I’ve done it again, and divided something that should be one post, tops, into two. Call me the Peter Jackson of bloggers.
Some things were the same for the weekend portion of our tour. Some were a tad different. I’ll try to throw some variety into my summary.
Much the same as Friday morning. Queue for the general queue around 6 am (Thank you, Starbucks, for being open at 5:30), then go directly to the queue for the celeb autographs queue around 7:30 am. Then we were led upstairs at 8:30 for more queuing. It was all very queute.
All celebs were signing starting at 10:15, so the game of Who Do You Love (More) had begun! I had three people to “hit” this time.
So who did I love most?
Clark Gregg. I was not #1 in line, but close. In fact, the ladies in front of me were a mother/daughter team who’d been right behind me for Hayley Atwell on Friday. The daughter had painted blocks of wood of various shapes and sizes with scenes and logos and such that were appropriate to the actors’ roles. For Clark, she had painted a very large SHIELD/HYDRA logo for him. It looked nice. I brought DVD sleeves because I had traveled by air to the con and wanted to keep it light. My iPad, loaded with games, music, and videos, helped me pass the time.
Also helping me pass the time were conversations with a gentleman who was a business owner whose business was run well enough that he could afford to take time off whenever he liked and drop a buttload of money into conventions. He also had a very special memento (albeit not a cheap one). Apparently Stan Lee and an artist had teamed up to have a series of guitars made. Fans who bought the guitar were allowed to have a photo op with Stan right at the signing table – no extra fee required. So he, and his daughter, were among a very select few who were allowed to go behind the curtain and pose with Stan at the table.
Fan Bragging Rights, don’t you know.
The minions doing crowd control frequently requested that we smush ourselves closer together to allow more people in line. I threw on my best Innocent Look and asked, “Why? Is he a popular actor?” Some folks got it.
Mr. Gregg arrived slightly behind schedule and got lots of a-whooping and a-hollering. As I do for all guests, I thanked him for coming.
Anthony Mackie. I was this close to making him choose between Capt America: Winter Soldier… and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Think I’m joking? I loved that Lincoln flick! But ultimately I stuck with the Marvel theme, just in case the con organizers get, like, Scarlett Johansson or Chris Evans next year. Because they’re so available for fan conventions.
Now, this guy came fully-loaded. He had quite a bit of his own merchandise of varying prices, and a price list depending on what you wanted. Bringing your own thing cost the least. So, I guess that made me a fan version of a cheap date.
The person ahead of me brought out Mr. Mackie’s first view of a numbered print available (for free!) to the Fast Passers. Jason Palmer had been commissioned to paint portraits of many of the celebrity guests. People who were fans of all of them used that as their autograph book, in other words. I still have mine, entirely unsigned, because I only wanted three of the dozen or so guests on the print. In fact, I’m not sure what to do with it now (with apologies to Mr. Palmer).
I ripped through the line with my little DVD sleeve, but managed to comment to him on the big print. “You just got here, so you’ll start seeing a lot of them.” He seemed to look forward to it.
Observation: Mackie was wearing what looked like a wedding ring, but the Lords of Google tell me that he’s taken, but not married. My guess is that it was intended to be a flirt deterrent? But given the amount of security around the guests, I don’t know how close an ambitiously amorous fangirl could get to him, or really any of those people.
Now, I should say that Clark Gregg is much more my style, but has himself been married almost fifteen years, so my chances with him are limited.
Curtis Armstrong. Booger. Snot. Pigboy. Metatron. As much as I love me some Revenge of the Nerds, I brought the slipcover for Supernatural’s Season 9, aka the season where Metatron has won (temporarily), and Curtis is clearly having a ball for 22 episodes. “Who wouldn’t?” he said when I mentioned this. I also mentioned that he was not “Alan Rickman’s Metatron,” which I was told that some people have a problem with. (I don’t).
If you have no f****** idea what the above paragraph was about, I’ll sum up. Supernatural is a TV series about two brothers who fight, er, well, supernatural evil. In this show, every mythology is turned inside-out, including Christian mythology (demons, angels, The Fall, etc). The seraph Metatron, aka the Voice of God, is portrayed by Mr. Armstrong in all his frumpy glory. And turned out to be Season 8 and 9’s “Big Bad.” Go figure!
