Some of the coolest old-school things we saw at Comic-Con International 2023

Some of the coolest old-school things we saw at Comic-Con International 2023

Despite the lack of major stars dressing up as their MCU characters and announcing the newest Marvel movies to 6,000 people who waited in line overnight, the 2023 Comic-Con International in San Diego was as busy as ever.

Turns out, nerds still like getting together to talk comics, TV, buy collectibles, stand in lines, and yes, even discuss movies.

After a weekend of doing all of the above, and then some, here are some of the coolest old-school things we saw this year.

Animation was really different in the '80s

Frankly, even if every big-name superstar was at this year's Comic-Con, this was still the panel I would have sought out.

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The aptly titled "A Look Back at Animated Series from the '80s" featured a powerhouse panel of writers that worked on pretty much every Saturday morning title you remember, including The Smurfs, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, The Real Ghostbusters, DuckTales, and so many more.

The big takeaway? Writing for animation was waaaay different back in those days. Among many other nuances, the cost of animation was incredibly restrictive, which in a way forced writers to find ways to be even more creative.

Additionally, it was common for studios to order 30 or more episodes at a time, compared to 8 to 10 today. This meant many writers were constantly in motion, immediately jumping from one project to the next – all while creating indelible memories for the fans who remember these beloved cartoons.

Stepping into the world of Quantum Leap

Quantum Leap HQ // NBCUniversal

Just outside the San Diego Convention Center, NBC set up shop with a Quantum Leap themed activation, allowing fans to "leap" into other NBC shows to save the timeline from a virus.

This was actually pretty fun — more entertaining than I was expecting, to be honest. After entering a portal of sorts alongside a group of 10 or so fellow leapers, you were led through a series of interactive challenges that spanned solving a crime for Law & Order, getting judged for The Voice, and even getting a bit creeped out inside the Chucky TV series.

Scanning Chucky boxes // NBCUniversal

At the end, you received a con-exclusive pin for all your efforts. Still no Sam Beckett, but definitely a good time. And shoutout to whoever set up a pizza rat homage in the Law & Order section.

Celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Dungeons & Dragons animated series

Did you watch this cartoon? The short-lived animated series had a short shelf-life, yet it was clear at this year's Comic-Con that hasn't been forgotten — and won't be anytime soon.

You can read more about the D&D cartoon anniversary here.

Jurassic Park's 30th Anniversary

Enter at your own risk. // Classic Nerd

It's been 30 years since the original Jurassic Park movie came roaring into our lives, and the anniversary was well represented at Comic-Con.

In addition to toys and collectibles available to buy on the floor of the Exhibit Hall, fans could visit an offsite Jurassic Park experience. A "park guide" led groups through a mini-tour of the park, complete with that infamous toilet, the raptor kitchen scene, and possibly most important of all — dino nuggets at the end of your tour.

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It was sort of like a poor man's version of the traveling Jurassic World: The Exhibition (which was pretty rad, btw). But hey, more Jurassic Park is never a bad thing in my book.

Homages to the days of video rentals

If Blockbuster doesn't reopen sometime soon, I will honestly be kind of shocked. At least based on the number of Blockbuster homages I've seen recently, the timing is ripe for a comeback.

Comic-Con featured several Blockbuster-worthy items, but there were a couple of standouts.

LEGO went with a pretty solid pun in their Brickbuster setup.

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And even Funko got in on the action with their Blockbuster Rewind figures, sold in a pseudo-VHS case. I may have picked up a few of the early reveal items...

Memories of Star Wars from someone who was there

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We are in an era where people that actually worked on the original Star Wars movies are now happy to talk about their experiences, and I am damn ass happy about it.

Craig Miller, the Director of Fan Relations for Lucasfilm during the release of both Star Wars (aka, A New Hope) and The Empire Strikes Back, took audiences on a trip down a memory lane that we could only dream of.

You can read more about what he had to say here.