Super San Diego Comic-Con 2016

Captain America statue

Captain America statue

Pre-Con

 

People are still at San Diego Comic-Con, but here I am at home starting on my post-SDCC detox/recovery period. Oh to be young and mentally capable of dealing with hordes of people for extended periods of time (throwback to 2009!).

As always, I’ll leave the myriad exclusive news to Dhruv and Mike, because this year, there was a lot of crazy news, and I’m sure I’m not even aware of a quarter of the stuff. Instead, let’s talk about this year’s experience.

It was much different from other years and, in many ways, a lot better. I had finally been able to secure Friday and Saturday tickets since I got in Sunday last year. I was a bit worried because I wasn’t sure if I was ready for the hordes to descend upon me (I hadn’t been inside on the big days for a few years). Nonetheless, I was excited about getting to experience it in a new way.

At least I had a near-full term of pregnancy to prepare (why that analogy, I don’t know). Fast-forward to this year: I’m not sure when exactly I came up with the concept of my new cosplay, though I was playing with a bunch of different ideas. I knew I really wanted to do a mash-up, though. And I also wanted to be super-comfortable.

I had done sketches and blueprints in the months leading up to this weekend, though I only bought materials and put everything together a month or so before.

For Saturday, I had planned to wear pedestrian clothing, but then I looked at the schedule and saw that Jack De Sena was going to be at an Avatar panel, so I had to un-retire my Sokka cosplay. I went to shave my head, but found my hair was about an inch too short to tie up in a wolf tail properly. Nonetheless, that (and nothing) wouldn’t stop me from wearing Sokka and attending that panel.

I was stressed out just thinking about all the panels I wanted to see and all the panels I’d miss. From last year’s experience, I knew I wanted to gravitate towards the smaller panels. I also wanted to attempt to see some signings on the floor as well.

Hereby commence: name-dropping and mad fanboying and me trying not to be sad about all the things I’ve inevitably missed! I hope you can see my squeals of excitement.

Finnie the Pooh and Jake the Piglet

Finnie the Pooh and Jake the Piglet

Day 1

 

Fast-forward to Thursday night, packing up and heading down. I had initially planned to drive up and down Friday and Saturday, but fortunately, we stayed over at my friend’s relative’s place near downtown San Diego. It truly saved us so much time, money, and energy. This already started our weekend on a positive note.

I went with a couple of SDCC first-timers, so I was excited for them and determined to make this a positive experience for them. We woke up early-ish, got our cosplays ready, and Uber’d out. Okay, all Ubers this weekend were super-cheap, so I am grateful for that. Our drivers varied drastically, however. Uber #1 was decent.

Side note, shout-out to Von’s chicken and the cute girl behind the counter that hooked it up with the fried chicken. This protein was my pure source of survival this weekend.

Also, here I’d like to say I’m actually a fan of the new RFID pass system, it really worked seamlessly all weekend (for me). Painless and hassle-free. I went to scope out room 6BCF because I wanted to go there later. We had made a game plan and would be splitting up. Ran into some issues people stopping me for my cardboard sword, but someone told me I didn’t need a weapons check…because it was cardboard it was flimsy and falling apart.

We first walked around the exhibit hall a bit. We saw the cast of Archer signing (omg Aisha Tyler and Judy Greer and H. Jon Benjamin!). My first taste…

I headed to 6BCF after awhile and sat in the Shatner Singularity Universe panel. William Shatner ended up not making an appearance, but I was just camping out anyway. This was a comic book panel that discussed cinematic comics (I think that’s what they’re called, the ones that have moving images and sound effects as well as text). It was rather interesting, but the best part was a surprise appearance by Stan Lee.

I had previously been in his presence at the Thor 2 Hollywood premiere and 2014’s Comikaze. Listening to him talk is one of the greatest things ever because he is so gregarious, hilarious, and spry. Something I was interested in was his poem “God Woke”, which William Shatner had turned into a cinematic comic. I believe this will be released soon, so keep a lookout. Stan Lee also talked about his new pin with a white and black hand clasped together with the word respect above it, which he created in response to the hate currently consuming this world. So wonderful.

Got probed at The People of Earth booth and found out I wasn't special...

