Before I assess the merits of the 2011 San Diego International Comic Con, I have to say flat out that in all my years attending this event, this year was my favorite. That being said, I also have to point out that I almost always thoroughly enjoy Comic Con and look forward to it every year. Sure, I’ve had a few bad moments over the years, like the time I had just gotten Ken Foree to sign a vintage Dawn of the Dead poster magazine, previously signed by Tom Savini and George Romero, only to accidentally leave it in a Japanese restaurant that would remain closed during the remaining days of the Con.
Before I assess the merits of the 2011 San Diego International Comic Con, I have to say flat out that in all my years attending this event, this year was my favorite. That being said, I also have to point out that I almost always thoroughly enjoy Comic Con and look forward to it every year. Sure, I’ve had a few bad moments over the years, like the time I had just gotten Ken Foree to sign a vintage Dawn of the Dead poster magazine, previously signed by Tom Savini and George Romero, only to accidentally leave it in a Japanese restaurant that would remain closed during the remaining days of the Con. I would eventually get it back, but only after an intolerable week of obsessive nerd induced anxiety.
But this year was almost like a dream!
After a hellish commute from Los Angeles, we arrive at the convention center and do our first run of the main hall, checking out the crazy costumes (I couldn’t decide which gave me the bigger boner: the girl in the Tardis dress or the Death Star miniskirt. I finally had to settle with two boners. Awkward!), various booths and figuring out what juicy items were “Need to buy now!” After a little more general geeking out, I make a call to get together with a couple of friends for dinner and we all meet up at a restaurant at the Hard Rock Hotel. But, while waiting for a table one of my friends becomes impatient, makes a call to his super sweet HBO connected wife, and suddenly we’re on our way to the True Blood cast dinner. Yeah, that True Blood!
On the way up to the banquet room, I suddenly notice what I’m wearing. I am in full horror movie geek attire that includes a German army shirt with “The Return of the Living Dead” poster silk-screened on the back, and an “I Drink Your Blood/I Eat Your Flesh” t-shirt under it. The only thing missing is a latex Belial from “Basket Case” glued to my side. I voice my concerns about my outfit to my friend, asking if he thinks it’ll be a problem. He replies sarcastically “Yes, because actors always care so much about what other people are doing.”
When we arrive at the banquet room and walk in, it’s pure nerd heaven! Not only am I staring at practically everyone from the show, but also the latest Doctor Who, Matt Smith and companion, Karen Gillan. I don’t usually get star struck but for some reason in this environment, I felt the need to fight down the urge to scream, “Oh my god! You’re the people from the TV!!!”
Immediately, my friend walks us over to Alan Ball and introduces us as the super fans of the show that we are. Alan asks, “What do you like more, the sex or the violence?” Carrie answers enthusiastically, “The sexy violence!” That’s my girl!
We continue chatting pleasantly when Alan says something along the lines of, “I’m so amazed. I could have never dreamed that the show would be doing this well. Sometimes, I fear that I’m in a dream, and that one day I’ll wake up only to discover that it’s not true, and that I’m actually working on Grace Under Fire.” I laugh and say, “Don’t tell me that show is coming back?” and as the words leave my mouth, I suddenly think, “I’ll bet he worked on Grace Under Fire”. Turns out he did. So, barely minutes into the big showbiz dinner, I accidentally insult the work of one of my favorite show’s creator. Fortunately, he laughed at my remark and after I had my friend assure me thirty seven times that I hadn’t pissed him off, I finally relaxed. Whew!
Starving, Carrie and I now move on to the delicious looking buffet, and I start loading some salad onto my plate with some large metal tongs. In mid grab, the tongs suddenly slip from my fingers and fall into the thick salad dressing. Handle side down. Great. So now, as I’m wiping gobs of dressing off the tongs, I think, “If only I could spill some of this on Alan Ball so I can complete this Jerry Lewis scenario”.
After singing Happy Birthday to Anna Paquin and again thinking how wonderfully surreal this whole situation is, we all sit down to eat. I notice that my friend is talking with Stephen Moyer who plays vampire king, Bill Compton, on the show. After a few minutes he brings him over to introduce us, and soon after we start chatting He pulls up a chair and sits down with us. Next thing you know, we’re trading jokes and he’s telling us great stories about the time he drank with Peter Cook and worked with Michael Caine. Yet, while all this wonderfulness is happening, I can’t ignore the fact that I’m still starving and trying gingerly to take polite bites of food, while fighting off overly aggressive caterers trying to take my plate.
Eventually, Stephen’s wife, Anna Paquin, came over to the table and as she sat on his lap, we said hello and wished her a Happy Birthday. They soon took off, leaving us to drink a few cocktails, have some cake and allow me to sneak a few glances at gorgeous True Blood vampire, Deborah Ann Woll, at the next table. This night has been so magical, I quickly get my hopes up that maybe if we sit here long enough; she’ll come over and sit on my wife’s lap.
The rest of Comic Con wasn’t quite so star-studded but that was fine. The Con itself gives me plenty to get excited about.
Like every year, there were quite a few panels I didn’t have the patience or comfortable enough walking shoes to wait in line for. Among the ones I wished I had attended include:
“Oh, You Sexy Geek-Does Displaying the Sexiness of Fangirls Benefit or Demean Them?” (Both, if it’s done right.)
“Costuming with Sabrina Belly Dancer” (Of the New England Belly Dancers, of course)
“State of the Geek Report-From Avatar to Zardoz” (This geek says, Zardoz kicks Avatar’s unobtanium ass!)
“Voltron Resurgent” (What I like to yell during sex.)
“So, You Want To Be A Sci-Fi Journalist?” (So, do you want to change your tone or do you want to be a sci-fi journalist with my foot up your ass?)
“The Science of Zombies: How Possible Is A Zombie Virus?” (I don’t know. Let’s ask the Tea Party.)
“Star Trek: The Captains with William Shatner and Avery Brooks” (When you’re playing Star Trek Captain Roulette, always bet on black!)
“Can Fantasy Survive On Europe Alone?” (Umm…no?)
“Steampunk Influences on Mainstream Media and Entertainment” (I usually attend this one just to cruise for chicks.)
“Archie Comics: The Future of Riverdale and Beyond” (If The Punisher decides to visit Riverdale again, it has no future.)
“Star Wars Crafts” (Where last year I learned to make my knitted Admiral Ackbar toilet paper cozy.)
And of course…
“The Open Meeting of the Christian Comics Arts Society” (Again, I go for the chicks.)
The panels that I wished I’d attended so I could stab someone with a pen include, “Glee”, “The Big Bang Theory” and, well, I guess “Glee” again.
The rest of my time at Comic Con I spent running into fellow Comedy Film Nerds like, Doug Benson and Brian Posehn, watching Japanese monster movies, and getting drunk with my wife and our friends. Oh, and let’s not forget spending every last dime buying Doctor Who action figures; an H.P. Lovecraft, “Deep Ones” statue; numerous t-shirts; vintage horror movie posters; and some terrycloth Star Trek bathrobes for the wife and I. Perfect for our favorite role playing game, “Spock gets gender reassignment surgery and Kirk takes him to a Starfleet bath house.”