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What I did on my summer vacation

San Diego Comic-Con 2019: Preview Night and Day One

This year San Diego Comic Con celebrated their 50th anniversary, but other than some special merchandise and a series of panels held in small rooms that focused on different decades, there wasn’t much done to focus on the milestone.

Preview Night

Speaking of the special merchandise, my wife and a friend bought pre-ordered items, which were available to be picked up at the Manchester Grand Hyatt from 6-9pm because having them shipped was not an option. Unfortunately that was a major mistake because the lines and distribution of the goods was so poorly managed, it took them and many others over three hours to pick up their purchases. Customers buying material were allowed to move ahead of them and other people jumped lines. Basically their Preview Night was utterly wasted by the staff. They only received a “sorry” when they should have had the cost of Preview Night refunded. Hopefully in the future, the organizers will focus their efforts the experience of their attendees rather than suing other groups running comic conventions.

Behind the hotel, Dragonball World Adventure, began its global tour. Not only were they promoting all types of DB products like statues and Dragonball Z: Kakarot, a new video game, but they suckered fans into promoting it on different social-media channels in exchange for some weak swag like stickers and a lanyard.

Day One

I had hoped to attend The Toys That Made Us panel, but didn’t plan well and ended up back about 50 people by the time it started. I did learn that the upcoming third season will have episodes about the Power Rangers, Wrestling, My Little Pony, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. They are also expanding the brand with the new series, The Movies That Made Us, set to air before year’s end. The first season will cover Die Hard, Home Alone, Dirty Dancing, and Ghostbusters.

While waiting for a panel, I caught the end of You’re Wrong, Leonard Maltin, a panel that gave attendees the opportunity talk and disagree with the film critic about his movie opinions. Basically, one in a trend of recent convention panels that are a comment thread brought to life, but good for them in figuring out how to get into a con for free. Everyone has different opinions, so not sure the fuss with people wanting to tell Maltin his positive opinions about Fifty Shades of Grey or The Phantom Menace are wrong. Unfortunately, some dope who wanted to talk about history in films revealed a spoiler from Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood. Surprisingly, no one booed him.

Dragon Ball Z 30th Anniversary

DBZ voice actors Sean Schemmel (Goku), Christopher R. Sabat (Vegeta), Sonny Strait (Krillin), and Monica Rial (Bulma) were on hand to celebrate the franchise. They were joined on the panel, inexplicably, by Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Mohamed Sanu who doesn’t seem any bigger a fan than anyone in the audience, especially the ones with tattoos or who named their kids after characters. The actors shared their favorite scenes and stories about first being recognized. Was surprised there wasn’t a Q&A though.

Inglorious Treksperts: Celebrating 40 Years of Star Trek: The Motion Picture

Those in attendance were the audience for live episode of the Inglorious Treksperts podcast. The panelists sang praises and explained why the maligned movie works for them. There were some great video clips shown of commercials for when it aired on ABC and of a Klingon selling McDonald’s Happy Meals. It was hinted the Director’s Edition of TMP might soon be available in a 4k version and that positive reinforcement to the powers that be wouldn’t

Waiting for another panel, Remembering Stan Lee was finishing in the room. From the people and stories I saw, this appears to be the same one held at WonderCon. This also concluded with a clip of Stan Lee cameos compiled by a website. It was thanked for their permission, but I doubt the site got permission from Marvel and Fox.

Home Movies 20th Anniversary Reunion

The history of the show was told by its co-creators Loren Bouchard and Brendon Small and cast members Melissa Galsky and H. Jon Benjamin (though Benjamin’s memory wasn’t as good as the others). The night of the show’s premiere in Boston it was pre-empted by a Bruins hockey game so the next night they had their premiere party. Fifteen minutes before, they got the news from UPN that the show did so poorly, as seen in the five-minute ratings breakdown, that the show had been cancelled. Five episodes aired, two were repeated, and the one area of note was they had the second lowest broadcast of the season. Then Cartoon Network called and wanted the show to transition the audience from kids to adult programming.

They almost did a Tron rock opera, but the lawyers talked Small out of it, so he created the Frank Kafka opera. They wanted to get Steven Wright on the show but he had no interest. Although revivals are all the rage in the business, there’s no chance as Small is happy with how the series concluded.

Making Magic for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: An Interactive Masterclass

This panel deals with the magic in the stage play, which has 52 illusions. Not sure about the “masterclass” but it was “interactive” as folks in the audience stood and worked their arms and fingers as they were taught the French Drop technique. Magic and Illusions designer Jamie Harrison and his associate Chris Fisher demonstrate puzzles and magic theory. Then two actors were brought out to discuss working on the play.

Celebrating 40 Years of Alien

A bit misleading of a title as this panel us about Alexandre O. Philippe’s documentary Memory: The Origins of Alien. The panel and its speakers were not as interesting as dinner after a long day sounded I left.

Read about Day Two and Day Three of San Diego Comic Con

About Gordon S. Miller

Gordon S. Miller is the artist formerly known as El Bicho, the nom de plume he used when he first began reviewing movies online for The Masked Movie Snobs in 2003. Before the year was out, he became that site's publisher. Over the years, he has also contributed to a number of other sites as a writer and editor, such as FilmRadar, Film School Rejects, High Def Digest, and Blogcritics. He is the Publisher of Cinema Sentries. Some of his random thoughts can be found at twitter.com/ElBicho_CS

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