(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.