Fantasy and reality merge at Comic-Con 2018

Global Business

One of the world’s largest convention on pop culture continues in San Diego with an expected crowd of more than 135,000 people. And they show up rather spirited, often in costume, to celebrate the world of comics. While Comic-Con is all about fantasy, often times the lines between what’s real and what’s imaginary blur.

CGTN’s Mark Niu reports.

DC comics celebrates the launch of their new digital content app, by letting attendees live inside of a comic book. I head into the sewers as Batman, and get the experience of strange assassins known as Talons literally breathing down my neck.

Then, it’s time to meet creepy characters in the swamplands.

I’m try out the Swamp Thing experience and we’re living inside a comic world. I push through a maze of vines before the Swamp Thing emerges with a roar. I’m startled, but do show a bit of courage. However, as I strike a fighting stance, I realize this might be futile, since I don’t have superpowers.

That could be sooner than most think.

E. Paul Zehr is the author of the new book, Chasing Captain America: How Advances in Science, Engineering and Biotechnology Will Produce a Superhuman.

“To get to the place of really something like the stuff you see with Captain America we are talking probably 20 or 30 years still,” said E. Paul Zehr, a Neuroscience Professor at the University of Victoria.

“But within the next five years we see lots of advances in terms of implantable technologies, brain stimulators. A couple of years ago it was done in monkey studies at Ohio State University, where they knock out a gene that suppresses strength because normally your muscles only grow to a certain size. But you can knock those out and get what’s called a myostatin gene deletion and then the muscles get very rapidly the signal to get bigger and stronger.”

Zehr quotes Stan Lee in saying but with great power, comes great responsibility.

“Are we going to make some lines and say here’s the limit, we’ll allow this kind of thing almost like rules in doping in sport, but rules for life?” asks Zehr. “We’re allowed to enhance people in the following ways, this is the Geneva convention kind of… I’d like to see something like that.”

Superheroes inspiring industry also emerged when Hyundai unveiled its new Iron Man edition Kona SUV – 1500 units to be produced for the U.S. market next year.

“The car is now the computer on wheels. And superhero movies and hi-tech today and the auto industry is a perfect match,” said Dean Evans, Chief Marketing Officer for Hyundai Motor America”

In the world of comics, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT, is where everyone from Iron Man’s Tony Stark to the villain Dr. Octopus graduated from.

MIT’s Media Lab produced a recruitment video starring Ironheart, showing how the hi-tech hero inspires them too.

SOT- Selam Gano, MIT Graduate: “And so one of the things I love about comics and storytelling and how they intersect with science technology is that not only can it inspire you do great things and convince you that you are capable of great things, but it also shapes very intimately the type of people that are in the scientific community,” said Selma Gano an MIT Graduate and creator of the MIT Video. “And that’s why I found these videos so great because it allowed us to draw more people in and tell them that they too can be a part of our community.”

With accomplished women in science and tech on stage, including MIT-graduate and Astronaut Cady Coleman, it didn’t take long for them to inspire too.

A little girl took to the mic to ask Coleman, “What is it like in space?”

Coleman responded, “It’s a magical place to live and work in space. And everyone should go.”

Real life heroes inspired by superheroes, inspiring heroes of the future.

Keith Chow discusses the need for diversity in nerd culture

CGTN’s Mark Niu spoke with one of the founders of The Nerds of Color, Keirh Chow about diversity and progress in nerd culture, what has changed and what work still needs to be done.