25 Best Things We Saw at San Diego Comic Con 2018 - Rolling Stone
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25 Best Things We Saw at San Diego Comic Con 2018

From ‘Aquaman’ star Jason Momoa wowing the crowd and Jamie Lee Curtis saving a life to the latest in geek couture fashion, these were the genuine SDCC showstoppers

Cast member Jason Momoa participates on stage during the Warner Bros. Theatrical Panel for "Aquaman" at Comic Con in San Diego, July 21, 2018. (Photo by CHRIS DELMAS / AFP)        (Photo credit should read CHRIS DELMAS/AFP/Getty Images)

Cast member Jason Momoa participates on stage during the Warner Bros. Theatrical Panel for "Aquaman" at Comic Con in San Diego, July 21, 2018.

Chris Delmas/AFP/Getty

We may be a year away from the San Diego Comic Con’s 50th anniversary, which is likely to see a massive blowout for the annual gathering of geek/pop culture I.P’s, creators and fans. Still, there was definitely a void in the SDCC ecosystem in 2018, with traditional heavy hitters like the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Game of Thrones were AWOL. But that also meant, however, other voices could fill the gap and seize the chance to cut through the usual hype while promoting more forceful messages. The Black Heroes Matter gathering returned to highlight African-American representations in comics; the Eisner Awards saw Marjorie Liu become the first woman ever to win for Best Writer; and panels throughout the event tackled non-commercial topics ranging from Afrofuturism to debunking the idea of “fake geek girls” to how to best battle online trolls.

“We see a surge in peoples’ ability to recognize their own rights,” said Star Trek: Deep Space Nine star Chase Masterson, who led an independent rally after the convention immigrant rights advocates and groups like the ACLU. “We see people empowered on a daily basis in the intersection we draw between human rights and pop culture.”

All that said, Comic Con was still Comic Con. On the first day, we picked up a convention bingo card created by Oni Press to promote The Long Con, a new comic about people trapped at a fan convention when the apocalypse happens. By Sunday, we’d crossed 75-percent of it off with sightings of utilikilts, giant vinyl bags, costumed service dogs and by having several of those “Wait, was that … that guy? From that thing? OMG, I think it was!” moments. (No, really, we’re pretty sure that was Navid Negahban who plays the Shadow King on Legion!) So from the socially-minded to the schwifty, we present the 2018 edition of our Top 25 Things We Saw at the San Diego Comic Con.


Her Universe’s Geek Couture Celebration

Besides marking its own fifth anniversary, Ashley Eckstein’s geek couture celebration also recognized milestones for The Nightmare Before Christmas (25th), The Powerpuff Girls (20th) and the 10th anniversary of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. (Just hours before, the latter had just revealed to fans that it would be returning, meaning that Eckstein would once again voice fan-favorite Ahsoka Tano.) “I would never have started Her Universe if it wasn’t for Ahsoka and The Clone Wars,” said Eckstein, wearing a dress adorned with 500 Funko Jack Skellington heads. This year’s fashions were just as far-reaching, with designers drawing upon influence ranging from Wakanda to Miyazaki. All three winners – Kristi Siedow-Thompson (fan vote), Cynthia Kirlan (judges’ vote), and Jane Burson (Singer Sewing award) – will now go on to design a collection inspired by the next Avengers film. AG


Jack Ryan’s Virtual Patriot Game

A lot of Amazon Prime Video’s promotional resources this year went toward the Aug. 31st debut of John Krasinski as Tom Clancy’s reluctant spy hero. Not only did they sponsor IGN’s annual rooftop party at the Andaz Hotel, they also put together an activation where visitors could seek out information and take part in two adventures of their own: a “Black Ops” escape room where Ryan communicated with them via walkie-talkie; and a three-story high virtual reality “training course” where would-be “analysts” tested their mettle jumping from choppers, avoiding gunfire and walking precariously across a decaying 28-foot-high plank. Oh, and did we mention the dashing (both virtually and physically) across a zipline to safety in full view of both the crowd and Twitch video streamers? Krasinski himself, however, was not on hand; he’s already filming the show’s second season. AG

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 20:  (L-R) Yvette Nicole Brown, Angela Kang, Scott M. Gimple, Robert Kirkman, Greg Nicotero, Andrew Lincoln, Danai Gurira, Norman Reedus, Lauren Cohan, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Gale Anne Hurd, and David Alpert speak onstage at AMC's "The Walking Dead" panel during Comic-Con International 2018 at San Diego Convention Center on July 20, 2018 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for AMC)

Yvette Nicole Brown Knocks ‘Em All ‘Dead’

Comic Con provided definitive evidence that AMC’s Talking Dead won’t skip a beat with the former Community star at the helm. The celebrity superfan went from a regular guest on the postmortem talk show to leading the preview panels for both The Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead without missing a beat. And Brown didn’t just provide some much-needed diversity to the Hall H hosting ranks – her encyclopedic knowledge of both TWD and its spinoff shone through. She also kept things light hosting panels for both Glass and Halloween, where she told the crowd, “I told you we were going to church” after Curtis’ emotional fan encounter. AG

Yvette Nicole Brown and Jamie Lee Curtis'Glass' and 'Halloween' film panel, Comic-Con International, San Diego, USA - 20 Jul 2018

Jamie Lee Curtis Saves a Life – Literally

The panel for Halloween – a direct sequel to the 1978 horror classic – packed an emotional punch that nobody in the Hall H crowd could have seen coming. Jamie Lee Curtis commanded the arena from the opening, explaining why it was important that heroine Laurie Strode isn’t just back, but ready to finish off MIchael Myers once and for all: “There comes a point when you say, ‘I am not my trauma. The narrative of my life is that I am not a victim.'” Bringing the lesson home, a fan revealed during the Q&A that he escaped an invasion of his own home by following Laurie’s actions in the original movie. He was ushered toward the stage, where Curtis met him with an embrace. After the panel a woman asked, “When are we getting a Women Who Kick Ass panel with Jamie Lee Curtis?” she asked. “We just did,” her male companion replied. AG

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