I love comics. I love conventions. Ergo, I love San Diego Comic Con. I've gone every year for the past five years. I've had great con experiences, I've had horrible con experiences. This isn't a guide to how to do Comic Con; just me sounding off on a plan that has worked for me for the past two years, highlighting the great time I had this year, and talking about some new media that I'm excited about.
This has been one of the best SDCC’s I’ve been to. 2013/2014 felt a bit lame and had all of the geeks complaining about the crowdedness, commercializing and non-nerdiness of the con. Hollywood had taken over. Their complaints weren’t entirely ungrounded and I’ve complained myself quite a few times about how The Twilight Saga ruined the Con. In fact, my group really didn’t plan on going until the week before badge sales. Well, this year felt like a real return to form, and now we’re all really excited for next year. The Con has refocused on general nerd themes; comic characters, fantasy and sci-fi in whatever form of media they take on. It was a great year. Let’s get to it.
I said this wasn’t going to really be a guide, but there’s one cardinal rule that I will stress right now;
1) Go with a great group of people. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART. Like any other trip or vacation or general life experience, your relationships influence it. I have gone to Comic Con with my brother (good times), I’ve gone with friends that I’m no longer friends with (not that the con really had anything to do with that…), but for the past two years I’ve gone with my #nerdgirlgang. I met my friend Sirose at a show in high school; we were both emo girls with colored hair and permanent scowls. We remained friends via the internet, but were always too shy to really reach other to one another and hang, even though we worked down the block from each other for a year. Last year she sounded the horn and asked if anyone was interested in a group cosplay; it was a brilliant scheme to amass more geeky girlfriends. Myself, her, her childhood friend Kirsten, and a mutual friend Nicole became The Powerpuff Girls and Professor Utonium and have never looked back.
We have shared interests (comics, anime, music, creeping on beautiful people, eating, talking about bowel movements…the usual girly things), we understand each other’s quirks (I sleep in a satin bonnet, Sirose likes white noise before bed), and we mostly have a great time in each other’s company. So, now that you’ve amassed your crew, there’s the con itself.
I have skipped Preview Night every year, but one (2012), because the year when I did it, it didn’t feel like anything special. They previewed a few pilots for new television shows, and the exhibitor hall was open. But, it was still crazy crowded, half the exhibitors weren’t hooked up to the wifi and couldn’t use Square, so shopping was bunk, and it just didn’t have that loving feeling for me. Plus, all of us have jobs/work and getting 3-4 days off from work in a row usually isn’t that easy. So, Preview Night…I’m sure some people like it, but I don’t find it necessary to partake.
Our Thursday started with the drive from Los Angeles to San Diego. I have both driven and taken the train and I find they have equal benefits if you’re with the right people. Fifteen minutes into the drive we were laughing and already talking Harry Potter, so we knew this trip was going to be made of magic. I tweeted when we passed the boobs (if you’ve driven from LA to SD you know what I’m talking about), we drank boba, and there was a requisite Jason Derulo sing-a-long once we hit San Diego County (Seriously, Want to Want Me is one of the best pop songs of the past three years). We left LA at 11:30ish, and with one bathroom break, made it to San Diego at 1:30ish. So, traffic really wasn’t that bad. We checked into our hotel, The San Diego Courtside Marriot in Mission Inn (it’s seriously a lovely hotel, with a great staff, and fabulous amenities - I highly recommend it and would stay there again) and had a few drinks before heading out. Yes, drinks. We treat Comic Con as our girls get away weekend, so they sake, whiskey, rum, and champagne were free flowing all weekend. The shit talking started as soon as we got in the car, and if tried to remember all of the ridiculousness that was said, this write up wouldn’t be done for three weeks; but here’s a highlight;
Kirsten: Like, you see someone pretty and they put on makeup and get prettier?
Me: Sometimes I think that about myself that in the morning.
Me: We are not spending money on booze, we can spend it on comics!
