Friday: MADNESS PART II: MORE MADNESS.
There’s a reason why tickets for Friday and Saturday sell out faster than all others; simply put, they’re the best. From panels to events, con action ratchets up over the weekend and this year was no exception. All of downtown SD seemed to perk up, and cosplayers in particular seemed to multiply in number. Not to be left out, the girls and I donned our Danger Girl apparel, ready to strut our con stuff.
Dressed as the titular (hee) trio, we made our way to the convention center, getting stopped every so often for pictures. Though our costumes were great, Danger Girl is really only known to the comics crowd and as such we were continually mistaken for G.I. Joe’s or, in Lauren’s case, Catwoman. Also, it soon became apparent while walking through SD that we were actually a quartet; me, Nikki, Lauren, and Lauren’s boobs. Seriously, based on male reaction das boob’s could part the Red Sea; Nikki jokingly started keeping a mental tally of all the sneaky glances dropping south, even with me standing abreast (okay, I’m done). Boobs.
Arriving at the con, we headed towards our first panel of the week: Breaking into Comics. I’m always a sucker for these retrospectives, and this panel featured a plethora of my favorite DC creators waxing nostalgic on their journey to comic stardom. Featuring an esteemed panel of writers and artists—Jimmy Palmiotti, Scott Snyder, Gail Simone, Amanda Conner, Bernard Chang, Greg Capullo and the legendary Jim Lee—the panel served as a testament to tenacity as each panelist described their highest highs and lowest lows. As a wannabe writer (and terrible artist) it was great to hear the panelists speak with such honesty; there was no sugarcoating of the trials they faced, which made their stories all the more enriching. The only downside to the panel? We left our comics at the hotel. That’s right, three of the four creators I was looking to get signatures from were right in front of me, and I had oh-so-unwisely told my sis to leave the books behind because “the panel would be too packed.” *face palm* Being first thing in the morning, the panel was only half full and the panelists were happy to sign afterwards. Sigh, goodbye Jim Lee…
Despite not having any books, I still went over and introduced myself to Capullo, the current artist of Batman and an overall badass. The real treat (and one of my fav con moments) came after leaving the hall; I saw Snyder, Batman’s writer and one of my personal favorites, walking all by his lonesome. I congratulated him for all his successes and thanked him for the work he’d done, expecting him to smile and move on. Instead, we walked and talked together for nearly ten minutes, touching on the pressures he faced, the standard he held himself to, and where he was taking Batman. It was a uniquely personal moment, better than any signed comic, and I now hold Snyder in an even higher regard.
The panel over, we raced downstairs to grab one of those coveted wristbands (remember those?). They had, of course, sold out immediately and, alas, my signing clock got a day shorter. However, there was one creator we knew we'd get to see; J. Scott Campbell. Lauren had tipped him off the day before that we'd be cosplaying as Danger Girl and the creator had asked us to stop by. On the way, Nikki stopped by the comic vendors and picked up the Danger Girl collection; Campbell is primarily known for his cover work these days, and DG is one of the few books completely drawn by him. As soon as we approached, his eyes lit up. He immediately stopped what he was doing (many a fan in line were none too pleased) and came over to take a picture with us (If you're reading this, JSC, I would love that pic!). He then offered to sign Nikki's new book, giving it a personalized touch that I'm still contemplating stealing. You know those cartoons where a character is so happy that their eyes literally brim with sparkles? That was Nikki for the next few hours. Thanks J!
From there the con was a blur; countless con goers requested pictures of/with us as we attempted to navigate the floor, though even more requested pictures of just Lauren and Nikki while I stood to the side, weeping openly. I went on a diet for you people!! Anyway. Eventually we started to get run down and our costumed ceased to be comfortable, so we made the wise choice to change into our civvies. Our con peeps–Tom, Kevin, Bryan and newcomer Duke–were camped out near Ballroom 20 in anticipation of the last panel of the evening, the world premiere of Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox. DC has been cranking out some badass animated movies as of late, and free is free, so we agreed to meet up.
