Last weekend was the last and biggest con of the year that I attend: San Diego Comic Con.
(note: sorry for extremely crappy picture quality. I was usually sitting in the back using maximum zoom)
Who I attend the con with fluctuates, but this year I was back to my original SDCC partner, Malvitas. Shaz just had a baby, and Fey went with her other friends. However, SDCC virgins Terra and her boyfriend were going this year, so we made plans to occasionally meet up and hang out. Since it was their first time, they wanted to see some of the bigger panels in Ballroom 20 and Indigo Ballroom. Malvitas and I have been here enough to not want to wait in those gigantic lines, so although they had some juicy offerings (Legend of Korra, Firefly reunion, The Hobbit), we said pass.
Instead, we focused on the smaller panels that dealt with comics and graphic novels.
However, upon arrival (after a late start), Malvitas decided he wanted a backpack to carry his stuff. He picked out the most garish, brightest backpack they had.
He immediately fell in love with it, and I must say it did grow on me. It also would make him easier to find in the crowds, although since he’s 6’3″, that wasn’t really a concern of mine (on the other hand, I’m a foot shorter, so I really should’ve been the one with that backpack, since he always loses me).
Since we arrived so late (after noonish), picking up our badges was a breeze. No line! Must remember that.
The first panel we went to was Graphic Novels: The Bookstore Crowd, and featured Kate Beaton and Alison Bechdel, two of my favorite comic strip makers, along with Jason Shiga, who I had met at ALA.
L to R: Tom Spurgeon, Kate Beaton, Alison Bechdel, Brecht Evans, Jennifer and Matthew Holm, Nate Powell, and Jason Shiga.
It was an interesting panel on how comic artists got their works published and into bookstores. How some started small and became suddenly bigger, or were already big, but only online, and had an audience chomping at the bit for print copies.
Next was Rewriting the Rules of Queers in Comics.
L to R: Ivan Velez, Jr., Gail Simone, James Robinson, Nicola Scott, Oliver Nome. Moderated by (not pictured) Charles Zan Christensen.
I am a huge gay ally (as in, I am a strong supporter of gays, not that I’m a huge gay… although Malvitas may beg to differ). Gail Simone is one of my favorite mainstream comic book writers, and I love her characters. I recently discovered Secret Six, where she purposely made a sexually diverse team (heterosexual, pansexual, bisexual, lesbian). I’ve also been very interested in starting up Earth 2 and reading about the newly outed Green Lantern, Alan Scott. I really enjoyed this panel and they were all very enthusiastic about creating well-rounded LGBTQ characters and taking it as far as their bosses will let them. Simone said she just writes and hands it off, and so far has not gotten anything back saying, “you can’t do this.” So yay! They want to reach a point where they can write about gay villains and not feel bad at making a minority character evil since so far, minorities have so few good role models in comics, they sort of feel like they should make only mostly good characters (so you don’t get the reaction, “Of COURSE the gay character is evil! That’s just great. Thanks for nothing.”). Like Simone said, “baby steps.”
On Friday, we started off at The Black Panel, which I really had no knowledge of other than it was rumored to be a lot of fun, and Shaquille O’Neale was on the panel. That was an… interesting panel. It was definitely different from any other panel I’ve ever been to.
L to R: E. Van Lowe, Jamie Kennedy, Shaq, Alexander Strong, Missy Geppi, Steve McKeever, and Denys Cowan
Close up of E. Van Lowe, Jaime Kennedy (who looked like he had a hard night), and Shaq
Shaq gave stand up comedian Clayton Thomas 2 minutes to impress the audience. Michael Davis (moderat0r) is probably looking for his gun.
Anyway, most of the panel was Michael Davis ranting about Mitt Romney (yay!), threatening to shoot people for talking too long (he actually had a gun), and hitting on every woman who came up to ask a question (kinda skeevy). He was also asked why there was only one Black woman on his panel (Tatiana el-Khouri). Shaq was cool though, as were all the panelists, and they answered good questions, like why are there only stories about Blacks in the hood and not from the suburbs (answer: because people like the questioner weren’t writing, so therefore get out there and write!).
Up next was Spotlight on Kate Beaton, comic artist for Hark! a Vagrant. I actually was thinking about skipping this one because of a fear the Chew panel would be too crowded (immediately following), but decided it probably wouldn’t be toooo full, and it wasn’t that far away. And I’m so glad I attended this pane because Kate Beaton is hilarious in person, as much as she is in her comics.
Her self portrait.
Reading from her comics.
She also showed a whole bunch of illustrations where she gets her inspiration, like for her medieval peasant series of comics. She showed slide after slide of the most bizarre medieval art (wtf were these people thinking) and had running commentary. Apparently they were quite obsessed with pee and dancing and weird musical instruments. Malvitas laughed so hard during this panel he cried.
Now I read all her comics with her voice in my head, which is low and husky and not what I imagined, haha.
After the Kate Beaton panel was the Chew panel with John Layman and Rob Guillory.
