Posted on Wednesday, July 20th, 2016 by Peter Sciretta
As we prepare to travel to San Diego for another year at Comic Con, I wanted to take a look back at the best moments in Comic Con history. What are the coolest and most eventful things to happen over the last decade while sitting in Hall H? What makes a great Comic Con moment? Lets take a look back at the best comic-con moments of all time.
So before we get started, lets get a few things out of the way: Like any other list ever created, this grouping is completely subjective. This is a list of the best Comic-Con moments according to me.
Who am I to make such a listing? I’ve been attending and covering San Diego Comic Con International for nine years, which is only a fraction of the 45 years the event has been going on. So yes, this list is heavily based in the last decade of the convention — but it could also be argued that the the event really became mainstream over the last decade even though Hollywood has been coming to the convention since before I was born. (For example, Star Wars had a small presentation at 1977 edition of the con.) So if you want, consider this list The Best Comic-Con Moments From 2006 to Today.
And while I’m sure there are many amazing moments to take place outside of Hall H and the movie presentations, this list is primarily focused on those panels. So if you’re looking for a more extensive list that covers comic books, television, video games and cosplay, you’ll have to look elsewhere.
Also I decided not to rank these moments but instead present them in chronological order.
The Best Comic-Con Moments of All Time
2006: Kevin Feige Predicts The Avengers
This may have not been a big moment at the time, but the long term impact might be the biggest to ever happen at Comic Con. At the 2006 edition of the convention, Marvel had a presentation in one of the smaller halls, not even Hall H, if you can believe it. During the Q&A, Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige was asked about the possibilities of crossovers amongst the Marvel heroes. His answer teased the possibility of a movie version of The Avengers.
Jon Favreau was on the panel talking about Iron Man, and Louis Leterrier was talking about The Incredible Hulk, and Edgar Wright was talking about Ant Man. And somebody asked, “Could the characters cross over? Is this person ever going to meet this person?” I was asked, “Are we ever going to see the Avengers on screen?” And I said, “Who knows. This is a big new experiment for Marvel. But it’s no coincidence that we have the rights to Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, Cap –” and the whole audience started cheering. That was one of the moments where I went, boy, if only, if only we could actually sort of pull this all together.
And pull it together they did, which is why I think this is one of best moments of Comic Con history.
2007: Dark Knight Viral Takes Over San Diego
Christopher Nolan and The Dark Knight were a no show in Hall H in 2007, but the Batman sequel took over the San Diego streets with the beginning of a viral marketing campaign which would become known as the biggest and best of its kind. The viral event involved a clue written in the sky, and a band of players in Joker make-up running around San Diego in a scavenger hunt to reveal a teaser trailer online.
The Dark Knight viral continued after the Con ended, leading to some really awesome events and games. (Watch the whole video above which recaps the entire viral.) I think it’s a shame that everyone points to Scott Pilgrim and Tron Legacy as examples of how Comic Con fandom doesn’t help translate into box office, but many ignore a successful film like The Dark Knight, and viral marketing like this has now been brushed off as nothing more than fan service.
2007: First Iron Man Trailer Debut
Director Jon Favreau showed up at San Diego with his cast and crew and a teaser trailer for the film which had just finished shooting a couple weeks prior. Nowadays, studios plan for Comic Con, sometimes showing footage from films still in production. (Marvel has been known to pay to have visual effects footage done specifically in preparation for the July con.) At the time, however, it was not expected that Marvel would show up at the convention with a full trailer. And not just any trailer, one of the best teaser trailers of all time. It knocked the socks off the packed Hall H crowd.
It’s easy to look back and now see how obvious it was that Iron Man was going to be a mega hit, but at the time it wasn’t so obvious. Nowadays a film like Iron Man could get its own panel, but Iron Man was only just a small part of Paramount’s panel which included eight other films. Actually, Iron Man was not even the headliner of the panel; Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and Star Trek followed the short Iron Man segment. Favreau has even credited Comic Con for helping to launch Iron Man into the mainstream.
2008: Twilight Fans Take Over Hall H
Some fanboys might say this belongs on a worst moments in Comic Con list, but the invasion of the Twihards was an important moment for the San Diego convention. Twilight’s appearance at the 2009 edition of the convention marked a huge change in what kind of films would appear in Hall H. Not only that, it upped the ante in terms of extreme fandom. Twilight fans lined up over a day in advance to see Summit’s New Moon panel the following afternoon.
That extreme was unheard of at the time, but lining up overnight quickly became the norm in the years that followed. Even Comic Con had to respond and started issuing wristbands to try to discourage fans camping out in line overnight. Sure, someone’s mom asking Robert Pattinson what kind of underwear he wears might have been painfully embarrassing but Twilight, like it or hate it, helped elevated Hall H to a new level of hype and fandom.