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Reflecting On Comic-Con 50

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Comic-Con celebrated its 50th show and I celebrated my 41st. Join me as I speak with a trio of people who have attended all 50 shows plus some exhibitors who describe the changes they have seen over the years. I also pull out some archive footage from past Cons and visit Godzilla in his first Toho booth at Comic-Con.

Show transcript

Speaker 1: 00:00 Well, I think about the comicon. I think it's amazing that they can manage so many people. I think it's a, it's a, it's all about like crowd management. I think it's, I think it's great. It's a great place. Well, you know it's funny how it's grown now. You see major studios here giving lots and lots of presentations. They didn't always give a rat's ass about the comic con. The comic con got really big and they went, hey, what about that comic con in San Diego? 10 years old. They were like, oh that's stupid. Comic Con. So it's funny how things change based on popularity.

Speaker 2: 00:30 That was actor Bruce Campbell making his first comic con appearance in I believe 2006 this past weekend. The Pop Culture Convention celebrated its 50th show and I celebrated my 41st I'm going to take a look back at comic con with some of the people who were there from the very beginning as well as some of the celebrity guests and some newbies

Speaker 3: 00:59 [inaudible]

Speaker 2: 00:59 going back to another edition of listener supported KPBS cinema junkie podcast. I'm Beth Mondo

Speaker 3: 01:19 [inaudible].

Speaker 2: 01:19 I've been going to comic con since I was a teenager and my parents would drop me off at the top of the steps at the San Diego Convention Center. Although they now deny they ever did that. Saying that would have been totally irresponsible. But as far as I can remember, that's how I used to get there and I would go shop for movie posters because it was movies that drew me to comic con in the beginning. And then while working for XC TV channel six in the 90s I started shooting a lot of footage at the show in 2006 Quintin Tarantino Sung his praise for the convention.

Speaker 4: 01:51 Oh I love it man. I've been coming here for years.

Speaker 2: 01:56 I unknowingly had met Terentino's just before reservoir dogs came out when I was standing at my favorite poster sellers booth at comic con and this kid, I say kid, cause he seemed incredibly young to me, was geeking out over movie posters and spewing Trivia about each poster as my friend turned the one sheets in their plastic sleeves. When the kid left, my friend said that guy just made a movie called reservoir dogs and once it opens people are going to go crazy over it. And they did. At that 2006 convention I also got to interview director Guillermo del Toro, but I had to do the interview in a hallway right after his panel and fans kept trying to hand them DVDs of their work.

Speaker 4: 02:36 You keep coming back to the content cause I love it. What do you like about it? Well, I like it as a fun idea. I want to buy a lot of stuff. I want to buy toys, I want to buy posters, everything. I mean I love my collector so I come back first. I saw it as a fun thing to do and second one because I really just know a lot of people in, in the crown and they lane. Did you like the contact you get with a fancier, yeah, very much different from other courses. But you know, I think that in Kumu on benches, you get a, you get to see people that really love the medium and that they don't understand that those casually different from say a premier or this or that where it's more film oriented. This is more hardcore comics.

Speaker 4: 03:24 Even collecting a lot of films. Different people do this, it takes a long time, but I watch them alone. And what are you looking for? You're looking for an amp in particular on the floor. I don't know what I want. What I'm, what I'm looking for is a little free time and if I find it I'll look around and I haven't had a chance to even look anywhere. Do you like the way that the comic chemists are based around real comic book fans? I think that is, it has become more and more time in multimedia over the years and that's perfectly legit because that's what happened. What's happening with the business of comic books. They are slowly mutating into more media and band. Same in I think that sadly are not the publishing industries in real problem. And the the thing, one of the things putting fresh revenue into, into the industry is the films and is a TV deals and as a toys and kids keeping a, an art form or life interacting with fans, I get both hands. I get energized. I'm not, then I come home and collapse on bed. Okay. Well thanks very much. Thank you.

Speaker 5: 04:32 Yes. Yeah. [inaudible]

Speaker 2: 04:35 as we walked away till Touro turned to his assistant and asked where his treasures work and he was referring to the DVDs fans had given him, unlike some other celebrities that I saw throw away such items. Deltoro took great care with anything fans gave him while recording panels in hall h I got to hear Sam Raimi give the best filmmaking advice ever to a fan.

