You may find no more profound connection in your life than that with your fellow nerd. Someone who can appreciate your encyclopedic knowledge of all things geeky in entertainment, acknowledges the mutual understanding that nerds will never be cool cool (and that’s great), and, of course, a shared distaste for natural sunlight. So it’s no surprise that San Diego Comic-Con, now in its 42nd year, has become the ultimate bonding experience for pop culture poindexters.
Of course, what makes SDCC so special is that not only do hardcore movie, television, and comic book fans get to experience a convention that caters to their all-time favorite things, but they get to experience it with the stars and creators of the very movies, television shows, and comic books they love. Seriously, is there anything cooler than that? (According to the calculations on my watch, no.)
In preparation for this year’s festivities, here’s some famous fans who have earned some major Comic-Con cred:
Joss Whedon: Every year is a good year to be a Joss Whedon fan, at Comic-Con or otherwise. Not only does he give the people want he wants on the big and small screen, but he’s a charming, gracious, insightful visitor to the convention. But for Whedon (pictured), whose shows and films over the past decade have more or less made up the geek culture DNA that makes Comic-Con — and for his fans — it’s been an especially banner year. Since his last visit to the SDCC, Whedon released The Cabin in the Woods and The Avengers, and will now be at the center of the long-anticipated Firefly reunion panel, hosted by the Science Channel, at this year’s event. The man can do no wrong, in or out of Comic-Con.
Chris Hardwick: The man with his finger directly on the pulse of nerd culture (see: his wildly popular Nerdist blog, as well as his hosting duties on Web Soup, and The Talking Dead) was dubbed by Variety in 2011 as the “prom king” of Comic-Con. No upset for the crown there: Hardwick, who has described the SDCC as “nerd Christmas” has made himself a presence at the San Diego affair, between moderating panels and holding live podcasts (including one last year with the cast of Doctor Who) the GeekChicDaily contributor has become the go-to expert on all things geek. This year Buzzfeed has declared Hardwick, as well as some other famous folks on this list, to be one of the definitive people to follow on Twitter during the 2012 SDCC. Hardwick has vocalized his concerns about the state of Comic-Con, but has never turned his back on it.
Wil Wheaton: There are those stars who simply appear at Comic-Con, then there are those stars who are truly part of the experience. Wheaton, perhaps best known to mainstream audiences as Gordie in the 1986 classic Stand By Me, most certainly falls into the latter. Wheaton, who has been an avid Comic-Con attendee over the years has become as just as much a staple as dressing up as your favorite character. The actor, who has starred in plenty of nerd-friendly fare like The Big Bang Theory and Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Eureka and will be on hand for this year’s Falling Skies Q&A, has been taking part in panels for years. His approachable presence and knowledge and love of the industry makes him exactly the kind of star that makes Comic-Con work.
Felicia Day: Geek goddess Felicia Day, she of Buffy and Eureka and Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog and the object of every pop culture nerd’s desires, was called “Comic-Con royalty” by Time. A frequent visitor and ally of the Con, the always busy Day (she was promoting no less than five projects at the 2011 SDCC) will once again find time in her schedule to be a part of the festivities. The self-proclaimed media geek and gamer not only gives back to the community that loves her, but proved, once and for all, that geek culture most certainly isn’t exclusive to girls.
Seth Green: Like Wil Wheaton and Chris Hardwick, Buffy star/Robot Chicken creator/all-around likable guy Seth Green has become a presence at Comic-Con. Green, who will, unsurprisingly be back again this year (his 16th appearance) for a Robot Chicken panel, is the poster boy for Comic-Con appreciation. Whether he’s gushing about the perks of things like Cosplay with fellow geek Conan O’Brien or making fangirl’s dreams come true at panels, if you ever bump into the Family Guy star, he’s either at Comic-Con or somewhere else talking about Comic-Con.
Seth MacFarlane: …and speaking of Family Guy, there’s its creator Seth MacFarlane, who made his Comic-Con debut at a panel back in 2007 (when he famously riffed on rival South Park.) MacFarlane has returned time and time again since, quickly learning that to make a Comic-Con appearance work, you’ve got to build buzz (like he did again this year with these campaign posters) and give the people what they want (like he did in 2011 when he gave shared some new insight to his fan favorite Family Guy character Stewie.)
Kevin Smith: A nerd’s nerd, writer/director/actor/podcaster Smith has made some memorable appearances over the past decade at Comic-Con (an early Con-goer, the Clerks creator first popped up in 1997, when attendance was but 40,000) and has come bearing Silent Bob, or just to silence some snark (watch his superhero viral moment with a lippy fan here.) Undeterred by opinionated fans, Smith returned again in 2010 and 2011, where he pulled double duty as moderator for a Star Trek panel and holding more of his famous Q&A’s. As far as celebrities go, there’s few that fit in as effortlessly at Comic-Con as Smith does.
Stan Lee: Then again, all other Comic-Con attendees, famous or otherwise, must bow down the one and only Stan Lee. The godfather of geek, who first came to Comic-Con back in 1975 (the same year that Chuck Norris, Alan Light, and Ray Bradbury also spoke in front of an estimated 2,500 fans), has since branched off and made his own California-based comic book convention called ComiKaze. But even with ComiKake, the 89-year-old Marvel maven still makes Comic-Con appearances (he was at last year’s festivities) to speak and give fans, famous and otherwise, the thrill of a lifetime.
[Photo credit: WENN.com]