Is This My Last Comic Con Ever 2015 Edition Sunday July 12

Sunday was not only the last day of the convention, it was also the last day I’d have to volunteer. No more taking time out of the day to go wait in line for the next day’s assignment. Come 11:30 a.m., I was free.

But first was working Artists’ Alley beginning at 8:30. The first thing we had to do was walk around and make sure there was no trash on the floor and chase away any exhibitors who didn’t belong there. One thing I’d learned was that SDCC had a rule all exhibitors needed to be at their booths 15 minutes before the exhibit hall opened. As with everything at SDCC, one never knows how much that rule is obeyed given the number of exhibitors and their pals out buying exclusives before the rest of the lumpenbourgeoisie is allowed into the convention center. I’ve heard that exhibitors get regular badges in addition to their exhibitor badges and will switch them out to avoid the 15-minute booth rule and get a jump on the exclusives lines.

Artists’ Alley is located right by the Funko booth, meaning that as the exhibit hall opened to the public at 9, people were trying to run through Artists’ Alley to get to Funko. Our job then consisted of telling desperate Funko seekers to stop running. I’ve been in those shoes before, heh heh. I was telling people to keep it to a trot or a brisk walk.

Little by little the artists started arriving to peddle their wares and draw. Early on, Rob Liefeld dropped by his booth and I had to quickly do some crowd control before Liefeld split for an appearance at Conival in Petco Park. He was due back at 1:30 p.m. but that was after my shift and no longer my problem. Katie Cook quickly got a line at her booth, but other volunteers got that one under control. Otherwise, what I did was wander around, check to see if it got crowded at particular booths, and kept the rows clear. People would stand four or five people thick with their big ol’ backpacks and made it impossible for others to get by.

Time went by fast and at 11:30 I was handing in my assignment card and ending my 2015 volunteering run. I didn’t bring lunch on Sunday so I ended up buying a turkey sandwich outside of Ballroom 20. It was too much of a hassle to go anywhere else. After lunch I went and checked out the art show/auction, which curiously I’d never really done before. Some of it was pretty good and quite expensive, some of it was somewhere between “school craft project” and “Etsy.” I didn’t buy anything there. Down in the exhibit hall, it was packed. Desperate shoppers who had spent their con in lines or in a hall were making their buy-now-or-regret-it-later purchases. The Vikings blood splatter booth had its longest line yet. I was also scrambling around making buys I’d been on the fence about since Thursday. Sometimes it paid to wait. One booth had cut its prices on stuff by ten bucks. Other booths still had ridiculous lines. I’d considered getting a Darth Vader samurai figure from one booth but the line was still really long. I checked on my phone to see if it was available online and not only found it on more than one site, I found it cheaper than the booth’s price.

At one point I was walking past the Fox booth when its American Horror Story signing started. I almost got squished by the crowds pushing in to get a glimpse. No Lady Gaga or Jessica Lange but I did see Kathy Bates. Thankfully I was working in Artists’ Alley when the guys from Supernatural was doing their signing at the WB booth but I could hear the screams of their fans.

I decided to flee the convention center at 3:30 or so. If I waited until closing at five, I might get stuck in traffic from everyone trying to leave at once. Another Comic Con done and under the belt. Wish me luck for 2016!

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Is This My Last Comic Con Ever 2015 Edition Saturday July 11

Saturday morning’s volunteer gig was working the so-called “freebies” table, which is really the flyer table since 99% of the freebies given are flyers. Though there is the occasional pin, poster, or rubber bracelet. Believe it or not, the freebies table was fun. I got to sit the whole time and my official duties consisted of straightening up piles of flyers and postcards, making sure nobody set down their coffee on the areas kept clear for some reason, and telling people they couldn’t just sit theirs down on the table without prior approval. The con had to make sure nobody was advertising porn or anything illegal, so paid staff had to check out any websites and stuff listed first. Con goers also treated the freebies table as a de facto information booth. Where are the restrooms? How do I get to the exhibit hall? Where do I get my tickets to enter Mattel’s drawing for the chance to buy merchandise? The ever-popular is this (the flyers and stuff) all free? One couple, the girl dressed as Wonder Woman and the guy dressed as Batman, asked me where the complaint booth was. I’d never heard of the complaint booth and after consulting my guide, didn’t see one listed. The girl told me she and her companion had waited in what they were told was the armband line for Hall H and were given bum information by security and volunteer staff. They were in the wrong line all along and got hosed but the staff refused to make anything right. They were extremely disappointed and said they didn’t want to come back; the horror stories the zillions of people who wished they were at SDCC never get to hear! I told them there was nothing anyone could do. The paid staff had final discretion over that and there is legalese saying that getting a badge is not guaranteed admission into anything at the convention, even if it is the staff’s fault.

Working the freebies table was also a source of invaluable information. I found out about two small comic cons in the county that I’d never heard of. Maybe they’re new. One is later this month and one is in October. A lady in a t-shirt with Jango Fett, Captain Rex, a ROTS trooper, and a stormtrooper on it came by the table. “Where did you get that shirt?” I asked, desperate for the opportunity to wear anything with Jango AND Captain Rex on it. She wasn’t exactly sure where the booth was, she just had a general idea, but it was like $19. For Comic Con, that’s cheap. I’d already dropped $25 apiece for a visit Alderaan t-shirt and a Vikings (t.v. show) shirt from Stylin’ on Friday. I made a note to go look for it.

Best of all, they actually offer relief volunteers at the freebies table so you could visit the restroom and get a bottle of water or something. This was the only time I was ever offered that.

Once my shift was done, I made a beeline for the Hallmark booth to try again for the Itty Bitty set my friend wanted. Again the line was short and supplies were dwindling. The funny thing is the Hallmark staff remembered me from Thursday so they were glad I managed to snag the Itty Bitty set this time. Whew! On the day I’d least likely get it, too. From there I went back to the Marriott for my brown bag special and to await an assignment for Sunday. Once I was done with that, I went to check out the outdoor displays. Nerd HQ moved to another location and went entirely for gamers; in fact I’d noticed that a lot of gaming-type attractions had been exiled to off-campus locations. Nerdist had a new free event at Petco Park called Conival. There I got some free nail stickers from Espionage Cosmetics and got a glimpse of the cast of a new show. I went to another area out on the hot, hot asphalt where various studios set up attractions and there are a few food trucks. I got more Scream Queens free ice cream (now I really do have to watch). The place was packed with people who weren’t attending the convention and given that a lot of them were Mexican, word had apparently spread to TJ this was a fun free place to bring the family for the day.

I’d bumped into the satanic street team, promoting a show for A&E based on those Omen movies from the ’70s. I thought it was kind of in bad taste and certainly gave the usual “you’re all going to hell” guys outside with their signs and bullhorns more ammo. Their chant stuck in my head too. Worst of all I couldn’t shake them. I kept hoping the street preachers wouldn’t think I was a part of the Damian fan club. “It’s not me!” Finally I lost the faux devil worshipers.

I found a pop up Snoopy & Belle shop on 5th Avenue. The Peanuts booth at Comic Con is one of the consistently busy booths, especially when Snoopy shows up. Everybody loves Snoopy. The store was aimed more at adult collectors, with Snoopy and his sister Belle dressed up in designer outfits (Belle in Isabel Marant, $275) and with a series of considerably cheaper but very cute t-shirts. I bought one and got a free lip balm with purchase.

I checked out the set-ups next to and behind the convention center, also full of non-con attendees. The stuff put on by FX had gigantic lines for swag and other things like free “squishees” from a Simpsons-themed booth. Ditto for the “mini carnival” sponsored by Adult Swim. So I sauntered over to the marina where I sampled coconut water on a yacht and I did a little celebrity watching by the TV Guide party boat. A bunch of people were screaming for a girl named Amy…I’m old so I didn’t recognize her. But she clearly had a lot of fans since she was signing autographs and taking pictures with them on her way off the boat. Then came some cast members from “The Vampire Diaries,” a fact I knew only because of the 12 year old girl standing next to me. Then I finally saw somebody I did know, Jim Caviezel of “Person Of Interest.” He signed autographs, took pictures, and shook hands with fans. Then he was off to put the smackdown on the Omen street team.

