“Simpsons” Creator Matt Groening and Conan O’Brien Grace an Otherwise Quiet Year in San Diego
By MICHAEL AUSHENKER | Contributing Writer
What a difference just a couple years can make.
Following San Diego Comic-Con International in 2015 and in 2016, the Palisadian-Post’s Pali Life pages were alive with imagery of the A-list locals who made the trip two hours south to push product at the annual geekdom gathering.
However, with J.J. Abrams’ busy filming trilogy-closer “Star Wars: Episode IX,” Sam Raimi’s “Ash vs. the Evil Dead” done on Starz, Ben Affleck possibly hanging up the Batman cowl and cape, and Amy Adams in-between Superman-related movies, Comic-Con 2018—held this year July 18 through 22 at the San Diego Convention Center—appeared low on locals from the Palisades.
But not entirely.
One Palisades resident (by way of Manhattan and Brentwood) who never seems to miss a Comic-Con is Conan O’Brien, whose “Conan” once again set up residency at the Spreckels Theatre on Broadway near the Gaslamp District (as it has done since 2015) to comedically exploit both the cosplaying nerd contingent and the plethora of partying celebrities in San Diego for the week.
And with the cast of white-hot DC superhero epic “Aquaman” capping off O’Brien’s week-long Comic-Con run, no doubt TBS president—and longtime Palisadian—Kevin Reilly was beaming from the star-studded “Conan” appearances.
Palisades resident Jamie Lee Curtis also came to town to promote “Halloween”—“Get Out” producer Jason Blum’s reboot of the classic 1978 John Carpenter horror film, which starred a then-19-year-old Curtis.
The remake, which is being pitched as a sequel to the original (as if “Halloween II” through “Halloween IV” never happened) opens in theaters Oct. 19.
Arguably the most significant Palisades-related appearance at the Geek Mardi Gras had to be cartoonist and animation king Matt Groening. After giving the world two classic, long-running TV animation series—“The Simpsons” and “Futurama”—the current Santa Monica Canyon dweller is now going for the three-peat with his latest, “Disenchanted,” which debuts on Netflix Aug. 17.
At the July 21 “Disenchanted” panel, Groening revealed that he drew inspiration from the crazy characters and voices the “Futurama” cast would make when not taping the show.
First convened in 1970 as a small comics fandom show inside downtown San Diego’s humble, now-gone U.S. Grant hotel, Comic-Con International originated as an intimate yearly gathering where readers could meet the artists and writers creating their favorite titles. The convention has since grown into one of the largest and most important places for entertainment studios, comic publishers and video game companies to debut product.