Friday, July 20, 2012

Great Moments at SDCC 2012: Marvel Shows Respect

San Diego Comic Con 2012 was like many other SDCC's. There were crazy crowds and lines, thousands of cosplayers, a bunch of great panels, wonderful artists and plenty of good friends to enjoy the weekend with. SDCC was a success! With any success there are moments that help define that success. This is one of those moments that made SDCC 2012 great for me.

Axel Alonso and Arune Singh Respect For The Hardcore Fan

Axel Alonso - Marvel Editor in Chief
Much has been made about the crying fan at the Man of Steel panel which the hilarious and huge-hearted Chris Hardwick ran down to hug. Chris said the fan represented what comic con is all about: a fan that was brought to tears because he loves comics/a character so much. While Chris was right, and this moment was indeed special, a great moment involving a huge fan occurred in the Marvel Ultimate Universe panel, really stuck with me.

A real passionate fan got up during the "Q & A" portion of the panel and proceeded to ask an unanswerable question. The kid asked something along the lines of, "I know you can't tell us, but if you were going to make a certain character radioactive, how would you do it."
  1. The scenario suggested by the questionnaire was never raised in the comics or anywhere else. It was just a random thing the kid wanted to see happen.
  2. The panel isn't intended to test the panelists' creative skills on the spot. One can't just go up and say, "If Captain America had a brother who had powers, how would you plot a story out about him?"
As the panelists, lead by Axel Alonso (Marvel's Editor in Chief), tried to explain it was not something they had thought about, the audience started groaning at the further insistence of answers by the questionnaire, "but if you did..." Finally, just as it seemed like Axel had politely let the kid down by telling him, again, it wasn't something Marvel thought about, Axel shocked the audience just as the kid was about to step away. Axel continued with, "How would you do it?"

The audience immediately let out a long sigh knowing that this opened the door for the super fan to ramble on. No one in the crowd wanted to hear some kid's fantasy idea, but still...that's what the crowd received. I would venture to say that many people were a bit angry that Axel was "wasting" their time by encouraging the kid, but I think it was one of the nicest things I have ever witnessed.

This kid was clearly an uber-fan with many ideas about his favorite characters and comics. For him to be able to tell his ideas to the Marvel Editor in Chief, when he could have easily been tossed to the side at the approval of the audience, had to be a magical experience for that kid. After he stumbled through his nonsensical answer, smiling the whole time, Axel shook his head and said something like, "that could work." Axel gave the kid approval and nourished the young man's sense of creativity and pride: something so many comic fans may be in need of.

Arune Singh - Marvel Director of Communications
At this point Arune Singh (Marvel's Director of Communications) jumped in and awarded the questionnaire a limited t-shirt prize for being creative and brave enough to express himself in front of everyone in attendance.

After the panel I saw the young man who asked the question and he looked like he had just been asked to hangout with Spider-Man. His father was with him, so naturally the kid was going on and on to his smiling father about the panel. Seeing the joy on that kid's face, thanks to Axel and Arune's respect of every fan no matter how passionate they are, was worth admission to comic con.

Side Note: Technically I didn't pay because I had a press badge...but I would have!

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