Inside the convention center, I wore out my poor feet searching for the booth that had the clonetrooper/stormie t-shirt I’d seen earlier that day. Finally, when I was just about to give up, I came across a comic book store’s booth that had it.

I left the convention center a little early that day to swing by Horton Plaza in search of some brown or beige leggings that would go with my WeLoveFine X Goldie Jedi dress, since I planned on wearing it on Sunday.

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Is This My Last Comic Con Ever 2015 Edition Friday Jul. 10

My volunteering gig was first thing in the morning again, this time at the hell hole known as Hall H. Hall H’s schedule was a doozy: The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, and of course Star Wars were all set to have panels that day.

But I soon learned that the volunteer operation isn’t as organized as I’d figured. First the teenage boy, also a volunteer, leading us took us right into an oncoming crowd of people charging through the doors in the convention center. Good thing I knew where we were going! Then the kid didn’t know where one of the volunteer locations was. Then when the Hall H volunteers got to the area where the pro SDCC staff was, they didn’t know we were coming and didn’t know what to do with us. We were supposed to work with disabled guests but I saw plenty of attendees in scooters, wheelchairs, walkers, etc. who were getting around just fine.

So I spent most of my shift sitting around and watching people go into Hall H. I’d say 75% of those going in were wearing Star Wars t-shirts or costumes of some kind. Scores of them were high-riving each other, pumping fists in victory, whooping for joy, etc.. I was surprised some of them didn’t get on their knees and thank Jesus for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Even Steve Sansweet had to go through the rigamarole just to get into Hall H. No privileges for ex-Lucasfilm employees!

After being there for two hours someone came up to us and said that the seats were only for paid staff and we had to beat it. So we got up and two of the volunteers were pressed into service counting people leaving. But they weren’t being given those clicker counter things and I said I get too easily distracted and would lose count. Which is true. So I hung out by the entrance to the hall and occasionally answered questions as to where the bathroom or concession stand. That’s right folks, we don’t actually get to go inside the hall itself and even from the entrance you can’t see anything because the stage is angled off to the left instead of out in front of you. Yes I felt a little ripped off. Plus it was very noisy and chaotic. When high noon came I fled as quickly as possible.

I went back to the Marriott, ate my brown bag lunch, and waited until 1 to go in and wait again for Saturday’s assignments. This time it went much faster which is good because they still weren’t letting us sit down in line.

Freed, I went outside to go look around. I came across one of the many ice cream carts promoting Ryan Murphy’s upcoming series “Scream Queens.” All I had to do was make a face like I was screaming as they took my picture on an iPad and I get a free strawberry/vanilla sundae. It was hot, so why the heck not? This is the second year in a row a Ryan Murphy show has provided me with a free tasty snack (I got popcorn from the an American Horror Story promo). I may have to actually watch this time. As I told a young guy in line behind me, the things we do for swag. I’d already chased down the Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No street team to get a foam chainsaw on Thursday.

I also got a Destination America bag from their street team but was disappointed to find that I’d just missed the Ghost Asylum cast, who where distributing bags with them. But a short distance away, I caught the cast of Vikings standing on a Hard Rock Hotel balcony doing an interview with IGN. Which was cool since I wasn’t going to make their panel this time.

You see my plan was to go hang around the area near Hall H outside and in the nearby Hilton to see if I caught any Star Wars personalities lurking about. I was really surprised to see in the late afternoon there were still trickles of people getting into Hall H. Wow, I guess seats opened up after TWD and GOT ended. I wondered how long they’d waited but I could still see that there were many, many others who weren’t going to make it.