Alan Rickman played another sort of Metatron in Kevin Smith’s Dogma. Both versions are worth a look.
The Armstrong queue was short, so I waived the Fast Pass privilege and queued up with the rest so I could have at least a brief talk with him. Before departing I asked if he’d heard anything about Robert Carradine, who’d been in a bad car accident in March. He did not know much other than that Robert was “on the mend.” And that’s more than we’re getting from TMZ!
Back to the Exhibition Floor and another visit to the Girl Genius booth, because why not. Mrs. Foglio was here today. When I arrived, Mr. Wright pointed me out to her. Apparently he hadn’t taken home that big block of wood yet. She confirmed that the Agatha with Wings piece was still standing up and not broken by their cats. That was a comfort. I hadn’t offered them Cat Insurance.
She asked my permission to use the bas relief of the Castle for… something about scanning its texture or its graphics? I’m not entirely certain, but I said Yes, because what I made was just a version of their own art, anyway. But now that I think of it, I could also have agreed to submit to medical experiments. That’s the trouble with verbal agreements. The fine print could be inaudible, and then how do you get out of it? I’ll ask my new masters what my options are.
Before you think that I spent the entirety of the three days juggling autographs and the Girl Genius booth, I wasn’t that repetitious. In a nutshell, I visited:
- Chocolatiers that specialize in truffles in the shape of various nerd-friendly things, such as the USS Enterprise and C3PO’s head. Tempting, but I’m not a fan of flavored chocolates, other than caramel.
- A woman who customized action figures to (very closely!) resemble actors, characters, YOU… Her prices were fair, but I know how to make my own figures. I ended up discussing customization with her. Her primary material is Sculpey, which is a good clay, but can be brittle. I use Aves Apoxie Sculpt for thin pieces, and sometimes for entire pieces, due to its impressive strength.
- Brickstorms, those Lego customizer guys that cost a lot, but dangit, their sets are neat. Ultimately (meaning on Sunday) I ended up buying a Walking Dead set from them. I DON’T EVEN WATCH THE SHOW.
- Bought two prints from a woman who paints many things in many different styles. Her Kung Fu Panda prints were quite nice.
- another visit to Tinplate Studios, but did not end up buying anything. Sorry, Tony! But seriously, I cannot get over that the small items he makes take under 30 minutes. I couldn’t make any of them in less than 2 days.
- Walked past many long lines for people that I should know, but do not.
- Many, many artists, writers, dealers, exhibitors, and so on, all of whom had something cool to see or do.
- The 501st Legion, aka the Legion of People Who Dress Up Like Stormtroopers. For $5 going to charity, you could have the run of their exhibit and photo ops.
- A coworker who worked at our company’s Seattle office, and who was the bass player for that same company’s party/rock concert (recapped in another blog entry), and who was cosplaying today as a Team Fortress scout. We’d been trading lots of texts before finally managing to connect in a cosplay photo area. We chatted for about a half hour before parting ways again, but it was good to meet up at a place that big, even if not for long.
- Bruce Timm. He gets a separate entry because, dangit, he’s almost entirely responsible for the creation of the DC Animated Universe. Starting with Batman: The Animated Adventures, through Superman, the Justice League, and now the animated DC movies that are still being produced, and kick ass. If I weren’t an adult when they first started, he would have shaped my childhood. And at the con, he had a small table in Artist’s Alley, no fanfare and no line, and was engrossed in fulfilling his list of art commissions. I was as surprised by that as you hopefully are, but I quietly waited for him to finish a portrait of Harley Quinn, then offered a handshake and a hello. And his response was really… flat. DOA, but he did thank me for watching, then went back to the drawing. So that was interesting. But more on that later!
Orlando Jones, I presume? Yes, my phone’s calendar was reminding me to queue up for Orlando’s photo op. It wasn’t a terribly long line, but was rushed as much as any of the others. Hmph. This is the result. He’s on the right, in case you’re having trouble telling us apart. I am told that he failed at something called “Hover Hand,” which I only just learned about recently. I approve of his failure.
