Life at Comic Con is a BUBBLE. You’re so focused on getting everything on your schedule done that you have no idea what’s going on in the world other than the status of the Hall H and Ballroom 20 lines and whether or not Hayley Atwell had posted a new dubsmash. It’s a nice place to be. The BEST place, really. Our last day of Comic Con was a bit of an oddity as there were exactly zero panels we were DESPERATE to get into (many apologies to our Supernatural recapper Dawn, whom we surely let down). Thus, we allowed ourselves the luxury of sleeping in until 8:30 (which in Comic-Con time is practically noon) and set out with no real PLAN for the day. Having no set plan or schedule is a double-edged sword, especially for a Type-A Monica like me. After 4 days of schedules regimented down to the minute, it was refreshing to just be able to wander and take things as they came. On the other hand, wandering aimlessly led to us making several rookie Comic-Con mistakes. It had to happen eventually, right?
Rookie Mistake #1: Planning on hitting the offsites before the Exhibit Hall. With no panels, we decided to use Sunday to visit all of the offsite events we had been ignoring all weekend. We made a stop by the Petco Interactive Zone on our way to the convention center because we had been walking past the giant Snoopy house (promoting the new Peanuts movie) all week and had been dying to go in. By 9:30 AM, the line to go through the house wound its way around the park several times and it crept along at a snail’s pace. We left. No amount of free Charlie Brown trucker hats or snuggles from rescue beagles was enough for us to wait several hours to go down a slide. This is Comic Con, not Six Flags, y’all.
We bypassed the convention center in favor of heading towards the FX Arena and the Adult Swim carnival. Both were closed until 11. Lame. We opted to walk along the marina on the way to Nerd HQ, which we knew for certain would be open. It was a lovely walk and was decidedly less crowded than the main drag in the Gaslamp. Plus we got to see all the boats and discuss what fandom related name we would give to our yacht when this website goes public and we become bajillionaires. (It could happen.) For future reference, my yacht will be called the Hello, Sweetie.
So why was this a mistake? We assumed that we’d be able to wander the exhibit floor pretty easily towards the end of the day, based on past experience at New York Comic Con, where we were able to zip through the floor finding last-minute deals in the dwindling hours of Sunday. False. Sunday afternoon was the most packed we EVER saw the exhibit floor as swag-hungry con-goers devoured as much of the remaining stock as possible. After being able to wander the floor pretty easily Saturday morning, the sardines-like atmosphere Sunday afternoon was a bit of a shock. Next year, we’ll know better. If our Sunday schedule is empty, we do the exhibit hall first and then hit offsites when they open later in the day. Ah, well. It’s a blessing in disguise. WE DIDN’T NEED TO BUY MORE THINGS ANYWAY. (Though we did miss out on a print we had been eyeing the day before because it sold out. Moral of the story: buy something when you see it. Don’t count on it being there on the last day.)
Rookie Mistake #2: Leaving NerdHQ while a panel was happening
Thanks to our super packed panel schedule, Sunday was the first day that we were able to make it to the Zachary Levi-founded Nerd Haven known as NerdHQ. What a haven it was! There were couches and there were charging stations. There was actual FOOD for sale as opposed to just hot dogs and nachos (thank you for your cafe, New Children’s Museum) and there were a handful of food trucks outside. And much to our delight, there were photo booths galore.
Much to the delight of the cute guy running the photo booth, my green “Sinceriously” shirt blended in with the green screen, rendering the top half of my body invisible. Well…it’s either that or the Hall H sand fleas gave me superpowers. I’ll keep you posted.
The tickets for Nerd HQ’s “Conversations for a Cause” literally sold out in seconds. Sage and I tried for no less than six panels when they went on sale…some were “sold out” immediately, some we managed to get “tickets” in our cart only to find they were no longer available when we went to fill in our information. It was a disaster and we were crushed that we weren’t able to include this in our SDCC experience. We hung around the entry line for the Conversation with SDCC 2015 MVPs Hayley Atwell, James D’Arcy, Clark Gregg, and Chloe Bennet in hopes that people wouldn’t show (HA!) or that they would release some last-minute standing room tickets. Nope. DENIED. After leaving our mark on the giant blackboard, we pondered what to do next. Would Hayley and Company DO a photo-op after? Surely not, we thought. We knew that Nathan Fillion was doing a panel later that afternoon, and as he had spent at least an hour doing photos the day before, we decided that we would throw our hope for a picture behind him. Thus, we left NerdHQ and headed off to check out the Nerdist Conival over at Petco.
