Another year, another round of SDCC under my belt. It’s the same tiring, frustrating, hair-pulling experience year after year and I’d still go back and do it again in a heartbeat. Let’s go through the recap, yeah?
Ramen from Underbelly
Toroniku ramen from Santouka
Not pictured: The bowl of ramen I had at Yakyudori because somehow I never got a pic. WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME??
Oh, you thought I was going to talk about Comic-Con first? NO. I MUST HASH OUT MY RAMEN FIXATION FIRST. One of my favorite things about visiting San Diego every year is that I always show up a few days early so I can get a chance to eat my way through the ramen restaurants before the madness of Comic-Con starts. THANK YOU to everyone who answered my public cry for ramen and suggested some RIDICULOUSLY good places. Three bowls in two days. And still not enough.
FUN INSIDE THE CONVENTION:
The madness. Ohhhh the madness.
To be completely honest, I felt like there wasn’t as much going on in the exhibition hall this year. Not as many events, not as many enticing freebies (and if there were you REALLY had to fight for them), not as many fun things to do at booths without trying to snag a ticket crazy early in the morning first. However, Marvel DID bring out the cast for Avengers: Age of Ultron to their booth and chaos ensued. I no longer feel the need to try to beat a crowd for celeb sightings, but I think my pics below can show just how FREAKING CRAZY it was when the cast showed up. I think Robert Downey Jr. is supposed to be in there somewhere? Absolutely NUTS.
The only person I was able to consistently get pictures of throughout that chaos was Chris Hemsworth, and only because that dude towers over everyone else in the cast. There’s a VERY good reason why that handsome, handsome man is Thor.
Hall H Round 1: I tried to get into the infamous Hall H twice this year. The first time was INCREDIBLY easy. My sister and I waltzed into line on Thursday morning just an hour and a half before the first panel of the day, and ended up sitting closer to the front than we’ve EVER gotten. We went just to see Benedict Cumberbatch for the “Penguins of Madagascar” panel, because I figured if I wanted to see Cumberbatch, then I may as well go during the one panel where his appearance is guaranteed instead of trying to fight my way into the Hobbit panel on one of the most ridiculously packed days where he might show up. And see Benedict Cumberbatch I did! Much happy I was! Wow. Such fangirl. Much ogling.
Our moderator was Craig Ferguson! That alone already made for a fun time.
WUT. JOHN MALKOVICH?? He plays the villain in the movie. An evil octopus. That seems oddly fitting for him. His answers during the Q&A were exactly as bizarre as you’d think they would be. When someone asked what superhero he would be, he shrugged and said “Lois Lane?”
And HELLOOOOOO AGAIN.
Of course Craig Ferguson told the audience “if anyone asks questions about Sherlock, Comic-Con is CANCELLED.” So people started asking random questions that had nothing to do with anything, because dammit, if I had a chance to talk to Benedict Cumberbatch, I’d probably turn into a blathering idiot too. I SAW CUMBERBATCH, GUYS.
Hall H Round 2: The second time we tried to get into Hall H was for Saturday’s lineup involving WB, Marvel, Legendary, and ALLLLLL the big movie studios who are known for bringing out the big guns. I’ve always sat through Walking Dead and Game of Thrones panels, but I’ve never shown up to the panels hosted by the big dogs, so we were going to try our luck this year. We heard that the lines had already started forming by 2pm THE DAY BEFORE. Wat?? Don’t get me wrong, I’ve gone out there at 3 am to camp out for a spot in Hall H before, but that’s just crazy. We decided we’d try to get out there by 11 pm, hope we’d get our wristbands (for the record, I’m actually ALL for the new wristband system), and then we could take shifts between holding the spots in line and sleeping at the hotel. Apparently 11pm still wasn’t early enough, because shortly after we were in line we started hearing reports that all wristbands had been distributed, but we decided to hold out a little longer until we heard more definitive news. They started shuffling the line to consolidate it a bit better…and they led us somewhere into the woods?? ARE WE BEING SACRIFICED??
Nope, no sacrifices here, but they rerouted us to a little park. When we first arrived in line out at the marina there was already a roach problem going on. One landed on my head and I was already getting pretty grossed out. But I talked myself into thinking that I can try to deal with some roaches, especially when they’ll all scurry away once we move into a more well-lit area. Instead we were led to an even darker park. On top of that, once we got into the park, a security guy also exclaimed “Are they seriously keeping you out here? The sprinklers go off at 3 am!” So now we’re dealing with the possibility of a sprinkler attack too. Not looking good. But this is when we finally decided to throw in the towel on waiting for Hall H.
A MOUSE. A FREAKING MOUSE. NOPE. NOOOOOOOPE. We were all waiting in line until we saw a crowd of campers abruptly disperse and freak out over something. Someone shined a light and there was a little mouse scurrying along the rocks. And it wouldn’t go away. This little guy was NOT afraid of people, which means it wasn’t leaving us alone any time soon. Roaches make me squirm. Being attacked by a rogue sprinkler? Yeah, not a good idea. BUT A MOUSE? Hell no. Those lil’ bastards can bite and spread disease. I’m out. We went back for some much-needed sleep.
