Tuesday, August 4, 2009

San Diego Comic-Con 2009 - Day 1

It wasn't exactly surprising to discover that spending four, whirlwind days at the San Diego Comic-Con is very similar to spending four days in a highly geekified Disneyland. Honestly, I know this for a fact, considering I also went to Disneyland a couple days after Comic-Con. One surrounds you with eye-rolling fairyland creatures (and the poor people who must be burning up in those costumes!) and the other surrounds you with eye-popping Nerdonia peoples (and the poor gals in those tight, black-leather costumes!). In both places you spend way too much time in long lines and yet both places make it their duty to entertain you as much as possible while you cool your jets with others of your kind (ie: see unexpected arrival of Pirate Band in Comic-Con line and elaborate set designs for Disneyland rides).

All in all (and if it weren't for walking up Sunset Blvd in massively painful heels last Friday night), this trip to California smelled suspiciously of childhood - right down to me staring in total awe and adoration at Craig Ferguson, much like I once stared adoringly at JTT's photograph in Teen Beat magazine.

However, underneath the childlike fantasy-facade of Comic-Con, there is a very adult, very passionate understanding of why we were there. This place wasn't filled with 150, 000 flimsy fangirls, twittering about how dreamy and sexy Robert Pattinson is (there were only about 7,000 of those), or nonsensical fanboys, dreaming of videogame violence and Michael Bay films (those only took up about 40% of their thoughts - and that's mostly due to the in-your-face, sizzling Megan Fox). No, I can honestly claim that Comic-Con attendees were friendly, charming and extremely intelligent - if a little eccentric in their own right. You'll not find another group more in-tuned to the world of pop culture entertainment than the group you'd find at Comic-Con. These people - nerds, wanna-be nerds, ashamed-to-admit-your-a-nerd nerds - not only love beyond words their nerd-attachments (whether that be comic books, comic book movies, sci-fi television shows or just the actors that personify their favorite characters), they have spent thousands of hours on researching and enjoying every little aspect about them, making them all literal experts on multiple types media and their creators, across the whole vast spectrum of pop culture. Needless to say, it was a pretty intense atmosphere, especially in the Exhibition Halls. But more on that later.

Enough small talk. Let's get to the dirty details...

Day 1

We didn't arrive at the Con until around 2-3pm, having thoroughly enjoyed the breezy and beautiful weather while walking to the convention center. We grabbed our badges (line-less, woohoo!) and immediately got in line for the Evolution of Fantasy panel, with panalist Pat Rothfuss ("The Name of the Wind") and other fantasy authors. Once Tina and Katie realized the panelists was focused more on bashing Harry Potter and Twilight than discussing them, we had to sneak out early before a small riot began. Note to panel authors: You cannot compare your novels, which are vastly more complicated, to young adult books such as HP and Twilight. They don't even dwell in the same solar system. Personally, I enjoy the highly-complicated, epic-battle fantasies as much as I enjoy the more diluted, YA fantasies. There is no need for badmouthing - it's not two sides of the same war. Anyhow, we snuck out of the panel and hit the line for the Legend of the Seeker panel. It was at this time that I realized my camera was dead. A cute, young jock (a jock! At a Con! Full of wonders indeed!) took my mind off the sad realization that I wouldn't get any pictures that day while we waited in line.

Legend of the Seeker scoop: Charisma Carpenter, of Buffy and Angel fame, will guest star in the second season premiere as a Mord Sith! She looks uber-cool! Also, they plan to focus the second season on the main quest from the second book in the series, "The Stone of Tears".

At least they are sticking to the correct timeline, even though they veer off the course the book sets the majority of the time. I'm not complaining. It's a great, really fun show. The main stars, Craig Horner and Bridget Regan, couldn't make it (they were in New Zealand filming), but they sent in a cute video saying hi to the fans. Bruce Spence, who plays Zedd, was there, along with the author of the series, Terry Goodkind and some other showrunners. Overall, a pretty fun panel - even if Terry Goodkind did came off as a bit of a creepster.

Since we didn't have another panel until 9:30pm, we walked to the Gaslamp (Gaslight?) district, across from the convention center, and got some dinner. The streets were incredibly crowded and it wasn't even dinner time yet. We found a cute Mexican restaurant that had reprinted their menus to reflect a superhero theme. It was too cute.

After dinner, I had an 8pm meet and greet with Michael Ausiello from Entertainment magazine at the Hard Rock Hotel, poolside. I was really excited, since I'm a big fan of his column. It turned out harder than I had imagined to get the chance to talk to him, since he was surrounded by adoring fans the whole time. I dropped my butt on a comfortable mattress-like thing next to the pool and waited my turn like a good little Southern girl. Before I knew what was happening, one of his helpers (?), who was a little TOO helpful, had me up (along with the nice girl I had befriended) and shoved into Michael's circle of fans. Yet, even here I didn't get the chance to talk to him. I pulled my classic move of shoving someone else in front of me in order to avoid any undue attention and I slipped away to the opposite side of the pool, still close to him, but in no mood to test my meager conversational skills against those of his other, more eager fans. That changed when a familiar looking, handsome guy walked into Michael's little circle, hugged him and said he was leaving. I walked over to get a better look and to see if I could recognize him. By way of the Aushole grapevine, I made my discovery - it was Bryan Fuller! Now, I'm sure most of you have no idea who that is, but I certainly did and if I ever had the courage to go up to someone and sincerely tell them that I absolutely LOVED their work, it was with Bryan Fuller. Alas, it was not to be. While I was pumping myself up to go speak to him, he slipped out into the crowd and I missed him. Ah, well. Story of my life.

At the very end, as everyone was leaving, Michael was still engulfed by eager scoop addicts, so I walked by him, touching him lightly on the arm and said, "It was nice semi-meeting you". He looked up, surprised and asked, "Did I meet you"? I said "kind of", and then he shook my hand and thanked me for coming. I thanked him for having us and then headed back to the convention center to meet back up with Tina and Katie for our last panel of the night...

The last panel was a screening of a Halloween movie called "Trick 'r Treat", directed by Michael Dougherty. What really drew us to the panel was the fact that Anna Paquin (True Blood) and Tahmoh Penikett (Battlestar Galactica and Dollhouse) were supposed to join the panel. We're big fans of both, so we though we could endure the horror film in order to see them. The end result was good and bad. It turns out that both didn't show (it was Anna's birthday and we got to call her and sing Happy Birthday to her voicemail), which was upsetting, but the film was actually pretty good and Brian Cox joined Dougherty on the panel, and I really like Brian Cox. He has a nice voice... What? He does!

So, that concluded our first day at Comic-Con. We missed the mass teenage hysteria that was the New Moon panel but we couldn't say we were sorry about that. I probably would have smacked Kristen Stewart over the head if I saw her, so it was probably better that we stayed away. There's no need for a cat fight during Comic-Con. There's already too much female eye-candy walking around in little outfits for the geek fanboy mind to deal with. There's no need to overload them.

Lessons learned: Always try your hardest to say what you need to say to your famous heroes and never eat Mexican before meeting said heroes. It was a hard lesson to learn...

Day 2, 3, and 4 coming soon!

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