The walk from the New Children’s Museum to Petco was not a short one. Along the way, we sadly observed that some of the offsite installations were already in the process of being taken down. (The Comedy Central Mini-Golf, which we had wanted to do, was one of them, much to our dismay.) One thing NOT taken down? The terrifying Colonel Sanders statues, which continue to haunt my dreams.
The Conival was set up all around one of the mezzanines of Petco Park (the baseball nerd in me was delighted to get a peek at this GORGEOUS ballpark). There was swag (“I don’t know what that is, but it’s free, so I want it.”). We got to color our own buttons at the Smart Girls booth because our Queen Amy Poehler knows what’s what. We were in line for yet ANOTHER photo booth when both of our phones went off with an alert from NerdHQ. We looked down in horror…the Marvel Crew was doing a photo-op. It took all of 30 seconds for us to decide that we had to double-back to the museum and we had to do it FAST. Did I mention before it was not a short walk? IT WAS NOT A SHORT WALK. It should also be noted that Sunday was the hottest day of the weekend. Just shy of ten minutes after the alert went out (honestly, the time we made was miraculous), we arrived back at the museum, drenched in sweat and calves burning. The line for the photo-op was capped. NO HAYLEY FOR YOU, IDIOTS WHO LEFT.
Rookie Mistake #3: Waiting around for a Smiles for Smiles photo doesn’t ALWAYS pay off.
Exhausted, a little bit cranky, and desperately in need of a cocktail, we sought out lunch…but not before finding out EXACTLY where we needed to line up in advance of a potential Nathan Fillion photo. This time, we would be ready. Refreshed from a delicious lunch of gourmet burgers (Sage had a lamb burger with balsamic brussels and I had a beef burger with freaking PORK BELLY) and Comic Con themed cocktails at Werewolf, we made our way back to HQ whilst Fillion’s panel was going on. We were surprised (but then again not) to see that a line had already begun to form in hopes that he would be doing a photo-op after. We settled in next to an ADORABLE teen couple bedecked in Firefly cosplay, confident that should the photo-op happen, we would be getting Fillion snuggles.
And therein was the problem. As a volunteer kept reminding everyone getting into the rapidly expanding line, “It is entirely possible you could be lining up for nothing.” And unfortunately, we were. We foolishly forgot that Zachary Levi was in Hall H at that very moment on the Heroes Reborn panel, thus a fill-in moderator was needed for the Supernatural Conversation. That fill-in moderator? Nathan Fillion. The (very sympathetic) volunteer said we could just keep waiting, but we decided we couldn’t spare another hour with ZERO guarantee. Not on the last day of Comic Con. Besides…Fillion is already announced for NYCC. This is your fair warning, dear sir, that we are coming for you. Get ready.
As I said at the top of the post, by the time we finally made it into the Convention Center, it was overrun with
zombies last-minute shoppers. We walked the floor for a brief while, but we found ourselves not wanting to spoil the day by getting cranky in the crowds. A time comes in every con where you know you have to say goodbye and we knew we had hit ours. We stopped by Hall H, where our adventure began YEARS AGO (okay 4 days ago) and said goodbye to the convention center.
Well…we couldn’t leave without doing one last photo-op at the Fargo snow globe. Because GIANT SNOW GLOBE
Before I close out this post, Sage and I came up with superlatives for our first ever SDCC experience. May I have the envelope, please?
MVP of the Con: Hayley Atwell. The stars of Marvel TV brought it this year but we considered Hayley to be the ringleader, as she was dubsmashing WAY before any of them were. Plus, you couldn’t walk into any room without seeing at least one of Peggy Carter’s signature red fedoras. Everyone wanted a piece of Peggy Carter this year and for good reason.
