Hall H Line Controversy Highlights Growing Pains

Line camping has become a popular tradition for SDCC attendees.

Line camping has become a popular tradition for SDCC attendees.

As Comic Con wound down, former SDCCBlog.com writer Sarah Mertan wrote a personal blog with allegations that blog staff had manipulated early Hall H lines for their own benefit.

Hall H, the largest panel room of San Diego Comic Con, has become the primary example of the size of the country’s largest pop culture convention. Seating over 6,000 people, it regularly hosts the largest movie studios and films. This year, for example, both Warner Bros. and Marvel Comics revealed major announcements for their anticipated superhero franchises.

Due to the popularity of these panels, some attendees will camp overnight in order to secure a spot to see their favorite stars. On Friday night, the line for Saturday’s entrance wrapped to the backside of the Marriott Marquis and Marina.

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‘The Flash’ Pilot Review

CW's 'The Flash' takes the formula that made companion 'Arrow' a hit and twists it into a wonderfully bright welcome to the DC TV universe.

CW’s ‘The Flash’ takes the formula that made companion ‘Arrow’ a hit and twists it into a wonderfully bright welcome to the DC TV universe.

One of the most hotly-anticipated events at this year’s San Diego Comic Con was the official reveal of The CW’s The Flash television series. With DC putting so much faith into its television universe, it has a great deal riding on the success of The Fastest Man Alive. How does it compare to companion show Arrow, and does it bring the promising hope for the future of superhero television that its fans crave?

To start, the show mirrors the Arrow formula right off the bat, showing a speedy Barry Allen racing through a crowded Central City with star Grant Gustin’s narration giving an introduction. The pilot wastes no time showcasing their special effects department, a division that will certainly be a major factor in the future of the show.

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SDCC Saturday Recap

A portion of the exhibit hall floor during Saturday's Comic Con in San Diego.

A portion of the exhibit hall floor during Saturday’s Comic Con in San Diego.

By Wes Smith

San Diego Comic Con’s most popular day brought stars and announcements from the largest entertainment companies in the world.

Movie and television panels from Marvel and Warner Bros. highlighted the packed event that swarmed into San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter for the weekend. Crowds began lining up for Hall H panels as early as 2 p.m. Friday in order to catch glimpses of upcoming films and television shows.

Kicking off the day’s programming was Warner Bros. Studios, which released the first footage of the upcoming Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice to the massive Hall H. The footage also released the first images of Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman costume, with co-stars Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, and director Zack Snyder joining her on stage.

DC Comics also held panels for their other upcoming pilots, as well as a Constantine fan meet-up at the NBC off-site location with cast members joining in. An evening panel for Arrow, The Flash, Gotham, and Constantine made the largest-ever panel to hold the stage in Hall H.

Fans camp out overnight along the San Diego harbor for a chance to enter Saturday's panels.

Fans camp out overnight along the San Diego harbor for a chance to enter Saturday’s panels.

Marvel’s panel featured expansions of their cinematic universe, including release dates for upcoming projects. With the cast of The Avengers in attendance for the panel, Marvel officially set a release date of 2017 for Guardians of the Galaxy 2 a week ahead of the original film’s release.

Their panel also featured first-time appearances for Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas for Ant-Man. The film will release in 2015, the same year as Avengers: Age of Ultron.

A cosplayer strikes a pose as Vanellope from Disney's 'Wreck-It Ralph.'

A cosplayer strikes a pose as Vanellope from Disney’s ‘Wreck-It Ralph.’

Throughout the Gaslamp Quarter, business held events, some with celebrity guests. The Hard Rock Cafe hosted interviews on a balcony facing the convention. Into the evening, parties, like the annual Entertainment Weekly event, closed access to several clubs.

With the convention reaching its peak, several portions of the exhibit hall and surrounding areas were blocked throughout the day, emphasizing concerns about the growing popularity of the convention.

In one incident Saturday afternoon, a woman was struck by a vehicle as a deaf family tried to drive through the annual Zombie Walk event. The woman suffered a serious but non-life-threatening arm injury from the accident. Police are currently investigating the situation.

