The undisputable mecca of geeks and nerds gather once a year in the Con of Cons. San Diego Comic Con #SDCC is held at the San Diego Convention Center for a full-packed 4-days (Thursday through Sunday). You can ask the veterans and first-times such as myself, SDCC can be described as chaos but filled with opportunities for some memorable geek out moments.
Seven Nation Army performed by The White Stripes
Good Morning San Diego!
Karlo and I arrived on Wednesday morning and luckily we scored a early-bird hotel at Town & Country Resort. For first timers like ourselves, I suggest you try for hotels away of the Gaslamp area becuase the closer you are to the fun and festivities, the more you are going to pay and stress over being able to get them. Like badges, hotels are a hot commedity and if you don’t have a backup plan, you may be stuck paying full-price. We saw trains decorated with Conan POP! figures and it only reminded us how disappointed we were because we couldn’t get tickets for the Conan show tapings.
Luckily for us, an In-N-Out burger was only a 5 minute train ride and 10 minute walk away. 4x4 Animal Style with Animal Style Fries! A tip, check to see when and where you can get badges before the Thursday of SDCC. At the Town & Country, badges we given out, along with free swag. It beats standing in line for a badge the day you’re actually going. I learned there are not enough hours in the day to fully check out everything Comic Con has to offer, so plan (then plan some more!) Karlo and I were only to get Thursday and Sunday badges due to the popularity of Friday and Saturday.
We decicded we wanted to check out the following things: Doctor Who autograph drawing, check out the exhibit hall floor, Geek & Sundry Panel, TVLand Panel, and visit the booths for SDCC exclusive swag. The con opens around 9 but from what we read lines form hours before the sun rises. Our plan was to arrive around 6 AM. ha! We woke up around 4 and got on a bus around 5. When we got there, about a couple thousand people were ahead of us! Want to master comic con? I doubt it’s possible; but if you try, you will not have much sleep. Once we got into the convention center, we heaed to the Doctor Who autograph drawing where we were in line for around 2 hours. Unfortunately, Karlo and I didn’t draw winning tickets. But we knew going in, be prepared to be disappointed. This dude with a sick 10th doctor puppet was in the line with us!
Next we headed to the convention floor to check out all the booths. The sight of thousands trying to get into lines and checking out the variety of booths fueled our excitement to everything. But booth after booth we discovered lines to purchase exclusive are capped and even if you were to get wait times were up to 2 hours! Granted these were the highly popular booths: Marvel, Funko, DC, Hasbro; if you want to get the really good stuff, get there early and be prepared to wait!
Indigo Ballroom Panels
After a few hours of visiting booths to check out merchandise and art, we headed to the San Diego Hyatt Indigo Ballroom for panels! Experiencing panels in person was breathtaking. It is a chance to see the celebrities in person as they answer questions about themselves, their projects, and how they feel about certain topics. It reveals a personal side where the viewers don’t see on a TV screen or YouTube video. The first panel was Geek and Sundry featuring Felicia Day (Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long), Wil Wheaton (The Big Bang Theory), and personalities of the Geek and Sundry family.
The panel was a mixed plate of geeks sharing why they love what they do and friends trolling each other. For those familiar with G&S, Wil Wheaton and Ryon Day (Felicia’s brother) pick on poor Felicia. With each joke and grinn, Wil and Ryon high fived each other over Felica and together yelled “Eiffel Tower!”. A great part of panels are the Q&A. My part was when a young lady started off with “I’ve just discovered what it means to be a geek and I rea- “ and before she could finish her sentence, Wil Wheaton jumps out of his seat and shouts “WELCOME!!! YOU’RE ONE OF US NOW!”. She asked each person what their first fandom was. I forgot everyone’s response but what I will always remember is something Wil closed with: being a geek isn’t about what you love, it’s how you love it. So when you think about it whether you love Star Wars, Fantasy Football, Ikea Hacks on Pinterest, or even collecting of leaves: We are all geeks in our own special way.
The next panel up was TV Land promoting the shows Impastor staring Michael Rosenbaum (Smallville) and Teachers. We were attracted to this panel because of the moderator, Community actress Allison Brie, who recently took the helm as a producer for TV Land. The crowd was treated two exclusive footage of both shows and a simulated readthrough with the cast of Teachers.
