Doctor Who… That was the theme song that blared through my ears as I woke up from my alarm clock that I set just 2 hour before. Though you wouldn’t have known whether I was tired or not due to the ecstatic look on my face! Day 2 of Comic-Con was only a few hours away and I knew just how magical and chaotic it was going to be. Even though Wednesday was preview night which gave a tease of what lay ahead, and Thursday was a taste. Friday was more of a funnel driven into the mouths of nerds as the entertainment gods shoveled a buffet of pop culture down our throats! A bit harsh on the description? Good, because this is the start of the 44th annual San Diego Comic-Con weekend!
As I stepped foot onto the San Diego Convention Center grounds the sheer amount of people was staggering. The line for Hall H which showcased panels like the triumphant theatrical return of Veronica Mars, The Walking Dead and Games of Thrones was wrapped around the tented squiggly stanchion ropes, across the street and stretch for about 5 blocks ending near the Assassin Creed Black Flag pirate ship. (Yes, I said pirate ship!) If you read my Day 1 Comic-Con article you would know that I once again was at the convention center at about 6am. But unlike yesterday the sheer amount of people was mind blowing.
As I made the routine mad dash after being in a 3 hour line for the exhibit hall, I quickly but cautiously made my way to the Mattel booth. The toy company had a special ticketed signing with WWE Hall of Famer Mick Foley and rising WWE wrestling star Daniel Bryan. Once I received my ticket I knew I had to check out the scenes before the masses engulfed the area. I went over to the Ban Dai booth. The popular Japanese toy/video game company had special Comic-Con exclusive toys like the Dragon Ball Z Scouter which were made famous by characters Goku and Vegeta. And me being the long time DBZ fan that I am, you know I had to have one in my possession.
After being in a ridiculously long line, I ran over to the Defiance panel where they showcased the popular SyFy TV show with the shows stars Grant Bowler, Julie Benz, Jaime Murray and the rest of the cast as they discussed how the shows’s season break wouldn’t stop fans from learning more about the series as the multi-platform show/video game would continue to crossover. While the show was dark till next season the game would have downloadable content that would have characters from the show make special cameos and in game missions to tide fans over until it picks up again in June 2014.
I went over to the book and authors section of the convention. One my favorite things about Comic-Con is that it doesn’t sell short on every aspect of the entertainment. For those of you who don’t know the history of Comic-Con, which was then known as the “Golden State Comic Book Convention” created by Shel Dorf. He was a freelanced artist who created the convention as a gathering for what was then a mediocre love for comics and science fiction novels.
During the first year of the convention a science fiction writer by the name of Forrest J Ackerman was the main attraction and slowly brought in fans of that genre, but it was during that time when Dorf befriended artist Jack Kirby, the popular comic illustrator who created well known characters like Captain America and co-created The Fantastic Four. Kirby would later headline Comic-Con the following year that brought the small promotion into the spotlight. What originally were 300 science fiction fan attendees at the U.S. Grant Hotel by the late 70’s grew into what it is today!
So, I went over to the literary section of the convention to inquire about a few signings that were taking place. One of them was with Arrow star and Torchwood/Doctor Who alumni John Barrowman were signing copies of his book Hollow Earth with Sister Professor Carole Barrowman. While later on that day Duane Swierczynski was scheduled to sign at the Hachette Book Group booth. More known for writing crime novels like Point and Shoot, also writes comic books like the popular Marvel X-Men Messiah War, the DC Comic New 52 launch of Birds of Prey and Dark Horse’s X series. He also did a panel called “The Pole With Soul: Spotlight on Duane Swierczynski” earlier during the day.
While keeping my ears to the ground and searching for anything that stood out aside from the thousands of cos-players, it brought me upstairs to the Sky Pavilion where a range of people from celebrities, artists, film critics, authors and former professional wrestlers were signing autographs. From The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman, film critic Lenard Maltin, television star Alisha Tyler, Mondo poster artist Martin Ansin and former WWF wrestler Virgil and many, many more! It was nice to see them reaching out to their fans! Though there are meet and greets/signings with celebrities like the cast of True Blood or Teen Wolf, aggressive security guards and congested aisles full of people diminish the chances of success. It was nice to see a more intimate setting where the fans and celebrities can chit chat and get to discuss more about their passions, whether the love of what they do or the love of what the fans appreciate.
