AutoMatters & More: Panels, Collectibles, Comics, Activities, The Masquerade & more at Comic-Con@Home 2020
San Diego Comic-Con was held online this year, due to the coronavirus pandemic. Comic-Con@Home was a success, thanks to the tremendous group efforts by the organizers, workers, presenters, vendors and visitors.
There was certainly plenty to see and do. In some significant respects, it was actually better than the in-person version. This year’s Comic-Con was free for all, and accessible world-wide at the website: https://comic-con.org/cci/2020/athome
Categories included Programming, Exhibit Hall, Art Show, Eisner Awards, Activities, Games, Masquerade, souvenir book, Museum@Home, Watch Party and Portfolio Review.
The many free downloads included: Comic-Con@Home name badges (I put mine in my badge holder from last year), Comic-Con signs, the 260-page Comic-Con 2020 Souvenir Book and Comic-Con audio announcements. In lieu of the complimentary snacks ordinarily found in the Comic-Con hospitality suite, there were favorite Comic-Con recipes so that we could make our own snacks!
Since much was available on-demand after its initial release, we were pretty much free to enjoy Comic-Con@Home at our own convenience, day or night. Travel was unnecessary, since everything was accessible online, from wherever we were. Much still remains available.
There were many, many interesting and informative panels to watch, and unlike at the physical Comic-Con, where they were limited by the size of the ballrooms and meeting rooms, this year there was no limit whatsoever on attendance – and everyone got a front row seat!
I watched many panels as on-demand YouTube videos. The Star Trek Universe panel included: cast members of “Star Trek: Discovery,” who performed an illustrated table read from the season two finale; a preview of the new animated comedy series titled “Star Trek: Lower Decks” (premiering Aug. 6 on CBS All Access); and a lively discussion about “Star Trek: Picard,” which included panelists Sir Patrick Stewart (Captain Jean Luc Picard, nicknamed “S.P.S.”), Brent Spiner (Data), Jeri Ryan (Seven of Nine), Marina Sirtis (Counsellor Deanna Troi) and Jonathan Frakes (William Riker).
Another panel, titled “Back to the Moon and Beyond with NASA,” was enthusiastically moderated by Star Trek’s William Shatner (Captain Kirk). Panelists discussed our plans to return humans to the Moon in 2024 and hopefully to travel to Mars in 2028 (see NASA.gov/Artemis).
Mattel was co-founded by Elliot and Ruth Handler in 1945. Seventy-five years later, Mattel’s Hot Wheels produces about 500,000,000 (half a billion) diecast vehicles per year, including basics, premiums, monster trucks, and character cars.
In their panel titled: “Hot Wheels: Designing Fans’ Exclusives,” Bryan Benedict (Senior Manager, Product Design) and several of his associates shared insights into this year’s Hot Wheels Comic-Con@Home exclusives, including the mechanically operated Star Wars X-wing Fighter that Yoda lifts out of the Dagobah Swamp; and sharing “sneaks” of upcoming Hot Wheels. I met Bryan at Comic-Con in 2014, where Hot Wheels displayed a life-size version of their Darth Vader car (see AutoMatters & More #344).
Later, in the “Mattel Creations: Designing Pop Culture” panel, we learned about the Mattel replica of the Barbasol shaving cream can/cryogenics cannister that was used to try to smuggle dinosaur embryos out of Jurassic Park.
As of today, the panels are still available for viewing. Click on the “PROGRAMMING” link at: https://comic-con.org/cci/2020/athome
Free swag and giveaways were available, just like at the physical Comic-Con – either by digital download or to be mailed free of charge. We could have our picture taken with ‘The Child’ from “The Mandalorian,” courtesy of longtime San Diego Comic-Con exhibitors “Sideshow Collectables” and Lucasfilm.
In the virtual Exhibit Hall of the San Diego Convention Center, collectibles were on sale – many of them exclusive to Comic-Con@Home. Some sold out within seconds, since people from all over the world were trying to buy them. I missed out on the Hot Wheels that I wanted, so instead I ordered a ‘60s Star Trek automobile sunshade from vendor TOYNK’s website. It shows Captain Kirk behind the steering wheel, with Mr. Spock riding shotgun!
On Saturday, I checked out the competitors in the annual Masquerade costume competition. For a change, all views from the audience were unobstructed and up-close. Many entrants were pictured outdoors in videos, and still photos showed details of their costume-making process. Fan favorites Phil Foglio and his son were the co-masters of ceremonies.
Hopefully Comic-Con will return to downtown San Diego next year, along with innovations learned at this year’s Comic-Con@Home.
To see additional photos, visit www.drivetribe.com, click on the magnifying glass, select “POSTS” and enter “AutoMatters & More #652” in their search bar. Please send your comments to AutoMatters@gmail.com.
Copyright © 2020 by Jan Wagner – AutoMatters & More #652r1
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