Got probed at The People of Earth booth and found out I wasn’t special…

After, I moved closer for the People of Earth and Powerless pilot screenings. TBS’s People of Earth is a comedy about a journalist who finds himself writing a story about a support group of people who believe they have been abducted by aliens (but don’t call them ‘abductees’, they prefer ‘experiencers’). At first, he thinks it’s hokey and weird, but soon becomes interested to learn more. I thought it was pretty funny, though maybe not as funny as the lady sitting next to me did. I will be checking this out when it airs. Conan O’Brien and Ana Gasteyer, among others, came out briefly to chat.

After, I saw NBC’s comedy Powerless, which was what I was looking forward to. My favorite thing about this is that they can use and say actual DC superhero names. How refreshing. This show is about the insurance company Retcon and how they deal with superhero-related damages. Pretty funny, but I was excited to see Danny Pudi and Alan Tudyk and Vanessa Hudgens.

I stayed in my seat for another show I was looking forward to: American Gods. This Starz series is based on Neil Gaiman’s titular novel, which I had read and loved. Yvette Nicole Brown is such a great moderator, and I was so excited to see Bryan Fuller and Neil Gaiman and just be in the same room as them absorbing their creativity through passive transport. Like woah. Among this talented and gorgeous cast, surprise guest Kristin Chenoweth showed up. Now to get all of the Pushing Daisies cast on this show…

This panel was amazing and really touched on the deep messages and themes of the book. We went away with the message of giving love. I teared up when they talked about faith and the state of the world and how we should just love each other. I am really excited for this show, and came away from this panel feeling so happy.

Next was Orphan Black; while I don’t watch, I enjoyed this panel. Tatiana Maslany is amazing talented and I learned she started as an improv comedian. They did live improv scenarios of all the different clones in funny situations, for example, one of the clones at a Trump rally. I got a ticket for a free shirt, which was awesome and unexpected.

Lastly, the one I had really been looking forward to was the Vikings panel and it did not disappoint. I was able to move a bit closer for this one, right near the front. It seemed as if all the guys were drunk and dressed super casual and there was Katheryn Winnick (my fav bday buddy), looking regal; this cast is hilarious together, I never realized. Travis Fimmel switched out Alexander Ludwig’s water bottle with one filled with vodka. Creator Michael Hirst, and actors Clive Standen and Gustaf Skarsgard also appeared.

They spoke of on-set pranks, we sang happy birthday to Clive, articles of clothing were thrown, and discussions turned serious about portrayal of women (a “strong” woman vs. a well-portrayed woman). What a great and lively panel, I had a blast. They also gave me a ticket for what I later found out was a drinking horn, so fucking cool. Takeaways: the cast is really funny, Alexander is really really nice, Travis is a mumbler and kinda seems like a crazy person, Katheryn is as eloquent and beautiful as Lagertha (#yasearl). I wasn’t able to get a picture with her, but I did get to tell her I was looking forward the Dark Tower movies, which she will be a part of.

After all that, I took off to Hall H just to see if I could get into the Preacher panel. Lo and behold, I walked right in and caught a bit of a live reading of the next episode. Danielle Panabaker showed up to help out, love her. Left for a bit to go redeem prizes (my first time!) and I got totally lost, walked around the floor a couple times (I asked so many workers and no one knew except one person), headed to the Marriott to find the swag room, but still couldn’t find it, and finally ended up at the Hyatt and it was in there the whole time even though the map showed in the Marriott. I was super confused, but got my swag, so I was happy.

I went back to the Preacher panel to catch the Q&A. This is where things were awesome. Joe Gilgun was so fucking hilarious, I was dying. I was really excited to see Dominic Cooper and Ruth Negga (AND I just found this out now from researching how to spell Negga properly that they are in a relationship (with each other) and that’s the cutest fucking thing ever, omg hashtag Jesse and Tulip 5eva). It was a late panel, but it was empty. I was able to sit so close, closest I’ve ever sat in Hall H. I could see their faces from my seat without looking at the big screen.