Speaker 5: 04:56 My advice to young filmmakers to make a movie every week in super eight or high def, right every night and every weekend, shoot for two days and work with actors, work with a little 1000 watt lighting kit. Set it up, set up your shots, get a tripod, shoot a little scene, work with the actors, cut those scenes together. And then the next weekend have worked on it with sound and looping and put some music to it and can all be done for nothing nowadays with the computer and get a response and get a response from the audience and see where it's slow and where it doesn't work and where your ideas weren't being communicated properly. Learn from that experience, sitting in with the crowd, then go out and make another picture the next weekend and just keep doing it. Make films, no matter what anybody says and you'll be a filmmaker.

Speaker 2: 05:43 Comic con has grown exponentially in the decades I've been attending that. My first convention, I remember walking in and being able to see the entire dealer's room from where I stood and while I miss the intimacy of those early years and I'm sad to miss panels, I can't devote hours to waiting in line. I never failed to have fun at each year's convention. That's because comic con is whatever you make it. I had friends who devoted special ops like skills and planning to guarantee being in hall h for a particular panel proving yet again that anyone without a cell phone is that a distinct tactical disadvantage at comic con, but they had a great time. Another friend spent his entire time looking for art. Others devoted their time to cost play and some to just buying comic con exclusives, but each of them had a great time because they knew what they wanted out of the convention.

Speaker 2: 06:32 As the 50th show came to a close on Sunday, it felt once again like summer camp coming to an end and having to face school on Monday, the convention provides such a joy even though I'm often working, going without sleep and experienced stress from hitting deadlines or dealing with issues of also running a booth, although I don't mind being in line with fans who share the same passions as I do work and running a booth often makes it impossible to carve out time to wait in line overnight. For Hall h I do miss the energy of h and the waste 6,500 people could gasp or roar with excitement over the appearance of a surprise celebrity or the release of special comic con footage

Speaker 6: 07:10 and lifting us up. Thank you guys. Thank you very much for that. Loving response to the trailer is the greatest always been his weight will last two times. Yes.

Speaker 7: 07:19 Right amendment really here though, is that in the soil as it was, it was uplifting for us,

Speaker 2: 07:24 but nowadays studio stream, their panels live and anything that happens is on social media almost immediately, so I feel I can still share in that hall h experience, so I make a decision to spend my time going to smaller panels where I can just walk in during the panel before I got to celebrate trauma's 45 years of truly independent filmmaking with a late night panel on Saturday and I got to see the first trailer for Lloyd Kauffman's adaptation of Shakespeare's the tempest. It was called Hashtag Shakespeare's shitstorm. I also went to a panel about special effects genius Ray Harryhausen, one of the people from the audience who came up task a question was a dancer who had developed a style of choreography that imitates the look of Harry Housing's iconic stop motion animation. So of course he had to demonstrate and that's one of those special comic con memories that you can't find anywhere else. So I always enjoy these smaller panels that give you those special moments. One person with a ton of those special memories is mark given year. He's one of an ever shrinking group of people who've attended all 50 comic cons. I'll be talking with him right after this short break.

Speaker 2: 08:37 Mark Evanier is always hosting a ton of panels including the brilliant quickdraw. I asked him what he remembered about the first comic con.

Speaker 7: 08:44 This is my 50th Tom McKinnon, San Diego. I've been to all of them. I can't figure out why. Maybe its all the fun people. Maybe it's all the exciting stuff around here. I went to the one in 1970 we were in the basement of the u s grant hotel, which was undergoing construction. So everybody is walking on painters papers and there's plywood walls to navigate and we have 300 people there and we thought that was astounding. Now there's 300 people ahead of you in line for the men's room. And what is fascinating about this thing to me is every place you look, someone has made something. Someone has published a book, someone has done a drawing, someone has written something, someone's made a costume, someone has sculpted of famous president out of Lego blocks, whatever it is. And it's just amazing to be around all this creativity.

Speaker 7: 09:34 And that's the way it was at the very first one. And that's the way it still is. Convention gets bigger, it gets more commercial, it has more famous movie stars at it, but it's still about just a lot of creative, brilliant people getting together a yes comma book. You know, people complain sometimes. There isn't enough about comics here. There isn't enough about comics and the DC comics, both, you know, marvel does not consider themselves primarily accomplished publisher. They're a multimedia company. The comics have become multimedia and this is a multimedia convention, but we never forget about comic books. I host a lot of panels here, mostly about comic books and comic history. We're doing less about comic book history because as the years go by, the founders of the industry just keep dying on us. You think they'd have the decency to stick around as long as we wanted them to.

Speaker 7: 10:27 But uh, we've run out of those pioneers to a certain extent, but there's plenty more history to cover and there's plenty more to say about the books and there's never been more diversity in comic books of subject matter and topics and audience appeal then there is right now. So it's a very exciting time. Cartoonist Scott shot is another person with 50 conventions under his belt. I, uh, grew up in San Diego, although I was born in New York City, but I consider myself a San Diego and I was one of the kids who started comic con in San Diego in 1970 with our first one, day one which doesn't really get acknowledged, but the three day one was the same year later in August, but I was one of the kids that helped start it back in 68.

