I took this photo moments after the gentleman in the stripey shirt had been down on one knee proposing marriage to the woman with the “bullshit” shirt. I don’t think her acceptance was bullshit. This came at the end of a Klingon fan fiction stage play starring the Stranglehold Klingons, their 24th annual performance at Comic Con, and the first one I’d seen.
I guess Paramount hasn’t figured out yet how to legally alienate Trekkies in the medium of the stage play, as busily as they are suing the filmed fan fiction for being better than what they’ve been cynically producing themselves. That’s not to say what the Stranglehold Klingons put together was a masterpiece, but these folks were clearly having fun doing what they loved, which is always nice to see. The plot involved a Klingon crew encountering a Starfleet ship from the mirror dimension. A lot, but not most, of the dialogue was delivered in Klingon. I would have liked it better if the story wasn’t quite so tongue-in-cheek and there weren’t so many references to the 1980 film Airplane.
But the players put a lot of personality into their characters, I particularly enjoyed a couple alien villainesses—an Orion and a Cardassian.
I wonder what the Stranglehold players think of the new Klingon designs for Star Trek: Discovery.
It kind of lacks the rough and tumble quality of any of the classic Klingons. On the Starship Smackdown panel I saw on Sunday in Room 6A, the same room where I saw the Klingon play, one of the panellists, Daren Dochterman I think it was, said the new Klingon design looked like the Lectroids from Buckaroo Banzai.
That panel also referenced Airplane a lot for some reason.
The Starship Smackdown panel was the last panel I saw for Comic Con this year, one of the last panels of the Con, which is why I unwisely left with the main crowd. I went into 6A not knowing what panel was in there, just wanting to sit down a moment and seeing there was no line for that room I was happy to get a chair and listen to whatever was going on. I didn’t intend to sit through the whole panel, especially since it was scheduled for two hours, but it was so much fun I couldn’t leave.
Hosted by Mark A. Altman, the panel, which has appeared at different conventions as well as previous Comic Cons, features a varying roster of industry professionals who take on the role of “shipologists”, nominating different fictional starships and debating and voting on which is best, each with different fictional captains. The panel at Comic Con this year consisted of Jose Molina (writer for tv series The Tick and Agent Carter), Ashley Miller (screenwriter for the films Thor and X-Men: First Class), Kay Reindl (writer for the tv series Dead of Summer), Steven Melching (writer for Star Wars Rebels and Clone Wars), Robert Meyer Burnett (a filmmaker who has worked for Paramount as a Star Trek consultant), and Christian Gossett (artist and writer for the comic The Red Star) in addition to Dochterman (an illustrator and set-designer for films including Master and Commander and The Chronicles of Riddick).
I don’t remember all the ships and captains who were nominated. The winner (spoilers) at the end of the panel was Buck Rogers captaining the Moon Bullet from Georges Melies’ 1902 short A Trip to the Moon (end spoilers). The main fun was in listening to the panellists talk shit about the ships they weren’t voting for. Ashley Miller ended up being particularly funny. Everyone seemed really happy to dump on the design of the Discovery from the new Star Trek series, though someone argued that the holes in the saucer everyone else was making fun of could be used to thwart attacks when the phasers of enemy ships would pass right through them.
Kay Reindl and Jose Molina seemed like they were sincerely going to walk out on the panel when Altman questioned whether the TARDIS qualified as a starship at all—Reindl, in all sincerity, seemed to construe this as sexism, though the panel ended up assigning the TARDIS with a male captain (I forget who). Reindl and Molina seemed to misunderstand Altman when he repeatedly tried to reassure them “The TARDIS is in!” and were almost at the door before apparently remembering the meanings of the English words Altman was using. Even in this nonsense panel, politics were a sensitive issue, particularly feminism. Personally, I am really happy to see so many female protagonists, but it was clear on a lot of panels I saw that people were jumping on the bandwagon because it seemed like an easy way to score points for their mediocre shows.
Also in Room 6A this year I saw two good comedy panels. I haven’t seen People of Earth but the comedic talent assembled onstage piqued my interest.
Oscar Nunez, who plays a priest on the series, was particularly funny deadpanning a completely false tease about his character exploring a physical relationship. He concluded with a completely straight faced “You’re in for some surprises” while his co-stars were cracking up.
Well, I think that’s about all I have to say about this year’s Comic Con. Unless I remember something else in which case I’ll eventually write about that too, probably.