Neil deGrasse Tyson on Comic-Con: ‘It gives me hope for the future’

If Comic-Con gives Neil deGrasse Tyson hope for the future of civilization, then geekdom will lead the charge.

Neil deGrasse Tyson with Suzette Valle at Comic-Con 2016

Neil deGrasse Tyson with Suzette Valle at Comic-Con 2016

Comic-Con has come a long way from the comic book convention that started in 1970. It has evolved into the foremost event for pop-culture.

Besides comics, movies, and TV shows, there’s something constructive happening at this convention: a con within The Con. This growing section of Comic-Con has started to attract technology and developers to showcase their discoveries to the public.

Virtual Reality (VR) technology was omnipresent at Comic-Con. Film and television studios used VR to promote: “Suicide Squad,” “Mr. Robot,” “Teen Wolf,” and “X-Men: The Tomb of Apocalypse X-perience.”

Teen Wolf VR Experience at MTV Booth at Comic-Con

Teen Wolf VR Experience at MTV Booth at Comic-Con

Renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, and host of “Star Talk” on the National Geographic Channel,  provided his personal brand for the first-ever VR CON. This mini-con was held at the Hilton San Diego Gaslamp Hotel and featured over 12 games and concepts using VR technology.

 

Solaris Entertainment at Comic-Con VR Con

Solaris Entertainment at Comic-Con VR Con

Attendees were able to experience VR technology by immersing themselves in a variety of environments. From paranormal activity and space, to painting without a brush, canvas or paint, the uses for Virtual Reality seem endless.

Body cameras used to film virtual reality for the Lion King experience.

Body cameras used to film virtual reality for the Lion King experience.

New York and Hollywood based production companies came together to create Neil deGrasse Tyson Presents Space Odyssey, an Augmented and Virtual Reality game based on space and world exploration. The multi-platform game allows kids and adults to learn about science and space.

Neil deGrasse Tyson event at Comic-Con

Neil deGrasse Tyson event at Comic-Con

The author of “Star Talk,” deGrasse Tyson’s book due out this fall, was in San Diego to speak at a panel and mingle with a few industry folks while he was here.

At a small private beer and wine tasting in downtown San Diego, I asked deGrasse Tyson what he thought about Comic-Con.

Neil deGrasse Tyson and Suzette Valle at Comic-Con

Neil deGrasse Tyson and Suzette Valle at Comic-Con

“Everyone here is scientifically literate, knows the difference between fantasy and reality, is thinking about tomorrow, and what role science and technology can play in delivering a better tomorrow than we have today,” said deGrasse about nerds roaming the streets dressed as their favorite Sci-Fi or movie character.

“More importantly,” deGrasse added, “at Comic-Con there are no judgments…unless your costume is not authentic!” he quipped. “People will call you out if your costume is missing a decoration or an ornament!”

It is people like deGrasse Tyson who validate this event not only by attending, but by leaving their mark.

Having walked among the 180,000 geeks and nerds at Comic-Con over the last seven plus years, deGrasse’s words resonated with me, too.

“To have a conference where the only fight that could ever break out is between two people in a bar with their plastic lightsbers, gives me hope for the future of civilization,” deGrasse said.

One thing that impressed me most about deGrasse’s down-to-earth nature was his incredible knowledge about movies!

We had a fun discussion about what movies are worth watching a second time. However, deGrasse didn’t agree with me that “Tootsie” merited a second (even a third!) watch. After this I had to give him my book, “101 Movies.” I hope he’ll find a movie or two on that list he hasn’t watched!

Neil deGrasse Tyson with 101 Movies

Neil deGrasse Tyson with 101 Movies

After a couple of hours deGrasse Tyson sent us off with these words,  “I think that this passage in the Bible has been mistranslated. It really should say, ‘and the geeks shall inherit the earth.'”

Well, there weren’t any Storm Troopers or Captain Americas at this particular event. However, this year real scientists endorsed the outlandish convention with their presence. Hopefully, they also inspired the next generation of geeks to reach beyond Comic-Con to the final frontier.

 

Comments

  1. I love that you guys totally hung out!

    • Suzette Valle says:

      I couldn’t believe it was happening, Smitha! My son called him the Isaac Newton of our time.

  2. I love this story! So cool you got to have such an intellectual conversation about comic con! I’ve never had a badge, but we’ve walked on the outskirts. I would love to go full out one day, complete with costumes. I enjoy both of your outlooks on the conference.

    • Suzette Valle says:

      You’re right about the intellectual part. Who knew there was so much hinging on this pop-culture convention? Guess it’s not just for fun anymore, lol!

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