I've been meaning for quite some time to write down my thoughts and ruminations from this years San Diego Comic Con since I epically failed doing an update from the actual event. I did not take an exorbitant amount of pictures this year, something I always MEAN to do but never in truth actually get around to. Still I have uploaded a few pics with captions down below for your viewing pleasure. I can easily say this, SDCC 2010 was one of the best comic con experiences I have ever had.
I've faithfully been attending Comic Con since 1992 and the key to making it a fresh and enjoyable experience each year is that you have to grow along with the show. Comic Con is such an undeniably different experience than it use to be, if your tastes and likes haven't evolved along with the show, then you are in danger of losing the core element that is Comic Con, an unabashed love of popular culture. Because that's what it is now. A pop culture con. Sure comics are still a huge part of that experience, but it's so much more. Comic Con is more now about the experience of whatever passion you have that falls under a much larger umbrella of popular arts, from films, TV, video games, actors, actresses, web features, Asian culture, manga, underground, urban art, and yes comics. It's really Nerd Prom.
This year was a markedly different experience for me. Every few years my interests change into what my driving force at Comic Con is. For a while it was solely comics, but over the years I have flirted with many other areas of interest, to manga, to films, to Star Wars, to my vinyl art phase of the past few years. This year though, was about meeting this online community of friends I have become a part of. A while back I joined a message board for an actress named Olivia Munn, co host of Attack of the Show. Over the past year as I've ventured deeper into social media and on the forum, many of these people have become friends to me.
This was the first year that a large number of them would be in attendance at Con. It was an opportunity to meet a group of people whom I had been chatting with for such a long time where we would all be in one spot at one time, a group of people gathered from all over the world. This was a unique opportunity to be sure, where we had members from New York, Texas, England, Australia, it was a chance for a disparate group of people to meet for the first time.
Perhaps I am getting ahead of myself though. It can't be said enough that my favorite thing of all about Comic Con is getting the chance to hang out with my best friend Jason for 5 days. We have both been attending Con since 1993 (I went one year before) and it is an ingrained part of our life, a tradition and custom that we both look forward to every year. This year was no different, despite his ardent claims of me "cheating" on him by hanging out with other members of the forum. = )
Wednesday is preview night at Con and it's usually my favorite night of the trip. Wednesday is usually the least crowded evening (except the waning hours of Sunday before close) and everything is fresh and new. It's impossible to see everything in teh slim 3 hour window you get that night, but it is plenty of time to make a few key visits and one of my favorite stops is artist Tara McPherson. Tara is an artist I've mentioned on the blog plenty of times before and she is always a wonderful person to talk with. I'm a huge fan of her artistic style and even her personal style. Her artwork is hugely influential in my writing, inspiring me personally. Also the fact that she remembers me every year is another bonus. I bought a great print that she designed this year that's hanging in my house and I plan on adding at least one more next year.
We made a few other pit stops and I got to chat briefly with a few of the forum members before we continued the rounds. Thursday was the big day for our meet up though. One of the forum moderators had talked to Olivia Munn and she had invited 16 of us to a special private meetup with her in one of the restaurants at her hotel. I can tell you that all day Thursday I was very anxious and excited to meet with her and I really don't remember much of the actual convention itself. I know that many of us meet the the G4TV booth to talk where I learned the details of the meetup. That night we all met Olivia at her hotel and she bought us all dessert. It was honestly fucking incredible.
She was completely down to earth, funny, and despite only really having 30 minutes to hang out with us, she spent much closer to an hour (maybe 45 min) talking, taking pictures, and joking with all of us. To be a part of that and to have her thank us for being fans was mind blowing and easily ones of my favorite comic con moments ever. Add in to the fact that this was also really the first time that many of us met for the first time in a group. It was pretty crazy. I think it was also a moment where I realized that anyone who would go to that kind of effort for her fans when she clearly didn't have to was someone who was very special. I appreciated it.
Friday was a day spent in signings, from an Olivia signing in the morning, to being able to chat with another artist that I love, David Mack, was a huge deal. David is the writer and artist of Kabuki and a beautiful painter. One of my favorite super heroes is Dazzler, this very 70's Disco themed hero that in all honesty is pretty cheesy (but then again that's a part of the appeal to me). David did a wonderful brush and ink sketch of her in my book that I really thought was amazing. Just watching his process and method was fantastic. The other truly epic thing that happened on Friday was meeting my friend Shawn. It's a well known fact my love for the 1992 Christian Slater film Kuffs is pretty unabashed. A running joke is my constant lording of the film over others incessantly. Shawn actually painted me a picture of Kuffs. It's gloriously epic. It's a three dimensional image of the films movie poster in black and white. Made from what I think is foam, he shaped each piece and painted it. It's one of the most awesome presents ever given to me. Friday night Jason, his girlfriend, Autumn, and a few other friends Matt and Lauren, all went out to eat at a great little English pub just outside the Gas lamp district.
Saturday was another big G4 day. They broadcast a 4 hour live show from the Convention and a bunch of us wanted to watch it. We managed to snag some prime standing room seats for the show. Many people crowd the booth, which itself is an elevated platform on the show floor, making it hard to be able to stand and watch the show as Fire Marshall's constantly clear the crowds for safety purposes. We got a prime seat though and manage to watch about 2 hours of the broadcast (and even made a few appearances in the background!) before being ushered along. From there we headed over to the joining hotel to watch the live Attack of the Show panel. It was another opportunity for so many of us to meet up again and chat. It was fun, funny and a great experience.
That night Olivia had a book signing of her autobiography. Olivia secured 16 VIP passes for those of us who had been at the dessert meet up and made time to thank us again and take pictures while she signed her book for us. It was kind of surreal being there and seeing other people look at us in all honesty, pretty jealously. She spent the first 15 minutes signing stuff for us and taking pictures again before she started on the rest of the line. This signing was at a Borders downtown and a lot of people had been there a long time waiting. After the book signing and much hugging, about 20 of us wandered down into the Gaslamp and ate a huge dinner at Rock Bottom. It was a great way to end the night and bond with these people, these friends.
Sunday was dedicated to a few things. One was entering a trivia contest at the G4 booth where I placed pretty well, walking away with several T shirts and a gift certificate to ThinkGeek.com for $100. It was pretty cool. Finally my obsessive knowledge of Ninja Warrior and Harry Potter paid off in dividends! I also spent some time diving through some old comic bins looking for X-Men comics. My big comic kick lately has been writer Chris Claremont's X-Men run from the late 70's to the early 90's. I'm nearing in on completing his run and I managed to find a few key books that I needed. Along with that I helped Jason dive through the bins looking for classic horror comics and covers, he has really been drawn to the outrageous covers artists like Nestor Redondo and Joe Kubert did in the late 60's and 70's.
Add in these factors plus being able to hang out with my best friends, I truly loved comic con. I walked away with a couple of wonderful pieces of art, met two of my favorite people in the world, and had the chance to embrace an entirely new group of friends. Olivia's treatment of me at the dessert meet up was truly unique and one of the most memorable things I have ever done at con. Plus my friends being there. I am the type of person to who friendship means a lot to and the people I met at Comic Con were far nicer than I expected. And I got to hang out with my best friend Jason. A guy couldn't ask for a better trip. See you in 2011!
Olivia Munn Fan Group at her Book signing.
It's Kenneth Braghn, director of Thor.
One guys sweet Darkseid costume. I really wish I had snapped more costume pics this year.
Olivia at the dessert meeting, signing an autograph. I liked the very intimate nature of the pic. And of the event.
Ms. Munn and me at the dessert meet up.
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