We left the hotel and headed to the convention center to pick up our badges and get our feel for the lay of the land. We did not get Thursday badges. This was partially because the waiting room is a bitch (no, I don’t have any tips on how to navigate that), and partially because we weren’t even that hot on going this year. So we grabbed badges for the days that we had them, and engaged in one of our favorite pastimes; people watching. We saw some great cosplay (wait for that at the bottom), and we saw some very beautiful men. We like the beautiful men a lot. I took a hilarious picture with the street team from Another Period, and I got my dreams of becoming a shark crushed when the Sharknado 3 street team would not tell me where I could score an awesome shark dress. After a hilarious dinner at our one of favorite eateries; Dick’s Last Resort, we headed back down to convention center for more people watching. We saw what we thought was going to be a flashmob of guys dressed like the titular character from the Hitman game franchise, but just turned out to be an elaborate photo op. There was a lot of that this weekend. Hey guys, in the future, fewer weird photo ops, more flash mobs. It was basically a simple day and when we got back to our hotel there were a group of ladies playing bagpipes, and it didn’t make sense then, but it did later. We asked if they took requests and asked for the Game of the Thrones theme, but they didn’t hear us.
We didn’t get Friday badges either. This was a concentrated part of the plan, to at least skip one day and go badge free. Why, you ask? Well, here’s the thing. Panels. I say, unless it is your absolutely favorite show/fandom ever, you have never been to a panel, and you really think shit is going to go down, and/or it is smaller and not happening in Ballroom 20/Hall H skip the panel. The majority of the material will end up on the internet within a few hours and you’ll be able to catch up later. If you choose to go to the panel (Ballroom 20/Hall H specifically), you will be foregoing sleep, comfort, and the rest of the convention, because going to panels is not an easy 30 minutes and then you walk away ordeal. It’s a wake up at the crack of dawn, get in line, wait in line, maybe you get into the room, maybe you don’t, probably sit through something you don’t care about, fight your way to the front seat, and then it happens, and then it’s over, the exhibitor hall is almost closed, and you’re hungry/exhausted kinda deal. I only regretted this move with the Star Wars: The Force Awakens Panel, because….duh, free concert and lightsabers? Ugh. The second part of that decision was made because of the outside activities. Every year several outside activities are set up behind the convention center, at PetCo Park, across from PetCo Park, and in the Gaslamp. There’s so much, it’s hard to get to it all. Friday is usually the best day to do it, so that’s what we did Friday.
Friday highlights included; The Heroes Reborn experience which was a basically a long trailer and a rad photo op, The Fear the Walking Dead set walk through with virtual graffiti (where I virtually spray painted a dick on the wall, because I’m a 14 year old boy at heart), free Ice Cream from the street team for Scream Queens where you also got to shoot a .gif with your friends (or a creepy old man in our case who wouldn’t leave us alone in line and we had to push out of our .gif), and an inflatable dog house promoting The Peanuts, where we got to play with real actual beagles. I have to say this year, the free swag was much better. There was actually useful things like ice cream, bottled water, popsicles, umbrellas, hats, sunglasses, flashlights, keychains, and t-shirts. You didn’t have to scavenger hunt, tweet or hashtag things or give away your firstborns’ personal information like the past two years. There was even a truck giving out free Totino’s Pizza Rolls (and I might have gotten back in line there 3-4 times)! Every year across from the convention center Assassin’s Creed has constructed an obstacle course that I have wanted to do every year. I’m a peripheral Assassin’s Creed fan, having played the games with my brother and ex-boyfriend, but mostly I just like to pretend I’m a badass and jump over shit. However, the past four years I’ve lacked the confidence, physical awareness, and friend support to actually do said obstacle course. Well, this year we walked past, the line was only 30 minutes, and my girls had my back. I made that course my bitch, except for the part where I might’ve jumped too early and the one part where I kinda fell. But, whatever! You try doing an obstacle course in skinny jeans and creepers! We saw Josh Holloway ride pass us in an open air bus thing, promoting his new show Colony, which I have no clue what it’s about, but I loved him as Sawyer on Lost so I swooned, regardless. As we were heading to PetCo Park to take part in the Nerdist offerings, Blake Anderson from Workaholics walked past us, and I legitimately stopped breathing and then yelled my love for him, despite his status as a married man, at his retreating back. I’m such a classy lady, I know. Then, there was a group of beautiful buff men walking around in kilts promoting Outlander, and they were being followed by people playing bagpipes! It all came together. The Nerdist had some fun photo ops, and some awesome merchandise for Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls (I love Amy Poehler; she is all I want to be - - her and a shark).
