A few weeks ago, I attended Comic-Con in San Diego for the first time. Now, as many of you know, I’ve helped to organize and have presented at multiple Harry Potter conferences, and I attended LosCon quite a few years ago, but even despite having lived in San Diego County for 4 years, I’d never gone. Having had some experience with the other cons as well as concerts and music festivals of all kinds, I had some idea as to what I was getting into, but even that knowledge wasn’t enough to prepare me for the staggering size of SDCC. All that said, I did have a positive experience, both working and playing, and yes – I’ll go again, if it’s possible.
I had intended to arrive early enough on Wednesday to get my badge and attend a bit of Preview Night before heading to my first con party, but the hell known as LA traffic crushed that plan. Instead, I checked into my hotel and then got the shuttle to drop me off at my friend H's hotel so we could meet up for drinks and a little snack. We had a good time chatting until she had to crash. I then went over to the Hard Rock Café for the Action Chick/GeekNation party. Many of my new friends from the League of Extraordinary Ladies were there, and I also chatted with many other people. The free drinks were flowing, and I was very glad that I didn’t have to worry about driving anywhere! I started handing out the awesome personal trading cards I’d been sent by Meet-MeMe, and everyone thought they were cool – plus, it was a good excuse to make myself talk to people I didn’t know, which is something I’m not always good at. The most amusing part was near the end, after a number of drinks, I ended up talking to a very drunk Chris Gore (he’s on G4) about how my brother had told me to make sure I walked near the G4 cameras so he could see me. At that point, Chris said, “Let’s call him!” and even though it was about 2 am in Chicago by then, we did. We woke my brother up and Chris said something like, “Hey, I’m here with your sister! Why aren’t you here at Comic-Con? There are lots of hot chicks in bikinis!” Politically correct is not something Chris is, that’s for sure. It was so loud we couldn’t hear what my brother was saying, but I texted him later – he was amused, luckily. Soon after, I bid people goodnight and headed back to the hotel – sadly, without a swag bag as I completely forgot to get one as I left – and once there, collapsed into bed.
On Thursday, I got up and took the shuttle over to the convention center. Once there, I was able to register with almost no waiting – professional registration FTW! I then grabbed a latte from one of many Starbucks within the convention center and headed to the first panel.
There has been a lot of discussion about the ‘Oh You Sexy Geek!’ panel – I’ve retweeted many other blog posts and read still more. Here is my opinion on what was said, in as concise a manner as I can manage.
- Sexy is very subjective, despite the fact that the media tries to convince society otherwise.
- Being a geek is about identification just as much as it is about behavior or interests.
- Who has the right to decide if another person is ‘geek enough’? Or anything enough?
- Chris Gore’s comments – I get that he was trying to be funny, but I still personally felt that it was inappropriate for the setting. That doesn't make him a bad person.
- All of this gets down to people judging others – we all know we shouldn’t do it, but most people do. About the only thing that we can do to change the general perceptions of people is to JUST BE OURSELVES – be geeky and hot... whatever flavor of geek or hot you might be.
For more – MANY more – posts on the panel as well as some far more insightful commentary, I refer you to this blog post by one of the panelists: Jennifer K. Stuller's blog. She also links to many other posts, both positive and negative. Read multiple posts and form your own opinion.
After that, I managed to get to author Rob Thurman’s signing JUST in the nick of time! I absolutely LOVE all three of Rob’s book series and highly recommend them - Basilisk, the second in her Chimera series, just came out and again, I LOVE it. Check out her books and give them a try - you won't be disappointed! But always start with the first book in each series. ;) It was so great to finally meet her after chatting a bit on Twitter - she's fabulous!
I wandered around in the exhibit hall for a little while, then went back upstairs for the next panel. This was when I first ran into the space and crowding issues at Comic-Con. I got upstairs to get in the line for the room that the Harry Potter panel was in at about 3:30, with the panel starting at 5. C and I were some of the last people to be let into the room for Potter! The problem comes partially from there being SO many people at Comic-Con, and the other part of the problem is that they don’t clear the rooms after each panel, so people get into a room and stay there - sometimes all day!
That said, I was very happy to have made it in. Jason Issacs was a surprise guest, and he kindly shared some thoughts on working on the Harry Potter movies, plus he was very funny. It was a great start to the panel. The discussion about the future of the Harry Potter fandom was very interesting, and I thought H did a great job moderating. The Pottermore information that Melissa was able to talk about was intriguing, and I was also very interested in what Andrew had to say about the HP Alliance and their new effort, Hypable. I ended up meeting Andrew later that weekend and we had a great discussion. Overall – it made me even more determined to go to Ascendio next year.
Thursday night was w00tstock 3.0! I was sad to miss the League of Ladies get together, but as of yet I haven’t managed to be in two places at once. I’ve now seen w00tstock 3 times, plus Paul and Storm vs. Wil Wheaton once, and as always, it was fabulous and soooo funny! You can watch it all on YouTube if you'd like, since every w00tstock is performed under a Creative Commons license and they allow video/photo/sculpture/origami/etc. I chatted with the guys in my row a bit, and then ended up hanging in the signing line afterwards with Carrie from Thinkgeek.com and her boyfriend – it was fun to discuss social media with someone else doing what I’m doing, and she’s a great person in general.