A 'Legend of Korra' cosplayer strikes a pose outside the convention center.

A ‘Legend of Korra’ cosplayer strikes a pose outside the convention center.

The convention will wrap up Sunday with panels for Supernatural and Sons of Anarchy.

SDCC Day Two Recap

Russel from 'Up' awaits a crossing guard's signal at San Diego Comic Con.

Russel from ‘Up’ awaits a crossing guard’s signal at San Diego Comic Con.

By Wes Smith

Day Two of San Diego Comic Con brought massive crowds and A-List celebrities to the downtown convention center.

As one of the largest days of convention programming in the United States, the day focused on several large television productions. Hall H flooded as attendees hoped to glimpse The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones announcements in the morning. Shortly after, Daniel Radcliff made his way to the stage for his first-ever SDCC convention.

In Ballroom 20, fans of popular culture screened a new episode of The Legend of Korra in the morning. During its panel, the producers discussed the Nickelodeon show’s move away from the cable channel into a digital-only format.

In the afternoon, Marvel announced several new characters to their Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. series. Producers and stars of CW’s Arrow teased an episode title ‘Oracle’ for character Felcity Smoak.

An 'Iron Man' cosplayer makes his way through the audience near the DC Comics booth.

An ‘Iron Man’ cosplayer makes his way through the audience near the DC Comics booth.

The exhibit hall floor gained momentum along as crowds entered for the weekend festivities. Several booths featured signings, giveaways, and more. The Walking Dead signing blocked nearby intersections of the floor for several minutes as fans reached for photo ops.

As the crowd begins to grow, concerns over crowding and SDCC policies have made their way into an increasingly connected social media atmosphere.

Fans hoping to camp for Hall H panels for Saturday started lining up as early as 2 p.m. Friday. Due to the new wristband policy from Comic Con International for Hall H’s first panels each day, confusion sparked frustration over linecutters, unclear policy guidelines, and official line markers.

When CCI staffers started handing out wristbands at 8 p.m. Friday, the line stretched into the Embarcadero area behind the convention center.

A cosplayer strikes a pose as Elsa from Disney's 'Frozen.'

A cosplayer strikes a pose as Elsa from Disney’s ‘Frozen.’

With such long lines, Saturday’s convention is expected to be the busiest of the event, with Warner Bros. and Marvel taking over Hall H for highly-anticipated panels.

SDCC Opening Day Recap

The Gaslamp Quarter of San Diego is transformed for the annual Comic Con convention.

The Gaslamp Quarter of San Diego is transformed for the annual Comic Con convention.

By Wes Smith

San Diego Comic Con kicked off its first official opening day with celebrities, concerts, packed exhibit booths, and a transformed Gaslamp District.

The convention, which pulls over 130,000 convention attendees and countless others looking for off-site events, is the largest fan gathering in the United States. This year’s opening slate continued the trend of big announcements reserved for the largest crowds.

While Preview Night is open to many attendees who purchase tickets, Thursday is the first official day of the convention and when most of the panels begin in earnest. The upper floors of the convention center and ballrooms of local hotels maintained a constant stream of programming throughout the day.

Perhaps the largest panel of the day came from Hall H, the largest ballroom of the convention, where Paramount Pictures brought out Christopher Nolan to speak about his next film, Interstellar. Nolan, notoriously protective of his properties, has famously avoided the convention in the past during his production of the Batman franchise.

Director Christopher Nolan speaks to Hall H during the Paramount Pictures panel. (Abrah Shapiro/Acta Dinerda)

Director Christopher Nolan speaks to Hall H during the Paramount Pictures panel. (Abrah Shapiro/Acta Dinerda)

The Hall H panels also featured a panel on the upcoming film The Giver, which featured Jeff Bridges and author Lois Lowry. Fans seemed eager to have questions answer about the adaptation of the popular book among Millenials.

“I told them we have to keep the kids 12,” said Jeff Bridges about aspects of the book he fought to keep in the film. His insistence on true-to-book ages was a highlight.

