All things geeky were celebrated at Comic-Con International 2018, July 19–23 in San Diego. Along with the typical comic book fare one would experience at any old comic book convention, Comic-Con 2018 brought out fans from all over the world hoping to see previews of the best that geek culture has to offer.
Of course, this annual event generally sells out quickly, and Comic-Con 2018 was no exception. And since so many geeks and geek-adjacent queer people weren’t able to make it out this year, we’ve compiled a list of 15 of the best things to come out of Comic-Con 2018.
(For those who are just on the hunt for jaw-dropping looks, you can find our roundup of the best Comic-Con 2018 cosplay here.)
In no particular order, here are 15 fabulous things that happened at Comic-Con 2018:
1. The Aquaman trailer dropped
DC took the spotlight at Comic-Con 2018, partly due to the noticeable absence of Marvel but mostly thanks to multiple first-looks at upcoming DC films and TV series. And the biggest bang came with the debut of the first trailer for Aquaman.
The movie is helmed by James Wan (Saw, Insidious, The Conjuring) and stars Jason Momoa, himself a deadly combination of sexy, likable and kick-ass. The trailer leans more towards an action-heavy, sci-fi fantasy than your standard superhero movie.
Gone are the muted colors and heavy shadows of Batman v. Superman. in Aquaman the colors jump off the screen (none more than the bright crimson hair of Aquaman’s love interest and fellow warrior Mera, played by Amber Heard). Aquaman, Mera, Black Manta, Ocean Master, Nicole Kidman (as Aquaman’s mom) — who could ask for more?
2. Women (finally) took home some Eisners
Friday night saw the winners announced for the annual Eisner Awards (the Oscars of the comic book world), and Marjorie Liu is the first woman in the awards’ 30-year history to win Best Writer. (Seriously, what took so long?)
The novelist, comic book writer and attorney won for her work on the epic fantasy series Monstress. Also, Roxane Gay, Ta-Nehisi Coates and Alitha E. Martinez took home the Best Limited Series award for their work on Black Panther: World of Wakanda, for which Gay tweeted, “OMFG. I fell asleep, but yay! We won the Eisner. A story, a comic about black lesbian heroes won! Yay yay yay. This one means a lot to me. Ayo and Aneka forever.”
3. Disenchantment, the new series from Matt Groening
Simpsons creator Matt Groening is collaborating with Netflix to bring us a new original series: Disenchantment, premiering Aug. 17. This is Groening’s first new show since Futurama hit the airwaves almost 20 years ago.
According to its official summary, this fantasy-themed cartoon will share “the misadventures of hard-drinking young princess Bean, her feisty elf companion Elfo and her personal demon Luci.” Netflix ordered 20 episodes comprising two 10-episode “seasons.”
Disenchanted will feature the vocal talents of Abbi Jacobson (Broad City) as Bean, Elfo will be played by Academy Award-winning screenwriter Nat Faxon and Luci by Eric Andre.
4. Buffy’s back!
Comic-Con 2018 saw 20th Century Fox announce it would be rebooting the ’90s cult TV classic Buffy the Vampire Slayer for a modern audience. The creator and original showrunner Joss Whedon will be back to executive produce, and Monica Owusu-Breen — who has written on Alias, Charmed, Fringe, Lost and was the creator of Midnight, Texas — will run the new series. The reboot will also feature a woman of color as the new slayer.
Find more extensive coverage of the return of Buffy here.
5. DC Universe: The Experience
In promoting its upcoming DC Universe streaming service, Warner Bros. pulled out all the stops at Comic-Con 2018. The Hilton San Diego Gaslamp Quarter, directly across the street from the San Diego Convention Center, housed activations inspired by each of the new shows (Doom Patrol, Swamp Thing, Young Justice, Harley Quinn and Titans) that will stream exclusively on DC Universe.
These included searching Dick Grayson’s Titans loft to uncover clues as to his whereabouts, reviewing the kooky scientific experiments of Dr. Niles Caulder in the Doom Patrol lab, avoiding a deadly virus in the swamps of Swamp Thing and going nuts in Harley Quinn’s Arkham Asylum cell.
6. Yvette Nicole Brown slayed Comic-Con 2018
Brown took over Chris Hardwick’s long-standing moderating duties at Comic-Con 2018 following allegations of sexual and emotional abuse lodged against him by his ex-girlfriend Chloe Dykstra.
A recurring guest on The Talking Dead and the host of Syfy’s Cosplay Melee, Brown led panels for The Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead where her encyclopedic knowledge shined. Not only did her presence bring some much-needed diversity to Hall H, she kept the crowd entertained while also hosting panels for upcoming movies Halloween and Glass.
7. The return of Clone Wars
During a celebration of the 10th anniversary of Clone Wars, Star Wars fans rejoiced when creator and producer Dave Filoni announced the show would return on Disney’s streaming service (launching sometime next year).
Clone Wars ran on Cartoon Network from 2008–2013 and covered the massive war that took place between the theatrical, live-action movies Episode II: Attack of the Clones and Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. The show became a multi-Emmy winner and is now regarded as essential Star Wars canon. According to StarWars.com, the show will return with a new season of 12 additional episodes.