No luck outside or in the Hilton, where I know many of the press interviews and SDCC press-only junkets take place. Ironically, I was sitting around on a bench on one of the restricted access floors when I saw on Twitter that John Boyega and Daisy Ridley were at the Lucasfilm pavilion taking pictures with the big flying fudgesicle. I got up and hustled down there as fast as one could but it still took like 10 minutes to hoof it all of the way over there and of course by the time I arrived they were gone. Oh well. The good news was the line to take your own picture with the fudgesicle was really short since it was late in the day.

Instead of hanging around at the convention center to see nothing, I followed the Star Wars panel on Twitter at stop lights on the way home or from the comfort of the bunker. I won’t repeat what I’ve already posted on SWPAS about the panel except to say that it was kind of a bummer this was the first time I’ve missed a big Star Wars panel at Comic Con since I’d started attending and even more bummed I missed the surprise concert afterward. Though I was also pretty unhappy with the tone of the panel too.

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Is This My Last Comic Con Ever 2015 Edition Jul. 8-9

This year’s SDCC was a very different experience. After going as a regular attendee since 2004, this was my first year as a volunteer. In return for three hours of your labor, you get a free badge for that day. Not a bad deal at all given that it’s free and getting the volunteering gig was easier than sitting through the roulette known as the blue dots of doom.

On Wednesday I dropped by the Marriott at 10:30 a.m. to sign up for a shift on Thursday and get my badge. I ended up waiting in a hellacious, slow-moving line for two hours. I guess this is “training” for the SDCC experience if you don’t know what it entails. Finally I got my badge, my free bag given to every attendee and the program books, and an assignment card for the autograph hall at 8:30 in the morning. I figured I would be done by 11:30 and I could be back in the assignment line for Friday when it opens at 1:30 p.m.. The goal was to see if I could work Hall H on Friday afternoon/early evening during the Star Wars presentation because that was the only way I was getting in.

Unfortunately I didn’t realize the importance of the assignment card. I’d left it at home when I reported in on Thursday morning. I was running a little late and I realized to my horror I had to go back in the same line to check in for an assignment. Fortunately they shooed me right in and the guy at the booth asked me for my assignment card. Oops! I rushed over to another booth, got the card printed up again, and went back to the guy at the first booth. Then I waited with a bunch of other people until another volunteer with a sign herded all of us headed to the autograph area together and we followed him to the convention center.

When we got to the Sails pavilion, home of the autograph area, we checked in with the paid SDCC staff. I quickly learned that the paid SDCC staff really runs the show, calls the shots, etc. along with the paid security staff. We were just sub-minions to their minions but given the more PC term “dailies.” Anyway, my first job of the morning was to do some bench warming at empty autograph booths until the personalities and their assistants arrived to set up. That took up more than an hour, much of which was spent chatting with the teenage volunteer sitting next to me. Then somebody came by and said they needed help managing the limited autograph line, which consisted of people trying to get armbands for various autograph sessions with the casts of Game of Thrones, Walking Dead, Doctor Who, etc.. As you can imagine, the line was very long but it moved fast and needed very little management. I stood under a palm tree and watched as they went shuffling by. Soon the line was taken care of and they asked for help with the LEGO autograph line, which turned out to be relatively short. Not really needed, I went back in the Sails pavilion and I was then told by the SDCC staffer that since they had a plethora of volunteers, I could check out and go. After waiting a while to get the attention of the older lady at the booth who was in charge of that sort of thing, who looked at me incredulously because it wasn’t 11:30 yet, I was checked out and free for the day.

So I went onto the main exhibit floor and visited the Star Wars booths first. It was as per usual noisy and crowded. Right in the middle of the show area was the flying fudgesicle (at least that’s how it looks to me) from the TFA peep show trailer, which I believe had also made an appearance at Celebration. It was tough to get a look at the merchandise throughout but it was decidedly prequel-rein, which greatly annoyed me. However I dropped some bucks on an Artoo wallet from the Loungefly booth and got some buttons and a free sticker with purchase.

Over at the WeLoveFine booth I spotted a new item I hadn’t seen at Celebration and that was a Jedi robe inspired dress (sorry, can’t find it online) for only 40 bucks. Well, I couldn’t resist. I also couldn’t resist telling the WeLoveFine-rs that I’d like to see stuff from all of the movies and a Queen Amidala or Padmé inspired dress would be nice. (This is something all frustrated prequel fans should do.)

