Scott McCloud and the Rock Band tournament was just the first half of my Friday at Comic-Con. I did attend one panel: a screening of the last episode of Avatar.
Yep I recently got into it and watched through all the episodes all the way up through the series ending two weeks ago. Despite its classification as a Nickelodeon cartoon, it is far better than everything else. Avatar is one of those series that makes me reflect on my own work and critique it to make it better. The Avatar story is both epic and personal, and no character is a throwaway. Almost everyone who shows up has a recurring role. They specifically go against cliched storytelling in both western animation and anime. No villain falls to their death. Young love is met with confusion and ambiguity. It is a tight story, in both the slang and non-slang meanings of the word. Anyway, back to Comic-Con.
The hilarity started an hour before hand when people dressed in Avatar costumes stood in line for the panel before to ensure a spot in the conference room. The panel before was on the Fox series Prison Break. The line was already huge when I found the end. I was going to pack up and go home because it was so stiflingly hot and my prospect of making it in the room so low, but the line moved and didn’t really stop. I made it in at around the halfway point of the Prison Break panel. The discussion was deadly serious, which was a humorous contrast to the following panel. A few Avatar fans did get a little rowdy, but only briefly. Also a Fire Lord cosplayer in full regalia walked up and sat in the front row, drawing the attention of the Prison Break panelists.
When the Prison Break panel ended, it was total chaos and Avatar fans ran for the best seats. I moved to get a better view of the screen. Cosplayers were standing around posing for pictures. After everyone eventually sat down, the presentation started.
First was the showing of the last hour of the two hour ending. Avatar fans are known for their zealousness to the point of hating on the creators for their plot decisions. They’ll also cheer pretty much anything, action scenes, one liners, character appearances, costume changes… basically anything. An especially vigorous debate is whether the female lead Katara should date Prince Zuko or Aang. So whenever Katara and Zuko were on screen together, one subset of the audience cheered while another booed. When Katara and Aang were interacting, there was another loud round of cheers and boos. It was hilarious and fun to watch the episodes with two thousand other fans. I even got a bit loud: when a character in jail was shown I yelled “Prison Break!”
The creators of the show then showed up along with some other staff to MC the panel. The two show co-creators were very amusing and knew how to humorously poke fun of their rabid fanbase. They showed some ridiculous fanart and held a cosplayer contest. They also ran though future Avatar projects since the series itself ended. Cheers followed most of them except the announcements of a new Avatar game and the live action movie directed by M. Night Shayamalan, which were met with concerned murmuring. The panel ended and as a final treat, we were all given Avatar t-shirts. Neat!