Home Culture Culture Lists

20 Best Things We Saw and Heard at San Diego Comic-Con 2015

From a jaw-dropping ‘Star Wars’ tease to a cosplaying congressman — the creme de la Con

Comic Con

Corey Ransberg

When you run into another attendee at San Diego Comic-Con, the customary greeting is: "How's your con?" That's because every fan is the hero in their own story, on their own unique quest to consult their chosen celebrity oracles and collect their geeky treasures. Each hour brings painful choices; for every awesome experience, you've sacrificed 10 others.

This year, that conversation often turned to another perennial question: Has Comic-Con peaked? Yes, no, maybe. The era of huge movie presences has certainly passed and the convention has been eclipsed in size by its New York counterpart. Yet web services like Amazon and Crackle, and new technologies such as virtual reality, are moving in to fill the gaps. Plus, a whole new generation of creative talent is coming of age, ready to bend genres and invent new ones.

Here's the path you take if you really want to take the event's pulse. You go to the back of the exhibition hall, turn right at the wall, and walk until you see a table beneath a bunch of giant cartoon heads. If Rick Geary, the creator of the official Toucan logo more than 30 years ago, is still selling new books, you know it's the same old SDCC.

And indeed there Geary was, Stan Lee be praised, still hawking his wares. It was a welcome reminder that the spirit lives on — and here are the 20 other best things that we saw in San Diego this weekend.

Her Universe Fashion Show

Corey Ransberg

Her Universe Hits the Runway

Let's be honest: The notion of a Simpsons' Comic Book Guy-style nerd clad in a stained T-shirts, ratty sweatpants, and sock-sandals is not an unearned stereotype in the geek community. But at cosplay-friendly places like SDCC, exquisite handmade outfits are quickly outnumbering utilikilts. And a lot of that is due to Her Universe, who for the second year in a row mounted a runway show and fashion competition at the Manchester Grand Hyatt. More than 20 designers tasked with defining "geek couture" competed against each other, presenting fashion interpretations of franchises such as Star Wars, Doctor Who and Assassin's Creed. Ultimately Leetal Plat's flowing Sailor Moon eveningwear won the audience prize, while the judges picked Kelly Cercone's Joker-themed dress; both will collaborate on a new product line for Hot Topic. DM

Comic Con

09 Jul 2015, San Diego, California, USA --- People experience a snow storm in a bubble featuring a location from FX's "Fargo" at the FX Fearless Arena on opening day of the 2015 Comic-Con International Thursday, July 9, 2015, in San Diego. The pop-culture event held at the San Diego Convention Center runs July 9-12. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi) --- Image by © Lenny Ignelzi/AP/Corbis

Lenny Ignelzi/AP/Corbis

The FX Fearless Arena

The FX network has been upping its game in genre entertainment in recent years (especially horror) and brought a massive, elaborate display to the park between the San Diego Convention Center and the Hilton Bayfront hotel. The "Fearless Arena" fan experience featured a scary virtual-reality immersion experience based around The Strain (think live-action vampires swarming all around you); a full-size recreation of the American Horror Story: Hotel lobby; an opportunity to duel with others in the "Escape the Forest" area based on Kurt Sutter's upcoming show The Bastard Executioner; and a giant 20-foot inflatable snow globe containing flurries and a Waffle Hut storefront as promotion for the second season of Fargo. DK

TV Guide Boat

Corey Ransberg

Fishing for Stars on TV Guide’s Yacht

For the last four years, TV Guide has aggravated other members of the media by sending out press releases bragging about the perks of their swanky party yacht: an open bar, exclusive interviews, a constant stream of television celebrities who are somehow obligated to stop by and hang out. For the first time, the magazine opened the venue up to other outlets, all of whom learned a valuable nautical lesson: If you get seasick easily, never let the casts of The Originals, Gotham, and Lucifer onto a single seafaring vessel simultaneously. DM

The Walking Dead

Maarten de Boer/Getty

‘The Walking Dead’ Sneaks Season 6 and Prequel Peeks

We keep thinking that the zombie genre is played out — then The Walking Dead drops an extended trailer for its upcoming episodes and makes us realize there's still some blood (and guts) to be squeezed out of it. The AMC show's sixth season looks as intense as ever, as does its companion series Fear The Walking Dead, which — judging from the Comic-Con teaser — looks better than your average prequel. Finally, Dead creator Robert Kirkman's new series, Outcast, debuted its own trailer and proved that the writer-producer is adept at more than just giving folks endless gore and gutmunchers. DK

VR Experience

Corey Ransberg

Comic-Con Gets VR Fever

Virtual reality was — pardon the cheap pun — everywhere you looked at this year's SDCC. Mattel set up a studio-apartment-sized space for its VR update on the classic View Finder. The Last Ship spent eight weeks throwing together a first person shooter for Oculus Rift. Legendary Pictures' VR wing and SyFy's The Expanse handed out Google Cardboard kits like bread crumbs at a duck pond. But all of those were straight-to-video rentals compared to the blockbuster demos from Sony and HTC. At the off-site venue Nerd HQ, the former's Project Morpheus let players fire machine guns at Russian mobsters during a high speech freeway chase in London Heist: Getaway. Meanwhile, several blocks away, the latter's Vive trailer offered a delightful Portal spin-off. With both system hitting the market in the next year, it may not be too long before no one has to physically come to San Diego at all. DM