If you’ve been suffering through San Diego’s muggy, monsoonal vestiges this past week (Gracias, Hurricane Carlos), have patience; the discomfort is nearing its end. Although, today doled out some Virginia-style, late-afternoon, wicked summer thunderstorms. Of course, it’s actually been better along the water, kids: currently 79 at Lindbergh Field with 73% humidity.
If you were smart, or dead, you could be haunting the Hotel del Coronado with Dr. Lucy and Moi. It’s just kicky! Pools, beaches, bars, boutiques. Then again, we can’t all be jazzy ghostdames living in a seaside, Victorian hotel. Now, for you other San Diego locals, and anyone headed to America’s Finest City next week for San Diego Comic-Con 2015 (SDCC), fret not; our own Anchorman Ron Burgundy swears the 90-degree days with 90% humidity are all but gone and promises a dry high of just 74, along the water. (Adios, Carlos!)
SDCC (S.D. Convention Center, July 9-12, 2015) is back and if you’re one of the lucky mooks with a badge, wilkommen! The annual Badge Quest is a hard-fought battle of Kroth. Year after year complaints get louder and stronger about the bonkers mindf@#& involved with gaining entry. To be fair to Comic-Con Int’l (CCI), they can’t help being the prettiest girl at the country club dance and they seem to make great effort to ensure a fair event for all. After all, they must not only accommodate the masses, but the San Diego Fire Marshal. A string bikini can only hold so much flesh: ditto for the S.D. Convention Center.
To make Badge Quest even more soul-sucking, at least for you East Coasters, it always commences during the darkest days of Winter. Pre-reg is the earliest opportunity to purchase a badge, usually early-February, but only if you’re in the system, having purchased a badge the previous year. (See how the nasty cycle starts right away?) If you lucked into a purchased-badge the previous year (comps do not qualify), then on the anointed morning, commencing at 7:00am, you log into a “waiting room” and stay there until 9:00am, staring at your screen like a mad click-monkey willing a pellet to drop. Eventually, 9:00am rolls around and the waiting room opens, leading you into a queue, where you will wait some more, to, possibly, purchase badges.
Without fail, as you watch a maddening, blue circle spin on your page –If the blue circle is spinning, your page is updating. Do not refresh!– each day of the Con sells out, one-by-one, until CCI thanks you for your participation and apologizes for any inconvenience. It all happened so quickly: thirty minutes, tops. You were so optimistic, so excited, in such a good mood for so early in the morning. You close your browser, step away from your laptop, your head hung low and shoulders drooped like Charlie Brown and spend the rest of the day in a rather chuffed mood. It’s always a Saturday, too, just to ruin your whole weekend.
Chin up, cats! Pre-reg was just a bonus try! There’s still the main buy-in! Open-reg comes a few weeks later, again on a Saturday at 7:00am. Sure, they say you can log in as late as 8:59am and what time you log in does not affect your placement in queue; but why test it? Twenty minutes later, like a really bad date, Lady Fortuna has had her way with you. It’s even worse than last time; it all happened so fast.
Quickly you realize just because you have an awesome idea for a costume, means f*&%-all. By breakfast, it’s pretty clear unless something miraculous happens, you’re not going to Comic-Con and you spend the rest of that weekend binge-watching Firefly and Helix and playing marathon-sessions of Zelda, Borderlands, and Skyrim. Some of you might even contemplate, as you slump and pout on that leather sofa all day and night, fueled sadly by nothing but Swedish Fish and Stone IPA, Where can I buy scalped badges? Don’t do it, kittens! Play fair. It’s bad sportsmanship at best and a waste of your money at worst.
Okay, you didn’t get an SDCC badge, but, as Dr. Sheldon Cooper assuages, before he runs to his room to cry, “It’s okay. You know, th-there’s always WonderCon in Anaheim, you know? Th-that’s just as good. Excuse me.”
So, you go to WonderCon Anaheim (WCA) in April: easy-peasy badge-buy, fairly-priced hotel rooms aplenty, simple parking and there’s always an outlet available to charge your phone. Plus … it’s across the street from Disneyland! (Note: WonderCon 2016, March 25-27, will be at the L.A. Convention Center. There might be available outlets; but, trust me, there’s nothing magical across the street from there.)
WCA is like going on summer vacation to visit relatives on a ranch in Montana; even so, your best friend is going to Hawai’i, sans relatives, and staying at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa. Sure Montana is lovely and you’re having a better summer than that schmuck who has to spend all summer helping his Dad landscape the backyard. Nevertheless, Montana is no beachfront Hyatt in Hawai’i. As you grow up, kids, you’ll realize very little beats a beachfront Hyatt in Hawai’i. Montana is a diversion and WonderCon is a diversion. All you know is, whilst someone else might be having less fun than you, someone else is definitely having more fun than you. Yet, wait … there’s still one last opportunity!
