Thursday, July 31, 2014

Chik Solo's San Diego Comic Con Adventure, part 2

Good morning!  That last entry was getting long, so I will be dividing my tales of Comic Con into multiple parts.

On Thursday we had set our alarm for 6:00 am, but my bladder was still on East Coast time and I was up at 5:30.

After quickly getting dressed and making sure we had everything in our backpacks, we went and caught the shuttle to the Convention Center.  I'm going to talk about my survival pack in a separate post, but let's just say I was over-prepared.

We arrived at the Convention Center and immediately got in line for the exhibit hall.  On the bus we had been talking to a young man named Santiago, and we ended up in line next to him!  It was his first SDCC too, and all he wanted was a Hershel Funko POP! Vinyl.  I was going to head to the Funko booth first, too, just to see my odds of picking up the flocked Ghost direwolf pup, and I wished him luck.  Once we got into the exhibit hall, the Funko line was already capped, so my boyfriend and I said forget it, and just wandered around.  The Blizzard booth was on the opposite side of the hall, so we set our sights on it, and walked the entire length of the hall, stopping at booths that caught our attention and avoiding the large booths like Hasbro and Mattel, where the lines were insane.

On our journey across the hall I found a booth that was selling older Funko POP! Vinyls for $10 each.  Since I wanted to pick up a few, we stopped.  They had She-Ra, Brienne of Tarth, and... GHOST!  Not the flocked SDCC exclusive, but the older model.  I grabbed him, because (as my boyfriend pointed out) if I got the chance later to buy the flocked exclusive, then great, I can resell the regular one if I desire, but if not then I at least have my cute puppy!

Towards the middle of the hall were several rows of small sellers and artists, near the comics sellers.  While walking down one of those rows I came across a print I just had to have:



The artist is Jeff Victor.  He was so nice, and was so sweet while I gushed about how much I love this piece.  I wish I had thought to ask what inspired it!  I will be framing it and placing it above my computer in the Nerd Cave.

I also ran into two cosplayers dressed as Indiana Jones and Marion - two of my most favorite movie characters from one of my most favorite movies ever!  (Hey, I'm an archaeologist, can you blame me?)  I asked them for a photo and they happily obliged!

We eventually got all the way to the Blizzard booth, but by that time the line was capped and they were predicting that no one else would be allowed in line for another 90 minutes.  We had to get in line for the Blizzard panel, so we gave up on that line for the day and went to get in line for 6BCF.  We got in line two hours before the panel was supposed to start, thinking there would be a long line for the panels we wanted (Blizzard, Batman 75th, and Star Wars Rebels), and ended up getting into the room shortly after.  This meant we were in the room two panels early... The first panel, for Halo Nightfall, was pretty good.  The cast members were fun and clearly had good relationships with each other, and the series they were presenting looks interesting.  I remember my calc TA blowing off class when Halo 2 was released in 2004, so learning a bit more about that franchise was interesting to me.

The next panel, for League of Legends, was kind of terrible.  After a trailer that looked awesome but didn't tell me anything about the game or depict gameplay, it was 45 minutes of Q&A.  And the questions were just awful... typical gamer-bitching, boring personal stories that no one else in the room cares about, unnecessary suggestions, etc.  I don't play LoL, and after sitting through that panel I don't really care.  I was hoping, since I was in there anyway, that it would sell the game to me.  At least the fans seemed to enjoy it!

Then the Blizz panel started.  I wasn't expecting much - BlizzCon is in November, and they do their big announcements at their own convention.  But since the Warcraft movie wasn't mentioned in any of the promotional material for the Legendary panel later that weekend, we were hoping they might bring it up in this panel.  Nope!  Oh well.

The panel started with the Murloc music video by Lvl 70 90 Elite Tauren Chieftain.  After a technological hiccup where the video failed, they replayed it and introduced the panel.  The presentation was focused on the exclusive merchandise for sale at the booth downstairs, it was confirmed that the Warcraft movie would be mentioned in some capacity at the Legendary panel (no surprise there, since props were on display at the Legendary booth), and then into the Q&A.  To sum up the Q&A: there is no pleasing Blizzard Fanboys.  Seriously.  A few of the questions were about Starcraft, whose team did not have a presence on the panel, and a bunch were just bitching about Diablo III and how the players were so excited for it but so disappointed by it.  A couple of questions towards the end asked about the Warcraft movie and the upcoming expansion, but the panel couldn't give any real information about those topics.  While I wasn't expecting any earth-shaking announcements with BlizzCon coming up and the Warcraft expansion announced last year, I was disappointed that so much of the panel was focused on the stuff for sale downstairs.

Immediately after the Blizz panel was the Batman 75th Anniversary panel.  Sitting on this panel was Denny O'Neil, Neal Adams, Frank Miller, and others who have worked on Batman over the years.  This panel was fantastic.  I especially liked listening to Neal Adams and Denny O'Neil.  Discussion included why did the panelists think Batman was so popular, how Batman had changed over the years and why, and how previous versions of Batman had influenced the later writers or what versions did they like/got them into comics.  The Q&A portion was really good too, with some of the best questions being asked by little kids.  Of all the Batman panels going on this weekend, this is the only one we sat through and I'm so glad we did.  These were the men that created the Batman I grew up with.

After the Batman panel was... uh... well, whatever it was, I don't remember it.

Capcom.  It was the Capcom panel.  I just looked it up.  Wow, says a lot about the panel, right?
By that point we were seated right next to this guy who kept talking through the panel.  He had a comment for everything.  That's what I remember about this panel.

