Every once in a while it’s good to remember what it’s like being a kid. Whether that’s eating a bowl of Lucky Charms for breakfast, making a sand castle or going to Toy Fair and hosting a Geek Girl Sleepover.Now I know what you’re thinking, “But Jill, I don’t live near the ocean!” That’s ok, you can buy your own sand and stick it in a big box. Problem solved!
Oh, that wasn’t what you were thinking? You were thinking about the amazing concept that is the Geek Girl Sleepover? I see how your mind works. That’s ok though, I’ll excuse you. I can understand how thinking about such a thing could get a person excited. It sure as hell was one of the best things to happen to me this year.
So how did this Geek Girl Sleepover at Toy Fair actually come about? It all started as a joke I made on Twitter about getting a bunch of Geek Girls together and having us all sleep in Tauntaun sleeping bags from ThinkGeek. Because well, why wouldn’t you? Turns out, ThinkGeek read my tweet and decided it was something they wanted in on. A few emails later and they had donated five, yes, FIVE, Tauntaun sleeping bags to me for my event. There were only two small problems – who was I going to invite and where were we actually going to sleep?Turns out, the invitation part was easy. I rounded up some of the coolest Geek Girls in the tri-state area and they were totally down for a night of nerdy shenanigans. My partners-in-crime were GeekGirls herself, Kristin Rielly from the Geek Girls Network, Elizabeth-Amber from Amber Unmasked, Ali Colluccio from the Invisible Jetcast and Bookishbelle, Midtown Comics own comics/culture correspondent Zoë A. Gulliksen. And once I invited Zoë I realized, “Duh, Midtown Comics totally needs to be involved with this too.” A few phone calls were place and not only were they sponsoring our hotel room, they had invited us to be a part of their weekly podcast as well (more on that later). We did allow one male to take part in the sleepover, ThinkGeek’s mascot Timmy. He got into the spirit of things by donning his Yoda costume. This was actually my first Toy Fair so I was crazy excited. I couldn’t wait to get my grubby nerd hands on all the newest and coolest toys around. Then I found out I technically wasn’t allowed to buy and/or touch the precious toys.
When I heard that, a little part of my inner geek broke off, never to be seen again. But I persevered, at least I’d get to look at and take pictures of all these fantastical things I’d one day, maybe get a chance to buy and play with.
My first stop was a Hasbro event that was actually taking place pre-Toy Fair. Out of their licenses I was most excited to hear about their new Star Wars and Marvel toys. And boy, were there a lot. Their line of vintage Star Wars figures has been so successful they have them planned to continue through 2012. Another large portion of their offering were figures based on the successful Clone Wars television series, all great new additions. Hasbro also announced on of their SDCC Exclusives for this year – a giant Deathstar action figure pack. It’s so big it will have to be your carry-on should you be flying to and from San Diego this summer. Also on the line-up was something I was very happy to see, a brand-new, cheaper lightsaber. It’s going to run about $35 and looks and sounds really good for the price. They’re also planning several Revenge of the Jedi figures, that’s right, I said Revenge.On the Marvel side of things, as you’d have expected, there were tons of Captain America and Thor movie tie-ins to be had. Frisbee-like Cap shields, mission pack with parachute, a small, but awesome soft Mjölnir. There’s no X-Men: First Class toys for now but they are celebrating the release with a few more of those comic book packs. Similar to their giant Galactus exclusive last year in San Diego, this time around at they’ll be offering Sentinels designed by Joe Quesada. They mentioned there’d be a few more of them than there were of Galactus but not much more so get them while/if you can. There’s also a great looking new Fantastic 3 set, well you could call it 4 since it comes with H.E.R.B.I.E. When I finally got to Toy Fair my main attraction was the Diamond Select/DC Direct booth full of happiness. The first thing I saw was the world premiere of the Green Lantern movie lantern. It’s still strange looking in my opinion but if you’re a fan and were thinking of purchasing one, it would definitely be worth your money. Continuing to feed my Green Lantern obsession, I saw a brand new Red Lantern Guy Gardner (complete with chainsaw construct), Brother Warth, a full set of Brightest Day figures and the traditional Red Lantern and Sinestro Corps full-size lanterns. It was kind of funny to see the Flashpoint figures already fully produced considering the series hasn’t even started yet, though I was bubbling with excitement to see the brand-new Harley Quinn figure that coincides with Batman: Arkham City. Speaking of Harley, fans of her and the Joker will be extremely delighted with the giant new Joker and Harley 1:4 scale museum quality statues. I also noticed the new Ame-Comi minis and many of the new DC Universe Online action figures. One of my favorite pieces in the room was the gorgeous Cover Girls of the DC Universe Starfire statue. Other comic book highlights at Toy Fair included the DC and Marvel statues by Kotobukiya. Absolutely breathtaking. They also have some fantastic Star Wars statues in their line as well. One of my other favorite stops was the Funko booth which housed their POP line. They are expanded to the Marvel side of the comics realm as well as Star Wars and they’re just as adorable as their previous offerings. At the Todd McFarlane booth, the only thing I was interested in was The Walking Dead figures that were being premiered. Michonne and a Zombie Roamer are part of Wave 1 and Rick and a Zombie Lurker are part of Wave 2. The coolest part? The zombies have different bits on them that are removable so you can show their decomposition as you see fit. After an exhausting day looking at toys I couldn’t play with, it was back to the hotel with the Geek Girl Sleepover crew to get into our nerdiest pajamas and have potato sack-style races with our Tauntauns (I think we may have scared a few hotel employees.).
