A costume weapons check brought a touch of modern day reality to Comic-Con. Photo by Chris Stone

By Luis Monteagudo Jr.

If anyone needed more proof that Comic-Con has transcended pop culture fandom to go mainstream, look no further than the happenings on day one of the convention.

Day one started Thursday morning with San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer kicking off the Con dressed as Capt. Kirk and Councilman Todd Gloria costumed as Mr. Spock from “Star Trek.”

It then continued with a discussion featuring a state Supreme Court justice and a panel featuring several military officers, including two lieutenant colonels, one captain and one Coast Guard commander.

California Supreme Court Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuellar led a panel discussion entitled, “Star Trek: Where Lawyers Go Boldy” that examined the legal implications in the episodes of the groundbreaking television show.

Cuellar is a huge Star Trek fan who grew up watching the show in Mexico and said that despite being on the state Supreme Court, nothing impressed his children more than the fact that he was speaking at Comic-Con.

Other lawyers on the panel also couldn’t hide their fandom, including Neel Chatterjee, the lead trial counsel for Facebook in the lawsuit depicted in the film “The Social Network.” He showed up at the panel dressed in full Star Trek costume.

The impact of movies and television on the military was also discussed by a panel of military officers who work with Hollywood producers, documentarians and the video game industry.

They offer free advice and consultation to the entertainment industry as a way to spread positive images of the military and reach young men.

Air Force Lt. Col. Glen Roberts said he’s not afraid of military figures being portrayed as bad guys as long as in the end, the integrity of the Air Force is upheld.

But panelists said they do turn down requests for filming, for a variety of reasons.

“We get almost daily requests for aircraft carriers as backdrops and we don’t do that,” said Navy Capt. Russell Coons.

The officers said they understand the reach of popular culture.

“We want to work with you,” said Roberts. “We are looking for opportunities to work with the industry.”


Luis Monteagudo Jr. is a freelance writer and pop culture enthusiast who has attended Comic-Con for more than 20 years. He was written for the San Diego Union-Tribune, USA Today and numerous other publications.

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