DC Fandome took place over the weekend. This DC-centric virtual convention showed up on my radar after reading one of Rob Salkowitz’s ICv2 columns. Salkowitz suggests DC Fandome might indicate the direction conventions head going forward.
The Future of Conventions?
Salkowitz argued that giant entertainment companies like Marvel parent Disney and DC parent Warner Brothers hate how little control they have over SDCC. DC Fandome, he argued, foreshadowed a future when conventions shifted away from independent organizations and moved under the limelight of companies putting the attention on their own brands.
SDCC Online came and went with shockingly little impact. Other online conventions* saw mixed success. And other brand focused online conventions, like late July’s Adult Swim convention, caught my eye but failed to fold my attention.
DC Fandome felt different going into it. Based on the number of sites covering the event, and the number of people on my social media sharing the trailers that most caught their attention, DC Fandome feels like the first big successful con of 2020.
Trailers for two video games featuring Batman, but about Batman-adjacent characters, and may or may not include a payable Batman.
This Arkham-style pen world adventure game replaces Batman with the Bat-family. To someone whose last new video game purchase was Arkham City specifically because Best Buy gave out the Robin DLC free with preorders, what news this was.
Growing up, Robin was my favourite superhero. When Robin grew up, Nightwing became my favourite superhero, and the rotating cast of Robins became a point of interest. Specifically, how adaptations portrayed Robin. For a while, we got Dick Grayson/Tim Drake hybrids. Then as DC original animation became more popular, we started to see the title passed along. But I can’t remember the last time three Robins appeared in the same non-comic media, with Batgirl rounding out the team nicely.
I see myself playing this game a lot. We’ve been promised unique gameplay for each character, and multiple directions each character can be advanced. Throw in character specific side quests and you know I’ll need to play this game at least four times.
Suicide Squad Kills the Justice League
The opening scene of the original Suicide Squad movie sets up a lot of problems with the concept. Amanda Waller wants to assemble a team that can take down a Superman level threat. She suggests forcing criminals to do it by strapping bombs to them to keep them in line.
If their bombs can kill someone who poses a legitimate threat to Superman, maybe use those bombs on Superman? Otherwise, their top candidates should either be tough enough to survive the explosion, or smart enough to escape the bomb.
Now I like the Suicide Squad concept of forcing captured villains to use their power for good. The movie explanation, I found lacking. But the video game, that tasks the Suicide Squad with killing a brainwashed Justice League? A Suicide Squad that isn’t supposed to be taking on Superman level threats? That blends the best of both worlds.
A lot of movies with The in the title.
Trailers to the rescue. It’s another Batman reboot with another questionable casting. Up until now, it hasn’t been clear what would separate this tonally from previous Batman reboots. If anything, all signs pointed to this not just rebooting Batman as a film franchise, but specifically trying to reboot Nolan’s Batman trilogy.
Based on the trailer, The Batman feels like a movie adaptation of the Arkham games. Gotham isn’t threatened by a villain, Gotham is the villain. Crime bosses, super villains, and corrupt police control the city, and Batman needs to purge the city in order to save it.
One confession: I did not realize Riddler was the one sending Batman notes in the trailer, so when the release date of ?0?1 came on screen, I thought they were being honest that no one knows when to expect movies in theatres again. In watched the trailer again and can’t say how I missed Riddler’s involvement the first time.
The Suicide Squad
Earlier when I said “in the original Suicide Squad movie”? I would have said “in the Suicide Squad movie” but now that we’re getting a The Suicide Squad movie, talking about the Suicide Squad movies is harder.
But worth it! Between the cast, the characters, the director, the costumes, and the unpredictability of the plot, I am looking forward to this movie more than most.
The Snyder Cut
If you based your opinion of my opinion of DC comics on what I’ve said about the DCEU, you might think I hate DC comics. Far from it. It’s that specific cinematic universe, with its weird choices and even weirder implementation of feedback to earlier weird choices, that I don’t like. I don’t even hate it, I’m just so fascinated by the elements of those movies and that universe that don’t make sense to me, whereas the parts I do like are for less interesting reasons. So I do want to talk about these movies, but what I want to say isn’t very nice.
There are people who love these movies. I hope they saw this trailer and saw exactly the movie that will make them happy. I saw evidence that this will be different than the previous cut, but at no point was I blown away. Except, in keeping with the DCEU, scoring it with Hallelujah was a choice.
Wonder Women 84
By complete contrast, The Wonder Women 84 looked fun. The 80s humour in the trailer worked for me, the hints of the plot sound interesting, and the cinematography looks good.
Before Fandome, I had no interest in the return of Steve Trevor. His scenes were my favourite in the trailer. Before, I didn’t expect much from Cheetah. Now, I want to know her story.
Watching the trailer, I thought my older daughter would love this movie. A warrior princess in golden armour fighting a cat woman? Sounds Right up her alley. Then I thought about it some more. This isn’t just something my daughter would like. It’s something my daughter did like.
Two weeks ago, DC closed two divisions and laid off a lot of employees. Between this news and word that the con-specific panels would disappear after 24 hours, laid a rough patch on the road to DC Fandome. However, reception to the con during and afterwards smoothed things out. The presentation was more polished than most online offerings from other entertainment companies. The announcements generated legitimate excitement. The variety of the announcements cast a wide net of what to get excited about. And the different formats of the announcements kept each new reveal exciting.
Online or in person, DC Fandome truly might be the future of fan conventions.