el diablo robotico (platypus) wrote,
el diablo robotico
platypus

Comic-Con 2012: Thursday

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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.)

Highlights:
  • The already legendary Firefly panel.

  • Getting the one limited-edition-exclusive-random-giveaway 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.

Wrong one...


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:

Town & Country badge pickup line
No line at all. That little clump of activity in the distance is people picking up badges at the tables. I walked straight in, got my badge, walked out. Elapsed time: about five minutes. Half of that was walking around the building to get to the right door.

Since I had my badge, I was able to get an early start Thursday.

6:30am:
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Thursday was my only day with a significant amount of free time to peruse the exhibit hall, and I wanted to try to get several things (the exclusive My Little Pony, the Iron Man 3 concept art poster, whatever Doctor Who things Entertainment Earth managed to actually get in stock, whatever exclusive Doctor Who T-shirt BBCA had, etc). And if the exhibit hall was ever going to be uncrowded (aside from Preview Night, which I got shut out of this year), it was going to be Thursday morning.

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Lots and lots of people get in line for the exhibit hall in the morning. I think this only makes sense on Thursday, but I hear they do it every day.

And lots more lined up behind me.

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They let us in at 9:00 (half an hour early, as they always do). For a brief, lovely moment, the last of its kind for four days, the exhibit hall (which holds 5,000 people, and actually does hold that many people most of the time) was open and uncrowded and you could possibly have swung a cat without braining anybody.

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.

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But how many times did I swing by the Marvel booth? MANY GODDAMN TIMES, only to see occasional variations on the same comic book posters and postcards and pins and bracelets and 3-D glasses. I even took the 3-D glasses. Whatever.

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?

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Entertainment Earth. I don't think I really realized their popularity – last year, when they didn't have the TARDIS lunchbox in stock, I guess I never tried to buy anything else. And so I did not understand, and was not expecting, that the giant line wrapping around the block and extending into infinity down the exhibit hall was just to buy stuff there. By the time I figured out where it ended, it had been capped. But here are their "prototype" Doctor Who drinking glasses, which they might at some point in the future actually be selling.

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The TARDIS sign ones will, of course, someday be mine.

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I zipped by the BBCA booth, which wasn't crowded yet, and got this year's T-shirt and the new lunchbox (which, irritatingly, is way nicer than last year's lunchbox, which took me forever to get a hold of). I also got some post-it notes, because I saw someone else buying them and they looked cute. I don't recall ever seeing the fabled Dalek socks that were mentioned on Twitter later – just DW logo ones. I think I would have grabbed a pair or two if I'd seen them, but I am sad that I can't say for sure if they were there. There sure weren't any for the rest of the weekend.

Then it was on to Underground Toys.

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They really didn't have anything exciting this year. The exclusive figure was so absurd that even I didn't want it (Winston Churchill). I considered the ~psychic cube~ with the Gallifreyan logo, because that's a variant it's a little hard to find, but I already had a big bag of Doctor Who stuff and I was able to resist. Perhaps foolishly.

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The GREAT BIG plush TARDIS was awesome, but it was "for display only." Bah.

Having hit the particular booths I wanted to check out, I did some aimless wandering.

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Towels and robes seemed to be a big thing this year. But I dislike velour versions of both, so I didn't buy any.

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Dark Horse's comics promo stuff.

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Some nice costumes there – I think that was my favorite Tony Stark. And then he talked and he was British and it was kind of hilarious. But awesome. (Also, I kept stalking the Marvel booth like it might yield a poster if I took it by surprise. But it didn't.)

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.

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I don't know. Don't ask me.

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Sideshow Collectibles, as always, had some really nice figures.

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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.
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Weta had some nice stuff as well. They also had the Eye of Sauron iPad app, where you could look through your iPhone/iPad camera at an image of... that rocky thing where the Eye of Sauron appears, and it would magically insert the eye. Which is about as hilariously awesome as you might think, but seriously, a whole app for that? Unfortunately, my internet connection was so shitty I couldn't download it at the time, but I mentally filed it for later.

(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.)

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There were some lovely 3D posters in an exhibit for The Hobbit. This one was especially nice since the 3D was subtle and just gave the landscape depth. You can't, of course, see that here, but it's still pretty.

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Catfish tank, or something to do with Falling Skies? The endless-loop video nearby suggested the latter.

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Hi, Marvel booth.

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WEE LITTLE IRON MAN AND VOLTRON. YOUR ARGUMENT IS INVALID.

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I wouldn't mind that cartoon impression of Ten, but the damned hedgehog hair annoys me.

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.

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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.

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You never know who you'll see.

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This was stuck to the table at, you guessed it, Marvel. At this point the staffers are my friends. But they don't have any posters. They gave some away at noon, when Ken and I were eating lunch. I hate them.

(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.)

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Finally, Ken and I went to an actual panel, for Wilfred. Just like last year, they screened the most obscene upcoming episode they could possibly find. (A lot of the panels ignored that "there may be kids in the audience" warning they put on the backs of the name cards. I don't know what person in their right mind would bring a child to a Wilfred or Venture Bros or Kevin Smith panel anyway, but I do sometimes see complaints about that.)

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.

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I still find Jason Gann disconcerting when he's not in a dog suit.

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.

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We stayed in the Indigo Ballroom through the Rifftrax panel, which was predictably funny. We didn't make it into Rifftrax last year, but they sensibly moved it to a larger room this year. The Indigo Ballroom isn't even at the convention center – it's at the Hilton next door. But I think it's the third-largest room at the convention.

And then, at the end of a long, tiring day...

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...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.

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Those muses, I tell you, they really like turtles.

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.

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When we got out, it was late. 10:30ish. And we still had to take the trolley to Qualcomm Stadium and then drive home.

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But not too late to laugh at the Hall of Justice, which we passed on the way to the trolley stop. That's where you do jury duty in San Diego, so we've both been there multiple times, but it never stops being funny. SDCC ought to do cosplay photo ops there.

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This was just, I don't know, street art, but it glowed and it was way cool.

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This would have been a great time to remember that I was CARRYING A MINI TRIPOD.

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Our trolley station. We made it! (Also, I braced my camera effectively against a pole.)

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!
Tags: comic-con
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