When I got up to the signing, I had them all sign my w00tstock ticket - my tweet about said ticket is what caused both Paul and Storm AND Wil to retweet me – which got me a ton more followers. LOL I thanked them for that, too. I gave all of them one of my Meet-Meme cards, and one of them (no, I don’t remember which one because I suck) said, “Oh! A lot of people I like are always retweeting you!” hahaha GO ME, apparently. They all thought my cards were cool. :D I then went back to the hotel and collapsed once more.
Friday was my day to be a crazy fan – and I was! I headed down to the exhibit hall floor first and picked up my ticket for the chance at the Falling Skies signing – another thing that’s frustrating about Comic-Con. To control the size of signings, they do a lottery with tickets for many of them. Either your ticket gets picked - or it doesn’t. Anyway, if you don’t follow me on Twitter or have me friended on Facebook, you may not be aware that I’m a HUGE Falling Skies fan. I usually don’t like alien invasion stuff, but this series really IS different, and while it starts a bit slow (IMO, you need to get past the first 3 episodes before it really gets you), I’ve come to love the characters and the plot. I’m SO glad it got picked up for season two! While I was getting that ticket, the Gerard Way signing was happening (yes, he really DOES do comics too), so I took some pics of him. How could I not??
I then headed up to get in line for the room that the Falling Skies panel was going to be in. I was taking NO chances! I got lucky and got in to the panel before, which was the Green Lantern animated series panel. I didn’t care about that, but... then CONAN O’BRIEN showed up!!! He was the surprise guest as the same team is also working on his ‘Flaming C’ cartoon. As of yet, it’s just a bit piece on his show, but who knows?? In any case, Conan was hysterical – he literally danced on the table, promised to marry a male fan in NY, and asked the fans as many questions as he was asked (“Why does this planet, which is far ahead of earth in technology, base their superpowers on something that runs on KEROSENE? Can you explain that?” Fan: “Uhhhhh...” LOL).
It was a great surprise! But then... the Falling Skies panel!!
I managed to move closer for that panel as people left after Green Lantern. They showed us a number of spoiler clips for upcoming episodes (the season's now over, so if you watch the show - they showed bits from the next 3 episodes), and then Noah Wyle, Moon Bloodgood, Will Patton, Drew Roy, Colin Cunningham and Sarah Sanguin Carter plus executive producers Justin Falvey and Darryl Frank and co-executive producer and writer Mark Verheiden spoke. I can’t possibly recount it all, but you can watch it here:
Falling Skies Panel at Comic-Con 2011
Suffice it to say, I enjoyed it very much and the cast members were all very enthusiastic and lovely. Everyone got a ticket for a free item to be picked up at the
After the panel, I went back downstairs to check the numbers of who ‘won’ the signing lottery. MY NUMBER WAS ON THE SCREEN. I may have squee-ed loudly. I walked away for a moment, pretty sure I’d hallucinated it. Then I walked back and checked again – yep, my number was there! I turned in my ticket for a wristband and then got in line, chatting with other people. In a little while, Noah Wyle, Moon Bloodgood, Will Patton, Drew Roy, Colin Cunningham, Sarah Sanguin Carter and Mark Verheiden came out and took their seats, and the line began to move. They gave everyone a Falling Skies comic to get signed (not the graphic novel, although I have that, too), and I asked the guy behind me if he would take a pic for me, since some others were doing it. So I got up to Moon first, and I had to show her my 2nd Mass Medic t-shirt that I was wearing – her comment “I don’t even have one of those!” Then Drew, who was very nice, and then... Noah. Be still my heart. I told him that I loved him on Falling Skies and in The Librarian films and asked for a photo. See evidence:
I don’t have many crushes these days, and I’ve been lucky enough to meet many celebs, but yeah. Crushing on him. Totally admit it. Sarah was adorable, and Will seemed SO shy, both at the panel and signing, but totally sweet. I simply HAD to tell Colin how impressed I was with his portrayal of Pope – he has one of the most complicated characters to play, IMO. I thanked Mark for the show and told him how much I enjoyed it, and that was that. It was quick, but I was SO grateful. I know just how lucky I was! So... yes. I got all the pins. I got a Falling Skies hoodie (see pics). And because my friends got a Falling Skies bag of goodies, they gave me this awesome ball out of it:
It was a truly cool experience, and I am SO grateful for it!
