When Comic-Con Became Comic-Cannes

This year Hollywood had its fingerprints all over San Diego’s annual celebration of nerd culture.



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There was lots of ground to cover, and I certainly didn't get to see everything -- I heard rumors about people bursting into tears at the World of Warcraft Q&A, but I can't report on that firsthand -- so here are my highlights:

Best Dressed: Gay Age of Bronze cartoonist Eric Shanower’s cream-colored suits always stand out on a convention floor packed with Batman T-shirts. Runner-up: Chip Kidd, whose sleek academic style I like to describe as "The Natty Professor."

Most Popular Costume: The Joker, almost all of them featuring the added facial scarring to reference the Heath Ledger version. Quite a few of them went that extra step and dressed as Joker nurses.

Best Song: It’s a toss-up between Kristin Chenoweth belting out a verse and chorus of "Over the Rainbow" at the Pushing Daisies panel and cartoonist Lynda Barry promoting her wonderful and inspirational book What It Is by doing "You Are My Sunshine" without moving her lips.

Best Superhero Regimen: Patrick Wilson, who plays a retired, gone-to-seed, middle-aged Nite Owl in Watchmen, noted, "Everybody else had to get ripped. I could kick back with a carton of Haagen-Dazs and a couple beers and call it a day."

Most Enthusiastic Response: Kevin Smith, whom I ran into immediately after the Watchmen presentation, which featured some dazzling footage from the film: "Did you see that? Wasn’t that fucking dope?"

Clearest Understanding of the Audience: When former Mystery Science Theater 3000 writer and performer Bridget Jones Nelson got mild applause after telling the audience she now goes to high schools to talk about Jesus, she responded, "Wow, Jesus got less applause than Joe Don Baker."

Most Refreshing Retort: When gay DC editor Bob Schreck and gay-adjacent comics writer Judd Winick (Green Arrow) talked about trying to insert queer characters into everything they do, Marc Andreyko responded, "Wow, I disagree with almost everything you're saying," adding that he adds LGBT characters when they're organic and not to make a statement. Andreyko also pointed out that he wanted the gay superhero Obsidian to be as average as possible. "I'm just a boring gay guy. I wanted a character who was just like me -- only better-looking and with superpowers."