SAN DIEGO – To goof just a little on a movie classic, “I love the smell of geek in the morning.” Day Two of Comic Con 2003 was a intensification of Day One but with a lot more breathing room with a big dose of geek in the air. Instead of a three-hour tour of the convention, patrons could enter the great hall at 10 a.m. and stay on the main floor until 7 p.m..
With a solid number of Con attendees settled into the skyscraper-forest of downtown San Diego, many patrons of the pop-culture super event rubbed the fantasy dust from their eyes and trudged or shuttled down to the more than 400,000 square feet of convention floor space.
Yes, 400,000 square feet of wild and wooly buying, selling, wandering, head-turning displays and head-turning costumes from all conceivable genres. Naturally one can buy comic books but an almost unbelievable myriad of other items are everywhere including toys, posters, weapons, games, magazines, cards, photographs, music, lunch boxes, furniture, clothing and more uncommon items than you can shake a staff at.
As predicted, TORn ran out of its Day One and Two buttons and had to quit selling t-shirts temporarily because demand was much greater than supply. Copies of “The People’s Guide to J.R.R. Tolkien” moved briskly with our own Ostadan and Quickbeam on hand to personalize copies to happy fans who reveled in the atmosphere thick with all things geek. The film crew for “Ringers” continued to pack in fanatics to its “confessional” to record fans’ passions for all things Tolkien.
Six WETA crew men, including the incomparable Richard Taylor, showed up early in the day fresh off a plane from New Zealand to deliver an amazing new display-only, life-size Gollumn statue to the Sideshow area (TORn’s neighbor) before the floor opened. Sideshow’s CEO Greg Anzalone was delighted to add Gollumn to the terrifying life-size collection which includes a cave-troll head, a mounted wraith and Lurtz.
According to Anzalone, Gollumn was the WETA crew’s carry on luggage from all the way across the world and a few weeks ago it wasn’t clear if Taylor would have time to create the display because apparently he is busy working on some movie about a king or something.
“That is how committed they are to making this (Comic-Con) a special experience for fans. This is the ultimate gathering of fans because it is a true cross section of fans of pop culture.”
Taylor later did a signing in the New Line pavilion and on Day Three he will again be a part of New Line’s main presentation at Con’s 5,000 seat upstairs room. Last year of course WETA’s almost legendary make-up demonstration and guest appearances by a couple of Hobbits and some big bad villains.
“This is the country’s leading pop-culture show and it is an honor to be a part of it,” Anzalone said.
“The Lord Of The Rings pavilion, made up of eight key companies (Sideshow, TORn, Houghton-Mifflin, New Line, The Noble Collection, Decipher, EA Games, Games Workshop) is great. Fans are having experiences with creators.”
Fans were also having experiences with Gollum, getting their picture taken next to the life-like statue by the hundreds. TORn senior Tolkien fan Ostadan called it “the most impressive piece of Tolkien art that I have seen in 30 years of fandom.”
Just upstairs from the millions of buyers marching up and down isles was a day full of presentations including a one hour TheOneRing.net panel. TORn gave away a fantastic “Orc Brute” statue made by Sideshow/Weta Collectibles along with several copies of the people’s guide. Quickbeam, Tookish, Ostadan and Flinch entertained the crowd with a fan-led discussion which implemented the fans’ own comments and questions which ranged from the future of TORn, to possibilities of a Hobbit movie, to the elvish language and potential submersive on-line games set in Tolkien’s Middle-earth.
A fandom show-of-hands poll revealed that a few in the audience had never read Lord Of The Rings and glob of others had read the book because of the Peter Jackson movies. The youngest reader who had finished the work was 12 years old and the longest-time reader was a veteran since 1958.
Tomorrow there are no scheduled Lord of the Rings panels, but TORn is planning on selling more t-shirts and doing a few giveaways at the booth. Photos and another report to follow.