One question really stuck out with me from an aggressive fan who denounced Tulip as once-strong and now weak since [spoiler redacted]. Seth Rogan, Joe, and Ruth all defended Tulip’s actions. Again, people, understand that we can have flawed, real women on screen and that does not make them weak or negate them from #strongindependentwomanhood. Really enjoyed this panel’s Q&A because of all the jokes and hilarity, a lot of it coming from Joe talking about masturbation, drugs, and propositioning a lot of the questioners for sex back at his hotel room.

Yet, the day wasn’t over as I tried to get into Ballroom 20’s world premiere of Batman: The Killing Joke screening. Alas, Ballroom 20 was never lucky for me (still bitter about waiting in the sun for hours and not getting in to the Big Bang Theory panel back in 2010). I didn’t get in, though my friends were there (I heard Scream Queens panel was great, sad I missed out on Keke Palmer).

So I walked around, finally played some Pokemon Go (surprisingly didn’t want to pull it out because I was too busy taking everything in). I was tired, but not. Another shoutout to Von’s fried chicken (even their breasts were succulent), as well as Nike free runs, OC Lasik Institute (my eyes felt great), hand sanitizer, eyedrops, and Chapstick. Semi-thanks to Anker because my new battery pack did not charge my phone, rather it only slightly slowed down the inevitable battery drain. Luckily, prudence allowed me to keep my phone alive all day.

I walked around Gaslamp while waiting for my friends, caught a Magmar, side-eyed all the people sleeping in line for Hall H. After a full 14-ish-hour day at the convention center, we headed back. Uber #2 was pretty cool and funny, if not slightly high? It was a hot San Diego day and night; taking a cold shower to wash off the day’s Con Crud was the greatest thing.

Sleep and wake up in a few hours to do it all again. Shoutout to these earplugs I got in Paradiso, I never used earplugs while sleeping before but zamn, ballin’!

Sokka redux!

Sokka redux!

Day 2

 

Uber #3 was pleasant, took a nice scenic route. Kinda quiet.

We had planned to be there before opening (my first time being here early thanks to our accommodations), which we were, but it looks like they were letting people in already. I got a pang of panic that I wasn’t going to make the Avatar: Legend and Legacy panel. We headed straight into line which was already wrapping. Saw some great Avatar cosplayers, got some compliments on my Sokka, and made it into the panel! Already winning.

BUT LIKE NO YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND.

Jack De Sena was there. SENPAI. NOTICE ME and all the other Sokkas in the room. And he did. I saw some people go up to take a pic so, after brief hesitation, decided to go up and ask for a picture. The security guy said no, that the guy in front of me was the last one. I pleaded a couple times, but still no. Then I asked Jack himself since I am a selfish fanboy and he said yes!

Sokka x2, omg senpai

Sokka x2, omg senpai

I took a picture with the voice actor of Sokka in my Sokka cosplay and I was basically done for. I was weak. It was so awesome. The rest of this fan-run panel was great and unique. Head writer Aaron Ehasz, director Giancarlo Volpe, and a Yue cosplayer (I met her last year when I cosplayed as Sokka!) were on the panel. Dee Bradley Baker showed up briefly to say hi; I love panel surprises. There was a costume contest. There was a live reading of a comic (omg Jack doing Sokka’s voice was wondrous). Also Cabbage Merchant played guitar and we all sang Secret Tunnel together. It was magical.

My day was pretty much made, though it was just beginning.

Sokka x2, part II

Sokka x2, part II

After, we weren’t sure of what we wanted to do (I had accomplished what I wanted to today), we had a couple of options. We made a decision to stick together this day, so we walked the floor as we decided our game plan.

Saw the Supergirl cast signing at the WB booth. At that moment we knew what we were going to do all day.

First off, I’m actually still very confused about how to get into these autograph things. It’s all very vague and confusing and I didn’t even want to try. But seeing them from afar is pretty cool. Ah, yes we would stalk the WB booth today.

Second, people are crazy. The horde was intense every time a new cast came out to the booth. It was scary, exhilarating, and very smelly. We came up with a system and looking back, it’s like treating people like zoo animals and it’s pretty despicable, oops. In retrospect, these pictures are shitty, the things I enjoy most are the interactions. Then again, seeing Melissa Benoist from that close/far was pretty cool.

