Who ruled, who came unspooled at Comic-Con? Pay no attention to those other lists; this one, assembled by the Beat Elite Expert Team, is THE only list that matters, the last word on all the winners and losers of Comic-Con, and who won the race to the top of nerd Mountain.
WINNER: The DC Comics Batman extravaganza at The Experience at Balboa Park – A fascinating display of Batman film and comics memorabilia coupled with an exciting interactive area and a packed benefit for the Comic-Con Museum made for a gala evening, packed with luminaries from Frank Miller to Mayor Kevin Faulconer.
LOSER: The DC Comics booth inside the WB booth – designed to keep people at at bay for movie star signings, this shiny plastic block patrolled by a dozen security guards had all the charm of a nightclub VIP area and completely lost the ability to connect with fans.
WINNER Marvel Phase 4: If there was one story that dominated the whole weekend, it was Marvel’s Hall H panel. Anyone who was not excited by the two-thousand and late Black Widow movie or the problematic Hawkeye TV series were silenced. Kevin Feige rolled out an Oscars red carpet full of stars, and by the time he got to Blade, the audience was eating out of his hand. – AB
LOSER: Game of Thrones: Coffee Cups and good natured jokes couldn’t make up for the snubbing the showrunners gave SDCC. Throw in a few uncomfortable remarks blaming “the media” for the negative Season 8 reviews, and the moderator skipping the audience Q&A portion, and none of it was a good look. What should have been the show’s final victory lap at SDCC was a bust – AB
WINNER: X-Men fans, who finally got insight into what’s coming down the pipeline from Jonathan Hickman’s total line overhaul.
LOSER: Security, for being so aggressive with everyone.
WINNER: Fans of Alfred Pennyworth – Not only did the EPIX series Pennyworth have its world premiere at SDCC, but Mattel also debuted a new action figure of Batman’s faithful butler – one that come with four heads, for traditional comic book Alfred, the ‘Outsider’, an Alan Napier head for Batman ‘66 fans, and a Michael Gough head for fans of the ‘90s Batman films. – JG
LOSER: People trying to buy exclusives from Marvel – I heard from several people that accessing the Marvel booth to buy any of their nearly 50 exclusives was a nightmare, so I thought I’d check it out myself on Sunday. I got there around 2:30 to find a flow of people circling the booth. The person managing the line was having people do laps around the booth, and picking people from the flow at random once room in the line opened up. How is this a good system of line management? Answer: it’s not. – JG
WINNER: Scoops Ahoy cosplay: You pretty much couldn’t go anywhere without seeing a couple costume dressed as Steve and Robin in their ice cream shop uniforms from the latest season of Stranger Things. -TD
LOSER: Marvel Television: Not that anything disastrous happened, but with the Netflix shows canceled and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. announcingits final season, Marvel TV was somewhat lacking compared to previous years. Supposedly, its saving the good stuff for D23 next month. It also didn’t help that Marvel Studios showcased the lineup of its Disney+ streaming shows that have the budget to actually use the actors from the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Marvel Television in its own separate universe. There’s no better illustration of separate cinematic and television universes than casting Mahershala Ali as Blade when he already dipped his toes in Marvel as Cottonmouth in Luke Cage. I’d equate it with the divorced parent who try as they might can’t quite compete with their ex who easily wins the attention and love of the kids. – TD
Winner: Stargate Fans! Actors from Stargate Atlantis gathered to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the SG-1 spin-off series premiere and were treated to table reads from the unproduced Stargate: Extinction movie with original SGA cast members taking on their iconic roles (and stepping in for roles of actors who were not able to attend the celebration). It’s the next best thing to actually announcing another Stargate project. – YT
Loser: Stargate Fans! Although producers and stars from Stargate Atlantis were on hand at SDCC, they weren’t allowed to comment on any upcoming Stargate projects that might be in the works. Fans were told “we’re working on it”, but they’ve been hearing that for years. – YT
Winner: Non-Genre TV Shows SDCC is the largest con in the world, uniting nerds and geeks from all fandoms, yet somehow non-genre (and honestly, not even genre-adjacent) TV shows made their way into the celebration. Who invited you What Just Happened??! With Fred Savage, The Rookie, Stumptown, and Superstore? – YT
Winner: Scholastic Thanks to the disappearance of DC from its prime real estate locale at the San Diego Convention Center, Scholastic had a sizeable (if modest) presence on the exhibition floor. But don’t let it’s humble size fool you. Hot books from Raina Telgemier, Dav Pilkey, Jarrett J. Krosoczka, and Aron Nels Steinke, along with various Harry Potter books and tie-ins, were in plentiful supply. It’s nice to see that Graphix, Scholstic’s graphic novel division, had its name out everywhere, whether on t-shirts or reusable bags (handy!). All in all, a great success for a book publisher that didn’t even have a booth last year
Loser: Nickelodeon For the second year in a row, Nickelodeon underwhelmed at SDCC. Not in terms of its booth, its panels, or its exclusives, all of which were great. No, it was the lack of meaningful content from its network programming that was truly puzzling. Several years ago, Nickelodeon had heavy press for such releases as the Hey Arnold’s The Jungle Movie (released 2017), Spongebob SquarePants, (Rise of the) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Loud House, Invader Zim, Rocko’s Modern Life, and more. Well, it turns out that Invader Zim and Rocko’s Modern Life would not even appear on the network itself. Rather, each are slated for release in August… on Netflix. While it certainly is a milestone for Spongebob to celebrate two decades on the air, it does seem odd that Nick is limiting itself, especially with two nostalgia driven projects set for release within weeks of SDCC. Hopefully, Viacom picks up the slack for next year’s convention, because Nick deserves another chance at reclaiming its glory as one of the most dynamic networks for younger viewers