After running around all day, we ordered some to-go Thai, and headed to our friend Katherine’s hotel room. Katherine is one of the raddest women I’ve ever met; she’s an artist, a baker, an expert cosplayer, and generally the sweetest person ever. She was Him, the year we were The Powerpuff Girls and it’s been love ever since. We ate dinner together, drank a case of Smirnoff Ice’s, kinda played Cards Against Humanity, watched random youtube videos (including our favorite video ever - Drunk Girls by Chris D’Elia - that we force everyone to watch when we drink), and witnessed Katherine’s amazing bff, Jonny, give a twerking lesson.
I don’t advise against hanging out in The Gaslamp at night. It’s actually a ton of fun. The Gaslamp has a hot club/bar scene and it’s especially funny during Comic Con, because San Diego bros meet SDCC nerds. But, we just weren’t feeling it this year. I think the older you get, the more drinking at home and knowing where your bed is becomes appealing.
Okay, Saturday. We had badges! But, um…we only used them for two hours. You see, we decided to give up our day to wait in line for the Game of Thrones experience. We are HUGE Game of Thrones fans. We generally have Game of Thrones parties at least three times during the season, we text about it in between episodes, we quote it to each other daily. We are Games of Thrones people and none of us had ever done the experience because the line is always way too long. Since we hadn’t ever done it, and because the experience will only happen for two more years, because we only have two more years of show, we had to. We got in line at 9:30, it didn’t open until 11:00, and the line was already around the block. The line was CRAZY. I took a slight detour from the line, to get a Peanuts trucker hat, and omg, the lines for the outside/free to the public stuff on Saturdays and Sundays is THE WORST. But, I got to run into my main, Annelisa, so it was totally worth it. There was a great give away for X-Men: Apocalypse, and they had these awesome canvas totes, that they would not give to me. While we waited in line I talked to my favorite youtuber/producer/writer/actor Issa Rae, and it was everything to me. I encountered the busiest SubWay I have ever seen and never experienced so much anxiety over a sandwich. A pizza truck pulled up next to the GoT line and started selling personal pies out of the back. The lady behind us had the funniest laugh I’ve ever heard, and I could not record it, despite valiant efforts. We finally got in at 2:00. That’s right, 2:00 pm. I hate to say it, but it was pretty disappointing. It was mostly photo ops (which are a great giveaway, because they’re a personalized moment), but I expected more? The photos didn’t even turn out that great, tbh. They had a few costumes from the most recent season, and the most important part, taking a picture with The Iron Throne. However, right when we braved through and got to The Iron Throne, they stopped the line so a newscaster could film a story. We were so irritated at that point, Sirose and I, literally stood there and said “SHAME” over and over during her segment (if you’re caught up you totally get the reference and know we’re hilarious assholes).
After that, it was into the con. We saw two great cosplays I couldn’t get pictures of; Lego Heisenberg, and what we dubbed BoJack Stormtrooper - a guy in a Stormtropper uniform with a horse head mask on. Our friend George, had met up with us for the day, and he hilariously asked for selfies with nearly every cosplayer he saw. The exhibitor hall was set up very much like previous years. I really enjoyed what Weta had set up, as I always do. Hasbro and Mattel did amazingly again. Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon were fun. DC, Marvel, Image and Boom were as expected. We only had < three hours to see the exhibitor hall before it closed, and we were on a mission to find a crucial item for our cosplay the next day. We did multiple laps at high speeds, couldn’t find it, almost gave up, and then 30 minutes before the hall closed, we saw a teen boy with it on, I accosted him, and we found it! Celebrations all around, and then back to the hotel.
