Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Star Trek vs Star Wars: Round Six

Back in my February 18th post I explained how I wanted to compare the first six Star Wars and Star Trek movies to see how I felt about them after all these years of not seeing them. You can see the first five rounds here: Round One, Round Two, Round Three, Round Four, and Round Five.

ROUND SIX: Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country vs Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
On the eve of retirement, Captain Kirk is asked to escort a Klingon Chancellor through Federation space to a peace conference. But when the Enterprise fires on the Chancellor's ship and two crew members beam aboard and assassinate him, Kirk and Bones end up on a Klingon prison world while Spock leads an investigation into what really happened. What the crew of the Enterprise will uncover is a wide-reaching conspiracy that intends to kill the president of the Federation to stop the peace talks.

This movie, fantastic when I was younger, uses one plot device that has become a pet peeve: the character who keeps explaining things that people with more experience are supposed to know. Lt. Valeris was that person. Played by Kim Cattrall, during the investigation aboard the Enterprise she keeps pointing out things to Chekov that, as someone with decades of experience, he should know. Okay, for all the diehards, that only technically happened maybe twice but it was annoying.

It was great to see Sulu captain his own ship and plot-wise, that came in handy (but didn't seem set up to pay off that way). There is some nice stuff here with Kirk and Spock discussing the possible death of the Klingon Empire - Spock hoping for peace and Kirk content to let them die. With the Berlin Wall falling and the social upheaval happening around that time, it's no surprise that the movie (which told a lot of stories reflecting the times it was made in). But with it's idea of peace vs clinging to old prejudices, this film holds up in light of things like the recent Wisconsin shooting in a Sikh Temple. Some people can't let go of their prejudices and that anger becomes monstrous actions just like it does in this film. Some people, like Kirk did, come to accept that the way they've always thought doesn't necessarily reflect their current reality.

This is one of the best films in the Trek cannon behind The Voyage Home, and The Wrath of Khan. I love the ending of the film where one of the last shots is the main cast alone on the bridge together. And to top that off with the credits beginning with the signature of each of the main cast was very nice.

Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
The rebellion has discovered that the Empire is constructing another Death Star but it is incomplete. Better than that - Darth Vader and the Emperor are on it. The rebellion sees a chance to destroy the incomplete Death Star along with the architects of the Empire in one fell swoop. But first, Luke and company have to free Han Solo and escape galactic gangster, Jabba the Hutt.

As this film reintroduces the main cast practically one-by-one as they infiltrate Jabba's Palace and the plan to get Han out quietly fails, the question becomes: "How are they going to get out of this one?" Then Luke shows up with his black outfit and cloak full of confidence and you know that this Luke is profoundly different from the one who fought Vader in the last movie. He doesn't ask questions, he tells Jabba what he's going to do in order to live to see tomorrow. Jabba doesn't listen and pays the price just as Luke said he would and in the melee, we're introduced to the awesome green lightsaber. Oh...and Leia in a slave bikini...that's also awesome.

The third film unfolds like it was the Lucas' intention to end it this way all along. The mythology deepens and the conflicts all come to an end as loose ends are tied up neatly. By the end, Luke has turned his father from the dark side and Han and Leia are together. But better than that - all the characters, from the main ones to background characters like Wedge, survive and celebrate together at the end.

And Boba Fett - a character popular for looking cool but not actually doing anything - gets a fitting death.

By the third act, Han's team on the ground was set up and taken prisoner, Lando's assault was thwarted by the Death Star shield being active with Star Destroyers keeping them from running, and Luke was trapped fighting his father while the Emperor encouraged him to give into his hate. The stakes had never been that high or the consequences for failure more clear - it was either the end of the Empire or the end of the Rebellion.

Return of the Jedi was the completion of not just the original trilogy but the prequel trilogy as well. The digital insertion of Hayden Christenson as a spirit was a nice touch. As far as a heroes journey goes, Luke, Han, and Leia are greatly changed from their first meeting to their reunion on Endor. It's an extremely satisfying ending to the original trilogy.

The Undiscovered Country's story was fantastic and doesn't seem dated or out of step with what's going on in society right now. The Enterprise crew ends an amazing run intact and wildly loyal to one another. I don't know if the cast of the new JJ Abrams films can knock out six movies but the originals did so in style. Kirk and company are the 'James Bond' of science fiction movies. They boldly went, discovered new civilizations (or at least they discovered V'ger), lived long, and prospered. Okay, that's enough Trek puns even for me.

