Hello humanoids! Last week I attended San Diego Comic Con for the first time with my sister and a handful of friends. For someone like me, this is basically The Promised Land. Let’s get to it.
Wednesday: Preview Night, Hop Con 3.0: w00tstout
Comic Con started off with a bang. After many awesome cosplay sightings outside the convention center we managed to get onto the floor and buy a shit-ton of merchandise before heading out to Hop Con. Hop Con is a food + craft beer party thrown by Wil Wheaton and Aisha Tyler at Stone Brewery every year. If you haven’t been- the place itself is gorgeous. Koi ponds, gardens, beautiful landscaping; Stone is worth the trip even without any special event happening. Wil and Aisha are super nice and Aisha even collaborates on a beer every year and serves it up herself, like the motherfucking boss that she is.
Thursday: Extant, Doctor Who, Con Men, Carry On My Wayward Cocktails
I went to the Extant panel because it was in Ballroom 20 before the Sherlock panel, which I had initially planned to attend. Halle Berry and Jeffrey Dean Morgan are both fucking stunning. Halle said some lovely, insightful things about representation on television as opposed to movies, getting roles as a woman of color who is “no longer young”, and preferring to have more control over her projects now. Of course she looks amazing but since Hollywood is a sexist, ageist, whitewashing monster, I was in no way surprised to hear about the shit she’s had to deal with. I’ve never seen the show but based on the preview it looks fucking cool. Extant: Added to my list.
After the Extant panel I happened to check Twitter and saw that the motherfucking HALL H LINE WAS SHORT AS HELL. This does not ever happen. So I hauled ass over there to see the Doctor Who panel instead since the Sherlock panel was not going to have any of the actual stars from the show and Doctor Who was. During the brief time we waited in the Hall H line, a cosplayer had mingled in with the Jesus protesters that show up to SDCC every year, and provided us with entertainment as we waited.
Troll Level: Joker
The panel was great. Moffat was surprisingly likable and I’ve always loved Peter Capaldi. Jenna Coleman continues to be adorable and also about as interesting as a bowl of dishwater. She was clearly never interested in DW until she took the role, so she had very little insight or stories to offer, but she is perfectly nice. Michelle Gomez, who plays the newest incarnation of the Master (or the Mistress, as the character is now known) was the best and most surprising part of the panel. Clever, quick, whip-smart and hilarious, she had great responses to all of the questions and is a whole lot sexier in person than her severe characterization on the show would have you believe. I can’t say I cared a whole lot about her character either way for the first half of series 8 that I managed to watch, but count me in as a fan now.
After that came the Con Man panel. The brainchild of Nathan Fillion and Alan Tudyk, Con Man is basically a love letter to the Firefly fandom. It looks hilarious. Wil Wheaton, Felicia Day, Seth Green, and other nerdy fan-favorites completed the panel. It was even more fun than the DW panel, and it was capped off with a surprise marriage proposal between two of the crew members. The man who was proposing clearly caught his boyfriend completely by surprise, and when they started choking up, so did everyone else. Now thanks to SCOTUS, these longtime partners can return to their home in the South and tie the knot. Not a dry eye in the house.
In the evening we had tickets to a Supernatural fandom-run cocktail party at a downtown San Diego bar. There was food, an open bar with SPN-themed cocktails (I myself was drinking single man-tears) and best of all, SWAG BAGS.
Best. Party. Favors. EVER. The Hillywood girls were there, and at the end of the party they played their amazing video and everyone sang along. Good times.
(Here is the video, for any nerd left on the planet who hasn’t seen it)
Friday: Exhibit Hall, Chris Hardwick’s Funcomfortable Tour
My sister and I walked the floor and managed to talk to Jane Espensen and Orlando Jones, get autographs and pictures with Taran Killam, and even spotted the gorgeous actor who plays Lestrade in Sherlock walking around. Did I mention he is gorgeous? Because he is. Also the BBC booth took so much of my money. Taran was a highlight because after I told him how much I loved the SNL sketch in which he played John Boehner opposite Miley Cyrus for the “We Did Stop” video, this happened:
Too adorable for words.
