My first Comic-Con was a blast. I had so much fun. I got to meet people in person that I had only known online before, go to plenty of panels, see some celebrities up close, and do a little partying at night. It’s definitely something I intend to do again one day.
I did a lot of reading before the event on what to expect. Yes, I had all the supplies that I needed and I was expecting plenty of waiting and little sleeping. Even so, Comic-Con is something you have to experience for yourself before you can fully understand what it’s like. I was overwhelmed at times by all the people, the walking, the long lines, and trying to get so much done in so little time. It was a little stressful. I don’t mind big crowds. I kind of like being in a large crowd of people. However, I got frustrated sometimes when I had to walk 10-20 minutes in the wrong direction while carrying a backpack and a bag of swag just to find the end of the line. Then I had to go in the right direction for however long until I got to where I was going. I got so much exercise that I didn’t feel bad about missing gym time. I was back for 5 days before the soreness went away. Oh well, I guess that’s what you have to do at Comic-Con. I heard regular attendees say that some things were worse this year than previous years as far as lines and registration are concerned, so I wasn’t the only one feeling frustrated. I have a feeling that the system will be tinkered with like they do every year, so some of my frustrations will go away.
I spent the most time at Comic-Con sitting in panels. Some I really wanted to see. Some I was sitting through just to see ones that came later. The ones I was most interested in were in Ballroom 20, the second biggest room at the convention. Once I got in there, I just stayed until the last one I wanted to see that day was over. My favorite ones were the Game of Thrones and Fringe panels. I was most excited about those beforehand and they’re the only ones I HAD to see. I ended up enjoying 2 panels that I sat through to see later panels so much that I’ve decided to start watching those shows myself. Those are Psych and Futurama. People have been telling me about both of those shows for a while, but I’m finally going to take the plunge. I like that I got lots of swag from the panels that I attended, even if I had to go to a different place to claim it. What I liked most about the panels were being that close to the casts while they joked and answer questions and seeing whatever footage they aired.
One day when I didn’t feel like waiting in line for Ballroom 20 and camping out in there all day, I went to a random panel taking place in one of the smaller rooms. It was a Star Wars comic book panel. The panel was boring, but it was crashed by Seth Green, which made it cool. Before a Locke& Key screening that night, I saw a panel on Reign of the Dinosaurs, which will premiere on Discovery in September. They showed a few clips and it looked good. I’ve never seen a dinosaur get high on mushrooms before. Werner Herzog is involved with it somehow and he made a surprise appearance. Back to Locke & Key. It was so good! It’s a shame that Fox decided not to move forward with it. Hopefully, it’ll get a lot of buzz coming out of Comic-Con and another network will pick it up.
When I wasn’t in line or in panels, I spent a lot of time on the Exhibition Floor. I had heard that it would be chaos and it was. Once you get on the floor you really just have to keep moving. There was so much to see and so many people. It took a very long time to get from one end to another. This was a good place for random encounters with celebrities. I saw Joss Whedon (Buffy, Angel, Firefly, etc) and Robert Kirkman (author of The Walking Dead) signing autographs. I walked past Brian Tong from CNET. One time I wasn’t paying attention and almost ran into Stan Lee while he was talking to several people. Unfortunately, my camera didn’t work when I tried to snap a picture and he was quickly taken away when he finished his conversation. I got so much swag from the floor and from the panels that I had to ship it back before I left. There’s no way I could’ve gotten it all in my luggage.
I didn’t get a lot of autographs. For limited autograph sessions with bigger stars and the casts of TV shows, they had a lottery system. You had to wait in line for the lottery and if you won then you could get an autograph. I didn’t want to spend a long time in line for a chance at getting an autograph. The one time I didn’t decide to get in line, they capped the line ahead of me as soon as reached the end of the line. There were times when I’d hear about impromptu autograph sessions on the Exhibition Floor that I would’ve loved to have attended, but I was either already in line somewhere else or somewhere else not even close to the floor. The easiest autographs to get were from people who were set up next to the registration area. I didn’t want to pay to meet all of those people. I did get one from Steve Blum, who does the voice of Wolverine in the X-Men cartoons and video games. I could’ve met people from Buffy and Angel, Richard Hatch from Battlestar Galactica, and Virgil from the WWF/WCW, but I decided against it.