Speaker 7: 11:15 Well, I'm a professional cartoonist and therefore I was an aspiring cartoonist. And uh, a lot of my friends in high school were also aspiring creators or scientists. We were, I went to Crawford high school here in San Diego and we had a lot of nerds, so many that nobody beat up on us. We really kind of stood up for ourselves. One was Greg bear, the science fiction author, Roger Freedman, the scientist, John Pound, the illustrator and myself. And we all wound up doing what we wanted to do. But we were in a group that wound up, I kind of them to another group who are all collectors and dealers of old comic books. We also collected comics, but we more wanted to write and draw comics or books or movies or whatever. So one of the two got together. That's when it really took off. And uh, before too long, we had our first convention, which was 300 people in the basement of the u s Grand Hotel, Grand Hotel, downtown San Diego, which at the time was not nearly as nice as it is now.

Speaker 7: 12:24 And yet even they didn't want us because they felt well, they were right. We were all a bunch of kids and I think maybe a couple of were adults. Yes. And a few of the dealers were adults, but for the most part they didn't want us because we couldn't drink. So there wouldn't be a big bartend. And even if we could drink, we wouldn't have cared. We went to comic books, you know. Well, I, I'm, I worked in what in the business of why the con got so out of control because I worked in advertising for many years as well as animation and comic books. And I think the problem is marketing now runs the world. Marketing is like the big, the big bully that nobody really acknowledging. We don't have to be nervous about entertainment, but now we are, oh, I missed the new Spiderman movie.

Speaker 7: 13:19 What's gonna happen is it's like people are almost made to feel like they're not cool if they're not taking in all of this stuff at once. It's impossible. And you know, we, we have a lot to pay attention to in reality right now. So even me, I'm kind of watching the news more than cartoon shows for the first time on my life. But it's, it's changed. But there are more women here. That's the best part. And I'm not saying that from a lecherous point of view, I never understood why there weren't as many women as men that were interested in this stuff until I got older and realized so much of the stuff is two guys and were in their underwear on the outside punching each other. No wonder women aren't interested in it. But now there's so much other stuff and women now are writing superhero stuff where they're not punching each other all the time. It's a real nice thing because you used to see guys dragging their board girlfriend around. Now you see women dragging their board boyfriend around, which is just what I like to see.

Speaker 8: 14:23 There was also a woman at that first convention, Jackie Astrada. She now works for Comic Con and has written two books that showcase her decades of photos. And I've one of a handful of people who've been to every single San Diego comic con. I went to the very first one that was at the u s grant and the basement 1970 and there were supposedly around 300 people then. And I, uh, was a fan. I kept going back every year and then around 75 I got roped into a volunteering. And over the years I had many different positions. I was handling PR, I was handling the artist's alley and I edited the Souvenir Book and the events guide many times. And since 1990 I have been the administrator of the will Eisner comic industry awards. The thing about comicon is that it's always had multiple focuses. So this particular convention, I only went for one day for a few hours, but I saw Jack Kirby, who was the biggest name in comics and I saw Ray Bradbury, the biggest science fiction author.

Speaker 8: 15:30 Uh, and then Forrest j Ackerman for everybody who's a monster fan. He had famous monsters of Filmland. There was a display of editorial cartoons from the Evening Tribune. Uh, there was a dealer's room where you could go in and buy old comics. So it was a variety of things for whatever your interest was as a fan. And in those days there were not too many places for fans to get together. So this was something new and different for us here in San Diego. COMICON is definitely reflected the changes in comics industry over the years. Uh, certainly back when I started, the main method of communication to fans was through fanzines. And so, you know, things, everything went through the mail. So there was no internet, there was no social media, there were professional magazines that you could subscribe to that might cover some of the topics you are interested in.

Speaker 8: 16:29 But, um, one of the reasons comicon started was that, uh, a guy named Shel Dorf moved to San Diego and looked in, there were ads in comics from a guy named Richard Elfs Elf selling comics and he lived in San Diego. So those two met up with each other and another fan group of, uh, guys who are all at the same high school and they all said, wow, how can we make this something where we can involve more people? And Shell said, well, I was involved in putting on a comic convention in Detroit. Why don't we do that? And so at that time, that was what fandom and comics were like. There had been other conventions in New York and other places, but the model was to science fiction conventions, which went back to 1939. So the same types of things that happen at science fiction conventions would happen at comic conventions where you'd have a masquerade contest and a dealers room and show movies and that sort of thing.

