance of stars and directors such as Robert Downey, Jr., Jon Favreau, Scarlett Johansson, Don Cheadle, and Sam Rockwell appearing for Iron Man 2 or Tim Burton and Robert Zemeckis in a panel for the upcoming Alice in Wonderland brings in the crowds. A surprise very short visit by Johnny Depp in the panel room set off buzz around the convention floor like Fourth of July fireworks.
One of the biggest events was for the Twilight panel. New Moon, the November-slated release of the next in the highly popular vampire series, had fans lining up 48 hours in advance in hopes of getting into the room to see stars Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner. I saw an amusing incident while waiting to do interviews on Friday. I heard two girls squeal, and looked up to see the Twilight stars all alone walking down a hall with no fans around. The stars took pictures with the girls and never lost their wax figure-like personas.