Nicole was absent that day to attend to a family matter, so we decided to surprise her with a pizza party when she came back. We mixed several drinks. Katherine and Jonny came over to party with us. My two cents about the pizza fiasco can be summed up in the following tweet; .
We ended the night singing “Baby” by Justin Bieber, talking about Japanese Dating Sims, almost stopping an elevator because we were all twerking in it, crashing a “for singles” party in the ballroom of our hotel that had already ended, and being kicked out of the empty ballroom.
The final day of the con, and our cosplay day.
We usually cosplay on Saturday, but because Nicole was absent we changed days. We have started a tradition of having breakfast at Dublin Square and having cheap mimosas to get us jolly for a day of running around in character. This year, the brunch special apparently didn’t apply, even though the sign was posted for brunch and drink specials outside…so be careful? I still recommend them because the food is EXCELLENT, our server was understanding and applied the special for us anyway, and holy crap they make a boss Bloody Mary. Our cosplay was wildly successful, and we were even instagrammed by the animation studio behind Bob’s Burgers, Bentoboxent. We had tons of pictures taken. We ran around doing our last minute shopping, like everyone else. If you forego preview night, Sunday is usually the best day to go shopping at the Con (unless you want a popular exclusive item, then I recommend trying that on Friday morning). After we had our fill in the exhibitor hall, we went to the Adult Swim carnival. Adult Swim always has something fun and wild going on outside. This was the second year they had the Meatwad dome, and it made me very happy, as I love Aqua Teen Hunger Force, and it’s ending.
By 4:40, we were all tired and worn out. We went back to the hotel, grabbed the car, and began the journey home. It wouldn’t be a road trip without getting lost, and we definitely did that on the way to Luche Libre Taco Shop. Stopping at Luche Libre before heading back to LA has also become tradition. I can’t recommend it enough. We always order one for the road, and usually extras to take home to friends and family. We ordered 13 burritos, total. Our order got confused, and the lovely manager let us sit in the special Champions Booth while they fixed! Totally a dream come true; I’ve wanted to sit in that Champions Booth since I heard of Luche Libre three years ago. The drive home was relatively easy and even with heavier leaving Comic Con traffic, it was only three hours. I fell asleep on part of the ride, and apparently all I missed was a conversation about fan fiction, which sounds typical for my girls. My leg of the trip ended in the most perfect way; a Taylor Swift sing-a-long; because Shake It Off was made for group singing loudly.
And that was my #SDCC2015!
Things that I’m looking forward to, coming out of #SDCC2015;
The Visit - M. Night Shyamalan’s newest offering. I wouldn’t really call myself an M. Night Shyamalan fan (I loved The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, and The Village), but I am always intrigued by his work, so I’ll see this for sure. [The Visit - Official Trailer (HD) - YouTube]
Suicide Squad - Okay, I wasn’t a fan of Suicide Sqaud the comic; mostly because of Harley Quinn and how I feel they bastardized her character. So I definitely wasn’t on board with the movie, and I’m still not, and I still know I’m going to see it anyway. I love Viola Davis and think she’s a perfect Amanda Waller. I’m not here for Harley (even though Margot Robbie is great casting and I’d probably love her as any other incarnation of Harley). Will Smith doesn’t look like he’s giving his best work. I love Jai Courtney. And shockingly, I actually am all about Jared Leto’s Joker, shitty tattoos and all. [Suicide Squad - Comic-Con First Look [HD]]
The Flash Season Two - I really enjoyed the first season and can’t wait for more. [The Flash Video - Power Outage | Watch Online ... - The CW]
Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice - I didn’t really love the first Superman movie, and I feel like DC is really trying to catch up to Marvel in terms of film franchises, so I’m really skeptical about this movie. I love Ben Affleck, and seeing him on screen just lights me up. I think he’s going to make a brilliant Batman, but how many characters does this movie have? How many plotlines are there? Batman and Superman are going to go from warring to being in the Justice League in one two hour movie? Oh, you threw in Wonder Woman because everyone was pissed that you always shit on her and forget about her (she looks fab in the trailer though). Jesse Eisenberg looks great as Luthor, but idk man. I just don’t know. I’m going to see it anyway though. [Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice - Comic-Con Trailer [HD]]
More issues of Lumberjanes, Archie, Bitch Planet, Batgirl, and Gotham Academy. [Lumberjanes #01 (Cover A) - BOOM! Studios - Come …] [Archie Comics] [Series | Bitch Planet | Image Comics][BATGIRL #44 | DC Comics] [GOTHAM ACADEMY #7 | DC Comics]
Hand of God - a new Amazon show starring Ron Perlman handing out vigilante justice. [Hand of God (TV Series 2014– ) - IMDb]
Fantastic Four - I loved Chronicle and think Josh Trank is brilliant. I cannot wait to see what he does, especially since the trailer was so good. Also, I’ll watch almost anything with Michael B. Jordan. [Fantastic Four Official Trailer #1 (2015) - Miles Teller …]
Gotham Season Two - This show definitely had it’s issues, and I feel like I shouldn’t enjoy it as much as I do, but I’m ready. [Gotham | Latest Buzz - Fox]
Blindspot- The plot of this show reminds me of something else that I can’t put my finger on, but I like Greg Berlanti’s other shows, so I’m going to give it a shot. [Blindspot - NBC.com]
Deadpool - I’m all for Ryan Reynolds (ever since Two Guys, A Girl, and a Pizza Place), and I love that they’re staying so true to the source material and releasing a movie with a hard R rating. [The Leaked Deadpool Trailer Is Out and You Need To …]
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies - I bought the book the week it came out. Pride and Prejudice is one of my favorite books. Zombies are zombies. I am here for this. [Lily James & Matt Smith Debut 'Pride & Prejudice & Zombies' Trailer at Comic-Con 2015]
Ash vs. Evil Dead - I’m a peripheral Evil Dead fan, and this seems like it could be fun. [Ash vs Evil Dead (TV Series 2015– ) - IMDb]
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt. 2 - I love the books, I love the movie, I love JLaw. And plus, Gwendolyn Christie! [The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 Teaser Trailer – 'Join …]
The Hateful Eight - I am a HUGE Tarantino fan. Huge. I can’t wait. He says it’s his favorite since Kill Bill and I LOVE Kill Bill. [Quentin Tarantino Delivers Mind-Blowing Look At 'Hateful Eight' – Comic Con]
Crimson Peak - So, this looks like The Haunting, but with del Toro’s amazing visuals and casting and budget, so I want it. Tom Hiddleston. That is all. [Crimson Peak - Official Theatrical Trailer [HD] - YouTube]
Once Upon A Time Season Five - Except for the Frozen stuff, and the fate of my bb Neal, I will stan for this show FOREVER.[[VIDEO] 'Once Upon a Time' Season 5: Dark Swan Emma Spoilers from Jennifer Morrison]
Heroes Reborn - JJ Abrams is the mind behind my favorite television show of all time, Alias, so I will basically devote time to anything he does, even if it gets weird in the middle, because he’s left it. I really liked the first Heroes, and nostalgia is in right now, so we’ll see.[Heroes Reborn On NBC - NBC.com]
Star Wars: The Force Awakens - I don’t even have to explain this, do I? [Star Wars: The Force Awakens - Movie Trailers - iTunes]
X-Men: Apocalypse - I love X-Men and really enjoyed Days of Future Past. [Here are all the new characters introduced in the leaked 'X-Men’ trailer]
American Horror Story: Hotel and Scream Queen - I just can’t quit you, Ryan Murphy.[American Horror Story: Hotel - Official Teaser Trailer (2015) Lady Gaga | Horror TV Series HD] [SCREAM QUEENS | Official Trailer - YouTube]
Also, I don’t know how old this is, but I just found out about it this weekend so enjoy [Thundercats Movie trailer (fan made) - YouTube] I love Thundercats (in fact I have all of the material for a Cheetara cosplay that I haven’t finished), I even liked the new cartoon that came out a few years back. I know a movie will probably be shit, but I still want it.
And finally; here are some pictures of some of the ridiculously rad cosplay I saw: