I need a t-shirt that reads, “I survived San Diego Comic-Con… again.”
If you’ve ever been to the massive pop-culture convention you understand why. SDCC is fun, exciting and geektastic but it’s also crowded, exhausting and hectic. Every year at SDCC is a new adventure for me. For some reason I go in thinking it’s going to be the same as the year before but wind up having an entirely different experience. However, I am lucky enough to say that each time I’ve gone, it’s been an enjoyable time.
This year I was in San Diego early enough to go to Preview Night at the convention but regretted that decision almost immediately. Previously they had let professionals and press onto the floor before the general public but for some reason changed that arrangement this year. With so many 4-day with Preview Night passes sold, Wednesday night in the convention hall was just as busy as most other days. I took a quick survey of some of the floor before I decided it wasn’t worth the hassle.
Thursday was a fun yet relaxing day for the most part. I donned my Cyclone cosplay and sat on a panel first thing in the morning. It was the “Oh, You Sexy Geek” panel moderated by Katrina Hill with Bonnie Burton, Adrianne Curry, Clare Grant, Kiala Kazebee, Clare Kramer, Jennifer K. Stuller and Chris Gore. I’ve been on panels before at SDCC but this was the most intimidating by far since we were in a room full of 1000 people. Regardless, we were there to discuss the notions that some have that being a geek and being attractive do not mix as well as the controversies over the last year concerning accusations of faking fandom.
From where I sat, it was a good panel but not everyone felt that way. Everyone I spoke to in person loved it but online there has been some debate that the real issues were glossed over and that some of the voices on the panel weren’t heard. There’s also a lot of anger over a comment Gore made when he arrived at the panel late. I will say this, with a large panel it’s hard to make sure everyone gets all their points across in the hour time limit we were given. Some people are naturally more outspoken and dominating when it comes to conversations. That’s not to say their points aren’t valid, it just means others aren’t heard as well. Overall I think we touched on a lot of great stuff but, as I said, with the time limit we couldn’t go into detail on all of them. I really wished we had two hours to sit up there, discuss more and take more audience questions.
I decided to attend only one of DC’s regular panels during the convention because I knew going in there would be a lot of arguments over the big editorial changes. On Thursday it was the first of their “DC Comics – The New 52.” It was a packed panel and room and Dan DiDio jumped right in to find out what fans are still worried about relating to the relaunch. It was what we all expected; characters disappearing, stories erased, diversity etc. I wouldn’t say anyone was particularly convinced by the time it was done but I at least was convinced by Paul Cornell to pick up his Demon Knights series. He told us about a female character who doesn’t have the use of her legs and uses a horse like she would a wheelchair. As if that wasn’t enough, he compared the book to Game of Thrones so I’m sold.
Directly following that panel was DC’s Batman panel so I stayed in the room and enjoyed hearing everyone speak but nothing new was said. One of the only other panels I was going to try for that day was the one for Game of Thrones but I chickened out at the last minute thinking they might spoil things from the books (which I’ve yet to finish). Of course I found out later they didn’t. Just my luck. I spent some time in the DC booth to end the day so some of the creators and fans could get a look at my Cyclone costume. For the most part, no one knew who I was, which I expected because she’s a relatively new character.
Friday was a very interesting day. I was cosplaying Daenerys Targaryan from Game of Thrones the television show. I’m specifying the TV show because the image I chose to cosplay was from a very specific scene. In it, the character must eat a horse heart in order to strengthen the baby growing inside her. I knew there’d be several Daenerys cosplayers this year and chose this particular look because I knew it would stand out. And also because using fake blood is a lot of fun. Needless to say, this costume got a big reaction. Even bigger than I expected to be honest. I was interviewed by a few TV stations and was photographed more than any of my costumes ever. The best was seeing the reactions people had when they first saw me. People who’d never seen the show just thought I was a zombie or vampire but for true fans it was a delightfully gross sight.
I can’t even begin to tell you how much fun I had doing this particular Daenerys cosplay. I’m definitely going to have to do it again. But the highlight of the day came when I was standing for shots in the atrium area and a very nice person came up and told me the author of Game of Thrones, George R.R. Martin, was doing a signing about 100 feet away. I raced over to the front of his line and stood on the side until I could get his assistants attention. While I was asking him if I could get a photo with the author, Martin looked up and saw me. His eyes went wide and he immediately jumped up to come greet me. He told me I looked fantastic and that I made a great choice. Saying I was giddy is an understatement.
Because of the costume reaction it was slightly difficult making it to any other panels because I was getting stopped so often. I managed to make it to the “Green Lantern: The Animated Series” panel, albeit a bit late. I had missed all the footage of the show that Bruce Timm brought with him unfortunately but was there for something completely unexpected – Conan O’Brien. Timm has produced an animated short featuring the late night host’s alter-ego The Flaming C and he made a surprise appearance to talk about it.
SDCC on Saturday is notoriously packed and this year was no different. My huge cosplay group of Darkseid and the Female Furies was set to make its appearance and I knew it would be virtually impossible to walk the floor. We decided to schedule ourselves at the DC booth at 3 p.m. so anyone who wanted to see could just come to us. But before that happened we needed to make it to the second panel I was on, “Comics Arts Conference: Psychology of the Dark Knight: How Trauma Formed the Batman and Why He’s Got a Thing for ‘Bad Girls.’” It featured Travis Langley, Robin Rosenberg, Lee Meriwether, Michael Uslan and was supposed to have Grant Morrison as well. To my huge disappointment he never showed up but we did have an interesting dialogue at the panel anyway.
I honestly felt a little odd sitting on the Batman panel in my Lashina costume but it took so long to get on there was no way I could have changed. Seeing as how we were at SDCC though, no one thought it was too weird. Plus I had Darkseid, Big Barda, Knockout, Artemiz, Granny Goodness, Bloody Mary, Mad Harriet and Gilotina sitting in the audience looking back at me so it wasn’t too bad.
Afterwards we slowly made our way down to the DC booth and took group shots. We had several honorable gentlemen helpers who stood behind us to guard our asses. Literally. A few creepers came up behind us trying to take pictures of just our butts. We eventually made our way outside to take some professional shots with a photographer I’m friends with and after that we were just about done. The Female Furies aren’t known for the most comfortable outfits and we were ready to call it a day. The reaction from fans and creators was awesome though. After our Classy Lantern group last year some wondered how we would top it and admitted we easily did. Unfortunately that means the bar is set ultra high for next time.
After all that costumed craziness it was time for a day off and Sunday at SDCC meant only a subtle cosplay with me wearing my Batgirl t-shirt. Two folks took “Oracle” pictures of me so that was fun. The only panel I planned on attending was the huge Doctor Who who one in Hall H. I’ve seen the cast at a few other events before and while it was cool to listen to them talk about the show and characters again, the highlight was seeing the fans who asked them questions. There were two Daleks, a young weeping Angel, River Song and a Rose Tyler, not to mention a few gals who dressed as the TARDIS.
Afterwards my goal was to hit up artists alley and a few other spots on the show floor to pick up items I hadn’t been able to previously. One of the coolest stops? The art of Suze Jones had caught my eye and while I was making a purchase of some of her prints from someone who wasn’t her, I got a card from that person and realized it was John Chalfant, the artist of the spectacular Arkham City illustrations we’ve been seeing for months. I just about bowed down before him, I’ve been drooling over that art.
I stopped by Katie Cook’s booth, got a copy of her new Gronk book as well as her Kitty Lanterns and took a picture with the adorable stuffed Gronk a fan made for her. I left my sketchbook with the lovely Agnes Garbowska who drew me a darling little Dex-Starr then headed over to Amy Mebberson who had drawn me a fun size Lashina to take home! Next to Mebberson was James Silvani who had sketches and commissions sitting in front of him. The first one my eyes fell on I knew I had to make mine. It’s probably my favorite item I picked up at SDCC this year and it’s called Princesses of Prey. It’s got Rapunzel as Black Canary, Jasmin from Aladdin as Huntress and Ariel from The Little Mermaid as Oracle! I just about died. I think I smell next year’s cosplay…