Other special guests attend panels included the cast of Showtime’s Penny Dreadful, Benedict Cumberbatch for Penguins of Madagascar, and TV Land stars Betty White and William Shatner.

Inside the exhibit floor and outside the convention center, companies sold or gave away exclusive items, a tradition at SDCC. Fans followed vehicles from Universal’s upcoming Jurassic World for an exclusive print, while Hasbro sold a full Transformer’s set inside the main hall.

'American Ninja Warrior' star Kacy Catanzaro runs through the 'Assassin's Creed' parkour course in record time.

‘American Ninja Warrior’ star Kacy Catanzaro runs through the ‘Assassin’s Creed’ parkour course in record time.

Cosplayers zip through Gotham City in Fox's 'Gotham' zip line outside of the convention center.

Cosplayers zip through Gotham City in Fox’s ‘Gotham’ zip line outside of the convention center.

As the convention grows, so do the activities outside the convention. This year included a Gotham City zipline, Assassin’s Creed obstacle course, and a 40 ft. Godzilla sculpture.

The evening concluded with a dance party at Nerd HQ in Petco Park and the MTV Fandom Awards outside the baseball stadium. The awards show drew thousands of spectators after MTV announced a headline show from Linkin Park.

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Linkin Park performs for SDCC attendees at the MTV Fandom Awards.

More cosplayers, panels, and events are expected as Friday and Saturday approach. The economic impact is estimated to be over $175 million, according to Mayor Faulconer.

SDCC Preview Night Recap

Thousands await the opening of the exhibit hall and ballrooms for San Diego Comic Con 2014.

Thousands await the opening of the exhibit hall and ballrooms for San Diego Comic Con 2014.

By Wes Smith

Thousands of comic and pop culture enthusiasts swarmed San Diego tonight for Preview Night at Comic Con International’s flagship convention.

Though the official kickoff of the country’s largest fan convention is tomorrow, lines wrapped around the San Diego Convention Center for attendees with access to the Wednesday events. While there were no official panels schedules, the exhibit hall was already packed as buyers grabbed up exclusives toys and merchandise.

Upstairs, Ballroom 20 held its annual screenings for Warner Bros. pilot series with The Flash, Constantine, and a new episode of Teen Titans Go! A screening of iZombie had been cancelled due to extensive recasting of the pilot episode. At the start of the screenings, Ballroom 20 reached about half its capacity, a number sure to grow in the upcoming days.

Badgeholders are able to take a complimentary "swag bag" showcasing popular Warner Bros. series.

Badgeholders are able to take a complimentary “swag bag” showcasing popular Warner Bros. series.

Outside the convention center, the atmosphere of the Gaslamp Quarter was in full SDCC mode. Several bars and shops were decked with signs, special events, and complete overalls. Perhaps the most prominent was the Ascension bar hosted by SyFy.

Offsite events this year include a parkour course directly across from the convention center, created for the Assassin’s Creed gaming franchise, and a zip line for Fox’s Gotham. Most buildings were completed as Preview Night kicked off, but a few still remained off-limits, such as a dome promoting NBC’s Constantine.

Several Gaslamp Quarter buildings, like SyfY's 'Ascension,' are overhauled for the convention each year.

Several Gaslamp Quarter buildings, like SyfY’s ‘Ascension,’ are overhauled for the convention each year.

As the convention gets underway, over 130,000 people are expected to attend this year’s convention. Panels will offer a wide selection of interests, with comics still taking the top spot, according to SDCCBlog.com

Comic Con Updates And Recap Schedule

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Banners for the 2012 San Diego Comic Con align in the convention center rafters.

Acta Dinerda are officially on our way to San Diego Comic Con! We’ll be keeping you up to date with pictures, news, and more from all five days of the event!

For immediate news, be sure to check Twitter. You can follow our Founder and Editor, Wes for the most immediate updates!

Each evening, we’ll be posting longer recaps and photos here to the front page. Check in to see an overview of what is occurring in the world of the country’s largest geek show!

If you’ll be at the convention and want to say hello, hit us up at acta.tips@gmail.com or contact Wes via Twitter.

Happy SDCC everyone!