Images from the convention floor as the Bay Area faithful let their geek flags fly.
(Words by Charles Russo. Photos by Kevin Legarda and Charles Russo)
Iron Man came down the escalator. Kylo Ren pushed his daughter—an adorable Rey—around the causeway in a stroller. Steam Boat Mickey cruised by in an upbeat mood (despite his inherently grey monotone appearance). A happy-go-lucky red blob with one bulging eyeball oozed down the hall before completely freaking out R2-D2.
Yes, just your average scenes at Silicon Valley Comic Con in San Jose this past weekend. If you stopped to get a boba tea you might have missed them, only to probably encounter some other equally aberrant interactions in another part of the building.
Now in its third year, the annual festival (started by none other than Steve Wozniak) drew legions of comic fandom faithful to the San Jose Convention Center for three days of celebrating the highly multi-faceted and colorful culture currently at its apex.
Fans shopped for light sabers, lined up for celebrity autographs and dug through boxes of decades-old comic books to excavate hard-to-find issues. The concourse showcased the work of a huge variety of visual (and typically indie) artists, showing off their drawings, paintings and self-published graphic novels.
The celebrity appearances were notable, even if not as high profile as years past, and included Sean Astin (of the Goonies, Lord of the Rings and Stranger Things fame), Cristina Ricci, Jessica Jones star Krysten Ritter and Dr. Who himself (well, one of them) — David Tennant. Although she is a generation apart from these stars, there was equal excitement to see Nichelle Nicols, who played U.S.S. Enterprise crew member (and, let’s be candid—space fox) Uhura in the original Star Trek television series.
Downstairs, the line to take a photo with iconic Marvel Comics writer Stan Lee was Hulk-like in size—massive and formidable. Not so surprising really, since Lee’s collaborations with the likes of Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko and other artists led to the creation of such globally popular and culturally ubiquitous comic book characters as Spider-Man, the X-Men, Fantastic Four, the Hulk and yes—Black Panther.
Lee is 95 and by many accounts appeared frail during the convention. Yet his attendance was infinitely fitting for the spectacle at hand, reflecting the long-term trajectory of comic book culture, from being stigmatized (during the 1950s) to a long-held label as uncool geek obsession, before eventually being the celebrated forefront of popular culture and Hollywood alike, which was clearly on display all weekend at the convention.
Little surprised then that the line to meet Lee—a key (if not, the key) originator of the culture—just seemed to get longer and longer. Nearby, Dr. Strange stopped to take a selfie with Wolverine. Yep, Revenge of the Nerds, indeed.