Fans dressed as Black Cat and Catwoman. This is what it's like when worlds collide. Photo: Bryton Sampson
“The best laid plans of mice and men,” as they say, was a bitter pill to swallow. I learned this quickly the second day of San Diego Comic Con 2012, as I dashed with my roommates to try and get into the Firefly 10th Anniversary panel. This was one of the very few things on my agenda that I really wanted to attend. But the normal part of my brain was not willing to get to the con early and wait in line for hours. Whether this was subconscious or not, I may never know, but as we found in the half hour leading up to the panel, a line that wraps around a giant building, up and down stairs and outside onto a bayside convention center patio, is more powerful than my love for Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon’s Firefly. Browncoat down.
Alright, time to cut my losses. Next up was the one panel I wanted to go to more than any other: The Game of Thrones panel! I have loved the book series for years and now with the awesome HBO TV show, I love it all the more. The problem was that the massive sprawling line for Firefly that I refused to stand in was rivaled only by the even MORE massive sprawling line for Game of Thrones. It was time to put my “thinking outside the box cap” on and figure out how to sneak into this panel. There must be a way to beat the system here. I contacted my equally-if-not-more-so-fanatical Game of Thrones conspirator Bryton, whom I knew would be focusing on somehow attending GoT as well. So a quick text later I learn he has found out that the cast is doing an Entertainment Weekly photo shoot across the street at the Hard Rock Hotel. So we sneak into the lobby saying we are there for an Xbox event. The security gets wise to the little ploy and we are kicked out. So now we are at the back entrance of the hotel waiting for the cast to leave the photo shoot. I have a moment where I realize that I am stalking these actors like the paparazzi. But Comic Con is such a unique experience that creeping around a back alley behind a hotel waiting to take a picture of an actor from a show about dragons is not weird in the very least. Sadly, I am not good at being paparazzi, as I just end up seeing the writer of Game of Thrones George R R Martin as he gets into a limo. He drives off and I am happy even though part of me is thinking, “Am I feeling this great about taking photos of a cute lil’ sixty year old hobbit who writes fantasy novels?” Damn right I am! Oh, for full disclosure, I accidently stalked Noah Wyle from Falling Skies and Joel McHale and the entire cast of Community by while waiting for that damned Danerys Targaryen. Plus on a side note, security really dropped the ball with all these actors, as I was EERILY close to them. It sort of creeped me out—I can only imagine what these actors must have felt.
So I missed Firefly, I missed Game of Thrones, I then failed to get into the Marvel panel to learn about their Marvel NOW initiative that from what I understand is going to try and mimic the success of the DC’s NEW 52 last year, in which DC started all of their comic books over at number one, including titles like Action Comics (Superman) and Detective Comics (Batman)—these two titles alone had been published monthly for over 70 years!). So I finally found the end of a line that wasn’t too intimidating and got into the DC panel. The writers and editors spoke of all of the zero issues that were coming out telling origins of all these newly revamped characters after a year of introducing them again. This was your standard fare comic book news but the best part was when they took questions from the audience and one fan asked the panel if they thought that the point of these characters like Batman and Superman was to just keep the brand selling and that whether or not the stories were good or not didn’t matter. Let me repeat that: this fan asked a group of writers that pour their lives into these characters whether they even try to write good stories. It was awkwardly awesome, and let me tell you that these writers did NOT appreciate the sentiment.
The day was wrapping up and I had felt that overall the day was a bust. I had failed or mostly failed all my missions that day, but I had forgotten that the magic of Comic Con was the bizarrely unexpected. I decided to go the SPIN party with Andrew WK concert at 4th and B to salve my disappointment. This is when things got a little surreal. We couldn’t find anyone selling tickets at the venue, but this friendly long-haired guy in a Hawaiian shirt started chatting with us and we joked around a bit with him and told him about Comic Con. So he propositions us this plan of his to borrow our Comic Con passes and he will get us on the guest list. I told him the Con was over for the day and he looked slightly disappointed, but then asks us our names and puts us on the guest list. Turns out he was the guitarist for Andrew WK and in a really good mood for some reason. The good luck doesn’t stop there, as Andrew WK takes the stage to play his classic album “I Get Wet” in its entirety, and the crowd goes nuts! And they continue to go nuts for the duration of the concert! Now this will sound like hyperbole, but I have been to hundreds of concerts and I have NEVER seen a crowd go so wild. Even stranger, the cast of the Comedy Central TV show Workaholics are moshing with us. Blake Anderson, the long curly haired actor that plays a character by the same name on the show, was jumping on our shoulders and moshing arm in arm through the crowd with my fellow podcaster Bryton to the heavy sounds of Andrew WK playing “Party Hard.” It was a moment that cannot be accurately described. But I found, in the magical kingdom of San Diego during this one weekend a year, dreams do come true.