Saturday, July 30, 2011

Last post about Comic-Con

I mean it.

My good friend Jeremy pointed me to this collection of photos taken at the con, in the San Diego Reader. Scroll down about 1/4 of the way to see yours truly in Phantom of the Paradise costume.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

"Somebody wake up Hicks."

This was on the last day of Comic-Con, when exhaustion could no longer be staved off.

Good times!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Comic-Con 2011 Day 4: Have Fun Storming the Castle!

Got up entirely too early Sunday to make sure I got a seat for the Castle panel (missing last year's panel was the lowlight of last year's con). I dropped off my suitcase with the bell captain but carried my laptop and costume (didn't want to risk either laptop or Phantom helmet getting lost or damaged) and got in line. Many, many other Castle and Firefly fans were there, waiting. I felt kind of bad for the panel before Castle, which was Wild Cards (and therefore included George R. R. Martin), who knew perfectly well that 90 percent of the people there were just waiting for the Castle panel but seemed to find all that amusing.

The Castle panel itself was a hoot, with cast members Jon Huertas, Tamala Jones, Seamus Dever, Molly Quinn (who dressed as Capt. Mal Reynolds and won the adoration of the entire room) and of course Nathan Fillion. We got to see the first scene of the season 4 premier and watch the cast all joke around. Lots of fun.

I failed to luck out for winning a signing from the Castle panel, and I failed to score a signing Nathan Fillion was doing at the California Browncoats booth. But who did NOT fail was my friend Erik, who had teamed up with a bunch of other Doctor Who fans to dress in costume as the various doctors. After a signing with current Doctor Matt Smith and companion Karen Gillan, the various doctors sneaked into the room and asked Smith and Gillan to pose with them for a photo. Smith and Gillan were delighted, as you can see below, but Con management was less than delighted and the various doctors had to beat a hasty retreat. But it was a moment no one there will forget!

Many, many versions of Doctor Who (look for my friend Erik in the back, with the curly blond wig and umbrella)

By now I (and plenty of others) was getting into the "glassy-eyed with exhaustion" phase of the con, so I caught a bit of the Buffy musical episode and then headed back to the hotel to retrieve my bag. Then the three of us went to our traditional end-of-con dinner at the ever-fabulous Lou and Mickey's (the garlic broiled shrimp are to die for) and then caught the trolley to the train station.

I always feel like Comic-Con isn't over until the train ride is done, and that was actually true, because on the train I saw Castle cast member Molly Quinn - I said hello, told her how much I was looking forward to the new season and how awesome her costume at the panel was. She was traveling with her mom and they were both friendly and excited about the day and the show.

The Con isn't perfect. The organizers still haven't figured out how to match panel demand to appropriate room size, the triaging of seats between panels could be handled much better, and ticketing is still a fiasco. But I still had a really good time, and I'm looking forward to next year.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Comic-Con 2011 Day 3: I Am A Consumer Whore!

Slept in this morning and then skipped over to the con's vendor room to do a bit of shopping.

The vendor floor is a lot of fun, if a bit claustrophobic over in the big media sections. I have no interest in figures and other knicknacks, so I stuck mostly over to the comics/books section and at the "artist's alley". I ended up purchasing:

  • A t-shirt for Scott (the NASA logo redone as TARDIS for Doctor Who)
  • Several Star Wars action figures and a comic book for Alex
  • A couple of books for me: a Harlan Ellison story collection and the humor book All My Friends Are Dead (signed by the writers)
  • A many-sided dice necklace (sue me, it was cute)
  • A print from Last Kiss Comics (it says "More caffeine! I've got lives to run!")
  • An original Shock SuspenStories from the 1950s. It's a little tattered, as well it should be, but the Shock comics are my favorites of EC's lineup and now that Gemstone Publishing seems to have discontinued its EC reprints, I couldn't pass this up.

And the day wasn't over yet! I grabbed some lunch from Starbucks and then headed over to Joltin' Joe's on 4th street for one of the events being put on by Nerd Machine. The event in question was "A Conversation with Nathan Fillion" so you can imagine how thrilled I was to see that my seat for the event was essentially front row center. Yes, I was just about 10 feet from Mr. Fillion. Sigh.

Where was I? Anyway, after an intro by Zachary Levi, who set up the Nerd Machine events, Nathan Fillion came on, and then welcomed his fellow Firefly cast members Adam Baldwin and Jewel Staite. For an hour the three of them took questions and joked with us and each other. It was a very fun time, one of the highlights of this year's con.

Left to right: Adam Baldwin, Jewel Staite, Nathan Fillion

After I wandered back to the hotel in something of a daze, I finally picked up my swag from the Game of Thrones panel - impressive! A bag containing a Targaryen t-shirt, a copy of Game of Thrones (which I gave to Gerry in hopes he'll get hooked on the series), and a mouse pad with a map of Westeros. After that, I took a break and jumped in the pool. Then we met Erik and Gerry's friends Scott and Debbie for dinner. The appetizers were great (especially the lobster potstickers and the coconut shrimp) as was the dark chocolate lava cake dessert; I was less enthused about the entree (mahi mahi) but overall a fine dinner.

And now, I confess that because I'm at the end of the blog entry, I have to finish packing. Waaaah. But I need to do it, because the last day of the con will be a busy one. No update until Monday, as I'll have Boswell the Laptop packed away for the train trip home.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Comic-Con 2011 Day 2: I Thought It Was a Costume Ball!

