When it comes to comic conventions, San Diego isn't the only city that knows how to throw a party.
New York Comic Con wrapped up just a few days ago, and while the biggest convention on the East Coast tends to be less about blockbuster movies and more about comics and nerd culture, there were still some great moments in geekery to be found in the Big Apple.
Even before the convention officially kicked off, Hasbro's annual preshow party featured an indirect preview of some upcoming films, thanks to the debut of new action figures from its Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and Transformers: Age of Extinction toy lines. Among the figures on display during the party were the Winter Soldier himself, as well as Optimus Prime in his redesigned Age of Extinction body and multiple versions of Electro as he appears in the Amazing Spider-Man sequel. It's also worth noting that the upcoming Captain America toy line (not The Winter Soldier line) includes a large S.H.I.E.L.D. “Mandroid” figure, which we can only hope makes an appearance in the Marvel movie-verse at some point. (The same goes for the classic, green-and-yellow Hydra soldiers. Say it with me, folks: “HAIL HYDRA!”)
See more toy images for The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and Captain America: The Winter Soldier
The cast of Hercules: The Legend Begins offered up the first trailer for the 2014 film, which casts Kellan Lutz as a young Hercules in the early chapters of his storied history. While the footage seemed to sample liberally from 300 and the Spartacus television series (Fun fact: Spartacus star Liam McIntyre plays a featured role in the film), the buzz coming out of the panel seemed positive – which is exactly what it will need to challenge the other Hercules-themed film coming out next year. Thanks to the arrival of both Hercules: The Legend Begins and the film simply titled Hercules – based on the the graphic novel Hercules: The Thracian Wars and starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in the title role – 2014 is aiming to be a big year for the son of Zeus.
And because no convention would be complete without some big news on the Star Wars front, NYCC played host to quite a few announcements regarding Star Wars Rebels, the upcoming animated series premiering next year on Disney XD. It's hard not to love the “propaganda art” for the series that debuted online ahead of the convention, and during the official panel for the show, Lucasfilm introduced one of the primary villains from the series, the Inquisitor. According to Star Wars Rebels executive producer Dave Filoni, the menacing character is “tasked by Darth Vader to hunt down the remaining Jedi Knights.” Sounds evil enough, eh?
(Side note: Star Wars Rebels team, if you're reading this, please have a character utter the line “No one expects the Inquisitor!” at some point during the series. That's comedy gold, right there.)
One of my favorite announcements to come out of the show, however, is the sort of news that would make me shout “Holy crossover, Batman!” if I actually said that sort of thing. (I don't.) Over the weekend, IDW Publishing revealed a cover image for Transformers/G.I. Joe, an upcoming mash-up of the two series that will have G.I. Joe and Cobra duking it out alongside the ol' “robots in disguise.” While it's far from the first crossover comic to feature these two sets of characters, these events have always been a lot of fun, so I'm looking forward to next summer when the series kicks off.
Still, the coolest moment of the convention by far unfolded Saturday evening at the panel for Batman: Arkham Origins, the upcoming video game set in the world of the previous Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City games. The role of the Joker, which had famously been voiced by Mark Hamill (yes, that Mark Hamill) in just about every worthwhile appearance of the character over the last decade, is shifting to veteran voice actor Troy Baker for the upcoming game, which acts as a prequel of sorts for the franchise. During Saturday's panel, Baker was asked to give the audience a taste of what they can expect from his spin on Batman's archenemy, and he responded by reading one of the most famous monologues ever uttered by the character.
Instead of choosing a line from one of the previous games or something from Arkham Origins, Baker read the Joker's monologue from Batman: The Killing Joke, Alan Moore and Brian Bolland's 1988 story that many consider one of the greatest comics ever written. You can see it happen in the video below, with Baker setting up the monologue around the 1:50 mark:
It's haunting, it's creepy, and he just nails it.
And what you don't see in the video is the entirety of the packed room giving Baker a standing ovation as he concludes the monologue. It was one of those moments that everyone was talking about long after the panel had ended, and left anyone who wasn't at the panel scrambling for video to see it (and hear it) for themselves.
As with any good comic convention, there was no shortage of announcements made during the show, but these these were the events that everyone I know seemed to be talking about at the end of each day during New York Comic Con – and in the case of that Joker monologue, are still talking about today.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to listen to that monologue again and give myself nightmares.
Rick Marshall is an award-winning writer and editor whose work can be found at Movies.com, as well as MTV News, Fandango, Digital Trends, IFC.com, Newsarama, and various other online, print, and on-air news outlets. He's been called a “Professional Geek” by ABC News and Spike TV, and is still not quite sure how he ended up writing (and talking) about comics, video games, and movies for a living. His personal blog can be found at MindPollution.org, and you can find him on Twitter as @RickMarshall.
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