Speaker 8: 17:33 But then when you got into the 80s and you had comic book stores, then you had the direct market for comics. And that affected the kinds of dealers and, and things that came. And the appealing thing about San Diego was that once the, uh, cartoonists and writers and artists from the east coast came to San Diego in the summer, they said, oh, I've got to go back and tell my friends, cause, uh, they're gonna want to be here, away from the heat and humidity everywhere and hang out with each other around a pool at the El Cortez Hotel in downtown San Diego for a week, you know. So that helped bring a lot of the comics industry to the show. Uh, the other elements that happened were comic strips, uh, some Charles Schultz and, and Russell Myers and Milton Cunniff, um, all the major cartoonists that were in your newspaper, we're at the show. And along with Ray Bradbury, you had Robert Heinlein and theatre sturgeon and major science fiction authors.

Speaker 8: 18:40 So you really had something to appeal to everybody. And I think that's still true today, that comicon is an event with multiple, uh, uh, it's, it's like a big top with a whole bunch of different shows going on in it. And what's exciting is that people will come for one thing, maybe they're a star wars fan, maybe they're an anime person, maybe they want it collect toys. But once they're there and they see the other stuff, then they say, well that's cool too. And so there the interest cross each other. So comic book people photographs from the 1970s and 1980s. How this came about was I was a photographer, uh, back in that era. I did my own developing, did my own printing, and I took hundreds of pictures every year starting in about 1978 at the convention. But I'm just looking at the cover. Some of the people that are on here.

Speaker 8: 19:42 You Have Matt graining before the Simpsons. Um, you have will Eisner who I happen to be the administrator of the will Eisner comic industry awards, which are the Oscars of comics. Uh, Sergio Goannas from Matt Magazine, Bill Moomey from lost in space and twilight zone, uh, underground cartoonists, uh, Osama Tezuka, the great Japanese anime and Manga Creator. Uh, Alan Moore, who created a watchman, uh, Jack Kirby, Stan Lee, uh, Harvey p car, um, Mobius from France, Harvey Kurtzman, Trina Robbins, art Spiegelman from mouse. I mean it was a who's who of people from comics, science fiction, animation. Uh, the whole spectrum of what comic con has always covered and been a blanket for. And, uh, what I think is different about this book is that the photographs are more candid. Um, I come from a street photography background and so I've tried to get more interesting shots of people than just, you know, a head shot type thing.

Speaker 8: 20:58 But here's a good example of a bunch of underground artists with Harvey Kurtzman, uh, just clowning around. Um, and we have, uh, Bob Kane Drawing Batman, which you didn't see too often in those days cause he usually had other people draw bat man. Uh, I think a lot of people have told me this captures what it was really like to be at comic con during the earliest decades. Wow. Alan Moore, I didn't think he even came on, came on one year and apparently he had such a disastrous experience. There is apparently a urban legend or whatever that he was trying to use the bathroom. And a fan came in and was, uh, pestering him, wanting an autograph and he says, I don't need this

Speaker 9: 21:51 new for sure. That was been a really good celebration.

Speaker 2: 21:56 Everywhere you turn, you find artists and creators, people who have drawn something, made a prop, created clothing or jewelry, produced a comic. Everywhere you look, whether it's the creativity of a big Hollywood production or a young artist, there's something original on display. So I just want to salute all the artists who have booths and artist's alley or small press or the exhibitor tables that are creating work for us to enjoy. I was thrilled to find Lenny Romero who does these photorealistic pencil drawings of movie monsters like Godzilla. He had his first artist Alli table at comic con this year. I

Speaker 9: 22:29 suppose ally's in Pencil and realism from my art. Uh, I've been freelance rd artists. See what, how do we want to say that? I have been a freelance artist since, um, 2015. So this, I'm, I'm almost about to my fourth year of selling. Um, as you could see, some of my favorite subsistent draw are Godzilla and Kazu and stuff like that. I love delving into the taco sauce genre. I'm very versatile. Um, right now all I've been doing as a lot of the pencil and pen work, but I like to get, uh, more of the paintings done. That's like one of my favorite things to do. Now, we were just talking with you that my, one of my favorite comic called memories is, uh, back in 2013 when we, uh, when they had the Godzilla encounter down the street. Um, that was incredible. Like, you know, that was the year.