FUN OUTSIDE OF THE CONVENTION:
This was a year where I felt like the events outside of the convention were actually better than what was going on inside the convention. Better events, better giveaways, better line management. I feel like the events outside of the convention get bigger and better every year, and I’m TOTALLY for it.
Game of Thrones “Survive the Realm” Experience:
Did I have to wait in line? Yes. For several hours. But you know what? It was worth it. I’ve waited hours before for things that lasted less than a minute once you got in, but for this exhibit there were lots of things to do and you could take your time and browse around. The people manning the exhibit were even cool enough to give everyone a heads up on where the shortest lines were in case you wanted to fast track it!
There was a green screen photo-op. You can make a quick animation of yourself with one of Daenerys’s dragons! Cool! OF COURSE I’d be wearing a green shirt that day. So I looked like a decapitated being floating in front of a dragon. I don’t know about you guys, but that’s pretty epic. :D
You also got to see the actual costumes used in the show. It was cool to see the costumes up close and all the gorgeous details that go into them, but it was also kind of a fun way to see how you’d size up to the actors if you were to be standing next to them. Emilia Clarke (Daenerys) is TINY. Gwendoline Christie (Brienne) is CRAZY tall. And oh, Oberyn. How I miss you and your swaggering ways already.
And OF COURSE there’d be photo ops with the throne. I don’t know if it’s THE throne that they use on the show, but hell, it made for some great pictures.
Other things that I did outside of the convention:
- Flew a drone! They had a drone-flying cage to promote the newest season of 24. Flying a drone is a lot harder than it looks.
- Had fun making goofy animated gifs of myself at the offsite Godzilla exhibit.
- You see those crappy pictures of the Avengers cast I have earlier in this post? Norman Reedus and Greg Nicotero were out at Petco Park judging some sort of costume/makeup contest. Got WAY better pictures and didn’t have to deal with the congestion in the exhibition hall.
- Played in a fun Simpsons carnival game and got a sweet inflatable donut! Also grabbed free blue cotton candy because OF COURSE the Simpsons would give out blue cotton candy from a stand labeled as “Marge’s Sweets Station.”
- I ate a lot of ramen while I was in San Diego. I also ate a grasshopper on a stick at the Boxtrolls food truck:Darn, no more tempura tarantulas? Tragic.Verdict: grasshoppers were pretty good! Tasted like a fried shrimp tail.
- Attempted to wait for the Gotham zipline, but when the wait was getting too long the line attendants were still nice enough to give us the freebies. This way people exit the line, thus making it shorter for people who DO want to stick it out, and people who don’t get to do the zipline still get the swag (one of the items was a SUPER cool Gotham PD badge). Win-win for everyone!
- Visited both the Adult Swim Fun House and the Meatwad dome experience. All I can say is that the fun house is absolutely insane, ridiculous, and a ton of fun. The fact that I was a little tipsy off of a few drinks the first time I went helped too. I had so much fun that I went back for a second time the next day…there’s 3 different routes you can take in the fun house, so it was a different experience the second time around. The first time I had to sing my way out of a karaoke cage. The second time I won’t go into too much detail, but it involved a giant kitty litter box. :D
My swag loot gets smaller each year, but I like to think that it’s because each year I get a little less swag-grabby. I should also note that only about 30% of the items shown here came from inside the convention. Almost all of my swag came from offsite events, and I should point out that the offsite event swag was MUCH better than the loads of posters, flyers, and oversized t-shirts that were being handed out inside the convention hall. My absolute favorites are my inflatable Simpsons donut (according to the girl working the booth it’s a donut pillow for your butt when you sit all day and marathon the Simpsons, heh), and my super awesome Adult Swim t-shirt that ACTUALLY FITS. I’ve NEVER had a free t-shirt that fit me before. SUPER SUPER AWESOME.
It doesn’t take much to see that I did a lot more outside of the convention this year than I did inside. And that’s an EXTREMELY exciting thought to me. I love that the offsite events are getting bigger and better each year, and they’re accessible to ANYONE, whether you have a badge or not. I love that San Diego Comic-Con has expanded beyond the confines of the convention center into something for EVERYONE, and not just the privileged few who end up with badges each year. This is the exact reason why I had a few friends come with me to San Diego sans badges this year and they STILL has a rockin’ time. This is the exact reason why I try to do more drops outside of the convention center than inside of it, because people with badges are already lucky enough to experience everything in the convention and I want those who aren’t so lucky to still have a fun time. Comic-Con continues to grow, and dammit, I couldn’t be more excited for where things are going to go from here. No badge? No problem. Here’s to hoping I’ll be back for round 5 next year!