Calming the Con
Jason and I are San Diego Comic-Con vets. This July we attended for our third consecutive year. It seems that every time we go our perspective on the Con and our methods of enjoying it change. This year we were all about making the most of waiting the least. Yes, we were more efficient than a Borg drone at a piñata party.
During our first Con experience, everything amazed and intimidated. The stars we found around every corner and in each panel astounded us. It all seemed further from reality than one of Lt. Barclay’s holodeck programs. And, speaking of panels, in order for the panel gawking to commence we had to first figure out how to get into those popular events and that took some time-consuming experimentation. We came home feeling like we’d had the experience of a lifetime and needed a longer nap than Princess Zelda.
The next year we were confident that we had the basics down. We knew how to get into Hall H without circumnavigating the globe and that Mrs. Fields cookies do not make a good dietary staple. Our Con knowledge was gladly shared with the five noobs that joined us. We weren’t as worried about making it into every single panel that interested us that second go-around but we did lose enough sleep getting into a few favorites to come home completely spent, like gold coins in a mage shop.
This year our group of Con friends expanded even further. With ten of us altogether, including four newbies, we had quite the nerdy entourage. Although Jason and I were thrilled to be attending again, our priorities were different this time. We were okay seeing stars a little less and our bed a little more. We didn’t wake up before the break of dawn multiple days in a row to get in line for “can’t miss” panels. In fact, we downgraded everything out of the “can’t miss” category altogether. We realized, with so many terrific possibilities, that not making it to all of them was no biggie. When option A didn’t work out for us then we’d go to option B without any regrets. Sometimes you’ve got to take a hint from Plastic Man.
With no ungodly early mornings and without standing in line for anything longer than half an hour, we attended an amazing lineup. We heard from Harrison Ford and Asa Butterfield in the Ender’s Game panel. We met most of the cast of Divergent. Joss Whedon singlehandedly blew us away with his insight and wit in what turned out to be our favorite panel of the year. We heard from talented directors such as Edgar Wright, Alfonso Cuaron and Marc Webb. Karl Urban good-naturedly humored us, and thousands of other eager geeks, with his McCoy maxims. We listened to the perspectives and scores of some of TV’s favorite actors and cinema’s best superhero composers. Additionally, we went to many smaller panels that maybe didn’t have the allure of the illustrious but were fascinating nonetheless: geek girl fashion, Enterprise D bridge restoration, the legal defense of zombies, amongst others.
On the exhibit floor we ran into many of the famous and should-be famous. Between David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Sean Astin, Steve Blum, Brent Spiner, Marina Sirtis, Michael Dorn, Max Brooks and Brandon Sanderson we definitely encountered enough stars to be struck. However, we also randomly came across many artists and authors that we’d never heard of before that thoroughly impressed us and that now have a couple of new fans.
Comic-Con was a different experience for Jason and me this year. The crowds hadn’t changed, the costumes were just as intricate and prevalent, our personal bubbles still had to be shrunk down to the size of a Minimate and the sudden whiffs of BO were just as unpleasant but we took it all in this time with the relaxed demeanor of a Snorlax. When you are surrounded by so much of the nerdastic sometimes the surprises are better than anything you could plan. Just ask Bilbo.
If I could offer a bit of advice to those going to Comic-Con, beyond the wise instructions I’ve already given over the last few years, it would be this: You’ll enjoy the Con more if you’re not totally exhausted and completely stressed about seeing every single cool panel. There are so many marvelous programs, if you miss one there are plenty more where that came from. It’s okay to have a “must see” list but keep it very short. Be flexible and you’ll find yourself in the middle of all sorts of unexpected adventures with minimal effort and maximum sleep. Remember: Jason and I didn’t get out of bed before 8:00 AM this time and we had our best Con yet. Yes, lighten up my Padawans and let the force bring the power-ups to you.