While Undiscovered Country was one of the best films, Return of the Jedi edges it out because you didn't know how things were going to end or if anyone was going to die. You were never absolutely sure that things were going to work out for the cast until the very end. Would someone make the ultimate sacrifice? Sure, Return of the Jedi had Ewoks, but Undiscovered Country had Lt. Valeris and Ewoks are cuddly (or look it anyway). 

 Final Tally:
Star Trek: 2
Star Wars: 4

So there it is. I'm a bigger Star Wars fan. I still prefer to think of myself as a big fan of each franchise. If the new Star Trek films go to #6 with the same actors, maybe it'll be a different story.

Just out of curiosity, how would I have scored this if I had compared them by the order of release?

Star Trek The Motion Picture vs Star Wars Episode 4: A New Hope
Winner: Star Wars Episode 4: A New Hope
No contest. Star Trek the Motion Picture was almost unwatchable.

Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan vs Star Wars Episode 5: The Empire Strikes Back
Winner: Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan
While Empire ended strong and had a great love story in there, The Wrath of Khan had you on the edge of your seat almost all the way through.

Star Trek 3: The Search for Spock vs Star Wars Episode 6: Return of the Jedi
Winner: Star Wars Episode 6: Return of the Jedi
While the third Trek film was great up until they stole the Enterprise, Return of the Jedi had Luke as a Jedi Knight and Leia in a slave bikini - 'nuff said.

Star Trek 4: The Voyage Home vs  Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace
Winner: Star Trek 4: The Voyage Home
Episode 1 is almost unwatchable while Trek 4 remains my favorite of the Trek films.

Star Trek 5: The Final Frontier vs Star Wars Episode 2: Attack of the Clones
Winner: Star Wars Episode 2: Attack of the Clones
The Final Frontier might have had 'God' and great male bonding but Attack of the Clones had a battle with an army of Jedi and Yoda in action!

Star Trek 6: The Undiscovered Country vs Star Wars Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith
Winner: Star Wars Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith
The Undiscovered Country had a socially relevant story that was well told but Revenge of the Sith was the origin of Darth Vader and the birth (literally) of Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia Organa.

So if I do the math, again the final tally is
Star Trek: 2
Star Wars: 4

So either way - Star Wars wins.

I have to go now and arrange my 20 Stormtrooper figures so it looks like they're celebrating. Don't judge me.

Review: Star Trek / Legion of Super-Heroes hardcover

Good crossovers are few and far between but, as a huge fan of both Star Trek movies and Legion of Super-Heroes comics (from the Mark Waid days on), I was excited to pick up the first issue to try it out. Luckily I was able to snag the last one on the rack. As each issue was released, it got harder to get a copy unless I was there the day it came out. It was popular and after reading the hardcover, I can see why.

When Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Sulu, Chekov, and Uhura board a transporter pad bound for shore leave and Cosmic Boy, Saturn Girl, Lightning Lad, Chameleon Boy, Shadow Lass, and Brainiac 5 escape the time stream, both groups end up in an alternate universe. It seems both universes have merged. The alien races from the Legion of Super-Heroes are present as well as a twisted version of the Federation of Planets. The two teams track a chronal aberration - each other - and quickly decide that they should team up to figure out how to restore their time streams.

The story is fantastic and each team is very well handled by Roberson while Moy and Jimenez do a great job with likenesses, action, and the two page spread showing all the various 'time machines' the villain has confiscated will make the most hardcore fan faint. I can't say enough good stuff about this mini series as it seemed effortlessly well told and was fun and action packed and had a satisfying end.

Quick Comic Book Reviews

Wolverine and the X-Men #14 by Jason Aaron, Jorge Molina, Norman Lee
I love Kitty Pryde and when this book was solicited, Colossus was blacked out leading me to believe it could be the Bobby/Kitty date we've been waiting for. I had to buy the issue.

Kitty is dealing with keeping the school running while most of the teachers are embroiled in the Avengers vs X-Men mess but she's managing to coordinate the teachers and the students. She's clearly in her element. Then the Phoenix-powered Colossus shows up to take her on a date. What do you say to an irrational ex-boyfriend with the power of a god - she agrees.

On their date, Kitty tries to gently reason with him, asking if he and the others are going too far with their power. When Colossus snaps, angry that Kitty seems to care more about the school than him, he threatens to destroy it. But after a short fight, he spots the broken statue of Jean Grey and it snaps him out of it long enough for him to feel shame and he leaves.