After I came down from that high, I headed back upstairs to wait in the queue for the NCIS:LA panel. I love NCIS and NCIS:LA, so I was excited for this one, too. Once again – surprisingly – I got into the room early and ended up seeing the panel on Sparticus. It was very interesting, even though I’ve never seen the show, and I’ll just summarize by saying that Lucy Lawless is still really HOT. /objectifying comment
Once again, I was able to move closer once the Sparticus panel ended. I settled into my new seat and waited, when I noticed that a lot of people in dress white uniforms were coming into the room. They were Navy!! I immediately guessed that CBS and NCIS had invited them, and they had – one of the sailors sat next to me and I talked to him a bit. They’d arranged for a bunch of the sailors to come to the panel, plus meet the stars and go to a party. When the panel started, they actually announced that, too, stating that these 75 sailors were from the USS Carl Vinson, the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier from which the body of Osama bin Laden was buried at sea. As someone who comes from a military family (Army rather than Navy), I was seriously in tears. As an aside, I spent a good deal of time after the panel walking around thanking all of them for their service – I saw other Comic-Con-goers doing the same, and it did my heart good. So then the panel started – Barrett Foa, Renee Felice Smith, LL Cool J, Chris O’Donnell and executive producer Shane Brennan all spoke about the show and specifically about the tech used.
It was really interesting to hear how much of it is legitimately stuff the military and government uses – and it wasn’t surprising that apparently, sometimes they get ready to use something on the show and then get told they can’t because it’s become classified! All of them were fantastic, and the camaraderie amongst the 4 cast members was so nice to see. Plus, LL Cool J was cracking so many jokes, he cracked himself up half the time! I spent all of the panel grinning from ear to ear like an absolute fangirl dork – it was just fun! You can watch the panel here:
NCIS:LA Panel at Comic-Con 2011
They also gave us a ticket to pick up an item later.
After that, I headed out to the Geek Girls Network SDCC Geek-Out Party, which was at bar in the Gaslamp. Once again, I met a lot of great people and saw many of my League of Extraordinary Ladies friends. I asked the bartender to make me something interesting, and he did – it was some sort of vodka, cucumber and mint thing that was SO refreshing and lovely! I might have had a few. ;) After chatting and hugging and drinking for a while, I finally headed back to the hotel, and yes – crashed.
Saturday I got a later start. C was sweet enough to get ME a latte for her birthday (LOL!), and we hung out for a little bit at the Marriott while I went to
Front of the NCIS:LA t-shirt - the green is all washed out in this pic.
Back of NCIS:LA t-shirt - I love Hetty!!
Front of Falling Skies hoodie
Back of Falling Skies hoodie - HARNESS. Creepy but awesome!!
Pretty damn awesome, yes? :D C went to chill for a while and we made tentative plans for dinner that night, and I headed back to the Convention Center. Saturday was the day when the con exhaustion started to catch up to me, so I just went around taking photos of clients’ booths, looking at stuff, and running into a few friends. Later, I finally – almost literally! – ran into my friend J and we were able to catch up for a while, plus I got to introduce her to C, so that was good. Then C, her husband M and I had dinner in the Marriott’s restaurant – they were really scattered, but the food was good. Then we went back up to their hotel room, where Marc had arranged for a cake and balloons surprise to be delivered. It was really nice to get to hang out with them – plus the cake was good!! We hadn’t seen each other since the release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince in 2005. I’m really hoping it won’t be nearly so long til the next time. I headed back to my hotel early and packed before crashing.
Sunday I had only one goal – to be at a book both at noon to get a Beautiful Creatures t-shirt. I’d met up briefly with Kami Garcia the day before and she told me about it, so I knew I had to be there. I headed to the correct booth and who do I see but Rachel Caine! Of course, I didn’t bring any of Rachel’s books with me to get autographed, thinking I wouldn’t be staying long enough to see her, but that was okay – we chatted for a few minutes and I got a hug. If you haven’t read any of her series, you’re really missing out – both her YA and adult series are brilliant! I then waited in the line for a BC t-shirt and to say hi to Kami and to Margie Stohl – I’ve met them both before, but it’s always great to see favorite authors again. Here’s the t-shirt:
Sadly, they only had one size... and this will never fit me! Lol After that, I wandered around a bit longer. One of my favorite things about Comic-Con was discovering that in addition to giving out comics, a lot of the major book publishers also have booths, and they give away BOOKS. I had no idea!! So I got a few books from authors I’m not familiar with, but do sound interesting, plus some samplers. I also got some goodies from various fave authors like Kelley Armstrong, Patricia Briggs, and Sherilyn Kenyon. And I bought a few things, mostly for my nieces and nephews, but also some stuff for me. I finally left in the early afternoon, went back to the hotel for the car and started the long drive home.
Overall, Comic-Con was a lot of fun, but truly exhausting. The crowds are really ridiculous, and my mobility and energy issues were very much tested, along with my patience with other humans. I’m still surprised that I managed as much walking and standing as I did – and that I wasn’t in even more pain. But I’m still glad that I went – I saw a bunch of friends that I hadn’t seen for years or don’t see often, met a lot of amazing people, had some wonderful experiences, and even the work-related stuff was fun! If things work out schedule-wise, I’d very much like to go again... but maybe not the entire 5 days. ;)
More photos are here: SDCC Photo Album
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