I've never been to a Marvel event in my entire life and yesterday I was lucky enough to be in attendance for a very small and intimate one. We were invited to the Hero Complex Gallery in L.A. for a showing of Marvel artist Tyler Stout's poster work to celebrate the release of [The Avengers: Age Of Ultron](tag:293035) on Blu-ray and DVD. It came complete with us screening the bonus features, a Q&A with both Kevin Feige and Jeremy Latcham (who probably hadn't been to a public press event this small since, like, 2008), and a screening of the movie after.
It was an eye opening experience, to say the least. Why they sent an anime fan to a Marvel event, I'll never know, but I learned a couple of things from the experience that are making me lean towards comics and comic book-based movies for the first time in a long time.
5. The Planning Is Insane
Is my casualness showing? Probably. I never really stopped to think just how much planning went into weaving something as big as the MCU. I knew they had to have thought things out pretty well but it wasn't until I heard it from Kevin Feige and Jeremy Latcham that I realized they have a reactionary plan for literally almost everything. From the outside looking in, it's kind of easy to wave a hand and say everything is getting slapped together for the love of money but what they're building is really something pretty amazing. They even have contingency ideas on the off chance they get access to certain characters. That's a lot of love and probably a lot of late nights sitting around a table with hot coffee and a headache.
4. The Maxed Out Swag
I drove to L.A., got lost, walked a few blocks to find a public bathroom and what did I get for all my trouble? Well, besides listening to two of the biggest dudes in Marvel, I got a bunch of swag and free drinks. That was genuinely surprising. Right now, as I'm writing this, I'm looking at my extremely awesome [The Avengers: Age Of Ultron](tag:293035) art print, this cool Hulkbuster shirt, and a little gift card for a free digital copy of AoU. I found myself muttering, "Is it always like this?" under my breath, to which someone responded to me with an enthusiastically whispered, "Yup. Welcome to a Marvel special press event."
3. People Know and Love Their Stuff
This was probably the most intimidating part of the whole affair for someone who can be labeled a new - but growing - fan at best. People were armed with informed questions and genuine geekery at a level that I was both impressed and taken aback by. There was a lot of love in the room and there was also a lot of excitement for what's to come. I forget that journalists and bloggers were fans first, then they somehow made being an entertainment fan into a job (which is a rockstar life move, by the way). There was a real sense that everyone in that tiny room really cared about the story and what it's all boiling down to instead of just trying to get some good stuff to write about later on, or find something to nitpick to death. That was pretty cool!
2. There's a Real Sense of Community
Everyone's friendly, jokes are thrown around here and there, and even the panelists were witty. I mean, okay, I didn't really know what to expect going in but I didn't expect to be that (mostly) comfortable at such a small event. Maybe I was half expecting someone to come up to me and test my power level or something with some questions I didn't know the answer to. I had a weird, irrational fear that someone would question why I was there and that they would sniff out the casual newbie in the room. Nope. That didn't happen. Everyone was just there to hear about awesome stuff and rant about awesome stuff, and I was happy to be the fly on the wall, learning as I listened.
1. There's Some Ridiculously Cool Stuff Coming
There's so much cool stuff coming down the pipeline. There are so many projects happening at once that I finally get why Marvel fans are always so amped up all of the time. It made me want to get into the comic stories more and give it all a shot with an open mind - and a lot of caffeine to power through the catch-up session. So, yeah, I may have drank the Kool-Aid a little last night, but it was really tasty, free Kool-Aid with explosions and epic storylines.
My biggest take away from the entire thing? That's hard for me to say. All I really know is that I haven't felt this pumped in a while and that's probably a good thing. I'm excited for things to come and I'm down to learn more. I can't thank Moviepilot enough for giving me the opportunity, and for Alisha for putting up with my scrub level questions. It was a blast and I hope I get the opportunity to do it again.