After the panels, we went back to the convention center to walk the floor again. I got to meet Ian McGinty, a comic book artist for Bravest Warriors. After chatting about his work, he drew me a comic book cover of Catbug!
Comic Con without the Badges
There are equal amounts of pepople who roam around the San Diego Convention Center as they do inside - there is so much to do in the streets of San Diego when Comic Con is in town. On Friday, we explored the Gaslamp district; a collection of half a dozen blocks where video games and TV shows promote the new and upcoming.
We first checked out PetCo park and we attened another Felcia Day panel - featuring her quirky remarks on single life, her heroes, and the journey which led her to Geek & Sundry.
Next we stumbled upon demos for the upcoming Rainbox Six: Siege video game. The Karlo and I were grouped with were enthusatic FPS gamers who happen to love free stuff. For beta keys, guest were welcomed to take pictures and use a hashtag to help promote the game. (Selfie) challenge accepted.
Finally to round out the day, we made our way to a signing with Charles Martinet - who I learned was the voice of Mario. He asked our names and when he found out mines - in Mario’s voice he said: “Super Josh. You number one! Yee Hee!” A quick picture and autograph with the voice actor who helped portray a personality to the famous plumber in overalls.
On the bus ride back to the hotel, I got an email from 1iota; the Conan tickets website. I was officialy off the waiting list and now entitled to 3 tickets! I shook Karlo’s shoulder in pure excitement. Saturday was going to be epic.
There was a big day ahead of us. Doctor Who NerdHQ panel and Conan. I had trouble containing my excitement. In attempts to get good seats we stood in the box office line at 2:00 am. It resulted in a good idea because we ended up with third row seats!
After we got out tickets, we headed toward the NerdHQ building. Karlo scored tickets to a QA featuring Jenna Coleman, Steven Moffatt, and Michelle Gomez. As we get in, Zachary Levi greets us; looking disappointed, he sadly admitted he was unable to moderate the panel. That someone else wanted to moderate a talk where all whovians wish they would be. In walks Captain Mal!
Oh hey, it's Nathan Fillion.
He expressed how excited he is to do a Doctor Who panel. After Jenna, Steven, and Michelle walked in Mr. Fillon says it would be a shame to do a Doctor Who panel – without the doctor. In walks Peter Capaldi!
There they were: the Doctor, Clara, the notorious showrunner, and Master. The talk was surreal; Peter childishly explained his favorite unorthodox fairy tale, Jenna adorably answered questions about her favorite moments filming, Steven expressed his love to what the Doctor means to him, and Michelle answered exactly like Missy would - with soul piercing stares.
After the talk Karlo and I met up with Damo at a japanese restaurant next to the Spreckles Theatre, where Conan was shooting his show. Sushi and sake bombs for get us prepared for arguably the best show in late night.
We get inside the theatre and realizing how close we were to where Conan will do his monologue and interviews was heart pumping. Before the show started. someone part of Conan’s crew wanted to get the crowd pumped up with a dance off before the show started. After jumping on my seat like a wild 8-year-old trying to get him to pick me, I got the finger point so I sprinted to the stage.
I killed it.
The show was amazing. There were secret guest appearances from Peter Capaldi with a TARDIS and Liam Cunningham (Davos from Game of Thrones). The main guests were the cast of X-Men Apocoplypse; the Michael Fassbender/ James McAvoy bromance was amusing and Olivia Munn was alluring as always.
This capped our an action-packed day. We headed back to the room, ordered udon room delivery, and called it an early night. Surviving on an average of 4 hours of sleep for the past 4 days, it was a well needed night in.
Last Day of Comic Con
We made it to the last stretch. Exahusted yet fulfilled with all that already happened. We still had badges for Sunday so we decided to walk aorund the exhibit hall for a few hours to check out any booths we might have missed on Thursday. We headed back to the hotel to pack all the swag then headed to the airport for drinks.
Experencing the fast pace weekend of abundant cosplay, inner geek moments, and jaw dropping encounters was an exhilirating adventure. Surrounding ourselves with others who are passionate about the things they love, no matter how nerdy, was an lasting testament as to why Comic Con is important me and countless others. I’m excited for next year.