I saw that the Hallmark ornament line was short. My friend wanted the itty bitty set and miraculously, they still had some left though the Hallmark staffer holding the “end of the line” sign guesstimated I would get the last one. A few minutes later I was in line at the booth and the guy right in front of me got the very last one for Thursday. Poodoo!

I decided to go back to the Marriott to wait for the volunteer assignment line to open. I ate my lunch and volunteers started hovering near the ballroom entrance like a bunch of United Airlines gold status flyers ready to bum rush the gate. Right before 1 p.m. a huge group of military SDCC volunteers went into the ballroom. One new thing I learned is that SDCC has a separate corps of military con volunteers, mostly Marines from Camp Pendleton. As soon as the Jarheads went in, so did everybody else. I got into line and pulled out my handy dandy camp chair, an item I bought online as soon as I came back from Celebration, where many attendees had them. I knew I needed one in my life. But as soon as I sat down, a girl in a Black Widow costume started ordering everyone to get up off the floor and not sit down. My lower back was bothering me a bit and other volunteers, who weren’t all teenagers, had just come from their shifts where they’d stood for three hours. The girl behind me, who had one of those walker/chair things, very nicely let me sit for a bit on the chair. She had chronic back problems so she understood.

Because they only had a couple of people working on assignments for Friday, the line took a long time though not as long as the day before. It was 2 p.m. or so by the time I got to the line and asked if I could request a specific place. I was told no, so I asked for an early assignment again. Sure enough, it was Hall H. So close and yet so far.

After getting my assignment AND safely securing my assignment card, I went to get my free volunteers’ t-shirt at the Hyatt next door, which in reality is a long walk.  After wandering around looking for the room, I finally found it on the ground floor.  I took a break in the con hospitality suite–SDCC’s best-kept secret–and poked around the retail area of the hotel spa before going back to the convention center.

The rest of the day was spent poking around the exhibit hall. The Vikings booth let con-goers put on a costume, swing a weapon around, and get doused with all of the leftover studio blood from Season 3. I’m a hardcore fan of the show but I didn’t want to walk around with studio blood all over my face, so I passed. I visited a lot of my favorite booths and skipped past the golden/silver age booths as well as the small press booths.

One of the biggest jokes about the con this year were big signs prohibiting standing or sitting along the walls but just about every toy and swag line was right up against those walls. And boy were those lines long. I almost hate buying merchandise at the show now unless I can just walk up and get it. The line stuff is for the birds.

I got to see at the DC zip code costumes from the upcoming “Batman vs. Superman.” Ben Affleck must be a fairly tall guy and I made sure they weren’t platform boots. Henry Cavill is shorter but still taller than I am. Gal Gadot has to be petite, my height tops. The costume looked to be about a size 0 and her boots had big ol’ platforms. We’ll see in 2016 how she does in the heel running Olympics up against Bryce Dallas Howard.

As for celebrity sightings on Thursday, I saw many of the usual old timey t.v. stars up in the autograph area and on the exhibit floor, I happened to be walking past the WB booth as Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley were signing autographs to promote this KISS Meets Scooby Doo DVD. Now that was a crossover 40 odd years in the making! As you can imagine, everybody had their phone cameras out. One SDCC stalwart missing this year was Lou Ferrigno at the Mile High Comics booth. I guess he was doing press for his cameo in “Sharknado 3.”

I noticed that while there were still plenty of cosplayers, there wasn’t as many around this year. I’d noticed this same trend at Celebration. People will always wear costumes to cons and some will go the extra mile for them but I do kind of wonder if the cosplay thing isn’t that big of a thing anymore.

By 6 p.m. I was pooped. I headed home to recover for Day Two.

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Star Wars Has Always Been Controversial

If you haven’t already, follow Mike Klimo (@MikeKlimo), author of “Star Wars: The Ring Theory,” on Twitter. One of the things he’s been doing lately is posting excerpts of not-so-fawning reviews and essays about ANH, TESB, and ROTJ.