Other than at the panels and at the autograph area, I didn’t have a lot of celebrity sightings. When I was talking to a friend while wondering around the convention center, he spotted Joe Hill. Joe Hill is the author of the Locke & Key comics and Stephen King’s son. Cool!
I got to do a few things outside of the Con. Not long after I got off the plane a group of us went to Ocean Beach. I had never seen the Pacific Ocean before and hadn’t been to a beach in over 8 years. It was fun. The water was COLD! Thursday night I went to the live Revision 3 show at the House of Blues. A DJ, Mike Relm, had an entertaining performance. Then there was a recording of Epic Meal Time. Those guys are too intense for me. The show ended with a live Diggnation, in which Tony Hawk was a surprise guest. I watched the video and I saw myself once. I could be in there more. It was a great experience. One day I went to eat at Café Diem, which Syfy does every year. They take over a restaurant, name it Café Diem, and serve food named after characters from their shows. On my last night, I saw Nerdist Live at 4th and B with special guest Matt Smith and Karen Gillan from Doctor Who. Wil Wheaton was also a surprise guest. This was a blast! Great for any Doctor Who fan. It even made me like Wil Wheaton again. We got to see standup and songs that aren’t included in the podcast. Smith and Gillan handed out TARDIS burritos after it was over, but they had left by the time I got to the front.
One of my favorite memories of the Con was when I went to visit 2 friends, Matt and Meg, at the Suvudu booth on the Exhibition Floor. They are a married couple who live in Brandon, MS. I keep meaning to go down and visit them, but I don’t get out of Starkville much. I met Meg once when I was down there, but I had never met Matt in person. I promised them that I would see them in San Diego. The first time I went, Matt was at the booth, but Meg was gone. The next day I returned just as they were setting up to do an interview with George R.R. Martin and Christopher Paolini. Matt conducted the interview. I didn’t know who Paolini was. Meg explained to me that he’s the guy that wrote Eragon. Of course I knew who Martin was. He’s the author of A Song of Ice and Fire, a book series that I am a major fan of. The HBO show Game of Thrones is based on this series. The name “longklaw” that I use online comes from this series. It was so cool being that close to him. I was definitely star struck. He walked right past me at one point. Before the interview he saw me standing there and I got to wave and say “Hi”. I listened to the entire interview while they recoreded it. It should be showing up on Suvudu.com if it’s not there already. After the interview was over, some fan pushed forward and started talking to him. I knew he had somewhere to be, so I didn’t want to wait to try to have a word with him next. Maybe next time I’ll get to geek out and tell him how much of a fan I am. Next time.
My biggest regret is that I didn’t spend as much time hanging out with people after dark either at the hotel or at places as I wanted to. Because of other plans I made in advance of the convention (Diggnation, Nerdist, etc.) and needing to sleep because of the day’s activities or in preparation for the next day’s activities, I went days without seeing people that I had planned to spend to time with. Some people I didn’t get to see at all. I wasn’t able to keep my phone charged during the day, so it was hard to communicate. Also, I wish that I had taken more pictures of people in costumes.
I had a great time at Comic-Con this year. Next time I want to hang out more with friends and go to events that aren’t officially part of the Con. The Nerd HQ stuff would’ve been a lot of fun and I saw some video game stuff that I didn’t get a chance to check out. Also, I would probably go to more of the smaller panels. Oh, I would bring more batteries too. That being said, this trip was some of the most fun I’ve ever had. It was exhausting, but well worth it. I’m glad I didn’t come down with the con crud/nerd flu like a lot of people I know did. I took Halls Defense for 2 weeks leading up to the con, all during the con, and for a few days after I returned home. I’ll be repeating that next time. If I don’t go back to Comic-Con next year, I definitely want to go the year after that. Maybe I’ll even dress up. As much fun as I had, it’s good to be back home with Reese.
You can find my photo album on Flickr or on Facebook or Google+ if you’re friends with me on either of those.