Alright, so #SDCC2014 is coming up, and I have to say that the annual event has established a sort of creative deadline for me, to get my blog up and running before I head out. That being said, let me tell you a story…
Hall H. San Diego Comic Con. 2012.
At the end of their panel, Warner Bros. surprises the audience with the announcement of MAN OF STEEL.
This was *the* biggest reveal of the Saturday panels. It was my second year at SDCC, and every year I’m awestruck.
Case in point: MAN OF STEEL is revealed to thunderous cheering, the trailer screened, and after a short panel discussion with Zack Snyder (Director) and Henry Cavill (Superman!), the floor opens up for questions.
Everyone who asks a question in Hall H stands on a little platform in front of the mic and a camera. These connect to the massive speakers and screens that project your image and voice all the way to the back of the hall. The only lights in the room are either on the stage or on you, so you and the panelists can just see each other through the blinding light; everything else falls off into darkness. It’s a little intimidating, considering you’re surrounded by 6,500 people.
Nonetheless, the big light swings out over the audience to find the questioner, and it lands on a Latino guy, wearing a jacket and underneath, a big, red Superman shirt.
And he is *crying*.
Cry-ing. Huge, fat tears that stream down his face, which you can see in decent resolution on any one of the gigantic screens that fill the space.
For the first few seconds, it’s unclear why or what is happening. It’s also, imaginably, super-awkward. Both Zach and Henry are unsure what to do. This probably isn’t covered in the backstage prep.
The guy on the platform stands there, wiping his tears away one after the other. He can’t seem to stop. The panel moderator, (the fantastic) Chris Hardwick, ends up running down, off the stage, all the way to the little platform, and hugs him. Which sets him off even worse.
It’s around here that the audience, always an invisible, nebulous presence, tips over to his side. Supportive applause and cheering begin to rise in the dark hall as Chris kneads his shoulders like a boxing coach, trying to cheer him up enough to get his question out.
It takes him a minute to find his words – the light is on, Chris is right beside him, the rest of us patiently (and amusedly) waiting.
He finally manages, “I’m just so emotional right now, man.”
Mike (we find out is his name) has loved Superman all his life; and the surprise announcement of the movie, getting to be among the first to see the trailer and hear Zach Snyder and Henry Cavill talk about it has completely blindsided him.
He’s feeling it intensely, this moment of surreal fan euphoria. When you’re at Comic Con, somehow all the sights and sounds seem like they’re being presented just for you. There is a tangible appreciation for the fan in the atmosphere there – and right then, you couldn’t help but feel it with him, somewhere in your throat.
Mike eventually goes on to ask a solid question (“Who’s going to be the villain?”), but what I remember most about that day is the look of amazed joy on his face; and being able to share a once in a lifetime moment with 6,000 of my closest friends. It was amazing.
For the rest of the con, and in the years following, those who were in Hall H that day know and recognize Crying Mike.
Crying Mike! Are you out there? I hope you’re doing well.
Hit me up if you ever see this. I’d love to get your take on MAN OF STEEL, and your thoughts on the new one coming up.