Challenger Logo by Alan White   A Science Fiction Fanzine   Winter 2008

Think we see costumes and celebrities at worldcon? Pish and tush …

San Diego Comic-Con 2007

Review by Charles Mohapel

A field report from a survivor of the 2007 San Diego
Comic-Con (July 25 – 29)

I went into my first Comic-Con with my eyes open, having received advance briefings from friends who are regular attendees, as well as doing extensive homework. Reports indicated that the 2006 San Diego Comic-Con had hosted around 123,000 people, and rumours of higher attendance in 2007 were common. The rumours were true as over 125,000 fans, professionals, and press filled the San Diego Convention Center to bursting. At least the lesson from last year was learned and they rented additional powerful generators to service the increased demand for air conditioning.

Created in 1970 as the Golden State Comic Book Convention and later renamed the San Diego Comic Book Convention, the original focus was upon comic books and related topics. Over the ensuing years San Diego Comic-Con has grown and added science fiction, fantasy, horror, anime, manga, animation, toys, collectible card games, video games, television, and movies to the schedule, becoming the largest convention of its kind in the world.

Given that the San Diego Convention Center is huge, re-injuring my left foot just before leaving for the West Coast was not the beginning I would have preferred.

Wednesday night was Preview Night and can best be described as the offspring of a mosh pit and a piranha feeding frenzy. Hordes of fans swarmed the booths of the major exhibitors such as Warner Brothers, Marvel, DC, Lucasfilm, Disney, Mattel, Hasbro, etc., hoping to grab one or more prized freebies.

I heard that the gigantic red/yellow/black cloth bags featuring “Smallville” on one side and “Superman Doomsday” on the reverse caused near fistfights around the Warner Brothers booth. As I turned to leave and allow other people to move in for their bags, I smiled, said excuse me, and used my arms like the Jaws of Life to extricate myself. One 20-something fan standing halfway in my path decided that instead of moving aside for the greying, out-of-shape, middle aged man (me), he would move entirely into my path and block me or force me to go around. Given that I’m just under 6 feet tall and weigh about 275 pounds, I didn’t change expression as I lowered my shoulder into his chest and then as he was off balance, I simply brushed him aside with my right arm as if he was on casters. I coolly looked in his eyes and while I could see he was frustrated, he also realized that he was way out of his weight class by the way I effortlessly moved him. When I related this story to friends and strangers alike, the most polite comment I got was “What a moron! Didn’t he realize that if he lets you out, he moves forward?”

On Friday I attended the MGM press conference with cast from Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis, plus Executive Producer Robert C. Cooper, Producer Martin Wood, and Producer Joseph Mallozzi. They discussed “Stargate: The Ark of Truth” and “Stargate: Continuum”, including how a US Navy submarine brought the production to Arctic waters. Not only did they have to avoid getting frostbite, but with polar bears as an ever present danger, they were told that when someone yelled “Bear”, they were to drop whatever they were doing and run. Christopher (Teal’c) Judge cracked up the crowd with the story of how he avoided joining them on the pack ice by saying that polar bears hunt seals and he was closest in color to a seal.

After this I attended the “Stargate: The Ark of Truth” panel where they wowed the audience with new footage, followed by the “Stargate Atlantis” panel which kept the same crowd enthralled.

I finished my Stargate Slam by attending the SciFi Channel’s Stargate Atlantis Q & A with Amanda (Samantha Carter) Tapping (joining the cast as a full bird Colonel), newcomer Jewel (Dr. Jennifer Keller) Staite, Joe (Lt. Col. John Sheppard) Flanigan, David (Dr. Rodney McKay) Hewlett, and Season 4 Producer Joseph Mallozzi. I had a chance to chat informally with Joe Flanigan and he has a dry irreverent sense of humour very much like the character he plays. On the other hand, David Hewlett was a much more likable person than the character he plays. He was promoting A Dog's Breakfast, which is a Canadian black comedy independent film produced in 2006. The first film to be written and directed by David Hewlett, it was shot in 2 weeks in January 2006 during the hiatus of Stargate Atlantis. Of interest to Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis fans is that the film also stars David’s sister Kate Hewlett who played Rodney McKay's sister Jeannie in the Stargate Atlantis episodes “McKay and Mrs. Miller” and “Miller’s Crossing”, as well as Paul McGillion, Rachel Luttrell, and Christopher Judge.

Near the end of the Stargate Atlantis press conference, I was approached by a very polite lady from Radical Publishing, inviting me to visit their booth in the Dealers Room.

When I arrived at Radical Publishing, she introduced me to company co-founder Barry Levine and WWE superstar Stone Cold Steve Austin, both of whom I photographed. After this, I was included in the group that took Steve Austin around to meet and pose with Robert ”Freddy Krueger” Englund and George “Day of the Dead” Romero. Once more into the mosh pit – more to follow.


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