The Capcom panel had a lot of footage, showing a Street Fighter movie they were promoting, some games that were being released or re-released, and advertising their pro gamer tour.  The games they were promoting included Dead Rising 3, Monster Hunter, and a re-released of the Ace Attorney trilogy.  Our seat-mate insisted that I play Ace Attorney, since it was just so good, but all I could think of was my attorney father and recent law school grad sister, and it was all I could do not to crack up and think, "Yeah, like I'm going to waste my gaming hours on that."  I have daddy issues, most of which stem from his workaholic nature and identity as a criminal defense lawyer.  The panel ended early, and I don't think there was a Q&A portion.

The next panel was the Star Wars Rebels panel, promoting the new TV series.  The panelists included the producers and voice cast, and just like the cast of the Halo series we saw earlier in the day, it was nice to see the camaraderie between the actors.  They were all very excited about the series and the work they've done, and their enthusiasm was contagious - as much as I like Clone Wars, being able to experience this panel made me very excited for the new series.  I am also very excited to see the female characters - Hera and Sabine, the captain of the Ghost and a Madalorian respectively.  Having female characters in prominent roles, where they have real agency, is so important in the Star Wars franchise, which is so male-character heavy.

That panel ended with a Q&A.  Most of the questions were unremarkable, but I think one person called out Tiya Sarcar, the voice actress of Sabine, and made her defend her enthusiasm for the project?  I didn't really hear the question, but her answer was a defense, saying she had seen the movies growing up but didn't really get into the fandom until coming on to this project, which makes me think the questioner was some asshat trying to call her out as a fake geek girl.

And that made my blood boil.
1) Not everyone who works on a project needs to be its biggest fan.  It's a job to them, and if they enjoy it and get into it, great.

And we don't do this to the men who work on these projects - did anyone go after Tom Hiddleston like this?  I believe he said he doesn't read comics in an interview, and that he hadn't read many before going for the part.  Does that make him a worse Loki to know that?  No.  He's still perfect in the role.  Because he's an actor and that is what he is supposed to do - bring the character to life.  If he had suddenly found that Avengers comics are his new favorite thing ever?  Great, he has a new joy in his life, and I can identify with geeking out over comics.  But the fact that I have a subscription to Marvel Unlimited and he doesn't, doesn't mean he was not the best Loki he could have been.

I will point out that this question was targeted at Tiya Sarcar and not Taylor Gray, who voices the male character Ezra.  I know nothing about that actor, or if he's a Star Wars fan like I am.  And I don't care as long as he is the best Ezra he can be.

2) Don't go all Geek Police on someone and make them defend their enthusiasm for something.  Just because someone discovered they love Star Wars or Street Fighter or Superman later in their life doesn't make them any less of a fan than someone who found that fandom early in their life.  Don't make someone defend the fact that they LIKE something!  Be happy that you found someone else who likes what you like, and talk to them about it like a normal person!  Maybe they don't know everything about the expanded universe - so be nice and offer information if they want it!  Maybe they know something you don't!  Just be happy and geek out together!  Holy shit!

Ok, rant over.

After the Star Wars panel we left the Convention Center and walked to Nerd HQ.  Adam Baldwin was doing Smiles-for-Smiles, where you can buy a photo with a celebrity for a $20 donation to Operation Smile.  We were wearing out Jayne Cobb cunning hats that day, and thought it would be fun to get our photo with the man who played the man named Jayne.  But we got there late and the line was capped.

Zachary Levi was going to be doing Smile-for-Smiles right after, though, so we hopped in that line instead!

When it was our turn, Zachary Levi told us we looked shiny!  Haha, he is so nice and personable.  I wish we could have chatted, but the whole process of getting the photo went so fast to get everyone through.

After we received our photo, we walked around NerdHQ to see what was going on.  We did a demo of Catan Anywhere, an online version of Settlers of Catan, and looked at the NerdHQ IndieGoGo donor board.  My name was left off, but that's okay.  Nearby was the counter where they were selling the NerdHQ T-shirts, so we got in line.  I bought the blue SaNERDiego tank top, and we were going to buy my boyfriend the standard gray t-shirt - but that one had sold out!  In one day!  I think I might order him one online.

We were hungry, so we bought some tacos at NerdHQ and ate them while waiting for the Nerd Party to start.  They were pretty good.

By the time the party started, we were tired and still had our big backpacks with us.  We quickly learned that if we wanted to party in the evenings we would have to dump our stuff somewhere.  Unfortunately, being in Mission Valley, that meant a shuttle ride to and from our hotel to drop off stuff.  We never actually attempted that, since we're the kind of people who will get to our room, sit down, and then just stay in the rest of the night.  And the shuttle was very irregular - it was running frequently, but the rides from the Convention Center to the hotel always took a different routes of varying lengths.  One night we were on the shuttle for an hour because the driver went deeper into the city before getting on the freeway instead of getting on the freeway closer to the Convention Center!

I left my boyfriend with our stuff while I went to take photos of the DJ - she was dressed as Sailor Moon!  I danced for a bit, then returned to him.  We left soon after - and it was after that that the crowds started showing up and the people I follow on Twitter got to the party.

I wish we had stayed longer and that we both could have danced, but the bags made that difficult.  And we were both tired.  Sitting through panels you don't care about is exhausting, and the chairs at the Convention Center hurt my tailbone after an hour or two.

Thursday was fun, but I think the anxiety of not knowing where things were inside the Convention Center and worrying about if we would make it into our panel really shaped our day.  The following days were much more fun than Thursday, and we followed our schedule a little loosely because of it.

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