5. Off-Site Events
The Geek Girl Network Tweetup and Comedy Central’s free show were little diamonds Brittney and I were happy to unearth. Brit and I met some awesome people at the Tweetup and walked away with awesome swag – like a limited edition scent from BPAL called Dungeon Crawl!
The Comedy Night was more hit or miss, but I got a free iPhone case out of it, discovered some new comics (and a new future husband in the form of Chris Gethard), AND we got to watch John Oliver’s unannounced set at the end! Huzzah!
And though it wasn’t an official off-site event, I did enjoy getting festively soused with my friends from L.A., Rob and Nick Sitter. Nick, in fact works on one of Brittney’s favourite shows – he does the background art for The Big Bang Theory. Hooray new friends!
4. Preview Night
This was the night not everyone could get in for. This year, they cut down on the number of preview night passes sold, so not everyone who had a four-day ticket could get in. That made the Exhibition Hall especially pleasurable to get around. PLUS exhibitors weren’t sick of the throngs of geeks yet! Brittney and I met and chatted with Matt Fraction (Cassanova) Bill Willingham (Fables), Jeph Jaques (Questionable Content), Meredith Gran (Octopus Pie), Ryan Q. North (Dinosaur Comics) and the Penny Arcade guys! And we discovered a new short story collection we’ll have to check out when it’s published: Unicorns vs. Zombies. Happy we bought our passes for next year on Sunday, because preview night 2011 is already sold out!
3. The Scott Pilgrim Experience
We all know SWAG is a big part of Comic-Con, but not often am I so impressed with what’s obviously a love letter to fans. By visiting the Scott Pilgrim Experience you got (FOR FREE):
- garlic bread
- a T-shirt
- a flip book starring myself and Brittney
- ANOTHER T-shirt – one where I got to pick the colour, size, and silk-screen pattern
- to meet actors from the movie (Brittney and I have photos with Ellen Wong, the lovely lady who played Knives Chau
I also got to be within spitting distance of ANOTHER of my future husbands, director Edgar Wright. Though I could think of much better ways to swap spit with him.
2. The Expendables Panel
Speaking of Edgar Wright, he had the crowd in stitches when he MC’d his own panel for Scott Pilgrim. Michael Cera was hilarious too, showing up in a padded Captain America Costume. That wasn’t the best part of Hall H on Thursday.
Now, I loved seeing Tina Fey and Will Farrell swap the comedy for the Megamind panel, it was neat seeing Angelina Jolie for Salt, and it was fun watching Warren Ellis seethe with contempt for the Hollywood version of the very terse graphic novel he wrote (Red), but The Expendables was the most entertaining panel, hands down. The reason? Sylvester Stallone, who is HILARIOUS. No, I’m serious guys. Plus, Terry Crews actually said about his pulsing arms “The gun show is here in San Diego.” And he made his pecks dance. Probably won’t see the movie, but wow, I had a good time watching the panel!
1. AMC’s The Walking Dead panel
Brittney is so sick of hearing about this, but this was really the highlight of the Con for me. I am a HUGE fan of the comic. I’ve been collecting it since trade number one. It’s a brutal, gritty comic about survival in a world ruled by zombies. It’s a zombie film that never ends – and a TV show is the perfect medium for it. Look at this pedigree:
- AMC, the network that brought us two of the most amazing shows of the last decade: Breaking Bad and Mad Men.
- Greg Nicotero – If you’re at all a Zombie nerd, you’ll know who this guy is. He’s the genius who brought zombie dismemberment to life for the father of the zombie – George Romero.
- Gale Anne Hurd – the producer who brought you Aliens and the Terminator. Yeah, she’s pretty gawddamn awesome for so many reasons, the latest of which is The Walking Dead.
- Frank Darabont – the same man who brought us the very best Stephen King film adaptations. This is the guy behind The Green Mile, The Shawshank Redemption and The Mist. He does NOT pull his punches.
- Robert Kirkman – He’s the creator and writer of the comic. And he’s written an episode of the series. He’s heavily involved, so we won’t be seeing a government scientist come and save the day. At least not for a while.
- And announced at the panel… The guy who brought us that pounding single note on the piano for Battlestar Gallactica will be scoring the carnage for WD – Bear McCreary took the stage unexpectedly to tell us he wouldn’t be doing what everyone expects.
- And finally the trailer! OH THE TRAILER! It’s agonizing and horrifying and brutal and the Walker Bros’ “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore” will give me chills for the rest of my life.
Myself and people up and down the row I was in were stunned into joyful silence watching the trailer. The girl next to me had goosebumps I could see. So did I. Everyone on the panel was so excited, you could hear it in their voices and see it in their faces. They knew they had something special. This is why I love TV. This is why I love comics. This is why I love Comic-Con!
Thanks Morgan! I want to add now that she is a fantastic traveling partner. Really puts up with all my bull, which really takes a certain type of person. (Not that I’m ever difficult…)
Now what you’ve all been waiting for… Brittney’s top parts of the con.