A lot of what he has posted is familiar to me. As a little kid, I didn’t read movie reviews and when TESB came out, I’d only read the local paper’s review (The Miami Herald) which was basically a three-star review. When ROTJ was released, I was exposed to more reviews and it was only then that I was aware of a critical/media backlash. I remember sitting there plowing through breakfast before school and booing the t.v. as Gene Shalit ripped on the film on the “Today” show. I remember reading that summer in South Florida magazine or some such a really nasty essay that took no prisoners. My suspicions at the time were that these people were cranks, they were jealous and resented the saga’s success, and they were quite possibly a bunch of no-good Commies.

When I was in college, I would hang around the huge library between classes where it was more convenient to wait than to hike all of the way back to the dorm and then having to hike all of the way back to the main part of campus an hour later. So I would do stuff like look up old articles and reviews of the saga in various publication collections and even on microfilm. Hey, I was just maintaining my research skills! I was shocked to discover it wasn’t just a small group of cranks who had decided to gang up on ROTJ because Star Wars had become too popular. There were people who never liked ANY of the films. Even the positive reviews rarely if ever had anything good to say about performances beyond that of Sir Alec Guinness. A lot of them went along the lines of, “In spite of the corny dialogue and stiff acting, (insert title) was a fun time at the matinee!” The visual effects easily got far more praise than any of the acting, direction, or dialogue.

It was the beginning of the realization that Star Wars had always been regarded very differently from other “serious cinema” with the rare exception of populist movie critics like Roger Ebert and whatever value many critics found in ANH it seemed to have worn thin with TESB and ROTJ. I’d even go as far to say many critics didn’t get into Star Wars the way many audiences did. It was rare to find genuine affection for the characters or appreciation for the films’ mythic cycle. I remember one guy writing that he was glad to finally be rid of that “whiny Luke, smarmy Han, and bitchy Leia.” Ouch! I also do not recall a single critic considering TESB the best of the series.

When someone comes along with something new, different, refreshing, unique, etc., it seems to me the critics and the media just love it. Then it becomes phenomenally successful and every follow up is either unfairly measured against the effect of its predecessor or viewed as cynical cash grab. Then they start to question why it was ever a phenomenon in the first place, taking the position it never deserved that kind of success. It seems to me Star Wars has long since fallen victim to that way of thinking, years before the prequels ever came out. What happened was in the ‘90s with Gen X-ers becoming more prominent in the media, the advent of the internet, and the growth of “geek culture,” Eps IV-VI finally got put on the critical pedestal. Especially TESB. People who had loved the movies almost unconditionally as kids took them much more seriously and there was finally an appreciation for what they had accomplished. Maybe it wasn’t universal, not even by the time the Special Editions came out, but the turnaround in critical opinion was thrilling to me at the time.

Unfortunately that pedestal was a little too high and that definitely contributed to the inflated expectations heaped upon the prequels, which couldn’t live up to the legend these guys had built up around the first set of films. Strangely enough, virtually every criticism ever leveled at ANH, TESB, and ROTJ was again leveled at TPM, AOTC, and ROTS. It’s as though this new generation of fans, geeks, and critics turned into the ones of old without their realizing it, only they were far less literate than their predecessors.

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Again, Star Wars Is Not Hard Science Fiction

A few days ago I got wind of a rumor that the upcoming “Rogue One” Anthology film was going to be “more scientifically sound” than the other Star Wars films. Then to back it up, there comes the news story that screenwriter Chris Weitz actually tweeted physicist Neil deGrasse Tyson for some questions about astronomy.

Science is not what they should be worried about because Star Wars already blows holes in accepted scientific theory. Ships do not make noises in space or move around in high speeds in all directions nor are fiery explosions (that you can hear) possible. But that’s the tradeoff so the space scenes are not boring. As for planets and stars and suns, they should look cool. Period. That’s all you need to worry about.