Ok. So Shaz is the one who got me started on this series. After I read it and immediately fell in love with it, I started trying to sell it to Malvitas and failed. He doesn’t listen to me. He didn’t really want to come to this panel. He ended up coming anyway because it was either sit out in the hall on the floor, or in the panel and just read his iPhone. After hearing the outrageousness of it at the panel, he bought the first two volumes in the exhibit hall. He read both of them and laughed the whole time and then demanded more volumes, and I told him there were three more trades out.
He should listen to me more often.
From Secret Agent Poyo, a Chew spinoff.
Some kind of food related fashion show from an upcoming issue. L to R: a French fry suit, a Pop Tart skirt, and a meatsuit… that explodes.
Upcoming concept art for a vinyl figure. Chog = chicken frog. The other option would be Fricken… and that doesn’t work. Also announced is a Poyo plushie.
Saturday we debated about going to the Geek & Sundry panel to see Felicia Day and Wil Wheaton. It was an Indigo Ballroom event, which meant definitely a line, and these are the King and Queen of Nerddom. We barely got in, and even when we did, we missed the first 15 minutes of the panel.
It’s surprising how far Wil Wheaton has come. From being one of the most hated characters on Star Trek to one of the most beloved in nerd culture. Felicia Day is also a wonderful geek icon, and I really do not understand the hate and disdain that so many other nerds have for her. I don’t know if they’re jealous or what. They treat her as if she’s another Booth Babe (i.e.: a fake nerd, who uses her looks to get lonely male nerds to come to their booths). But Day has, I feel, earned her nerd cred by creating and writing a geeky webshow (The Guild), and now has a YouTube channel that caters to geek culture, Geek & Sundry, which encompasses all facets of geek culture like tabletop gaming, motion comics, a SF/fantasy book club, and upcoming projects like short films that are based on kids’ stories. She IS a nerd and is making a living being one. BFD. Get over it and go hate someone that deserves it.
The rest of The Guild cast made an appearance.
Jeff (Vork) shows Robin (Clara) how to use the mic.
Wil had an amusing story where someone mistook him for a Wil Wheaton cosplayer and seemed disappointed that he was the real thing, as if he didn’t put any effort into it. He also expressed interest in a homebrewing segment on G&S, which would be kinda cool. I really like his TableTop segment.
After G&S was another panel that Malvitas said he had zero interest in and tagged along anyway, and then decided he now wants to read the whole series (btw, this was another series I suggested he might like and was dismissed). This was the Gail Carriger spotlight panel, a paranormal steampunk author.
She likes to come all decked out. It’s kinda cool that she really gets into this.
Her big news was that the Parasol Protectorate has been optioned for tv. So hopefully some kind of BBC series.
Here is a better picture of her outfit because my camera sucks. I love the bodice. And yes those are spoons!
My last panel was Deb Aoki‘s Best/Worst Manga of 2012.
L to R: Deb Aoki, Christopher Butcher, Brigid Alverson, Carlo Santos, Shaenon Garrity.
An extremely informative panel that gives me shopping ideas. Wait, maybe I shouldn’t go to this panel after all…
Best New Manga (Kids/Teens): Sailor Moon, Princess Knight, Devil and her Love Song, Jiu Jiu, Nonnonba
Best New Manga (Adults): Sakuran, Durarara!!, Message to Adolf, Drops of God, all of Natsume Ono’s work.
Best Continuing Manga (Kids/Teens): Blue Exorcist, Wandering Son, Cross Game, Chi’s Sweet Home, Arisa
Best Continuing Manga (Adults): Bride’s Story, 20th Century Boys, Dorohedoro, Saturn Apartments
Worst Manga: Is This a Zombie?, My Girlfriend’s a Geek, Kobato (this category had the stipulation that none of these were truly awful, just annoying or exasperating)
Most Anticipated: Heart of Thomas, Kitaro, Thermae Roma, Strange Tale of Panorama Island, Barbara
Most Wanted License: Sunny by Taiyo Matsumoto, Boku wa Beatles by Tetsuo Fujii and Kaiji Kawaguchi, Chihayafuru by Yuki Suetsugu, Futagashira by Natsume Ono, and Atagoul wa Neko no Mori by Hiroshi Masumura
Underrated: To All Corners of the World, Breathe Deeply, Makeshift Miracle, Sengoku Basara, Captain Commando, Random Veus, Kitchen Princess (Christopher Butcher basically listed a bunch of Udon titles but he’s sort of biased as he is their marketing director)
Sorry I don’t have who recommended what. Deb Aoki should be posting a more thorough breakdown later on her site.
So yeah, once again, sorry for the incredibly grainy pictures. 😦 Also sorry I didn’t go to any of the big media panels, but I really didn’t want to stand in a line of 15,000 people (seriously, not kidding; that was what ANNCast said Hall H line was at one point).
Part 2: SDCC 2012: What I Saw is here.
Part 3: SDCC 2012: What I Saw (Booth edition) is here.
Part 4: SDCC 2012: What I Got is here.
Part 5: SDCC 2012: What I Ate/Drank is here.