For me, the coolest thing at Comic Con wasn’t inside the convention center – it was a few blocks away. Disney built the ‘Tron Experience’ in a warehouse in the heart of the Gaslamp Quarter. Above the doorway said “Flynn’s” which looked like the neon sign about Flynn’s arcade in the original movie.
When you walk in, the first room is a small arcade with the original Tron game and games like Ms. Pac-Man. On one wall were flat panel TVs where the upcoming Tron Legacy game was being played on an X-Box 360, PS3, and Wii. I don’t have a Wii but that’s what I ended up on, playing a friend on the light-cycle level. It was a blast – the new game is going to rock. There was a vending machine in a corner with nothing but Coke Zero. The best part of this room was that the Coke Zero and the video games were all free.
The second room had props from the original movie including the digitizer. It didn’t have much to see so people moved on pretty quickly to the third room.
In the third room was a perfect recreation of a bar from the movie Tron Legacy (the picture I have on this blog is from an on-set visit, the one in the Tron Experience is the same minus the camera). Behind the bar in the included picture, covering the entire wall, is a screen playing a preview every few minutes. Around the sides of the room is a place where a mannequin with the new uniform is displayed. On the other side is a small bar where Coke Zero is handed out and there are Tron-related products on display (including AWESOME 3.75” figures that light up and lightcycles). I must have spent about 45 minutes lounging in that room watching the previews and the woman in the white Tron outfit who would slowly walk back and forth while the preview played.
The third room was this set - without the cameras and crew. And all the deep blue behind the bar was a screen.
Tron girl walked around slowly and at the end of the trailer, took photos with anyone who asked. Very cool.
On the way back I spent a few minutes watching the protest outside the convention center. Protest…at Comic Con? About a dozen members of the Westboro Baptist Church led, as always, by their minister Fred Phelps. If you aren’t familiar with that group, they’re the wack jobs who go to soldier funerals with signs that say the soldier is going to hell for fighting. They came out to Point Loma a few months ago to protest something at the Rock Church. Phelps’ group is extreme (check out what the kid’s t-shirt says).
Phelps' itty-bitty group
Including this poor kid (can't be more than 8)
Our nerd force!
Comic Con is that one magical time of the year when nerds and geeks with all different interests and beliefs come out and there was a hefty contingent of them (by hefty I mean about 60) who counter protested with signs that were irreverent and hilarious. It was a peaceful demonstration but what do you expect from a bunch of people who continually bump into one another in the crowded isles of the convention center and immediately (and usually at the same time) say, “sorry” to one another?
James Marsters was signing (that was a strange transition - let's push on) at the Lightspeed Fine Arts booth – his was one of one 4 autographs I got this year (I was really selective – actually I’d seen most of these folks at Wizard World Anaheim or last year). He’d only been at the booth a few minutes and I’d gotten my autograph ticket the day before so we got to talk for a few minutes. I don’t remember what we talked about – I’m sure I asked about what panels he’d be on and if he’d be at the Creation Con in November (he said he wouldn’t) and told him to have a good con.
I also scored my very first autograph from Alaina Huffman at the Official Pix booth. I haven't seen her work on Stargate Universe but I'm a big fan of Smallville (from season 7 on) and got a signed picture of her as Black Canary. I'm a sucker for autographs from people who have played super-heroes. It was fun talking Smallville with her. She wants to do season 10 if the stories call for Black Canary and she encouraged me to go to the Smallville panel. Alaina's really cool and I hope one day there will be Creation Smallville conventions. I have a feeling she'd be very interesting on stage as well.
I was there at the Joss Whedon Experience (the annual Joss Whedon panel where he updates everyone on what he’s doing and takes questions. The last question was from a disguised Nathan Fillion who asked him who his favorite actor to work with was. That was a lot of fun and really exciting for the crowd. Count on Nathan Fillion to inject more fun into everything.
Joss taking a question; preparing to be brilliant