Star Wars is space fantasy, a mythology that just happens to have sci-fi window dressing. It is not hard science fiction. While you can monkey with some things stylistically with these spinoff movies, making it “scientifically accurate” or trying to cram it into a hard sf box is fundamentally changing Star Wars’s DNA.

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About That Marvel Bombshell (Spoilers)

Trigger warning! This post is politically incorrect and full of old-fashioned values!

Just as I heap praise upon Marvel on SWPAS for how it has fully integrated the saga into its comics, they had to go and pull the same kind of stupid crap it always does with its superhero comics: drop some headline-grabbing “bomb” to cause buzz among those who care. I dreaded Joe Quesada getting his grubby paws on Star Wars for this very reason.

This time, it’s dropping the bomb in Star Wars #6–now on stands–that Han Solo was married. Allegedly. Or so some woman claims in the comic when she literally shoots her way into the scene. (Better yet, it was apparently a multi-ethnic union…say what you will about Han; he’s definitely no racist.) Had this been a Dark Horse comic from 10 years ago or a Star Wars fan fic from 25-30 years ago in some zine, this wouldn’t have been a big deal. In fact there might be such stories kicking around from several years ago. It’s also not the first time somebody has referred to Han’s pre-Leia past. Salla Zend was in those Dark Empire comics, Bria was Han’s major squeeze in the Han Solo trilogy of novels by the late A.C. Crispin, and there was the cut scene from ANH where some prostitute or other was sitting on Han’s lap in the cantina. The difference is nobody ever believed a fan fiction counted for anything and only expanded universe continuity-obsessed readers would’ve cared about the comic or novels. But today, with all of this extraneous stuff being called “canon,” it makes this revelation a “big deal.” In fact Marvel was teasing it at BookCon last weekend. Worse yet, every media from The Hollywood Reporter to i09 to The Dog Catcher Journal thinks this is all somehow going to tie into TFA. (Please for the love of God, NO.) Not only is there speculation that “Mrs. Solo” might be Lando’s sister (ugh!!), Han might be Finn’s dad. Not only do the numbers not quite work, at least how I figure them, fans do need to realize there’s probably more than one black family in the GFFA.

In any case, it’s another Marvel soap opera twist in the same vein as killing off somebody, gender-switching a character, outing another as gay, or breaking up a long-term couple. The thing is, it’s totally unnecessary. Marvel has only been cranking these out for six months, not 60 years. In 23-24 years, Dark Horse never had to pull any stunts with Star Wars. Even if Sana “Solo” is a loony stalker who thinks she’s married to Han like that nut who stalked David Letterman or if this was some sham marriage to get out of something or if this was a drunken Vegas-type wedding on the fly or she finally signs the papers or she croaks by the end of the arc, why does this plot twist even need to be there? What does it add to Han or to the saga as a whole?

No, this reeks of what a friend calls the OTP Obstacle. As though Han and Leia have absolutely no issues whatsoever, Sana Solo is there simply to be another obstacle to their relationship and stir up drama. Even though at this stage they haven’t been to first base, it puts forth the idea that Han is an adulterer and Leia an adulteress by the time things do happen in TESB. Han may be an adulterer anyway; he was after all trying to put the moves on Leia just before Sana shows up and who knows who he’s been banging in between?

“But Han’s a scoundrel, a criminal, a shady character!” you might say. Han can be a bit of douchebag at times but not this much of a douchebag. Maybe I’m just getting old here, but abandoning a marriage and hiding it (while looking to hit on another woman) is serious. I would never trust a man like that, ever, because God knows what else he’s hiding and I would never be certain he wouldn’t similarly abandon me. Leia would have to be crazy to take up with Han, then, if she knew all of this about Han beforehand.

This ultimately illustrates the problem of trying to count all of this extraneous stuff as “canon.” It’s too easy for comics, spinoff books, and video games to veer off the road, especially with so many people involved and so much product being produced. I don’t think any of it should be canon, just the movies and t.v. shows. That way when they will inevitably “reboot” again, nobody gets too upset and in the meantime, weird detours like retroactively giving Han a wife don’t bother us too much now.

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