Usually in early-May, CCI offers a last-chance-suckers registration, wherein all the returned badges purchased in the first two rounds are up for grabs again. You know what, though? Speaking of schmucks, you’re not getting one of those, either. You’ve got a better chance of being shark nosh on the Outer Banks than nabbing an SDCC badge. By late-May, that fat Warner Bros. chicken with the pearls has hit her high note and it’s all over. Definitively, you are not going to Comic-Con, which means you’re not getting a pre-reg opportunity next year, which means you’re at the mercy of Lady Fortuna all over again.
Now, if you are one of the lucky inchworms whom actually nabbed a badge, Huzzah! Fair Lady Fortuna favours you! If you were judicious enough to merit a press or a professional pass, well done, you! No luck needed on your part; your wise career choices and skill sets have earned you perks. However, if you are semi-charmed and bluebirds alighted on your windowsill one sunny morning with badges, including Preview Night stickers, kindly keep the Disney magic to yourself and know that most Con-goers, and all Wanna-goers, do not like you.
For the 160K geeks who will attend SDCC 2015, all your efforts will prove worth it. Perusing the program schedule, it appears more chockablock than usual with not just garden variety celebs and industry grey matter, but downright legends. Keep eye for the likes of Stan Lee, David Hasselhoff, Kathy Bates, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Seth MacFarlane, Joss Whedon, Will Wheaton and more. (Kids, do not mix up their names. There is no Joss Wheaton or Will Whedon.) Moreover, if you happen to be a Thursday badge-holder, get in line early at Ballroom 20, where the inimitable William Shatner will be reading excerpts from his new book, The Autobiography of James T. Kirk, from 10:45am – 11:45 am.
Aside: I once bought tickets to see Leonard Nimoy read a short story at The Getty Center and was sorely disappointed to learn he’d been bumped by John Lithgow. (Sorry, Mr. Lithgow. We are talking Spock.) Lo and behold, instead of reading, Mr. Nimoy attended as a guest and plopped down right in front of me! You know what? You can read my Nimoy-sighting later when you’ve finished this piece.
If you can’t make it to Captain Kirk’s dramatic reading, there’s plenty of geeky goodness in which to soak your soul. For example:
- Peanuts 65th Anniversary Panel: Thursday July 9, 2015 11:00am – 12:00pm, Room 5AB
- DC Comics Too Tough Trivia: Catwoman, Joker and Robin 75th Anniv. Edition: Thursday July 9, 2015 3:15pm – 4:15pm, Room 6DE
- Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!: Friday July 10, 2015 7:15pm – 8:15pm, Room 6A
- AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead: Friday July 10, 2015 1:00pm – 2:00pm, Hall H
- Disney Animators: The Power of 2D: Friday July 10, 2015 1:30pm – 2:00pm, Room 24ABC
- Bob’s Burgers: Friday July 10, 2015 4:00pm – 5:00pm, Indigo Ballroom, Hilton San Diego Bayfront
- IDW: The Best Panel in Recorded History: Friday July 10, 2015 4:00pm – 5:00pm, Room 4
- Orphan Black: BBCAmerica Official Panel: Friday July 10, 2015 5:45pm – 6:45pm, Room 6BCF
- The Last Man on Earth: Saturday July 11, 2015 10:00am – 11:00am, Indigo Ballroom, Hilton San Diego Bayfront
- The Simpsons: Saturday July 11, 2015 12:00pm – 12:45pm, Ballroom 20
- 12 Monkeys: Saturday July 11, 2015 12:00pm – 1:00pm, Indigo Ballroom, Hilton San Diego Bayfront
- Adobe Photoshop: Enabling the 3D Printing Revolution: Saturday July 11, 2015 3:00pm – 4:00pm, Room 30CDE
- The Muppet Show Coming to ABC: Saturday July 11, 2015 3:00pm – 4:00pm, Room 6A
- A Song of Fire and Ice: Game of Thrones Fan Discussion: Saturday July 11, 2015 4:00pm – 5:00pm, Neil Morgan Auditorium, San Diego Central Library (off-site)
- Emily the Strange Panel Experience: Sunday July 12, 2015 10:00am – 11:00am, Room 32AB
- Only What’s Necessary: Charles M. Schulz and the Art of Peanuts: Sunday July 12, 2015 10:00am – 11:00am, Room 29AB
That’s just an amuse-bouche for your salivary glands. If I could post the whole schedule for you, I’d be working for Comic-Com Int’l. CCI has made it superduper easy for you to find and attend whatever panel or presentation your heart desires. Once you’ve decided upon your must-sees, take advantage of Comic-Con’s “MySchedule” and the “Official Comic-Con Mobile App”: app avail for iOS and Android. These are efficient options if you have more than two or three must-sees.