After a fruitful day in the Exhibit Hall we got to see Chris Hardwick perform stand-up at the Balboa. If you think you know Hardwick because of all the shows he hosts, lets just say he is a little different when he is unfiltered. He started off with a joke involving mothers and jizz and it only got better from there. I laughed so much my sides hurt.
Saturday: Fan Favorites, Simpsons, Seth McFarlane, Grimm, Outlander, Hannibal, Hall H Sleepover
I spent most of Saturday in Ballroom 20. My goal was to get a good seat for the Hannibal panel (or “Pannibal”) at 5pm, so my ass was in the seat by 11am. Besides Grimm at 3pm I didn’t even know what else would be in the room, but as it turns out the Comic Con Gods were smiling down upon me. The panel I walked in on was a “Fan Favorites” panel and boasted Norman Reedus, Maisie Williams, Yvette Nicole Brown, Wendi Mclendon-Covey, and David Anders. Maisie and Norman were every bit as cool as they seem- especially Maisie. My favorite story of the panel was how a young fan tweeted her and said anything Maisie tweeted back, she would use as her yearbook quote. Maise replied “Anyone can be killed”.
Maisie = Real Life Arya.
The Simpsons panel was mostly notable because it featured Gulliermo Del Toro, whose movies I love. I haven’t actually watched the show itself in years, but the panel was fun. Ditto for McFarlane’s, mostly because all of the Family Guy voice actors busted out their character voices and read lines. Grimm is a really fun show full of hot people, so naturally that was a great panel. I’ve never seen Outlander, but those people were clearly having a blast with each other which is always awesome to watch.
FINALLY: THE PANNIBAL. Bryan Fuller is the best. Hugh Dancy and Richard Armitage were there as well, and all three of them humored us by rocking flower crowns. I do not have time to even scratch the surface of how amazing Hannibal is and what a fucking travesty it is that it was cancelled. Bryan gave us a sliver of hope that someone else might still pick it up, but I have been burned too often by shitty network decisions to hold out too much hope. My favorite moment was when Bryan was asked why he has chosen to leave out most of the sexual violence from the books, and Bryan explained that if you are going to portray rape or sexual violence you have a responsibility to present it carefully; fully examining all of the consequences to every person involved, and if you’re not willing to put in the time and effort to do that, you should simply omit it. He mentioned that many shows right now don’t do this, and he didn’t want his show to be cheap or lazy. And this is why Bryan Fuller is my favorite.
Yet another reason why women and gay men need to helm more shows. Also: Fucking cosplay on point.
Apparently he is also putting Richard Armitage in short jean shorts later this season. Fannibalism forever.
After the Pannibal it was time for our Hall H camp-out. We had a friend with us who did not have a badge for Saturday, so she got in line for Hall H at 11am (bless her). After our panels were done, my sister and I joined her and our other friends for what turned out to be a surprisingly enjoyable, restful camp-out. It helped that the Hillywood girls came by and handed out chocolate, then about 10pm Misha Collins himself rolled up with the Random Acts crew and brought us all pizza. Because the Supernatural fandom is better than all of the other fandoms (yes, we were camping out for Supernatural- I will address that on my Sunday post so shut your fucking face). They filed us onto the grass under the tents, and we snuggled into our sleeping bags and slept in the wonderfully mild San Diego weather. You don’t have to camp out to get into Hall H, necessarily (except for the day before ANYTHING Star Wars), but you do if you want decent seats. Out of a hall packed with thousands of people, we were in row SIX. Boom.