It's a pretty good issue with fantastic art and good writing. But I would have liked to see Kitty herself get to Colossus and break through in the way the statue did. Kitty and Colossus have been together for a long time and Kitty's very smart. The issue should have ended with Kitty getting through to him and Colossus giving up his power. She could have said something like, "You're not Colossus. The real Colossus always had the power to destroy the school but never  would. You know why? The real Colossus isn't a selfish little kid who throws a tantrum when he doesn't get his way."

Having big events like that happen in the tie-in books isn't unprecedented. During the Mutant Massacre, Angel's wings were damaged beyond repair by Marauders in a tie-in issue of Thor. I think Kitty could have done what Spidey finally did in AvX #9 but it would have been more moving if Kitty did it.

X-Factor #240-241 by Peter David, Art by Neil Edwards, Craig Yeung, & Rick Ketcham
I keep coming back to this title. I think I've read half the issues that have come out this year and I'm still on the fence even though it continues to fascinate me.

I bought #240 because it's a one issue story. "Run Layla, Run" is a fun story that uses "Run Lola, Run" (a terrific film) as a creative template and doesn't shy away from a Lola cameo to make geeks (aka: me) grin. I don't know much about Layla so this is a better introduction to her than I've read before. Marvel writers enjoy playing with the idea of alternate realities and how one choice can lead to many things and it's used very powerfully here.

I bought #241 because I was on a roll and though - why not? With Havok set to star in Uncanny Avengers in October, his time on X-Factor is coming to an end (despite the fact he JUST joined 10 minutes ago). The baddies that pursued Madrox through all those dimensions ended up on Earth and they don't plan on laying low long. They set up a trap for Madrox but he sees right through it and thanks to the sudden arrival of the rest of the team, all doesn't look lost.

Peter David isn't a lazy writer (he's juggling over 10 main characters) and loves to stick in pop culture references when he can. He's at his best when his characters aren't tied up in all of Marvel's crossover junk. The art is okay as always. It's not fantastic but I can understand what's going on. This is a good start to "Breaking Points" but we'll see what happens down the road.

Avengers vs X-Men #9 by Jason Aaron, Adam Kubert, and John Dell
This Spidey-centric chapter of Avengers vs X-Men is fantastic. The issue opens with Spider-Man encouraging Hope to continue her training, insisting that eventually she would have the chance to contribute to their fight. The Avengers, or what’s left of them, then go to Sibera where Magik has brought a little Limbo to the inside of a mountain where the captive Avengers are being fed on by Hell Worms.

The Avengers battle to free the prisoners while trying to survive their battle with the Phoenix-powered duo of Colossus and Magik and Spider-Man decides to cut the rest of the team off from them, allowing them to escape. Spidey takes a severe beating before cleverly convincing the duo to take themselves out while trying to acquire each other’s Phoenix power.

There’s some nice stuff in there with Storm and the Black Panther too but Spider-Man is the star of this issue and provides a great example for Hope. Unless the sudden appearance of a Phoenix-powered Cyclops signals that she’s about to die…

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe #1 by James Robinson, Philip Tan, Ruy José, and LeBeau Underwood
I’d describe myself as a casual fan of the Masters of the Universe franchise. I loved it as a child of the 80s but I haven’t reconnected with it the same way I’ve started collecting GI Joe figures. Still, the book was done by James Robinson and Philip Tan and I thought that was too much firepower to let go without trying it out. And I’m glad I did.

This is either the origin of how Adam becomes He-Man or how Adam regains his memory of being He-Man. Either way, it starts with Adam, a simple woodman, taking care of his sick father. He recognizes Zoar after she visits him a few times and has dreams of being He-Man. He gets someone to watch his father while he goes out into the world. But soon he is confronted by Beastman and has to survive his attack.

This is a pretty straightforward story but it uses the characters in ways I haven’t seen and makes them more solid and grounded than their cartoon counterparts. There’s nothing super special about this story but it’s the fact that I’m already invested in the characters and am looking forward to seeing the rest of the characters introduced. If they were creating a new character I probably wouldn’t be interested but this reinterpretation of existing characters is fantastic. I hope with this title and Smallville Season 11 that DC will do more licensed properties.

Revival #1 by Tim Seeley & Mike Norton
There wasn't much promotion to this book when I ordered it except that it was ' rural noir' (whatever that means). I only knew it was some kind of suspense book written by the guy who gave us Hack/Slash (or co-gave it to us). It's about a small town, Rothschild, Wisconsin, where the dead come back to life - but not as zombies - as normal people. The town is sealed off by the government and the CDC is testing human and 'reviver' alike for an answer. The government suspects that some of the townspeople are carrying something in them that will let them come back to life. That sounds good on paper but their fear is that people won't die and that will lead to overcrowding and sparse resources.

The story features Officer Cypress who is assigned by her father, the sheriff, to dealing with reviver cases. On her first case, she encounters a reviver exhibiting extreme aggression and enhanced strength. I won't ruin the end for you or tell you more than that but it was an amazing first issue. It does everything a good #1 does - introduce the main character, introduce the conflict, and make me care about it. Tim Seeley and Mike Norton are a great team and I predict 'Walking Dead'-type success for this book. If anything else, the TPB will end up on the shelf next to all my Hack/Slash volumes.

Avenging Spider-Man #9 by Kelly Sue DeConnick, Terry Dodson, and Rachel Dodson
According to wikipedia this is the first appearance of Robyn Hood (for all you first appearance collectors). The thing I like about Avenging Spider-Man is that it’s the new Marvel Team-Up with one to two issue stories. And no crossing over with Marvel’s 800 other events.

Peter Parker hitches a ride with Carol Danvers to Boston to visit his Aunt May. There’s some nice banter between the two of them before they’re interrupted by a young girl with a jetpack being pursued by people in robot armor. As Spidey tries to keep the girl safe, he and Captain Marvel discovers that it’s the girl who may be the real threat.

The writing is as good here as in DeConnick’s other title, Captain Marvel. With all of the interactions the Spidey and Carol have had, I wish they’d start dating – that would be a very interesting dynamic. Of course the Dodsons are always great at everything they draw so that’s a plus to this book.

Captain Marvel #1 by Kelly Sue DeConnick & Dexter Soy
Ms. Marvel wasn’t a great title. I tried it out a few times but I didn’t like it. Although I hate the hair, I do like the revamped costume and I like how Captain America encourages her to take the mantle. The issue opens with the two Caps fighting Absorbing Man. There’s some fun banter when Absorbing Man chides Cap about taking orders from Captain Marvel and he tells him that, technically, she outranks him. There’s also some nice stuff in there with Spider-Man and some great back story put in there as well.

The battle with Absorbing Man is obviously so DeConnick can establish the interpersonal dynamics between Cap and Captain Marvel since they don’t get to banter much with everything going on in the Avengers titles. It also serves to introduce their conversation about the Captain Marvel mantle. Of course if Absorbing Man really wanted to touch a moon rock, he could have bought a ticket to the museum, walked right in, then touched it instead of getting his butt kicked raising hell outside the museum. I’m thinking Absorbing Man never graduated high school.

Danger Girl / GI Joe #1 by Andy Hartnell, John Royle, Phillip Moy
Danger Girl is one of those hit and miss titles for me (mostly miss) but I still love the idea of it so I keep trying it. GI Joe is also hit a miss for me (mostly miss) but I love the characters (and the action figures). I’m a sucker for crossovers though so I had to pick up the first issue and I’m glad I did.

The issue starts with Scarlett and Flint being shot down and Hawk being ordered not to send anyone to find them. Fortunately Cover Girl has the card of one Johnny Barracuda, International Badass. Meanwhile, Scarlett and Flint are captured by Abbey Chase, Agent of Cobra! The writing is fun and John Royle’s art is so close to J. Scott Campbell’s that I had to make sure it wasn’t him doing the art. I can’t wait to get this whole min series in trade paperback.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Community Divided: Dan Harmon vs Chevy Chase

A few months ago, Dan Harmon and Chevy Chase had a public falling out. This year, the critically acclaimed series was awarded the best show on TV by the readers of TV Guide and they landed on the cover but there was speculation that they were canceled mid-season because Community wasn't on NBC's spring schedule. The show came back to finish out it's 3rd season but I, and all of fandom, were concerned that we'd seen the last of Greendale's funniest study group.

Then Community was renewed but Dan Harmon, the creator of one of the best shows on TV was fired. After three spectacular seasons, we're still left to wonder what season 4 of our beloved show will be like.

Then a few days ago I came across an article on msn about Dan Harmon's interview with G4 in which he says: "In television, you're engaged in the pacification of the masses, but I think that the masses need to be pacified. They deserve it."

He also speaks of his future in television this way: "My idea is to have less ideas, because I want to be successful in television," he said. "I turned off 90 percent of my brain... for the first season of 'Community.' I was able to disguise myself as a person who just wanted to make television and do a good job. And slowly, I got itchy."