5. Preview Night
The elusive preview night. Rumoured to already be sold out for 2011 (we both already have our tickets!) - preview night tickets for 2010 was scaled back from previous years. Which made it more coveted and (more importantly) less crowded. Last year, I didn’t care about missing preview night. Now that I’ve gone, I’ve changed my tune. You have a better chance of seeing the preview/pilots of shows on Wednesday night… and more up my alley, the floor is VERY much less populated. Want to take your time to browse booths? Want to mingle with writers/artists/stars/etc? Want the friendliest booth employees? Want breathing room? It’s all there on Wednesday night!
Speaking to creators/people who aren’t sick of the crowds yet is a really nice treat! Well worth the extra monies.
4. Hall H on Thursday
Okay, I have a tough time narrowing things down. Especially at an event where I have a crazy low amount of bad experiences. Hall H, for those unfamiliar, is a MADHOUSE. Consider this: a nearly 7,000 person hall where the line to get in is usually a 4+ hour wait. Sounds crazy – doesn’t it? It’s really not that bad. Yes, standing for 4 hours on a hot San Diego day isn’t on my list of things to do… but this year, I had line-luck. Morgan and I got there around 7:30am. We were among the first 1,000 in line and people quickly piled up behind us. We got inside in time for the first panel – Megamind! It was a great time. Then there was Tron, which was not only amazing – but we got to record bits for the upcoming movie. So very cool!
After Tron, we snagged some seats close to the stars and close to the bathroom. Glorious. All day we sat in that hall, learning about Megamind, Tron, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Haunted Mansion, SALT, RED, Battle: Los Angeles, the Expendables, Joss Whedon and JJ Abrams, and Scott Pilgrim vs the World. We saw tons of celebrities, heard a lot of interesting info on upcoming movies, and saw two of the most genius minds of television.
Spending a whole day in one Hall sounds a bit crazy, I’ll admit, but we lucked out on scheduling with a list of panels we both wanted to see. (Ballroom 20 was similar on Friday.)
3. Ballroom 20 / Barenaked Ladies
One of the coolest things about San Diego Comic Con is that you never know who or what to expect. This was the biggest for me in Ballroom 20 on Friday when during the Big Bang Theory panel – which was already filled with an awesome cast and moderated by Wil Wheaton – was made even cooler when the Barenaked Ladies came out and performed the extended Theme Song in front of all 6,000+ of us
Also in Ballroom 20 on Friday was my new San Antonio friend Ryan, who kept me company the whole day. The panels we watched were Stargate, Caprica, the Big Bang Theory, Bones, Joss Whedon, the EW Girls Who Kick Ass panel, and True Blood. There was so much awesome, I almost worried my head would explode.
Okay, I’m not a swag-monster by any stretch of the imagination, but who doesn’t love free stuff? And at Comic Con – swag doesn’t always stand for Stuff We All Get. Because of this, there is always plenty of panels, booth, or street giveaways that you miss. So, comparing swag is one of the fun experiences you get at Comic Con. The best swag was definitely from Scott Pilgrim. They had a whole Scott Pilgrim Experience set up. Inside the Experience, a design-your-own-t-shirt where you could pick your own shirt, design, and colour – and if you were really lucky, one of the Scott Pilgrim stars would silkscreen the shirt for you. You also could play the Scott Pilgrim game, record a movie to send to Facebook and get a Flip Book made of you and your friends. Outside the Experience, a big sign that said: “STUFF”. There, you got free stuff – including Scott Pilgrim Shirts! (Diane won one at the Girl Geek Dinner)
True Blood also had amazing swag. If you went to their panel, you got a ticket which – after taking it to the fulfillment room – you got your prize! A black True Blood bag which included a Sookie Stackhouse book, postcards, vamp-stamps (bandaids which are meant to cover up your vampire bites), and an empty notebook. That’s a lot of swag considering some panels (I’m looking at you Family Guy and The Simpsons) give really terrible crappy buttons. No one wants to wait in a line in the sun for the fulfillment room for a crappy button.
Which brings me to other awesome swag – buttons! Haha, I know, I just complained about buttons… but I said I hated waiting in line in the sun for buttons. Most panels who handed out buttons, or booths with buttons just gave them to you. There was no waiting, no ticket for a button. Panels who wanted to give away fun buttons simply handed them out! And considering that most people put their buttons onto their lanyards, showing them off to everyone they meet – buttons are a great small treat to hand out.
1. Meeting People
My absolute favourite part of Comic Con is meeting new people. One of the most fun events I went to was the Girl Geek Network Tweetup. There I met many a fantastic person, delighted Americans with tales of Rat-free Alberta, and listened to geek music. It was amazing, but my migraine cut the evening short. But there’s always next year!
The all-time best place to meet people? Lines. That’s why I don’t mind standing in line, not one bit. I don’t understand line-rage… because you need to stand in line to get anywhere. It’s really standard for Comic Con now-a-days… but people get so growly. You know who I’ve met in line? Nick, who’s an artist who has work used on the Big Bang Theory, and a number of folks from Edmonton, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Antonio, Ohio, Illinois, etc, etc, etc…
Meeting people with similar interests is possibly the best experience of them all. And that is what keeps me coming back to Comic Con, the fun experiences.
Oh, probably one of my favourite moments which I can’t put into words?