Sunday: Supernatural in Hall H AKA the fat cherry on the Comic Con sundae
So: Supernatural. If you follow this blog at all you will no doubt remember my vow to stop watching this hot mess of a show and participating in the fandom. I’m leaving that post up because I fully meant it, and also because everything I said about the way Charlie was treated is 100% accurate, but leaving the fandom proved to be a bit more difficult than I imagined. The panel demonstrated beautifully why that is and actually helped me put it into words. There were so many amazing things crammed into a single hour that I hardly know where to start, but leaving aside how hilarious and engaging the panel was overall, it can be broken down thusly…
1) For the most part, WE ALL FEEL THE SAME WAY. The fandom, the actors, the good writers- we are all united in hating the same things, and one hero had the guts to get up to the mic and call out Jeremy Carver to his fucking face about it. This girl gets up there in front of thousands of fans and basically asks Jeremy- given how female deaths are so frequently used to further the male character’s storylines on Supernatural, how did he think it was a good idea to kill Charlie, who was their only queer character to boot, and dump her in a bathtub? The hall went nuts with applause. The actors (who were pretty vocal about their disagreement with that decision after the subsequent outrage exploded online) literally half-stood to rotate their chairs and TURNED THEIR FUCKING BACKS ON HIM while he answered. They left him twitching in the wind as he fumbled his way through a non-explanation which basically consisted of “well, um, we kill everybody, blah blah bullllllshit”. He seems to think that killing everyone is what keeps people watching, which just goes to show how little he understands the fandom. Sorry bro, but we keep watching DESPITE this constant dumbfuckery with fridging. But honestly, just hearing someone speak for all of us and call out the showrunner reminded me why I love the fandom. We are frequently disgruntled. We do not blindly defend our show, even though we love it. We are overall a thoughtful, intelligent, passionate bunch, and that is good company to be in.
2) The actors. A huge part of why I could not bring myself to dump the show is because after ten seasons, I could not desert these people. These kind, beautiful people who come to every con, who show up ready to listen, who share their family photos with us, who cry with us, laugh with us, and listen to us bitch about the show without a shred of impatience or anger. These boys are angels. They understand the characters better than any showrunner (besides Kripke) or writer (besides Robbie Thomas) at this point, but as actors, they do not always have the control that they would like to have. I have been to 5 SPN cons at this point and I have yet to see their kindness or commitment waver. I watch countless television shows and am part of so many fandoms, and there is literally no other cast like this one. They embrace us and allow us into their lives and personal struggles, and by doing so have turned a fandom into a family. No matter how much your family pisses you off, you can never really leave.
3) Always Keep Fighting. Our fandom is powerful. We are capable of ugliness, but we are also capable of wonderful things. From the fan art, to the fan fiction, to the charitable projects, we are always ready to find the beauty in everything and lend a hand when it is needed. This was exemplified in the candle display in Hall H that I was so proud to be a part of.
For some background: Earlier this year Jared was forced to take a break from shooting the show and fly home abruptly. He has been fairly open with us about his struggle with depression and even started a t-shirt campaign last year that raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for “To Write Love On Her Arms”, a charity that provides resources to people struggling with depression and addiction. The t-shirts he created had the words “Always Keep Fighting” on the front- a motto many fans have adopted as their own. After his break this year, someone got the idea to organize a huge show of support at Comic Con. With the help of Random Acts they distributed small electric tea lights to almost every single person in line for Hall H. Hall H can hold about 7,000 people. After the Q&A portion started, everyone in the audience was signaled and we all held up our lights. It is dark in the hall, so if you looked at the screen, all you could see was a sea of twinkling lights that looked like stars. Everyone on the panel was confused for a few seconds, then after hearing the shouts they slowly realized what was happening. Jared barely held it together and he was clearly touched beyond words. To be in that hall was to feel wrapped up in the support and the warmth that the fans show to the actors and to each other, and that the actors give right back to us.
That is why I am still here.
And with that, my San Diego Comic Con adventures came to an end. One of the hardest parts of Supernatural Cons is returning to normal life and San Diego Comic Con gave me the same emotional hangover, times 50. I was not prepared for how amazing the experience would be so I was equally unprepared for how difficult it would be to come home. I anticipated that the good parts would be evened-out by bad parts. Long lines, huge crowds, not getting to see everything I wanted to, and most of all, exhaustion. I felt none of those things. The crowds were nowhere near as bad as I anticipated, I waited in practically no lines besides Hall H (which I was mentally prepared for), and I saw almost every single thing I wanted to. I didn’t drink too much and I slept enough, so by the time I woke up Monday morning, I was still high off of the experience. There is nothing like spending five days around people who are as passionate as you are about the same types of things.
If I ever miss a SDCC from here on out, it will not be from lack of trying.