You shut off 90% of your brain for the first season? So you're saying that you look at that first season as not very good? That first season built the fanbase.

There's no denying that Community is a fantastic show and the constant shifting of tone has been fun and unpredictable, but I can see why he was fired. He's essentially saying that anyone involved in a successful show is brain dead compared to him and that TV viewers are idiots who need their entertainment dumbed down to the lowest common denominator. He may have created the show but the actors brought the roles to life, the many writers have broken stories and scripted wonderfully hilarious episodes - Dan Harmon didn't do it alone.

Saying he wants to be successful by having less ideas and shutting off 90 percent of his brain means that if he has a successful show in the future, it's because we're stupid and deserve to be pacified. When you have a show on TV you have to work with the network that is paying you and allowing your show to go out over the airwaves. From now on I have to check to make sure any future shows I watch don't have Dan Harmon as the creator - because I don't want to be exposed as one of the brain-dead masses by enjoying it.

Hear that CBS – I know you’ve tapped him for a blind script deal. I won’t be watching whatever show gets crapped out of that deal.

And I listened to Chase’s rant on Harmon’s voice mail. He predicts that Harmon will die because he’s fat and eats like crap. As someone who is also fat and eats like crap: thanks Chevy – I appreciate knowing how you view fat people.

On that note, Chevy Chase is famously difficult to work with and recently described his role on Community to the Huffington Post this way: “This is the only time I’ve ever had to act every week in the same clothes and as the same character, and I don’t find it particularly enlightening. It’s not teaching anybody anything.”

What was Chevy doing before Community? A stint on Chuck. And before that? I don’t know either. Instead of being a fan of the show he’s on and being energized by the terrific writing and constant, steady employment he’s concerned with his own enlightenment. Maybe I’ll avoid Chevy Chase project (if there are any more) in the future.

Community is great but between Dan Harmon leaving and Chevy Chase impossible to deal with, how much longer is the show going to continue. I hope it’s as good next season as it has been for the past three years. But if Chevy Chase feels he isn’t enlightened by the show any more and goes his own way, I’m going to find it tough to miss him.

TwiHard Killed at Comic-Con

I don’t know why this has taken so long for me to comment on. As someone who goes to the Con each year (I only went on Sunday this year), when the news announced someone had been killed in front of the convention center – people wanted my input on what happened. Some people were mortified that a woman of her age would be camping out for a Twilight panel, some were unsympathetic because a grown woman shouldn’t be running across the street without looking where she is growing, and some were fascinated about her devotion.

I’m not a fan of Twilight but I’m not one of those “Twilight Ruined Comic-Con” people either. In my opinion, if you are hardcore enough to camp out for something, you deserve to do it. And if you say you’re a bigger fan than me because of it, I’m not going to argue with you. Hell, if I was 20 years younger and had a 4-day pass, I might have camped out for the 10th Anniversary Firefly panel (I would have loved to had been part of that). I understand being devoted to things you enjoy and being part of a community that bands together to support each other in camping out. I’m always a little jealous of those hardcore people in the first couple of rows who put in over a hundred hours to be close to people they admire for only one hour.

Gisela Gagliardi was 53 and hardcore about her love of Twilight. She had been to the Twilight panel at Comic Con before and attended movie premieres where she met the actor she was the biggest fan of, Robert Pattinson.

Okay, now that that is out of the way, I have to tell you how I really feel.

Gisela was running across the street that day because security was moving the line (not for the first time) and reversing the order so that people at the back were at the front. Security told the line they had an hour before they would move people so she left the line for a little while. Then 20 minutes later security came back and said they were moving now. Gisela ran across the street to keep her place in line – a move that many of the others in line would have made if they had been caught across the street when the line started moving.

Why? What’s so stressful about the line moving?

First, the line was reversing so she’d probably made peace with that. But she was camping – she had to collect all of her stuff and keep up with the line so she was still in the line. Also, even if people let you back into the line where you were before, the people behind you have moved up so have little to no space to camp out in because you no longer have enough room to lie down. All of that is a factor with the lines. When you’re in a regular line, not camping, if you lose that room, you can’t sit down, you have to remain standing while everyone around you is sitting because they have enough room to do so (that has happened to me).

Also, reversing a line is disrespectful to people in that line. In order to be fair, if security wants to move a line, they should make it clear to the people in that line that they are to get back in line in their original order or hand out tickets with numbers on them so that people get back in order.

Yes, but I still don’t understand why being in a line or going to Comic-Con in general is stressful.