8. The (Doctor Who) Future Is Female
Jodie Whittaker is the 13th actor and first woman to assume the role of the Doctor from the classic ongoing British science-fiction show Doctor Who. “It’s a perfect job for any actor, because even though there’s the 12 previous shoes that you’re filling, you’re able creatively to make it your own,” Whittaker told Deadline Hollywood. “So, I think rather than feeling the pressure of that, I feel the excitement of that.”
Complete with a new show runner, Chris Chibnall, the panel highlighted a new costume, a new logo, the unveiling of a trio of new companions, as well as discussing new monsters, the potential return of some classic Who enemies and the true significance of having a woman as the Doctor, a role that has been played solely by men for 55 years.
9. Purge City got previewed
Think of it as a Party City … only for psychotic murderers. USA Network brought the 28th Amendment to the streets of San Diego to promote its new Purge movie-to-television series during Comic-Con 2018. The “store” employees were there to direct customers that planned to slaughter their neighbors to a display of bats, masks and blood-cleaning supplies. Or if you were a “purgee” and wanted to bunker down at home, they’d show you where they keep the barbed wire and armor for your family dog, complete with in-store demos.
The tour ended at a more conventional store area where attendees were given “Purge bucks” to buy anything from T-shirts, hats, 28th amendment scrolls, Purge Night candles, Purge Away stain sticks, buttons, bumper stickers and more. This gave each visitor the option to choose their own swag bag. Regardless of your opinions on the Purge movies, that’s pretty cool.
10. We met the first on-screen trans superhero
During the Supergirl discussion at Comic-Con 2018, it was announced that trans actress turned activist Nicole Maines (Royal Pains) would be joining the cast as TV’s first transgender superhero in Season 4.
She will be playing Nia Nal, also known as Dreamer (some of you nerds out there might detect the similarities with Nura Nal, aka Dream Girl from DC’s Legion of Superheroes), who is described as a young, openly trans woman with a fierce drive to protect others.
Maines has been in the news for making positive steps for trans acceptance. In January 2014 a Maine court ruled in her favor that her elementary school violated state anti-discrimination laws after it said she should use the staff restroom instead of the girls bathroom.
Not resting on the laurels of the excitement of the Aquaman trailer, Warner Bros. doubled down and gave Comic-Con 2018 attendees a first look at the trailer for the upcoming Shazam! movie.
Starring Zachary Levi as Shazam and Asher Angel as young Billy Batson, the trailer itself focuses more on humor than action and has a more family-friendly feel when compared to previous DC cinematic offerings. As the film is about a 14-year-old boy given the power to transform into a fully grown adult with powers, Shazam! is being called the superhero version of Big.
One question: With the announcement of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson being cast in the role of Black Adam (the traditional archenemy of Shazam) and set to star in his own movie, will there be any crossover action in Shazam? Fingers crossed!
12. Tig Notaro took the helm
Openly gay stand-up comic Tig Notaro, who has joined the cast of Star Trek: Discovery as Chief Engineer Denise Reno, led the show’s panel at Comic-Con this year. She stuck to her comic roots with spoiler-ish teases of the appearances of Anson Mount as Captain Christopher Pike (the captain of the USS Enterprise before Kirk took the helm) and the possibility of an appearance by everyone’s favorite Vulcan, Spock.
Despite the series’ darker tone, Notaro kept the panel light and moving with quickfire questions for her castmates, even reciting a chunk of her own dialogue to prove how good she can “space-speak.”
13. Ezra Miller served up queer cosplay
When the cast of the upcoming Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald film appeared at Comic-Comic 2018 to promote the film, most of the cast were simply dressed like muggles. Ezra Miller, on the other hand, queered things up a bit by dressing as Toadette.
Other than serving a fierce lewk, Miller discussed the new Wizarding World flick with his fellow castmates, including Eddie Redmayne, Jude Law, Katherine Waterston, Alison Sudol, Zoë Kravitz and Dan Fogler. They talked about wand skills and their favorite moments while shooting.
Read more about Miller’s queer cosplay here.
14. There was a Rick and Morty silent listening party
Hundreds of Rick and Morty fans gathered at Adult Swim’s faux state park campgrounds on the bay side of the Convention Center late Saturday night. They were issued wireless earphones and character masks and what followed was a radio show from space starring creators Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon.
They were joined by series regular Cassie Steele as they got drunk while listening to selections from the Sub Pop 26-song Rick and Morty soundtrack album. The album is set to be released on Sept. 28, with a deluxe version following on Nov. 23.
15. Jamie Lee F*cking Curtis!
Not only did Jamie Lee Curtis sit in on the Comic-Con 2018 panel for the upcoming soft reboot of the Halloween movie franchise. And not only did she explain who Laurie Strode is as a character, saying “I am not my trauma, the narrative of my life is not that I am a victim. And this is a woman who has been waiting 40 years to face the person who she knows is coming back, to say, ‘I am going to take back the legacy of my life, I am going to take back my narrative, and you don’t own me anymore.'”
Best of all, Curtis took an audience question from Joseph Scott, who used his time at the mic to relay a story of the time he dealt with a home invasion and a knife-wielding intruder of his own. “I was scared out of my mind, and out of nowhere this thought inside of me went, ‘Well, what would Jamie Lee Curtis do?'”
Scott says he grabbed some damaged knitting needles out of the trash and ran outside, shouting and making a scene. After sharing his story he received a standing ovation and a hug and some off-mic comments from the original “scream queen” herself. After all, Curtis, without knowing it, saved this man’s life.