Here’s something that I don’t do very well at conventions: eat or drink well. By the latter I mean stay hydrated. I pack two big bottles in my backpack each morning: regular water, and a Diet Pepsi. I drink both, but walking all day long can take a toll. But to continue purchasing water inside the con costs $3.50 per bottle, and not very large ones at that. Prepackaged meals are never less than $8. It’s like living inside an airport. In retrospect I guess I could have used water fountains to keep refilling my water bottle, but I didn’t. So by Saturday evening (5-ish), let’s just say that my urine wasn’t running clear.
I’m an herbivore, and by Saturday afternoon I was seriously considering chucking that for the weekend and getting myself a turkey sammich already. The reason is that all the concession stands throughout the con carried the same stock: prepackaged sandwiches for turkey, chicken, ham, beef, … and for the herbivores, pita bread with hummus. That was it. Well… ONE place also had cheese pizzas. That was a very crowded place. Now, I like hummus. I do, but eating that as my “meal” every day was an unpleasant prospect, and please spare me platitudes about starving people. They would have starved here, too, because they couldn’t have afforded any of the food.
Long story short, the printed program had listed 5pm as Orlando’s Q&A session, so I was there around 4:30 and hung out until it was time. The moderator came out and said, “Is everyone a fan of Agents of Shield??” Yyyyes, I thought, But Orlando isn’t on the show, but whatever. Then she introduced Clark Gregg, who is the lead on that show, and I became confused. I didn’t mind that it was him, but I had decided, based on my declining health, to watch only the OJ show at 5-6, then get some desperately needed water and rest.
Clark’s bit was fun and relaxed and whatnot, and then he had to leave, and so did I. My phone is as dumb as a brick, so there was no dowloading the con’s mobile app to check for updates and whatnot. Without any warning, they’d swapped out Orlando to where I did not know.
Before heading over to Sunday, here are the Out and About photos I took, including with the 501st Legion. Clearly these guys all figured out that I was the Rebel Spy. Seriously, I am. Twice on Disneyland’s Star Tours! And yet I keep riding that thing.
I don’t know what’s happening here, but I guess that Yub Nub stuff of theirs is some seriously powerful s***.
There were way too many Jayne Cobb costumes this year. Freaking everyone was dressed like him!
Typical convention security guy. Tip: use the stairs if you’re in a hurry to avoid them.
Some well-coordinated group cosplay displays. Fun Fact: after I took the Oz picture, “Glinda” handed me her phone so I could take a pic for her own posterity. I’m not sure if that makes me a good witch, or a bad witch.
And same as last year, the LEGO crowd had big, popular displays. Those pics will be at the end.
SUNDAY! SUNDAY! SUNDAY!
Finished with autographs! So I lined up with the regular folks for the Exhibitors Floor for entry at 10 am!
To pass the time I plugged in my ear buds and started watching a video on my iOS. Because this was a Comic Con, I picked a Comic Book movie, Captain America: The Winter Solder. Good stuff. About two hours in, a minor commotion ensued that took a few moments for me to notice. Anthony Daniels was passing through the “loading zone,” as it were, and was being fussed over by anyone who managed to get near him. In this case, Con volunteers. He abided a few selfies with him, and then walked along the stanchions for a minor meet and greet. I watched with much interest, but did not switch on my camera or video.
Then, not five minutes after Daniels left the area, the Legion of Radio-Controlled R2s came through and led their droids up and down the queue for a Droid Parade. The morning was already surreal, and we weren’t inside yet.
At 10 am our blockade was lifted, and the rush began. I went straight for an area that I hadn’t visited before, before the crowds got too horrible, and looked for the booth of Bill Doran, a prop/costume maker that I follow on Twitter. I don’t make props or cosplay, but appreciate the work behind both. He wasn’t there yet, so I wandered. When I had wandered around enough and returned, he and his Missus were there, desperately trying to assemble and wear their gear while a crowd gathered. I was just waiting to say, “Nice to meet you in person!” before scampering off into the night. Er, morning. The place had just opened.
