Articles

Dispatches from LA Comic Con 2018

Written by Fiona Underhill

I went to some really interesting panels at LA Comic Con, covering a wide range of topics, all of which were supremely geeky, so therefore right up my street. I really noticed this year (after last attending the Con in 2016), that every single panel made reference to politics and the wider society which we live in. The zombie panel talked about their function throughout history and whether we still ‘need’ them today, the Superman panel was about how he is a symbol of hope, the Harry Potter panel was about using that universe as therapy, which is something I can very much relate to. Of course, the #MeToo movement was also referenced many times as well. So, it was a surprisingly emotional weekend!

Women in Horror Esther Goodstein, Kathleen Behun, Jessica Sonneborn, Jessica Cameron, Ivet Corvea
Jason Blum has recently come under fire for stating that; “There are not a lot of female directors period, and even less who are inclined to do horror.” Of course the women of this panel were very much here to refute that.
– Sonneborn and Corvea were in Bloody Bloody Bible Camp (2012)
– Sonneborn has Holidays of Horror coming up – an anthology series, each based on a different American holiday eg. Thanksgiving, 4th of July, Hanukkah
– Behun has The Maple House coming up
– Goodstein produced The Black Room (2017, now available on Netflix)
– Cameron directed An Ending (2018) and Mania (2015)

 

I am no Man: The Women of Middle-Earth TheOneRing.net
The focus of this panel was to highlight the lesser-known women of Middle Earth, who could be a large part of the new LOTR TV show which will be coming to Amazon, which will reportedly focus on a young Aragorn, at least to begin with. The hope is that it could feature Gilraen, Aragorn’s mother who was a widow who went to great lengths to protect her son. It could also feature Arwen’s mother Celebrian, to whom Elrond had to prove his worth by becoming a ring-bearer and building Rivendell. Following in the tradition of formidable mothers, Bilbo was said to have got his sense of adventure from his mother, Belladonna Took.

Another prominent female character is Luthien, who not only subverts the ‘damsel-in-distress’ trope by being a self-rescuing ‘princess’, but she also rescues the man she loves. Lúthien forced Sauron to give ownership of the tower to her. She freed the prisoners, among them Beren. She also heals Beren and sings a song which subdues the Dark Lord Morgoth. Tolkein and his wife Edith have the words ‘Beren and Luthien’ on their joint grave, indicating that Tolkein believed his wife ‘rescued’ him. There is also Varda Elbereth who ‘kindled the stars’ (created the universe) and Yavanna The Valar – who is a ‘Mother Earth’ type figure.

 

Superman 80th Anniversary Panel Tony Kim, Jason Inman, Jace Milam and Alfred Day
This was the best panel of the weekend for me. Despite unfortunately being an all-male panel, there was a lot of emphasis on Lois and the fact that it’s her 80th Anniversary too. There was love for The New Adventures of Superman (known as Lois & Clark in the US) which is my favourite Superman property and Superman – The Animated Series, which is underrated. There was discussion of where DC has/is going wrong with Superman and where it could potentially go in the future, all of which I strongly agreed with. I even got a bit emotional when the panel was talking about what Superman should symbolise “truth, justice and the American way” and the fact that these values have lost their meaning in larger society, not just in popular culture. Superman is meant to be inspiring, is meant to be the best reflection of ourselves – he believes in us even when we don’t believe in him. Wonder Woman got it right by creating a hopeful, likeable character who still had humour and was still cool. Why can’t that happen with Supes?

 

Star Thieves – check out the trailer on insta @StarThieves
I can across this completely by accident, but I’m glad that I did. It’s a 20 minute short Sci-Fi film featuring a cast completely made up of people of colour. It is going to be turned into a feature length film – so keep an eye out for that.

 

Other panels which I attended:
Everything you wanted to know about zombies but were afraid to askClarke Wolfe etc
The Psychology of Harry Potter
The Original Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling (GLOW)
Batman 80th Anniversary Panel Kyle Higgins and Chris Burnham
Wonder Women Filmmakers: Insight from Women in the World of Filmmaking – Jenn Page, Joanna Ke, Cheri Gaulke, Sonja Mereu, Emily McGregor, Allison Vanore, America Young
The Chimaera Project http://www.chimaeraproject.org

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1 reply »

  1. As a panelist for the Superman panel, I agree that adding women to the panel is a really good idea. I’d love to see a pure Lois Lane panel. Maybe I’ll put in a panel proposal for that for some upcoming conventions . . .

    Like

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