Let me drop some con wisdom; if you are planning on attending a panel at 7pm, you don't show up at 6:30. To get into ANYTHING at SDCC it's customary to arrive at least 1-2 hours early to get in line. Con rules don't require you to leave the panel rooms, so if you get a seat you can plant your fat butt there all damn day if you so please, and many do. Example: Bryan, Kevin and Duke got in line for the Hall H Amazing Spider-Man 2 panel (4pm) at 1am that morning to ensure they got in. Sound crazy? That's con life, bitches. Go big or stay outside! Ballroom 20 isn't quite so hard to get into, but we still arrived a good hour and a half before the movie started, resigned to sitting through a stupid panel in order to get good seats for the movie. Well, we should have checked the event guide. The panel started, and the emcee came out to introduce the special guest: Joss Whedon. *mind explodes*
For those who don't know, Joss Whedon is kind of a big deal. The mastermind of such hits including Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, and a little film called The Avengers, Whedon is considered con royalty. And here he was, taking the stage for the sole purpose of taking questions from an audience of 5,000. There was no shilling, no agenda; he just grabbed a mic and chatted away, as if we were old buddies catching up. Questions ranged from great to cringing (par the course for Q and A's), yet Whedon answered every one honestly and with surprising candor. There were no great revelations or spoilers given (though he did sum up Avengers 2 as “red,” a nod to Dr. Horrible) but that didn't matter. We got an hour with an incredibly funny, intelligent, and inspiring creator, and we would have been fine with an hour more. Stay shiny, Whedon.
Eventually it was time for the main event: Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox! I won't go into great detail involving the movie (cuz you're all gonna watch it, right?!) but needless to say I was pretty impressed with the end result. It definitely took the genre into more adult territory, which comics seem to be gravitating towards more and more these days, and the loud ovation afterwards was definitely merited. Nikki's only nitpick? “Aquaman's neck was huge!” After the movie their was a panel featuring the movie's voice cast, including Justin Chambers from Grey's Anatomy and Cary “As you wish” Elwes. It's always fun having voice actors discuss their times working in the medium, but this panel came off as particularly ho-hum given the exciting nature of the film. I would have taken another Whedon hour in a heartbeat.
The con day over, we decided to check out the San Diego nightlife. All week long we'd had annoying promoters trying to coax us (and Lauren's boobs) into their venues, so instead we went old school and went to the nearest dive bar. It was there that Kevin and Tom had the genius idea to do some shots!
Let me back up a second. When at SDCC, it's extremely difficult to manage your food and water intake. You're constantly moving, rarely sitting, and it's easy to lose track of time with everything to see and do. Well, this particular Friday was obviously quite busy and as such, we didn't eat much and had virtually no water. By the time Friday evening rolled around the girls and I had developed what I call “Con Stomach,” where your stomach eventually gives up from lack of nourishment and goes to sleep. You starting to see the problem here?
As the night went on, things got murky. A shot and a beer turned into another shot, then another, and soon we were all buying rounds like it was the end of the world. It was a blast, especially when Nikki joined in, as I had barely seen her since her 21st birthday last November. Don't worry Mom and Dad, she was a LOT more responsible than I was!
The hours ticked by, and suddenly it was 1am. Our hotel was only maybe 4-5 blocks away but I swear, it was like the trek to Mordor across all of middle Earth. Luckily, this was Gaslamp during SDCC and we weren't even CLOSE to the worst offenders. My favorite quote of the night was again from Nikki as we headed back; “Am I walking normal? I think I'm walking normal” (You weren't walking normal, Nik).
We arrived home, elated by our day and evening. As we headed (in zig zag patterns) to bed, we suddenly remembered that we had to get those effing wristbands first thing in the morning. Still, we weren't concerned; we are the three best friends that anyone could have, and there was nothing we couldn't do! That sentiment lasted until I first opened my eyes for:
That's all for now! Part 3 of 3 to come!