So, I had the best time I've ever had at SDCC. In my fifth year of attendance I (mostly) knew what I was doing, I embraced the madness, and I accomplished everything I set out to accomplish. Only one thing went off less than perfectly. (I suppose there's always got to be one thing. It's a rule of life. Perfection would cause the universe to end. Right?)
SDCC 2012: Our Top Five Favorite Moments: I was there for every one of those, except Nerd HQ, and that's tied with something I did see. (I'd have loved to be at the Nerd HQ Doctor Who Q&A, of course, but it was announced and sold out in the space of fifteen minutes, during which I wasn't at my computer. I'd probably have blown off my other Saturday plans if I'd been able to get tickets. Probably.)
- The already legendary Firefly panel.
- Getting the one limited-edition-exclusive-random-giveawa
y thing I actually wanted.
- Ian McKellen startling the crap out of me while I was sleeping.
- Chris Hardwick's mad panel moderating skills. He was brilliant. He was so good in the Hobbit panel that the people sitting next to me were like, "Who's that? We should check out his other stuff." (He seemed a little subdued in the Doctor Who panel Sunday, but by then I think he was as strung out as the rest of us.)
- Andy Serkis saying "For fuck's sake" in Gollum's voice.
- Neil deGrasse Tyson standing up in Starship Smackdown to give an impassioned speech about the superiority of the original Enterprise.
- Camping: I really hope this doesn't become an Essential Comic-Con Experience for too many people, but I have to admit, living at the con was sorta fun, and actually reduced my stress level considerably.
- Although I had like twelve hours of sleep, total, for the WHOLE CONVENTION.
- And I miss it already. I wish I could do it again and see all the other things I was interested in, because there were plenty of them. There's just so much going on at once, and so many things require major time investments.
I picked up my badge on Wednesday at the Town & Country hotel, the convention's little satellite site in Mission Valley.
A lot of con-goers stay at the hotels in Mission Valley, because they have reasonably easy access to downtown and are cheaper (and more available) than the hotels right by the convention center. Last year, they tried distributing four-day badges there on Wednesday night, and it was a huge mess with gigantic lines that got cut off at the posted closing time without everyone getting their badges, even after waiting for hours. (Seriously, what is a convention coming to when picking up your badge requires hours of dedication, and some people fail?)
But I had some faith that if I got there around the starting time, this year might be better. And it was. They decided to get a jump on things by starting the distribution two hours early (one of the convention's virtues is that they rarely do anything late, and they do learn from their mistakes, if not as quickly as we might like), and they efficiently cleared out the line of people waiting. When I arrived (right before the scheduled start time) this is what greeted me:
Since I had my badge, I was able to get an early start Thursday.
And lots more lined up behind me.
I hastened over to the Marvel booth, where they were giving away random comic book posters and buttons and stuff. I asked about the Iron Man 3 posters, fearing they'd all been given away on Preview Night. Yeah, they said, they would have them, but only at random times. Unpredictable random times. Maybe sometime this afternoon. And the posters would go fast when they did have them.
Hasbro, it turned out, was a lost cause. Honestly, I wasn't really surprised. Their booth does ticketing to get in line, for heaven's sake. When I arrived, there were only a few people in line, but they said they'd already given out all the tickets for the day. I never had the time to deal with trying to get a ticket, and last year on Sunday when the really popular stuff had sold out (like the ridiculously gigantic Super Helicarrier they had this year, I figured) the booth was deserted and you could walk up and get any of the other stuff you wanted. Well, this year that didn't work – they sold out of EVERYTHING by Sunday, and had even emptied their display cases. It looked like the place had been ransacked. Well, you can't win them all, and that was a risk I'd been willing to take.
I did like this Iron Man suit display. And I got a very good look at it because I was there during that brief time Thursday before the mobs descended. But surely my dedication should have been rewarded with a poster?
Then it was on to Underground Toys.
Having hit the particular booths I wanted to check out, I did some aimless wandering.
A large part of my brain is going, "Wow, look how uncrowded the exhibit hall was then. There was ROOM." That's the most carpeting you're ever going to get to see.
Ken arrived at the convention center at a somewhat more sensible hour, and picked his badge up onsite. Five or six phone calls later, we managed to locate each other. Finding one person in a sea of thousands is Really Not Easy, but eventually we got it down (I think the B2/C1 door will just be our personal landmark from now on.) We went back into the exhibit hall together, since neither of us had any panels we wanted to see yet.
Ken pointed out this steampunk guy and I was like, "Yeah, steampunk, whatever" but then he pointed out the hamster-powered machine and I dove for my camera.
(Actually, the iPad did really well at the convention. I just barely squeaked through with enough battery for the weekend, but the network connection was acceptable. Much of the convention center had decent free wifi, but sometimes it would choke up, and in some places it just didn't work. I had paid for a Verizon data plan before I went, and it was absolutely worth it; I had an excellent 4G connection most of the time I wanted one. But not right at that moment. The battery issue – and lack of outlets or ability to remain near them – meant that I couldn't use the iPad for most of the entertainment things I might have wanted to, but the ability just to keep up to date on Twitter was invaluable. I did sometimes consult the PDFs of the schedule and maps that Ken had loaded onto it, and I used it to post some pictures.)
As far as Eleven and Amy go, I'll never understand the popularity of miniature dolls/figures dressed in cloth clothing. It looks so bad on them. The weight, the way it lies, it's just wrong.
In the early afternoon, Ken went off to a panel about restoring old TNG episodes and releasing them in HD with new effects. I was somewhat interested, but not ready to be torn away from the exhibit hall yet. I checked out the Entertainment Earth line again, and it was significantly shorter, so I made it through in maybe twenty minutes. Got some bobbleheads and the TARDIS water bottle I coveted from last year.
But still no poster from Marvel.
(But Ken and I did find a nice little outdoor terrace off Sails Pavilion/the Ballroom 6 lobby. There was a grill there that was offering more varied food than most of the crappy vendors at the convention, and there were TABLES and SEATS, and the rampaging hordes didn't seem to have discovered it yet. Unfortunately, the grill was apparently only open at lunchtime, because twice I tried to go back, only to find them closed.)
I usually find screenings a little tedious, especially if it's something that we could see at home ourselves some other time. But in this case, there was actually a shot that won't make it into the broadcast version. I'll... maybe save that for a locked entry.
Every year I think, too late, that it would be funny to go up in the Q&A and ask why Jenna doesn't just get Wilfred neutered. Responsible pet ownership, right? It would solve so many problems.
I probably do not have the guts to ever actually do that, but it would beat the hell out of people asking Elijah Wood about Lord of the Rings.
And then, at the end of a long, tiring day...
...we went to see Patton Oswalt.
In retrospect, that was a terrible idea. I was exhausted and overstimulated and I didn't really need comedy. But he is funny.
There were THREE OPENING COMEDIANS. I was dying. It was hot in there, and I had two giant bags of stuff I'd bought, and one guy's jokes were all about pot and another's were all about farting, and some of them MADE FUN OF COMIC-CON in more of a "har har geeks" way than a "this is our audience" way. Honestly, they were all decent comedians, but I think it would've been better on any other weekend.
When we got out, it was late. 10:30ish. And we still had to take the trolley to Qualcomm Stadium and then drive home.
And that's the end of Thursday. Three days to go. Three days during which I never went home. (Cue dramatic music.) But that will have to wait on more photos, which I will process... later tonight, I hope. I want to get this stuff up before it seems totally irrelevant or I forget what was going on!