Chuck Rozanski of Mile High Comics put it best in an email he sent to his customers July 11th (he sends out great emails that tell you how the business is doing, what special deals he’s got going, and how things are with his family which generates a sense of community for his customers): “At San Diego, scarcity begins with attendance tickets for the convention being quite difficult to obtain, and then escalates into other fan conflicts, such as availability of limited edition toys and giveaways, placement in the admission line, and the availability of seats for the most popular panels.”

The Comic-Con tells you that tickets for something will be available at 10am. So a giant glob of people arrive at the information booth, eagerly awaiting the location of those tickets while people try to disperse the crowd. Then someone finally points in the direction of where the tickets will be given away and the crowd immediately breaks into a run, trampling everything in their way. I have been in that mob. I also saw it when they finally announced where tickets where to get in line to buy the ‘Darkest Night Green Lantern’ figures and they broke out into a run, jumping over rope barriers and knocking rope barriers over as a few didn’t quite jump high enough. A couple of people fell doing that but no one seemed hurt. Then I watched a few people scream at the security people who told them to wait in the wrong location and that they’d be the first to get tickets.

The Comic-Con is vague about how you’ll be able to get scarce resources and some people hand out bad information about getting those resources and it creates crazy competition. People who work in booths are also vague but I’ve figured out over the years that it’s because the people who interface with the public have no idea what’s going on. I’ll give you a recent example. There was going to be an Iron Man 2 signing at the Marvel booth. You could get one raffle ticket from Marvel but the only way you could get 2 tickets is by signing up for a subscription to Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited. I did it for the ticket and to get the free Nick Fury figure (I collect Marvel Universe figures and had to have it). But before my friend would commit, he asked who would be signing and the moron working the booth said multiple members of the cast would be down but he couldn’t say who. The Iron Man 2 panel had Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell, Mickey Rourke, and Jon Favreau on it so my friend signed up.

On the day of the raffle, I didn’t get a ticket but my friend won. Marvel was giving away copies of the Iron Man 2 issue of Entertainment Weekly for the signing and my friend was extremely excited. I was on the other side of the convention center when my friend texted to tell me only one member of the Iron Man 2 cast showed up for the signing, Jon Favreau. He said everyone was a little disappointed that of all the cast in attendance, only one member could come down a sign autographs for an hour. And he felt a little betrayed by the guy who said multiple cast members would be at the signing.

So what are the solutions?

No solutions would be okay with everyone but there are solutions that would keep the frustration to a minimum. With Con space at a premium, I think charging $20 a head for panels in Hall H wouldn’t keep the hardcore away but it would send the ‘just because’ people heading for the hills. That wouldn’t make the companies happy because they want packed houses to know about their projects. That $20 could go toward securing all the convention space at the Omni hotel across the street where you can put things like cast signings (move the cast across the street in a limo or bus or something) or artist’s alley. Or you can have the comic book part of Comic Con at the Omni where the people selling comic books could bring more of their inventory and there would be more space for people who love comics to actually look through a seller’s inventory. You can also have comic book signings there.

Also, for Ballroom 20 – have a before Comic-Con raffle online for tickets to panels and clear out the room between panels. That way you have no more line (except for a line of people who know they are getting in).

I know that there is always going to be some piece of garbage who didn’t want to go to the Big Bang Theory panel but entered to win a ticket so he could turn around and sell it for $50 but Comic-Con has been great about dealing VERY harshly with scalpers. If you’ve ever heard about how they dealt with people selling their 4-day passes for $500 on Craigslist, you know that Comic-Con scalpers are on the endangered species list.

Also, for people who sell popular exclusives (Hasbro exclusives are popular, Entertainment Earth exclusives aren’t), the Comic-Con should give them a list of all attendees to email. Those attendees should order and pay for their exclusives (there would be a special code to make sure only attendees can order). Then those people can only pick up their items at Comic-Con or have them delivered.

It’s a win-win for retailers and fans. Hasbro brings a limited amount of their exclusives and usually sells out of a lot of things despite the limits they place on how many of a certain item you can purchase. If Hasbro offers to pre-sell items for set limits they can not only make sure they have enough of a particular item (and make more money by not selling out of an item) but they can also eliminate the panic and long lines for items as a lot of people would probably prefer to have their items delivered instead of lugging them around in the convention hall.

I don’t know if things will change (I doubt it) but until the Con is a less stressful environment, you can’t expect the attendees to act rationally or consider their safety first.

A true TwiHard, Gisela (middle) with Robert Pattinson