Winner: All of the cosplayers being nice to kids. I don’t know about anyone else but it completely melted my exhausted, jaded heart when I saw someone in a Disney or superhero costume stop whatever they were doing to shake hands or take photos with little kids. Doubly great for the ones who I heard get totally into character when interacting with them You guys are the real MVPs. – CM
Winner: The 2000AD panels. Every time they show at a convention the panels are thoughtful and relevant and usually have a delightfully diverse group of people speaking. Not only that but it all comes from a place of humor and feels more like a casual conversation about things that are important rather than people being prodded until they answer what the mod says. It’s refreshing to see people enjoy what they do and be so willing to discuss what can change without all of the added vitriol. – CM
Winner: The janitorial staff of the convention center. Seriously, I don’t think I step foot in a single bathroom the whole week that wasn’t completely clean and well-stocked. For having to clean up after 150K thankless nerds for five days that’s pretty damn impressive and deserves commendation. – CM
Winner: The cast of Black Lightning. I say this because their signing crowd (though formidable) was considerably smaller than a lot of the other cast signings at the DC/Warner Brothers booth. While that alone should have people raising their eyebrows as to why, things were quickly righted as the cast got on their microphone and scolded the security guards trying to move their fans along too quickly. That’s just awesome. – CM
Loser: The people who made derogatory comments at the Eisners. Of all the places that racism and sexism don’t belong here in 2019, the comics industry gets included in that — even moreso when it’s an awards presentation. Between the comments from the awards presenters about how “difficult” people’s names are to pronounce added to the comment that being a “hot girl at comic con makes everything easier”, the people running the show for the Eisners can go ahead and take several seats.
Loser: Marvel’s attempt to make their panels into game-shows. Not only were they extremely disorganized in trying to execute the “games”, but it ended up being extremely awkward for audience members involved. It also served as a great reminder to watch what you say in front of a hot mic as it’s probably not great for the folks participating when they can hear you say “We need to speed this up because this is just taking too long.”
Loser: The handful of guys that I saw wearing comicsgate shirts. I don’t need to add anything else to this statement.
Winner: Jonathan Hickman and Marvel Comics in general. While SDCC is usually pretty sparing where Marvel’s publishing news is concerned – Saturday was an all-Marvel showcase, between the above-mentioned Hall H extravaganza, and the reveal of the Hickman-led new X-Men line. It was a blockbuster unveiling that got everyone talking, and the lone Big Two news that really registered across the board. With the critical raves that have followed this week’s House of X #1, it’s possible that the X-line might finally find itself back in the good grace of what was once the most loyal fandom in comics.
Loser: AT&T and DC Comics. While we’ve already mentioned the sadly all too sterile WB booth that pulled the beloved DC presence from the center of the floor over to the further possible corner of the hall and behind a ton of manga plushes, it’s worth noting how little news the publisher actually broke at the show. Certainly in the lead-up, there were a number of announcements made ahead of the October solicits, but the panels themselves were a pretty quiet affair. Even the usually very exciting “Meet The Publishers” panel, which tends to be where Dan DiDio and Jim Lee surprise audiences with special guests and breaking news regarding overall line direction, was basically populated with a rundown of things everyone already knew and fairly pointed questions from the audience regarding why certain decisions were made. Between that and and no Hall H presence, it was a bit of a tough weekend to be a DC fan. One things for sure, there’s definitely a new sheriff in town.
Winner: Tom King and Mitch Gerads. While the Eisners themselves were extremely dull this year, with the Reno 911 guys (Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant) as particularly sedate hosts, the Mister Miracle creative team dominated in a way that showcased a clear critical favorite among the votership. King repeated his Best Writer win after tying with Marjorie Liu last year, and Gerads also repeated, taking home Best Penciller. The pair also took home the prize for Best Limited Series, while King won additional awards for Best Short Story (from the Swamp Thing Winter Special) and Best Graphic Album – Reprint (for The Vision collection). With the announcement of their upcoming series w/ Doc Shaner, Strange Adventures not coming out until 2020, next year’s Eisners will look a little different, most likely. But in the meantime, its King and Gerads’ world right now.
Loser: Watchmen While the upcoming HBO series has a ton of big names attached, and the logos (based on Dave GIbbons designs) on the swag bags looked sharp, there was no preview and the activation seemed like an afterthought in a dirty parking lot. The biggest presence was the aforementioned bag.
Loser: Bird scooters
Winner: People who hate Bird scooters! Early arrivals to town saw flocks of these menaces everywhere, but the city of San Diego reportedly impounded more than 2500 of them for violating a ban on going too close to special events – like Comic-Con! Justice at Last
Beat staffers Chloe Maveal, Joe Grunenwald, Ani Bundel, AJ Frost, Taimur Dar, Kyle Pinion, Heidi MacDonald and others contributed to this report.