After getting my Walking Dead comic book signed by Robert Kirkman, I proceeded to head back down to the exhibit hall where I went directly to Tony Moore’s booth. For those not familiar with Tony Moore, which would be majority of The Walking Dead television show viewers, he is the co-creator of the famous comic book series and the unsung hero. Moore had scheduling and obligation conflicts in the earlier issues of the comic book and only stuck around for the first 7 issues. Fast forward to present day more people are familiar with Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard and the AMC television series by the same name. Anyway, I had Tony sign my copy of The Walking Dead and proceeded to mentally giggle like a school girl!
Once the giggle-fest was done I ended up wandering the convention floor when I stumbled on the cast of MTV’s Teen Wolf who were signing at the Fox booth. Tyler Posey and company were greeted by excited fans who patiently waited earlier during the day to get the golden ticket that ensured their place in front of the young stars. The little time I had to view the interaction between the cast mates and their fans was nice. They all had smiles on their faces and you knew from the one crying teenage girl that it was a special moment for her and the Tyler. I fled the insanity of that signing when the security guards started shuffling the crowd along.
Later on during the afternoon I met up with fellow Nerdlocker staff members Brandon, Cubby and Jim as they interviewed Detective Comics writer and Chew creator John Layman over at the DC Comics booth. As Brandon and I were salivating at the mouth over Batman news, a commotion was erupting over at the Marvel booth. I sprinted over there to witness a frenzy as Stan Lee was signing! The 91 year old comic book creator, known for revolutionizing the comic book industry with iconic creations like Marvel’s Spider-Man, The Avengers, The X-Men and The Fantastic Four was doing a limited signing to lucky fans that drew a special ticket for the Willy Wonka of comic books! Anytime I see Stan Lee I tend to get star struck. I’m talking about a person who not only changed my childhood but millions just like me.
I soon realized that the crowd at the Marvel booth was spilling over so I decided to head back to the DC booth to get a better glimpse of the Superman costume gallery they had on display. The crowds were so intense on opening day Thursday I only got a brief glance from outside the DC grounds. I needed to finally witness every incarnation of the famous suit that were worn by every actor who has ever dawned the iconic S symbol. From Christopher Reeves famous film portrayal from 1978-1987, Brandon Routh’s Superman Returns in 2006 and as recent as Henry Cavill with the Man of Steel. Even Tom Welling outfit from the Smallville television series was on hand. It was such a nostalgic thing to witness.
While I was at the DC booth, I witnessed one of the most surreal things imaginable as DC Comics president Diane Nelson, co-publishers Dan DiDio, Jim Lee and Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns held a press conference as they celebrated Superman’s 75th anniversary with a special appearance of Action Comics #1, the 1st appearance of Superman at the DC Booth the issue which was on loan from musician Jack White of The White Stripes. The Certified Guarantee Company book or better known as CGC to comic book collectors, was present at the greatest stage of them all. When they opened the heavily guarded metallic suit case revealing the comic, they wowed everyone from the attendees, press, including myself who were completely speechless and in awe. It was a moment I will never forget.
After witnessing greatness before my eyes, I proceeded to walk over to the opposite side of the exhibit hall and got in line at the Capcom booth to view the beloved sword welding ninja Stryder. The booth had a prop photo shoot in which I wore the famous replica red mask which was to my delight a freebie (Stryder for Halloween here I come!) and gripped the insanely oversized sword. Afterwards I attempted to make my best Scrooge McDuck impersonation during a photo op as I jumped headfirst into a tank of fake gold coins. But to my chagrin failed as my camera came out taking blurry photos.
Once the convention ended I went to the album/book release party of Celebrities Poop. The comedy album made by comedian/author Chris Gore (Attack of the Show/PodCrash). The party had an intimate setting overlooking the Gas Lamp District. The secret password invite was based on, for those familiar with his “PodCrash with That Chris Gore” podcast; to my surprise felt like a swanky gala, where party goers were served an open bar and open Filipino buffet by sponsors “Nerdular” who will launch their market place for everything nerdy this fall!
Guests of the party included Batman and Psychology author Dr. Travis Langley, the cast of comedic improve group Comic Book Live, and Chuck star Mark Christopher Lawrence among others. It was fun times as Chris mingled with friends and fans alike and thanked them for their continued support with the Celebrities Poop album/book (which is out now), and the ever growing popular pod cast PodCrash with That Chris Gore where Chris and company crashes other peoples podcast and discuss everything pop culture. So many people came out in support of the DVDuesday host and partied till the early hours of the morning!
Now that Fridays Comic-Con festivities have come to a close, I had to keep in mind that there was still 2 more days of geeky entertainment madness a foot and proceeded to mope knowing that I had to be up in a few hour’s for Comic-Con’s Saturday kickoff! But that’s another amazing story to tell…
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