Speaker 9: 23:17 We're like, oh my God, we got an American Godzilla coming again. He's coming back. If you're at comic con, this is the first time you get to seal. And I remember just going into the big room and they're selling us the, all the memorabilia of Godzilla on the walls and the alarm starts going off. They're like, no, you've got to get to the elevator. You go up there and you're sitting in that dark room just waiting and then all the corner, you just see God the the store. You can feel the steps now the corner, you see Godzilla coming in at all. My heart just dropped. I was, oh my God, that was one of my favorite experiences. Right now I'm experiencing one of my next favorite experience. This is my first San Diego comicon debuting as an artist. Uh, I'm usually as an attendee every year I've been coming since 2013.

Speaker 9: 23:59 I came a couple times in the 90s when I was a child. But for the most part this has been, this is my first ever debut as an artist. I hope I'm a good enough artist to, you know, be accepted here. So far so good. It's been a great con. I love it. Everyone's nice and what's good are gone over to the Toho booth, which is like one of my favorite parts of this convention so far. I've live in the comic con artists all your life. This is what I do, travel, go to different sows and I sell my art. Cause what I love to do and it's like, well that's what I love to sell everyone.

Speaker 2: 24:36 Little Vampires, web comics creator, Rebecca Hicks sold out of every magnet in plushy and her booth this year because her new location on the floor provided her with much improved foot traffic. She recalls her first convention,

Speaker 10: 24:48 and this is my goodness, my 26 total San Diego Comicon, but my very first comic con I'll go was that 1994 and I remember walking up to the door and buying a one day pass and then just over the years it was like, oh, now we can buy our past for next year at this year's show. And then, and then, oh no, we got even bigger still and now we've got to buy them online. It was just, Oh my God, watching it go from, it was a big show the first year we attended and then to watch it grow has been amazing. But 13 years ago we were like, oh my gosh, we need some place to be able to sit and eat lunch. The show floor is so crowded. So I wrote a book and got a small press table and I have now been an independent writer and illustrator for 13 years because I just wanted a spot to be able to eat lunch or San Diego comic con.

Speaker 10: 25:43 So that's my story. I'm sticking to it. Um, one thing that hasn't changed is just the level of joy and excitement that has not changed. Um, but I'm just seeing a lot of people who may not have ever read a comic book before come to the show, but then they discover new comics, they discover independent comics or comics that are like, Oh, I saw that movie, but I can pick up the, oh wow. I never knew there was captain America that I could read as a comic book. So I've seen a lot more people who did not realize how broad this world that we live in, you know, was, and then they come to comic con and they discover, well, the history of these characters that they love on the screen. So I've noticed a lot more people that are discovering the awesomeness that is like, I will be a little bit of a hipster Geek right now with a stuff that we knew before. It was cool. I'm noticing a lot more cause players, uh, the audience is a lot more diverse, um, than it ever used to be. Just age, color, just, I don't know, I think it's gotten more crowded but more interesting. Um, so that, those are the changes that I've noticed from behind my spot on the table where I just get to observe. I see,

Speaker 5: 27:01 oh, hi. I'm Eric Nakamura. I'm at the giant robot booth at San Diego Comic Con, and this is my 26th year here. So my first year was in 1993 and I remember someone brought me here and I remember I only had two hours of time. That was it. And I came inside, ran around and was, uh, amazed at everything. I'm mind blown and Oh, I was just like suffering because there was only two hours of time and I had to leave because I was here, down here for a job. But I didn't know anything about comic con. And after that a I decided I can't miss another one and I haven't. And here I am today, so we're running a booth. Uh, I started off with this with a small table just with very little things. And then it just kinda grew little by little. And I would like to say that I grew with comic con, which is kind of amazing, right?

Speaker 5: 27:49 It's literally true. But, uh, running a booth is crazy. I mean this was a lot mellower lot smaller and it's become a beast and I feel like it, even that it can't, I don't know if it's growing still, but I feel like it's still growing. And you know, like one of the, it's one of those great, I don't know, things that you look forward to every year, but uh, at the same time it's like, you know, I don't know, it feels like the world revolves around it for one week and that's kind of amazing. Right. How do you do something where the world kind of pays attention to every thing you do for one week? You know, it doesn't happen too often. Uh, I think in the past there were maybe more kids, younger, younger, like maybe more 18 year olds, maybe the price of the comic continents made a difference.

