This San Diego Comic-Con 2012 report was written by Brent Allen Thale on July 17, 2012. Please do not use these pictures for any commercial purpose or post them on any web site without written consent from Brent A. Thale, the copyright holder. The non-thumbnail pictures linked on this page are 600x900 pixels, contact me for the full (16 megapixel) versions.
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San Diego Comic-Con, the world's largest pop culture celebration, once again packed the San Diego Convention Center July 11-15 for another great show! It's always invigorating to revisit the cool weather and beautiful ocean setting of southern California while indulging your interests in comics, movies, television, games, art, toy collecting, acting/writing/producing, and costumes... Comic-Con has it all and this year was no exception. Every square inch of the convention center was in use, which brings up an important issue:
As the show opened on Thursday, the very first thing I noticed was how much more crowded it felt than last year, since Thursday is usually a light day. I bet more tickets were made available this year in an effort to help more people see the show, but the crowds were definitely a big problem this year on the floor. We usually get a lot of good pictures just wandering the aisles of the main hall, but this year it was so packed we only occasionally went inside for some pictures and spent more time in the outer halls than in. Hopefully the San Diego Convention Center future expansion that's been in the news will happen soon, they really need to lower the crowd density on the floor, they are packing in people past the point of having fun and close to the point of being dangerous.
Anyway, one of the great traditions of Comic-Con is cosplay, and there were hundreds of great costumes to be found around every corner. I think the most popular cosplay was the generic zombie, encouraged by the Walking Dead zombie event at Petco Park and the Gaslamp zombie walk. Zombie brides, zombie kids, lawmen fighting zombies, nuns fighting zombies, there were a lot of zombies! Kind of surprisingly, a web comic called "Homestuck" has also become a very popular cosplay choice, the fans of this series love to wear the trademark orange troll horns as well as playing more intricate and esoteric Homestuck characters. We actually lucked into meeting Andrew Hussie, the creator of Homestuck, when we wandered into an unannounced autograph session, and he signed one of his books for us!
I think the most popular specific costume for women was Harley Quinn followed closely by Catwoman, and for little girls Wonder Woman. Last year's movie "Sucker Punch" definitely dropped off, we saw a few Baby Dolls, but very few complete sets of the four girls like we saw last year. Lara Croft had a slight rebound, we saw a few this year, but nowhere near the numbers from her peak popularity. For men, it's a tougher call which is the most popular since not nearly as many men seem to cosplay as women. We saw a lot of Supermans, Batmans, Jokers, Jedi/Sith, Stormtroopers, Dr. Who's, and X-Men.
Comic-Con brings out the highest profile Western costumers, we were able to spot many of them including Yaya Han, Linda "Vampy" Le, Annisse, Jessica Nigri, and I'm sure quite a few others that I can't name. Thanks again to these wonderful ladies who always have time for another picture with us!
Comic-Con is held at the San Diego Convention Center which is right on the waters of beautiful San Diego Bay and on the edge of the "Gaslamp" district which features many hotels, restaurants, and interesting architectural flourishes. We were lucky enough to get a room at the Hotel Solamar in the Gaslamp, so we could walk a short distance to the show every day without worrying about cars, cabs, or shuttles. It's a nice hotel, loved the heated swimming pool that's empty in the mornings, and it's right in the middle of the Comic-Con action. So much so, in fact, that our room overlooked the exclusive True Blood/Playboy party, which was a little vampire-infested southern town built over three days in a parking lot next door, just for a one-night mega-party on Saturday. So we were treated to gyrating vampires and a parade of A-list Hollywood stars walking the red carpet and enjoying the lovely if long-toothed ladies. Fortunately they wrapped their party by 2:30AM so we were able to get some sleep despite the throbbing music, but I was so tired anyway at the end of the day that it wasn't much of a problem. It's Comic-Con in San Diego anyway, baby!
I go to Comic-Con primarily to get fun pictures for this web site, and each year I try to do something a little different. This year I brought the new Nikon D800 camera, and although it was nice, I found myself using my trusty Nikon D7000 most of the time, in conjunction with an Orbis ring flash and our main light held off-camera by my assistant in an Aurora Firefly Beauty Box. We go for the "loop" lighting pattern, which casts a small soft shadow down and to the side of the nose, it's a classic portrait look. As always I salute the gracious cosplayers of Comic-Con who nearly always have a smile and a pose ready for another picture!
My intrepid lighting assistant, Melissa Case, did a great job of roping people in for photos with her outgoing personality and salesman voice that can be heard over any din from the crowd. Great job once again Melissa, and after tripling your salary this year I promise to triple it again in the future!
Specifically, we used a Nikon D7000 with the 17-55 f/2.8 DX lens for most of the pictures, nearly all with two flashes controlled by Pocketwizards. Some shots were with the Nikon D800 with the 70-200 f/2.8 telephoto lens as well. As I've done for the last several years, the lenses and the extra camera were rented from "LensRentals.com" over the Internet, they always do a great job getting top-quality gear to me right on time.
Since I'm always taking pictures at the show, I don't really have time to attend the panels or stand in the swag lines, but notable events this year included the Walking Dead zombie escape, the Firefly 10-year reunion, "Twilight" discussions, "Game of Thrones", "True Blood", and of course the big official Masquerade costume contest on Saturday night. I'm told they also had a collection of classic Batmobile cars on display, but after walking all around the area, we could never find them. From personal observations, the "Super Helicarrier" from Hasbro was the most popular toy, I saw many people lugging these enormous boxes out of the main hall.
Thanks for another great San Diego Comic-Con, our next and I think only remaining show of 2012 is Dragon*Con in Atlanta!
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