At Noon there was the mega-expensive Avengers Threesome photo op. I suspect that I don’t have to tell you that it was a popular item, in spite of the mega-expense. But it cost less than the individual photos that I’d wanted, so it was a… deal of sorts. I mean, for nerds, I guess.
While in line I overheard a woman instructing a friend to refer to Stan Lee as “Mr. Lee” and to be all respectful and stuff, because he’s old-fashioned that way. I thought it was adorable that the woman thought we’d have even one second available for conversation. In fact, the minions were pretty much instructing us to NOT have even a second of conversation. Demand was popular, after all.
But the Pass did get me in a good spot, and I prepped myself and ran over quickly, and this was the result:
“Well done!” said
Stan Mr. Lee after the picture was taken. I thanked them all and ran out with my Stuff as quickly as I could so as not to anger the minions.
The Tahiti shirt: it’s a reference to the Agents of Shield show that the gentleman to my right headlines. It’s a magical place.
After that photo, I stopped by Susan Eisenberg’s table again. No line again, so I said “Hi!” and mentioned Bruce Timm’s presence at the con. She had had a reunion, thanks, and also cleared up his DOA reaction to my talk with him. Apparently he has little to no social skills, and yet managed to build the DC Animated Universe. Ah, creative people.
Aaaaand I stopped by Orlando Jones’ signing area again. It was not long today, and only wanted to say “Hey,” so I stood in the regular line. While waiting I noticed that he was taking a selfie with absolutely everyone. I mentioned before that the con organizers have “No Cameras” signs plastered all over this floor, so he was being naughty. As one minion put it, if the guests want to whip out their cameras, so be it. So I pulled out my iPad, which has a camera that can take regular and selfie pics.
Once it was my turn, I spoke of two things with him: one is that, if I were really the first person to get an autograph from him as a guest, did that make me his Number One Fan? He agreed. I was so happy that I couldn’t suppress my unabashed glee.
Isn’t this the kind of adoration that every celebrity craves? I think he did, because he took a Snapchat of it and sent it to wherever those things go before being deleted. That would explain why I can’t find it online. Ah, well.
Item #2: I brought up the programming snafu that caused me to miss his Q&A on Saturday. “So, if you felt something ‘off’ or a disturbance in the Force over my absence, I apologize.”
It wasn’t comedy gold, but he was game for bantering along those lines, and admitted to feeling “off,” but continuing anyway, and had been pissed off at me, and thank God I’d come forward with that apology. Hey, how often are these guys game for that kind of meet and greet? I was satisfied.
Now here’s our selfie.
At 3:30 was Curtis Armstrong’s turn to be photographed with nerds. Fun Fact: he doesn’t think of himself as a nerd, which likely means that he’s not into nerd/geek culture and reads Chekhov. And by that I mean Anton, not Pavel.
I ended up first in line, which was not a terribly long one, but I still did my best not to hold it up. Behold and tremble before the power of short people!
Just because I’d been there a bunch of times already was no reason not to give the Girl Genius booth another visit. This was after I’d agonized for hours whether to pull out even more cash from an ATM to buy Brickstorms’ Walking Dead set that I mentioned above. “Take my money now, before I change my mind!” I demanded. They obliged.
It occurred to me that I hadn’t forced Mrs. Foglio to pose with me. She was given fair warning that I would look like… Well, this:
We mad scientists have to stick together and all that. Yes, I used part of this pic for the Number One Fan reveal, but it’s the only pic I have of me doing that look!
Oh, well, there are these, too.
Damn right I call them “Legos” and not “LEGO bricks” or “LEGO sets” or whatever the hell the company wants us to call them. I’ve given enough money to that Danish manufacturer to give me some wiggle room here. Legos.
But enough about me. Here a bunch of pics without captions. Most are a custom city and scenes from Mouse Guard, whatever that is. Plus another hodge-podge city, scenes from The Goonies (because… I don’t know!), and miscellaneous.