Speaker 5: 28:32 So you have a different audience that comes. But I think that's kind of the difference. I see. Uh, uh, I don't know. I want to say a more, maybe a more like professional crowd in a way less spazzy people. I don't know if that makes sense. Right. I feel like there was more spazz way back and it's just now, I don't know, a little more pro and I feel like it's run more pro too though. That's the difference too. Everything is kind of, you know, it has to evolve with the times and I feel like that's comicons done that really well. So, uh, for the most part, that's kind of what I see. But from inside is different than being outside of the boot. That's one thing that understand is when you're in a booth, you're protected outside. You're completely like, you know, you're, you're kind of, I don't know, I would say you're sort of stuck in this giant like hoard, you know, it's like a Zombie horde or something. And inside I'm kind of like, I'm shielded, so that's nice. So, you know, sometimes you can kind of tune out for a second and just take a few steps back. But otherwise, no, you're in there and it's kind of on, it's a wonderful, a craziness.

Speaker 10: 29:31 My name is Joshua Gilleland and I'm one of the founders of the legal geeks blog and podcast. And this is our fifth comic con. Our first one was 2015 and we've been able

Speaker 7: 29:42 to talk about star wars and the La Star Trek and the law marvel movies in the law. And one of the most memorable experiences was at our first one where we had tattoo in law talking about star wars law. And we had a federal judge with us and there was a youth in the audience who probably was seven and he asked a complex question on whether droid manufacturers could have the same level of liability. I say a gun manufacturer or a tobacco company. It was profound to hear a seven year old articulate something that legally complicated and the federal judge answered the question, but it was just wicked cool to see how people care so much about the law. So I love being here. It's like the nerd Superbowl and it's a, I'm glad this is our fifth year.

Speaker 5: 30:35 I'm Ricky Angioli, I'm author of battle at the Comic Expo and I attended my first comic con back when I was 13 years old, so five years ago or something now back when we were at the convention and Performing Arts Center up on c street and it was amazing time then. It was a whole world that I'd never experienced before in my life. This world where people loved fan culture and they lifted it up and they lifted each other up and it changed my whole world. It changed my whole outlook on life and helped me decide where I wanted to go as a writer in life. And I loved it. Now it was a heck of a lot smaller back then. Right? Uh, and now you look around and what impresses me so much is how this has become such a family event. Uh, both found family, people who have come to see each other once a year and they consider each other real tight knit family.

Speaker 5: 31:22 But also seeing parents come with their little kids, everybody cause playing together. Um, and just the joy that it's bringing to the world. It's pretty massive and still still holds a place in my heart. It's still, it's great. Um, I always think like when things are crazy in my real world, I know that I come to comic con and even though this looks insane, it really grounds me. It brings me back to, you know what I love about life? I'm signing here at the prison comics booth and prison comics is an amazing organization that helps LGBT Q flawless creators come up with creators and fans find their tribe and get their work out to the public. They're a nonprofit and they help a lot of people. And what's so great has always been great about comic con is that comic cons have been a huge supporter of queer audiences.

Speaker 5: 32:08 They've had the gays in comics panel for years and years and years. It was one of the first organizations to ever have panels that specifically focused on queer creators, queer characters, and getting queer voices out into the world. So it's just so exciting. I remember when I first saw them at comic con and I was like, wait, I know what the rainbow flag is, and I got really excited as a little queer kid and then now to be here in signing at their booth is really kind of like a dream come true for me. I love it.

Speaker 2: 32:33 Jennifer mosquitoes is responsible for creating the first Zombie walk in San Diego and then holding them many years in a row as an unofficial part of comic con. She held her last Zombie walk this past weekend. She told me about what comic con means to her

Speaker 10: 32:47 started coming to comic con as a kid and it's, you know, you, you see it go from really small and it's more comic based than you know, artists, writers, creative and you see it grow and evolve and all this and it's just like, you see how things have changed and getting to see even how it changes with comics and it's influenced comics. And I think my favorite thing is getting to know people over the years. And I refer to this as as nerd summer camp because I get to see my friends, the people that I could see once maybe twice a year if they go to wondercon too. But like once a year and we all get together and share our memories and catch up really quick and you get to run through the aisles and be like, hey, how's it going? Hey, how's it going?

Speaker 10: 33:35 Hey, I'll get back at you later. And it's like, it feels like going to summer camp every year and you get to see all your friends that you don't from all different walks of life and people traveled from all over and you get to see all the artists and writers and creators and everybody's just here because they love it. Like they love the creativity that's involved in everything that's here in showcase. And I think that's my favorite memory every year is just getting to like add to that group of people. Oh Hey, how's it going? And making friends online line and like everyone just comes together and it's just like everybody's here for the same reason. We Love Art, we love writing, we love comics, we love media, like pop culture. And it's just like so cool to find your people and be like validate your nerdiness. And it's just so cool to like have that bond with people every year.