Randomly saw Ben McKenzie headed to the bathroom and had a moment of “do I need to go to the bathroom right now?!” hysteria. Just to let everyone know, he hair still looks perfect. Saw the cast of Gotham after.

After, we took a much needed break from the sweaty pit that is the exhibit hall. We went to go take pictures since I forgot to do so on Friday. I brought my 2 cosplays and an extra outfit for max comfort. Shoutout to an oversized backpack I had gotten for my birthday from a friend that I hadn’t had the opportunity to use previously; it was truly a life-saver this weekend, especially Day 2. We were also on a quest to find my friend a Khaleesi since she cosplayed as Missandei.

Going for all the free swag and stalking celebs all like "Don't get weird."

Going for all the free swag and stalking celebs all like “Don’t get weird.”

After a brief respite, back to the exhibit hall on our equally important quest of getting freebies. Shoutout to Symbiote Studios for a cute little Elder Scrolls Online figurine. We went to the American Gods and People of Earth booths because I had enjoyed the panels, and got 3 new shirts (count ’em kids, I got 4 new pajama shirts, holla!). Shoutout to these free SDCC shirts because all the ones I’ve received through the years are super soft and comfortable. Like zamn homie, I would’ve paid for this shit. Got an awesome Mighty Morphin Power Rangers pin for asking nicely at the Power Rangers booth. Also went to the MTV booth to do some fun VR and also got a fan I can plug into my phone. Not sure which swag I like more, my Viking drinking horn or this selfie fan. I love them both. Definitely the best swag this year.

Met up with another friend and back to the WB booth for the cast signing of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Then the Flash signing. Don’t know how, but ended up getting really close and time froze (like that one time John Cho impregnated me with our eye contact or when Brangelina touched me). Said hi to Jesse L. Martin and Candice Patton (#bae) and they waved and said hi back so enthusiastically. Day was made again, and so tired, didn’t even want to go to the Arrow signing (don’t even wanna watch this show anymore, hmph).

We walked around the bayfront for a change of scenery and Saturday had gorgeous weather outside (as opposed to the heat of Friday). Soon enough, it was already closing time, so we took a last jog around the exhibit hall one last time and headed out to eat (Chipotle obviously (I didn’t bring my wallet, but only the essential cards: credit card, ID, Starbucks gift card, and Chiptopia card)). Met up with some other non-badged (zamn, don’t mean to segregate) friends and restocked on pokeballs. My Anker worked Day 2! I don’t know what changed.

Saw a lot of cosplayers I recognized on the floor. Ran into a friend / amazing cosplayer. Missed a ton of other friends I knew were there this weekend. Didn’t find any merch I wanted to buy, so money saved there. Didn’t take any pictures of other cosplayers this year. Too busy doing me (aka pulling out my phone as little as possible because battery issues abound).

Uber #4. The only bad thing about this year’s con. Okay, maybe I was already tired and a bit cranky, but this was the most difficult thing ever. She was making things unnecessarily difficult and I just couldn’t deal; even had to pass the phone off to my friend. Bad end to the SDCC weekend, but now a funny memory.

SDCC16 Squad

SDCC16 Squad

Post-Con

 

I greatly enjoyed this year’s experience. Very little, if anything went wrong. Or maybe I’m just learning to go with the flow. It’s way too easy to get all bent out of shape at SDCC (un-shoutout to those people in the MTV giveaway line that thought someone was cutting (literally 3 spots) and started yelling, like chill…you’re in a line to get free shit that’s not even all that great (though that MTV fan is the real MVP actually)).

I liked the split of panels day 1 and floor day 2. I liked the vibe of my group this year (we def grew closer after experiencing this together). I liked it all, especially all the new and different things I’d never done at prior SDCCs).

Next year, even less photos and more in-the-moment mindfulness. Smaller panels maybe. Try to get a signing maybe.

Holy eff, this was long. Now, excuse me while I look at pics and watch ALL THE TRAILERS…awww yissssss b!

PS Still mad I didn’t know Maggie Q was here this year (but shoutout to that Maggie-lookalike working the MTV booth) and I missed her, and all the other things I missed too but haven’t found out about yet, I’m pre-jealous.

PPS I wanna hear all about everyone else’s SDCC experience! Lemme know!



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