Rookie of the Year: Peter Capaldi. From dining in the Gaslamp to visiting the Hall H line to posing with fans outside the TV Guide yacht (our friend Jane got one and we’re still not over it) to crashing the Doctor Who NerdHQ panel, no one was having a better first Comic Con than Peter Capaldi. The man was EVERYWHERE. He had a packed schedule but it never looked like work. It just looked like he was having a blast. Just THINK how he would be if he came to a Doctor Who con.
Best Panel: Doctor Who. We don’t care that this is the obvious answer coming from us. WORTH THE TWENTY ONE HOUR CAMPOUT.
Best Fan Q&A: The Hannibal Pannibal. What show will these incredibly intelligent and passionate fans flock to next year? Let us know because we want to be in THAT panel.
Biggest Disappointment: Superhero Saturday. I said this in my recap of Saturday: this panel was TOO big to give quality attention to ANY of these incredibly popular shows. Combine that with the fact that the panel ignored a good part of its core audience (women) and you have the biggest letdown of the con.
Biggest Love Fest: Orphan Black. If this panel had occured AFTER Tatiana Maslany scored an Emmy Nomination the entire world would be at peace. That’s how much love was in that room.
Best Moderator, Journalist: Jeff Jensen (Hannibal). Best Moderator, Celebrity: Retta (Orphan Black). Seriously…a good moderator makes all the difference in a panel. No one other than Jeff Jensen should steer us through a show as heady as Hannibal. And it’s always nice when a moderator is a FAN of the show and knows to ask the questions the fans TRULY want to know. In other words, thanks for talking about how Helena needs concealer, Retta.
Biggest Children: The Hunger Games Trio. (runner-up: Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan, Outlander) I just want to thank Jennifer Lawrence for being EXACTLY how I imagined her to be.
Favorite Cosplay: The Raptor Squad. The afternoon sitting around at NerdHQ wasn’t ENTIRELY wasted because it’s where we saw this…
Best Choice We Made, Intentional: Giving our Sleeping Bags to someone in the Hall H next day line. Friday morning we got a tweet from the Star Wars fans that we bestowed our sleeping bags to saying “You saved our lives last night!” Con Karma is a real thing, you guys, and this tweet made us so happy. We like to believe THOSE fans passed the bags on to someone waiting for Batman vs. Superman and then THOSE fans passed them onto a Supernatural fan. It’s like the Sisterhood of the Traveling Sleeping Bags…they always fit.
Best Choice We Made, Unintentional: By merits of the plane fare we wanted, we flew in on Tuesday night and then left on the red-eye Monday night. Thus, while the majority of people were racing to the airport to catch their flights after the con on Sunday, we were getting ready for a night out on the town. We took our hostess out to an AMAZING Mexican Dinner at La Puerta where we met up with Kayti and Terena for an SDCC de-brief. After dinner, we went to a fabulous brewery that was in an old house and sat out on the patio with delicious beer talking about television. That discussion MAY have led to a heated debate about The Walking Dead that ended with me STANDING to make my point because I could no longer be contained by my stool. Just a typical Sunday night really.
We spent Monday with our friend Gally Pal Sarah, who took us to her favorite local hole in the wall for breakfast burritos. Then we drove up into the mountains to Julian, which is FAMOUS for its apple pie and is basically Frontierland. We did a tasting at the Witch Creek Winery, which is decorated in witch-themed gifts from customers, all of which are priced with outrageous pricetags, thanks to an overly persistent tourist who wanted to buy one of them. We wandered through all the kitschy stores and explored a great used bookstore. We bought jewelry at our new favorite store, Pistols and Petticoats. And that apple pie? TRULY life changing.
We took the scenic route back from Julian with Matt Nathanson serving as perfect background music for the gorgeous drive. We had enough time after we got back to meet up with Kayti for one last coffee and we had enough time to take a nap (with my new best dog friend Zach snuggled by my side) before we had to be at the airport. It was the perfect way for us to decompress after the con without having to immediately jump back into the harsh realities of real life. We totally plan on making this our tradition now.
Thanks for the memories, SDCC 2015!! We’ll see you next year.