For some attendees, San Diego Comic-Con is an opportunity to see the actors, writers, and creators that they love and to get to ask them the questions they have always wondered. However, while some actors thrive at SDCC (see: any panel featuring Robert Downey Jr.), others treat the event like another stop on their promotional tour.
A select few go a step farther, working to interact with their community and give back to the fans that have helped them achieve success.
While Chuck may have ended, Zachary Levi’s link to the nerd community continues to strengthen. One of the premiere offsite events at SDCC is the NerdHQ, run by Zachary’s Nerd Machine who normally write about all things geek. While visitors to NerdHQ do get to experience new game demos, surprise photo ops, and small panels, they also get to give back with all proceeds going to Operation Smile.
In recent years, the SDCC community has seen a huge jump in the number of women attending and outreach towards their interests. Some people may dismissively attribute this to the rise of Twilight, but you can not ignore the new wave of nerdy women who are advocating for their community and creating art that is relatable. One of these women is Felicia Day and her role in supporting the viability of internet tv content can not be understated, especially for making material that celebrates the community it represents. This year at Comic-Con, her YouTube channel, Geek and Sundry had their own off-site headquarters and an official panel. She is a role-model to anyone trying to work in online media and as controversy continues to surround women and nerd culture, she’s a great example of how to avoid the trolls and continue to succeed.
Kevin Smith can no longer be described as just a director (or fellow New Jerseyean), having started a multimedia network SmodCo of podcasts, books, live shows, and much more. At the same time, he’s used the strength of his internet presence to leverage more traditional media appearances and a television show on AMC. Comic-Con is always a triumphant return for a man who views himself as a fellow nerd, and a major panel every Saturday night at SDCC is Kevin’s Q&A.
Wil Wheaton’s nerd pedigree is spotless; great acting credits on geek-friendly tv, a popular blog, and a successful web show (http://tabletop.geekandsundry.com/), But one of the reasons for his success is his ability to relate to his audience and create media via new markets that they can get excited about. One of these creations, started with Paul and Storm and Adam Savage of Mythbusters, is w00tstock, an evening of geek culture with music, readings, and slideshows about the strategic placement of googly eyes. While this show is a must-see for any attendee, they take it one step further for their audience. The beginning of the show features a message imploring people to record under the Creative Commons guidelines, making sure that everyone gets a chance to see.
Prior to his death this year, Ray Bradbury had attended each SDCC starting with the first one in 1970. His loss was especially felt by those attendees who had seen the con grow, and a memorial panel was held this year in his honor. To many, his passing marked the end of a golden era of science fiction, but to the Comic-Con community, it also meant the loss of a dear friend.