Speaker 10: 34:22 And I have so many specific like cool memories with, that's the one that stays with me is that feeling that you get when you get here and you see everybody and you run into people that maybe you haven't seen in three or four years because they haven't been able to come here and just hey, how's it going? And everything's right with the world. Yeah. That's my favorite memory every year. Hi, my name is Angelica Mileke and I've been coming to comic con since 2003 and I've gone to every single one since then. I'm it really. I've grown up going to comic con, I was 13 I'm 30 now so it really took me through my adolescence. And what I love about comic con is that it's a place where you can just be yourself and let your freak flag fly. And you know, I'm kind of playing clothes today but I come and cause play some times and it really was a way for me to experiment with expressing myself from just my fashion style to even my gender and just like being able to be like your full weird self. And everyone loves it and accepts it and wants to see pictures of you. It just makes you feel really awesome and it just feels so good to be here. And part of that accepting community,

Speaker 2: 35:31 one of the highlights for me at the convention this year was Godzilla's appearance at the Toho booth in the shape of the suit to bring Godzilla

Speaker 3: 35:38 2000 to life fans like Mark Anthony Gaudio. We're giddy with excitement. [inaudible]

Speaker 4: 35:46 there's like a lot of like cool things all around me. I'm really distracted right now. What's catching your eye? Oh, did the screen use props. That's amazing. This is a lot of Godzilla history. I'll like show a hey, say all the way up to the new stuff. Even I'm Shin Godzilla and um, some of the western stuff here as well too. And that's really cool. Like all this history just in one place. It's amazing. I'm not in Japan. I'm here in comic con just seeing all this. It's great. Um, yeah, I just got here right now and there's only like five minutes left and I wish I could stay here longer. I'm probably gonna come back. I'm gonna come back tomorrow and just try to like just really sink into the details of all this stuff cause it's great. I mean, when, when can you see all this history on display in one place except some parts of Japan and in comic con, so that's great. Sorry I'm rambling, but that's, it's just this stuff here. Oh, I did not see it. It's on the other side. Yeah, that was Godzilla. Two thousands dude. Oh my gosh. That's great. It has a zipper. It does. And then the back and they hide it really well. I mean, I guess they're taking a, it's a picture opportunity with a suit.

Speaker 3: 36:59 It's getting closer to him. Most of the Godzilla. Perfect. Back towards the green screen. So back towards the green screen. All right, I like it. Here we go. Three, two, one. Oh, hold on one sec. You got to make sure it got your good side. It looks perfect. You're great to go.

Speaker 4: 37:16 I wish you could put it on, but I guess I've heard it's like it's really heavy and you probably have to be about five feet closer. Yeah, that's true. I'm a little Tang, I'm blue. That's weird that I'm a little too tall to be got Zillow, but this is crate and and and, and to see all, all the, all the things, all the friends of Godzilla or the foes, Godzilla, all this play and people can read the history and it's exposing more, a lot more people at Godzilla general. That's, and it's great. It's great. It's great to be a Godzilla fan right now. I'll just say that.

Speaker 3: 37:48 And Godzilla was impressing a whole new generation of kids, like seven year old Lucas roadblocks. He's my favorite officer and he was a key monster and he destroys buildings and he's the Kiana monsters. That's why I like him. I like these manly figures and he kind of like all the Godzilla and all God's friends can name them all. Yes. Dot. Mecca Godzilla. That robot one is a Mecca, Gaza and a three headed dragon king of Gora, Mafara the larva and the other larb. I'm Rodin, 11 year old Angel Colloquium was debating which background to get on this animated photo with Godzilla. I can change your background, here's going to sell. What kind of background? So we have Rodin [inaudible] Mothra. Okay. Jane, good Dora and San Diego. And a gentleman that I would take King Dora. All right, perfect. So, uh, why are you here getting your photograph taken? Well, because guys got delos my favorite, favorite most all time favorite card. They're in the whole wide world with his enemies and sometimes his, his enemies get to be as allies.

Speaker 11: 39:04 Exhibitors. Please discontinue all sales. The exhibit hall is now closed. The 50th show came to an end. I spoke with Chris Mallory, writer of the Godzilla rulers of the earth IDW comic. He was working with the Toho booth and overseeing Godzilla's 65th birthday celebration on the floor. The response from people has been fantastic as we expected it would be. God's will is here for the first time. Tohos here for the first time. Uh, we've got the photo activation with the actual suit from Godzilla 2000 people love that. Some really incredible prop set. I was really surprised that we were able to get from the studio. Uh, people had been lining up to look at those and some people ask if they're real, if they're fake and they're all real. Uh, and yeah, just fan reaction has been overwhelmingly positive. It's really interesting to see Godzilla. You're a 65 year old character having such an impact on so many different generations.