These Tauntauns. I can’t even accurately describe how awesome they are. In case you don’t know the history, they started out as an April Fool’s joke perpetrated by ThinkGeek on their unsuspecting customers. Instead of saying “oh shucks” when everyone realized they couldn’t actually be bought, the geek community rallied until ThinkGeek acquiesced and got the rights to actually make them. (Hmm, now that I’m thinking of it, maybe I should have thrown a tantrum at Toy Fair until I got to actually play with the toys...)We piled the Tauntaun boxes onto the luggage cart and with a little bit of effort got them into the room. The unpacking was memorable. I’d been spending time in mine for over a week but this was the first time the other girls had seen one in person. No one could get over how large and how well-made they were. We eventually decided to name our Tauntauns to give them even more personality. Zoë named her’s Waffles, Kristin’s is Frank, Amber’s is Fluffer, Ali’s is Felix and I named mine Bruce. For obvious reasons.
From there we headed over to the Midtown Comics Grand Central store (without changing out of our pajamas) to take part in their weekly podcast with hosts Thor Parker and Dimitrios Fragiskatos. Among the many topics discussed were the possible invention of a Wookie snuggie, us explaining Twitter to Dimitrios, finding other guys and gals with similar tastes via the social networking site and the rage cat Dex-Starr. We also made our picks of the week and decided who our superhero best friends would be (Kristin: Kid Death, myself: Zatanna, Zoë: Josie and the Pussycats, Amber: Ace the Bathound). Zoë and I participated in a Midtown Comics podcast tradition by acting out the “Final Words” of a comic character. They decided we’d reenact the last moments of Stephanie Brown from the end of War Games, End Game. I played Batman. Obviously.Afterwards we got the run of Midtown Comics for a while, which was cool since the store was closed. We did a little shopping, a little browsing, a little...trying on Wonder Woman’s tiara. Oh, and three of us almost threw down over a very special Doctor Who t-shirt until we realized there were exactly three of them, in our sizes, at the store. Crisis averted.
Finally it was back to hotel for gossip and girl talk. Late night topics included Zoë getting very excited when a song from Scott Pilgrim vs. the World came on the radio and how addicted we are to Twitter (at one point I noticed it was very quiet in the room and looked up to see every one of us with our head buried in our phones). We actually took questions from our followers at one point and even got into the conversation about which superheroes we’d kill, marry or...you know. Midtown shot some footage of us plus we had our own camera to capture the after-hours fun. Take a look at our nerd-filled madness.
And yes, there were a few things we left out. Some of what happened at the Geek Girl Sleepover, stayed at the Geek Girl Sleepover.
All in all, I’d say my first official Geek Girl Sleepover was a huge success. I wish I could have made it even bigger because so many gals said they would have loved to attend. Maybe next time! Enormous thanks go out to ThinkGeek and Midtown comics for making this geeky dream a reality. Oh and for those of you wondering, yes, we did actually sleep in the Tauntaun sleeping bags that night. And they smell wonderful on the inside.Lead image by Ron Gejon, all others by Jill Pantozzi