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Tony

Mighty Marvel Movies, or, How Two Panelists Nearly Came To Blows at Shore Leave

I’m so spoiled. I’m used to fan panel discussions where the panelists actually expect the audience to participate in the discussion, rather than panelists feeling it’s their job to talk all the way through the panel and only grudgingly allow questions or comments.

(Pauses to think fondly of all those great panels I’ve attended at Escapade and BASCon and MediaWest and other fan conventions, where often the chairs are arranged in circles, and there’s a good mod, and we can all talk to each other. My friends have told me it’s my good fortune to have avoided, for the most part, the sort of fan panels where the mod or mods just lectures to the audience even though the panel in question is not intended as a presentation. And yes, I’ve been to a few of those mod-hogged panels too, but those panels have been outweighed by the good ones.)

Which brings me to a panel at Shore Leave convention, which was held the weekend of August 1 – August 3, 2014 in Baltimore, MD.

The topic was “Mighty Marvel Movies”, and the panel was held on 08-03-14. Three men comprised the panel. The man in the center gave a fact-based talk about the history of Marvel comics in the movies, mostly a sad state of affairs until Toby Maguire’s “Spider-Man”. The “Howard the Duck” movie was brought up (loved the comic book, hated the movie), plus several other poorly done Marvel movies in the 90s and before.

I had assumed/hoped the panel would be on the MCU as well as the recent (i.e. 21st century) non-Marvel-produced X Men and Spider-Man movies, but the first portion of the panel was entirely devoted to the older, mostly forgettable if not downright awful Marvel movies made prior to Toby Maguire’s “Spider-Man”.

But when we got to “Spider-Man” – that’s when the fireworks erupted.

The man on the left side of the panel (my perspective, hereafter called TMOTL) stated that there was too much Peter Parker and not enough Spider-Man in “Spider-Man”. Most of the women around me vehemently disagreed. A woman directly in front of me began talking about the importance of characterization. TMOTL began shouting her down. Someone brought up Iron Man III which TMOTL *hated* and vehemently stated the problem with the recent Marvel movies was too much characterization and he wished all of that pointless stuff could be edited out. One women in front of me said that most female fans *like* characterization, most of the women around her agreed. TMOTL did his damndest to shout them all down. One women expressed her thanks that Marvel clearly is aware of and appreciates female fans. She got shouted down too. Then the man on the right side of the panel (my perspective) began arguing with TMOTL while the man in the middle kinda ducked to get out of their way. Things were so loud by that time I couldn't make out what the two men were saying to each other. I don’t remember the response from the men in the audience during this part of the panel; I was too focused on the fireworks directly ahead of me.

I do want to stress it was only one guy expressing these opinions. However, mod on panel discussion? Shouting down legitimate comments from the audience? Tacky.

Things calmed down a bit, until TMOTL said he didn’t see the point of the upcoming series “Agent Carter” (which I am very much looking forward to) because why set something in the MCU in the past? Uh, hello, “Captain America: The First Avenger”? This also caused a heated discussion.

The panel ended then, thankfully.

Comments

OMG - I'd like to think I would have remained calm during all this, but I do believe that I would have shouted my opinion back at them.

I hate panels that are all mod and not interactive with audience. We come to share thoughts with others, not have one or two folks opinions provided like the only right opinion. .

I wish someone had thought to record it. . . lol

There was a lot of shouting from the audience going on. For awhile there I couldn't make out what people were saying, it grew so heated.

Agreed, I hate all mod non-interactive panels. I love fannish conversation. And what made this panel worse is that TMOTL got some basic Marvel facts wrong, so so much for his "expertise".
How very unpleasant. You can't reason with Men when they are putting women in their place. Too bad; the panel could have been interesting.
I was really looking forward to this panel - it was a big disappointment.
Characterisation is pointless, huh? What did the guy think audiences want, a lot of tin soldiers firing guns at each other, with nobody knowing or caring what they were fighting for?
I suspect that's exactly what he wanted. All action, no characterization. He was pretty clear about that point.
Unfortunately, a lot of panels this year at SL were that way. Probably because they seemed to have been made up of the same people, many of who appeared to be inexperienced at moderating a panel. One panel I went to was taken over by a writer who was only just writing a historical novel (the theme of the panel,) but who forced us to listen to a blow by blow account of one particular line of research. Didn't matter that there was a woman on a panel who had actually written many historical novels, he took—and kept— the floor. Participation by non-panel members was kept to a minimum.

Anyway, it got to the point where, when seeing who the members of a panel were, I'd often turn around and walk out.

The SL committee really needs to reach out to other fans, as they do with our two panels, for panel moderators, not use the same people over and over again, many who may very well be part of the SL committee, to lead everything.
I'm sorry to hear so many other SL panels were duds. It's really hard to force some people to cede the floor. One MediaWest, an anti-slash troll tried to take over our K/S panel - I had to shout him down numerous times, to the point that I was hoarse after the panel.

Yeah, there's certain panelists at MediaWest I avoid like the plague. I haven't attended enough SL panels to know who the "usual suspects" are - I spend so much time at my table I miss panels I'm interested in. Not this year, since I had Kathy S. to help me, and since she is used to being at a table consistently.

It'd be great if the SL concomm could mix it up a bit with other panelists.
Wow....glad I didn't see this.
That panel was such a disappointment.
Ugh, that sounds like such a fruitful discussion >.> I would so have been one of the women agreeing with the importance of characterization.
He just didn't seem to "get" that his opinion was not the equivalent of divine pronouncement...
This was a really hilarious panel and the icing on the cake was how much info on marvel tmotl had wrong . I'm glad there were so many women and a ffew guys in the audience to counter his "points".
It was indeed! I'm glad you pointed out all the things he got wrong. Such an "expert". It was great there were so many people expressing their opinions in the audience - he sure didn't make that easy - getting louder all the time.