Speaker 11: 39:57 And even there's, there's kids that have never seen a movie, but they just love the way the character looks. It's, we're seeing a lot of families, which is great. This is explaining how this is his toes. First Time here, we've just never felt the need to do like a booth or anything. Uh, obviously Godzilla does shows, uh, the, I don't think the brand has ever really had a show. There's been traveling what they call roadshows, traveling exhibitions around the world, showing like props like we're doing. Unfortunately, we couldn't get all the suits that are available. I would have loved to have just a booth just filled with all the suits. But we do have one and we have some other really cool props, but it's just, I think it's just a matter of the timing was right for 65 years, you know, King of the monsters just came out. Uh, that did, you know, that did well. So it's, it's Godzilla is at some good buzz around it right now. So the timing was just perfect.

Speaker 12: 40:50 Great. So, um, talk about how you've come from having written the comic goggles, movies, the title, a bit about that and how you kind of see the character.

Speaker 11: 41:02 So I wrote the series Godzilla rollers of earth for IDW publishing. And the fun thing about that as we were able to use all the different monsters and the Toho Universe, and because of that you get to see and get to kind of work with a lot of the different alliances. And you know, God's has tons of enemies. You know, he's got a couple friends probably there's a couple of friends out there, but most of, most of it's, you know, interactions are with enemy characters. So it was fun to write Godzilla in a way that was kind of part earth protector part, just fierce animal, you know, part fierce, uh, like a fighter, like, you know, fighting for, you know, his, his fellow monster if you will. Um, but just seeing it was, it was rewarding for me to see the character and having tow at the time, you know, before I worked for them, they were telling me what to do.

Speaker 11: 41:57 Uh, having them give their guidance and kind of like really a lot of, um, how do I say encouragement? Like please, you know, we obviously know that, you know, the character is so have fun with it and just trying to treat them like, I don't know any other like big superhero comic book character except you can't talk and he doesn't wear a cape with a man, you know, he's a hero. He's also, he's also a villain. He's just, I guess catch him in the right mood. And that's when you find out who Godzilla really is. What do you think, is that the key to his appeal for 65 years? I used to think it was, you know, the overwhelming thought from people of, you know, I really wanted to strive so angry, I could destroy a city right now I want to be like Godzilla.

Speaker 11: 42:40 He's everything that, you know, it's all encompassing, but I think more and more he's just, it's just fun. It's just a fun character. Like the movies growing up, like the show era movies, all that kind of wackiness that went on with those people love that. Then the serious stuff is more of like a, whoa, that's cool. You know, it's just, there's a lot that appeals to just a lot of different people. And Godzilla is came around when there was nothing like it spawned all kinds of imposters and it's still the true king of the monsters. We'll find out next year with God's all over his Kong. But yeah. We'll see. And when did you first get introduced to, uh, five years old. First movie was Gulliver's guy again from 1972. Um, I was born in 73 though, so let's not make me so old. I'm kidding.

Speaker 11: 43:29 Uh, I just saw it and there was, there was Godzilla and anger as you know, has a little four legged spiky friend, um, Geigen that, you know, the sideboard monster with like hooks on his hands and a bus on his belly I think can get her this golden dragon with three heads. I was just blown away. Like I saw it like on a Saturday, like local station, you know, afternoon movie at once was what is this? And I love dinosaurs. Growing up I always loved dinosaurs and it was just like, these are big dinosaurs. And then the more I started watching these movies, it was like, Whoa, now these are more than just dinosaurs. These are like, these are really cool dinosaurs. And actually talked to that movie. So I think that was part of me was just like really confused. I'm like, oh, they'll, if they talk to each other, that's, that's wild, you know? But that was the only move they talking, they've never done it since and they never will again be exhibit of all is now closed. When's another comic?

Speaker 2: 44:20 It's so sad when one comes to an end. It's the only place where I can feel at home and meet with other people who share a similar passion for pop culture. I'll have a special episode of cinema junkie coming up next week on Tuesday, July 30th for national whistleblower day. I'll be interviewing director Gavin hood about his new film, official secrets that opens next month. The film is based on the true story of Katharine Gun, a British intelligence specialist who leaked a memo when she felt her government was doing something illegal. So till our next film fix on Beth Mondo, your residents, and I'm a junkie. [inaudible].

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Cinema Junkie

Satisfy your celluloid addiction with the Cinema Junkie podcast, where you can mainline film 24/7. This film and entertainment series is run by KPBS Film Critic Beth Accomando. So if you need a film fix, want to hear what filmmakers have to say about their work, or just want to know what's worth seeing this weekend, then you've come to the right place