First thing first: create a MySchedule account.
Next, browse the SDCC online schedule. Each event title has a nifty pop-up: hover over the title, then click “Add to MySchedule”. Once you’ve finished browsing all four days, or just the days that apply to you, everything you’ve clicked will be listed in your private, MySchedule-account. Print it via any format you like and share with friends, con-partners and colleagues, or taunt those whom couldn’t get into SDCC.
Finally, download the free Comic-Con Mobile App. It can synch MySchedule with your device’s calendar software and enable searches within your list by artist, writer, show, actor, keyword, etc. Voila! You have a personalized schedule and can make the most of your precious con time.
If you’re of an inquiring mind, add the Comic-Con How-To Series to MySchedule: programs every day on topics from writing a fairy tale, creating a comic strip, publishing a graphic novel or just learning the basics of artistry theft and copyright law. To boot, Comic-Con Film School 101 is back: 4 days of filmmaking foundation. (It’s not a $70K M.F.A. from Chapman University’s Dodge Film School, but it’s a very nice introduction to H-town, conceptually. Grad level classes on starvation not included, in either film school.)
With only a week to go, it’s time to sew those last buttons, make any last-minute copies of your artwork, overnight an emergency order of business cards and get your hair did. The weather should cooperate; of course, it usually does here. The Gaslamp vendors, restauranteurs and barkeeps are waiting for you, some with a sock full of nickels. Be savvy about drink “deals”, “official” Comic-Con merchandise (avail only in the Conv. Ctr.) and please, please, please don’t drink and drive or get into a car with someone who’s “just buzzed”. Taxis, Uber (see discount below), Lyft and all forms of San Diego public transportation (Coaster, Sprinter, NCTD, trolleys and Amtrak) are everywhere for the picking. Walk if you have to. It’s a lovely town for walking. Make it home, kids.
Wear good shoes. ‘Tis much smarter to find a gently used, quality pair of Born boots or Via Spiga spikes at a thrift store or on eBay, than to buy cheaper, brand-new, poorly-cobbled, garbage shoes at some discount retailer. Be savvy, kittens. It’s all about surviving with style. SWS!
If you don’t have a hotel, yet, good luck. If you live locally, or are staying with local fam and friends and someone in the house really loves you, ask them to drive you to the Con; but let them drop you a few blocks out so they don’t get trapped too deep in the maelstrom of traffic. The extra walk won’t kill you; you’ll be walking all day anyway. However, if you really love them, let them stay comfy at home and get an Uber with this sweet Uber offer, just for Con-goers, from the folks at SDCC Unofficial Blog.
The whole key to this con business is fun. When you’re on the floor, try to remember “Hannah’s Good Mannahs”:
Don’t let others trip on your cape; don’t accidentally, or purposefully, stab anyone with your GOT sword; be nice about peoples’ cosplay, even if it’s all wrong; keep your snark and your hands to yourself; don’t touch the girls; no cutting the line at Hall H; be nice to yourself and drink lots of water; share your snacks and water; keep a close eye on your friends’ belongings if, in a haze, they wander after Adrianne Curry; take your bags and feet off a chair and make room for somebody to sit down in the food court; and make the words please, thank you, you’re welcome and pardon me, your default lexiCon. If a dude with a gargantuan cardboard and metal costume needs help getting through a doorway, help him. Ladies, if someone’s petticoats and corset make for a difficult time in the lavvy, offer to hold her bag, or help in any way you can, but be sure to wash your hands afterwards. If you see a toddler crying, maybe give him one of your new toys. (No, jk. Just smile and slowly back away from the screaming child.) Apropos, you might recall my SDCC 2014 post on common con courtesy: Boobs Are Not Bunnies.
Most importantly, once you’re in the Con and get your swag bag, open your Official 2015 SDCC Souvenir Book and look for the longest name in there: Jennifer Susannah Devore. Odds are good “she” made it into the book again, but nobody knows for sure: this time, with a Catwoman 75th anniversary fashion retrospective. Past years’ books have included her articles on Peanuts, Tarzan, Bongo/Simpsons Comics and Hellboy. If she does make it in this year, send her a nice Tweet @JennyPopNet and tell her Congrats! Crossed fingers, jelly beans!
Abyssinia on the floor at SDCC, cats!
Check back here for SDCC 2015 coverage, pix by our own Dr. Lucy and floor Tweets @JennyPopNet and @GoodToBeAGeek! If you’re at the Con, keep eye for goodtobeageek.com‘s Hannah Hart and Dr. Lucy dressed as Peanuts girls Lucy Van Pelt and Peppermint Patty this year. What’s true is true, Chuck!
Hannah’s other fave places to haunt online?