I've been going to Comic-Con since 2008, but I've never dressed up in costume. But now that I've finally assembled my Phantom of the Paradise outfit, I decided this year would be the year.

Started off the morning in normal clothes, however, as I had a signing ticket for George R. R. Martin to acquire, an event to check in for (more on that tomorrow), and an errand to run. But once all that was done I assembled my complete ensemble.

Yours truly as the Phantom of the Paradise.

Special thanks to my friend Jeremy for telling me about the mask when one became available on eBay. Without this, the costume would not have been possible.

I tried to shop while wearing the outfit but soon found this was impossible. Awesome as that mask looks, it has very poor visibility. So I settled for strolling around, doing the "see and be seen" thing. The movie of Phantom of the Paradise is over 3 decades old and rather obscure, so it was gratifying that I got at least 30, probably closer to 40 people asking to take my picture. I even was photographed when I was taking a break and having a tall nonfat latte! One guy actually bowed down and worshiped me! The reactions from people were lots of fun and the whole thing gave me a fresh perspective on the con.

The Phantom gives Jeremy what for.

Whilst still in costume I saw George R. R. Martin and he signed my copy of A Game of Thrones, and I thanked him for his wonderful books. Then after visiting my friends Mary and Jeremy, I went to the hotel to strip off costume. In addition to the mask it included vinyl pants, so I was very sweaty and very thankful to get all that off. No one said nerditry was comfortable.

Torgo and The Master outside the Rifftrax panel.

After a shower and a change into regular clothes, I went into the con to see if I could get into the Rifftrax panel. I did, if only for the last 15 minutes, but what I saw was amusing. (And when we went back to the hotel, I bumped into Rifftrax fellows Michael J. Nelson, Bill Corbett, and Kevin Murphy, and got to shake their hands. They've given me lots of entertainment over the years so it was a thrill to be able to do that.

The Ghostbusters car makes an appearance.

We met up with friends La Tisha and Craig for dinner, then Erik and I took a much-needed soak in the hot tub.

Tomorrow: shopping!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Comic-Con 2011 Day 1: Patience Pays Off

The first actual day of festivities at Comic-Con got off to a decent start. I got in line to get my badges. I was worried this was going to be a pain as I could not get a four-day pass and had to get individual passes for each day; in the past they made you stand in line every day to get your pass for that day. This year, thankfully, the Con organizers had a moment of lucidity and let people get all four day's badges at once. Hooray!

I ran over to Ballroom 20 to get in line for the Burn Notice panel - I don't watch the show but I cannot resist the chance to see Bruce Campbell work a room full of nerds as only he can. Unfortunately I didn't get into the room in time (but I saw Bruce at last year's Weekend of Horror con so I'm not complaining). But I did eventually get into the room where I camped out so I would be guaranteed a seat for the Game of Thrones panel.

Game of Thrones heraldry outside Ballroom 20.

3 pm finally came and so did George R. R. Martin, author of the Song of Ice and Fire series. Also along were some cast members from the HBO Game of Thrones adaptation: Jason Momoa (Khal Drogo), Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen), Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister), Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister), Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister), and Kit Harington (Jon Snow). The panel was fun and informative, with the show stolen by Jason Momoa. I was happy I sat around most of the day for it!

A Song of Ice and Fire author George R. R. Martin.

After the panel I swung by the freebie table to drop off bookmarks promoting Bookballoon, then I met up with Erik and Gerry and we went for an early dinner, as none of us had had much lunch. We had a very tasty meal at The Old Spaghetti Factory, then headed back to the con. There Erik and a bunch of his Doctor Who friends did a big photo opportunity, then we all went over to catch the tail end of a Spike and Mike animation show (some really good stuff), and then a showing of Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, which had a guest appearance by star Felicia Day.

A whole lotta Doctor Who fans.

Then it was back to the hotel for rest and relaxation!

Tomorrow: My first costume at Comic-Con!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Comic-Con 2011 Day 0: A Long-Expected Party

We caught the train from Anaheim and made it to San Diego without incident. I love the train ride. It gives a certain special quality to our pilgrims' progress to Nerdvana. (Get it? Nerdvana? Oh, never mind.)

My friends Erik and Gerry and I are getting ready to consolidate our schedules and plan tomorrow's plan of attack. My top priorities for Thursday are the Game of Thrones panel and the showing of Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog.

In the meantime, everybody feast your eyes on these shots from our hotel room balcony. You know, even though it's not cheap there's something to be said for staying at the hotel right next to the con. The view from the 11th floor is lovely.

Look! Batman on the side of a building!

The view from our balcony.

I bet I could drop a penny right into the pool.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Off to Comic-Con

I'll be one of 10,000 nerds descending on San Diego to turn it into Geek Heaven for the next few days. Really looking forward to panels for Game of Thrones and Castle, not to mention the usual gazillion vendors and celebrities. And of course, the chance to hobnob with my brethren in nerditry.

Look for regular blog updates, time and technology willing. It should be fun!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Dancing about Dance With Dragons

Will have A Dance With Dragons finished by the end of the weekend, and I'm quite happy with it. I can't wait to jump into the next installment of the series!

Oh... wait.

I will have a review/analysis coming soon - possibly not til after Comic-Con this coming week, but keep your eyes peeled for my thoughts on the book and its take on power, responsibility, and ice zombies.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

One week

One week til we get George R. R. Martin's A Dance With Dragons. Yes, I'm looking forward to it just a bit, why do you ask?

Review: Carrion Comfort

My review of Dan Simmons' disappointing novel Carrion Comfort is up at Horrorview.