Comic-Con 2017 Day Two, by David Bax
After another game of the Comic-Con Runaround threatened to leave me as frustrated as I had been on Thursday morning, I finally managed to get into the first panel on my agenda Friday, thanks to the help of my friend Ryan from CriterionCast. That panel was called Female Voices of Film Twitter and featured Friend of the Podcast Amy Nicholson as well as Personal Friend Angie Han and other notable women like Jen Yamato, moderated by the great Alicia Malone.
I came prepared to hear horrible stories of verbal abuse. People are mean on the Internet but they seem to be especially mean to women (or minorities or queer people or anyone who deviates from the cishet white male status quo) because there’s an extra layer of insult available to the abusers. Women don’t just get called stupid, they get called stupid bitches (or worse); they don’t just get death threats, they get death threats accompanied by rape threats in some configuration or other.
While sharing such stories is a helpful thing, Malone and the panelists instead steered things in a direction of positivity, focusing largely on how to pull more female voices into the ongoing discussion of cinema online. There were minor disagreements between the panelists and a modicum of straight, white male-bashing (but come on, I think we can take it) but most of the hour was concerned with a surprising and welcome hopefulness.
My next stop was the Buffy the Vampire Slayer art department reunion, which was as fun as it was nerdily specific. In sharing their stories, these now twenty-year vets painted a picture of a ragtag team of relative neophytes who had cut their teeth on indie horror and the like, who learned on the job and birthed into existence the quaint, beautiful and macabre world of Sunnydale and its environs.
Finally, I attended the Shout! Factory panel. Home video is still a fairly big business (as one of the panelists said, the company is doing great) but the market for special editions of catalogue titles is still niche enough that it feels like a special thing to be able to celebrate. The hourlong panel every year consists mostly of them just listing announcements of upcoming titles but there’s an electric quality to it. It’s like a mini version of the Apple product launch events. In addition to a bunch of anime/television stuff I don’t know much about, Shout! announced Into the Night, Matinee, The Plague Dogs and Mac and Me while the unrelentingly productive Scream! Factory line announced Dawn of the Dead (2004), Attack of the Puppet People, Eye of the Cat, Darkman II/III, American Gothic, Cyborg, The Strangers, Drag Me to Hell, Misery and Silent Night, Deadly Night. Look for us to review as many of those as possible here on the site.
My tactic of avoiding the big panels (I haven’t and won’t set foot in Hall H at all this year) has paid off. It’s a reminder that Comic-Con is still mostly for die-hard nerds who are just as excited about an anonymous set dresser’s twenty-year-old story about repurposing a cathedral set into a sewer as they are about the stars of major new TV shows and movies. When you’re reminded that Hall H seats less than a tenth of the people who attend Comic-Con, it’s a clue that there’s still something precious and special about the convention.