San Diego Comic-Con 2014: Thursday – Caped crusading
Thursday saw bigger than usual mid-week crowds at San Diego Comic-Con 2014 (at least from my unscientific perspective), which is a testament that comics, genre movies, and costuming continue to infiltrate the mainstream – which is both good and bad, depending on how much time you are spending in line for that popular panel.
Batman, who is celebrating his 75th Anniversary (25th Anniversary of the first Tim Burton Bat-film), has a huge presence at this year’s convention, and we spent the better part of the day attending panels that focused on the caped-crusader’s illustrious history.
For an industry that showcases truth, justice and the American way, the comic book business has committed its fair share of injustices, and one of its biggest slights is the lack of recognition for Batman co-creator, the late Bill Finger, who would have celebrated his one-hundredth birthday this year.
Although Finger never had the opportunity to attend Comic-Con himself, his only surviving relatives, his Granddaughter, Athena Finger, and her son, Benjamin, were on hand Thursday for the “Spotlight on Bill Finger” panel. Actress Lee Meriwether (Catwoman), Batman psychologist, Dr. Travis Langley, Batman movie producer, Michael Uslan, Bill Finger biographer, Marc Tyler Nobleman, Batman artist Jerry Robinson’s son, Jens, Batman comic book writer, Denny O’Neil, comic historian, Mark Evanier, and Bob Kane biographer, Thomas Andrae, were also all on hand to pay tribute to Finger.
Ms. Finger was given a posthumous Comic-Con Inkspot Award for her grandfather’s contributions to comic book history and pop culture. Not only did Finger co-create Batman, he also created or co-created The Joker, Penguin, The Riddler, Catwoman, Alfred, Gotham, and the original Green Lantern. When Athena was young she was often not believed when she would tell friends that her Grandfather had helped create Batman and she was very emotional at having the man finally receive some well-deserved respect and appreciation at this event, which was at max-capacity and had to turn people away.
Thursday’s Con also featured a panel about “Batman in the 70’s,” an era that many (myself included) believe to be Dark Knight’s best. Veteran Batman artists and writers, including Neal Adams, Denny O’Neil, Anthony Tollin, Len Wein, and Michael Uslan recounted fascinating stories about their 1970s work on the Batman comic books.
The “Batman 75: Legends of the Dark Knight” panel was packed, with a waiting line that wound throughout the building and then outside where it zig-zagged for multiple rows before its end. Showing up 30-minutes before a panel begins is turning out to NOT be a very good strategy for gaining entry to popular events – and this is only Thursday. It’s sure to be Arkham insane come Friday and Saturday.
After the “Batman 75” snafu, I figured there would be no chance of getting into Hall H for the “Batman ’66” panel showcasing the November Blu-ray release of the Sixties’ Batman television show; but Holy Surprise, I was able to walk right in with no line whatsoever.
It was fun seeing Batman stars Adam West (Bruce Wayne/Batman), Burt Ward (Dick Grayson/Robin), and Julie Newmar (Catwoman) tell hilarious stories about the old days working on the show, and the three actors were each given a Comic-Con Inkspot Award for their contributions to pop culture. We also got to see some of the digitally cleaned and enhanced video of the upcoming box-set release, and it looks awesome.
Enjoy the photos from Thursday’s Con below, and be sure to follow us on Twitter @nerdvana for “live” Comic-Con photos and updates throughout the weekend.
San Diego Comic-Con Thursday Photo Gallery: