I’ve been to Comic Con before, but the last time was 10 years ago; that fabled time when it’s name was more accurate. I’m not a huge comic person – not because I think they aren’t worthwhile, but because they just aren’t my favorite way to experience a story – so it was fun, but not amazeballs. Over the years, I somehow wound up as babysitter while the then-husband went off every year and had fun. And that was pretty much fine. Until 2009 when they held the last Lost panel. That morning, as the ex was getting ready to go, I suddenly realized that the kids were really old enough that I could ditch them all day and go myself. But I didn’t. I can’t remember why. Maybe because I felt like it was shitty to find a last-minute babysitter, maybe because the Con was already sold out? Either way, I kicked myself. And each year after that, I watched more closely as more and more things I was interested in began to be represented there. I love reading Epbot to see all the Cons they go to; they’ve inspired me to try to be more active in that community. Of course, every year the Con got bigger as more things OTHER people were interested in also began to be represented. And now it’s pretty much impossible to buy tickets, the system is so convoluted and, honestly, not prepared for all the web traffic.
So I’ve mostly watched enviously from the sidelines, but this year I was pretty brokenhearted to miss it. So the kids and I decided we’d just go hang out in downtown and watch the people going to and from. There are always lots of Con-related events outside of the convention center, too. There was a Tumblr Doctor Who get together I hope to make next year, but this year we went to spend the day with Noah, celebrating his birthday. So we decided we’d go down on Sunday, the day of the Doctor Who panel, because even though it was unlikely that we’d meet Matt Smith so that I could sniff him, I figured there would be a lot of Doctor Who-related costumes and that would be fun.
But! While we were driving home from Noah’s house that night I got a call from a number I didn’t recognize and decided to answer it (because, lord knows, it might have been the Today Show. Again). It was from a woman I didn’t even know* offering me one ticket to the Con. Immediately the wheels in my head started turning – who can I ditch my kids with tomorrow and would the kids kill me or not? – but then she added that kids were free so I was all, “HELLS YES, PLEASE!” And the kids were all, “WE’RE GOING TO COMIC CON? WE’RE GOING TO COMIC CON!”
Pretty much as soon as we got there, Margie dragged me over to the line for the Doctor Who panel. This was a good idea, it turns out. Cause we were close to the back of the line**, and weren’t even certain we’d get in. That’s the Comic Con Gamble, I guess. Wait for three hours (or more) and hope you get in.
The ex had suggested we split the kids at some point to get some one-on-one time with each so I figured that three hours of line-waiting was probably too much for the little one, so he came to get Elliott and they wandered around together, while everyone complimented Elliott’s costume. E was sad to miss the panel, though, so I am a little bit of a Bad Mommy for orchestrating things that way. *sigh*
In front of us in line were a couple of really cool women we talked to a little bit here and there, but behind us were a group of super-annoying guys. From what I could understand, the father didn’t realize his son was Canadian? It was bizarre. And they kept loudly talking about religion and politics and then saying they weren’t going to talk about religion and politics, but continuing to talk about religion and politics anyway. They happened to disagree with me politically, which isn’t normally a big deal, but they kept saying things like, “Americans hate France because it’s socialist and Americans hate socialism.” Which. Actually, the reason I hate France*** is because their food sucks. And also I hold a grudge for that extra day we were supposed to be in London, but got stuck in Paris the day it was closed (I’d link you, but I haven’t written that part of my Europe trip yet). Also, I kind of like socialism and happen to be American. But the most annoying thing they did was truly assholey. THEY CUT. IN. LINE. Every time the line moved forward, they tried pushing past us, but I was not letting that happen. Because! Justice! But then it happened anyway. And we bitched about it with the cool girls in front of us. I guess the moral of that story is the girls rule and boys drool?
So we sat in line**** wondering if we’d make it in. For three hours. And the internet was VERY BORING. Margie had her DSi, and I considered watching some TV on my phone, but I had this story in my head yelling at me, “Nooooo! Don’t use up your phone’s battery! Because if someone famous wants to put your son on his shoulders later you WILL REGRET IT.” So, despite the fact that I actually had two other cameras with me that day, I conserved my phone’s battery (and naturally did not see anyone famous. One way to always see famous people or ghosts is to never have working cameras with you). They made announcements saying the two panels ahead of ours in Hall H (Fringe, and Supernatural) were closed, but no one left the line. Because Doctor Who. Duh. And the the line began to move. And we all crossed our fingers. And a part of me knew we’d get in, because everything that had happened in the previous 18 hours seemed to be leading me there, but that part of me sure as hell wasn’t going to say that out loud even if I did have my wooden bracelet to knock on just in case. And then we got in! And we were all the way in the back. And by “in the back” I mean probably just 1,000 people behind us.
So, after a year, I finally got to sniff the Doctor (that link goes to a very embarrassingly emo post. Don’t read it). And even though there were 4,000-5,000 people in between us, I can say with certainty***** that he smells like…. air conditioning!
This post is so long and I haven’t even gotten to the panel yet. Maybe I am wordy enough to write books?
Anyway, the panel was awesome. It was funny and exciting and we got to see exclusive clips which are, surprisingly, not yet on YouTube (nerds, you fail me. stop being so honorable). People and daleks and TARDISes (of a Californian sort?) asked questions.
ACTUALLY, I have to stop you there for a second. The night before the official SDCC panel, they did a thing at Nerd HQ and broadcast it live online. And one of the questions they were asked there was how to pluralize TARDIS. When the cast didn’t have a very good answer the girls who asked it (who were all wearing very awesome TARDIS dresses) offered their (clearly correct suggestion) that it remain TARDIS because it’s an acronym. It would change to “Times and relative dimensions in space”. I LOVE GEEKS.
Anyway. It was amazeballs. I was so excited I was practically dancing in my chair. And then it was over and we headed out with a giant scary mob that was, honestly, claustrophobic. I generally handle crowds well. I don’t LOVE them – I always prefer empty spaces – but they don’t make me panicky or terribly upset. But that mob did. I held myself together just fine, but it tapped me out for the rest of the day and walking around the floor wasn’t nearly as fun as it would have been otherwise. Or if, you know, no one else was there. So we headed home, it was almost over anyway.
And I feel satisfied. I’ve been to Comic Con again. I’ve seen the Doctor Who panel, and I’ve been IN THE SAME ROOM AS THE DOCTOR. And now I think, for at least a few more years, I’ll be content to watch any future panels online rather than dealing with the hassle of trying to figure out how to buy tickets and then possibly getting stampeded after having paid money for the tickets. I totally want to go to smaller cons, though. There’s a Doctor Who one in February I’m seriously considering.
The way this whole thing came together was fairly divine. Got a call from a stranger offering me a ticket the very day of the one thing I REALLY wanted to see, the ability to go, the ability to make it in – and, I forgot to mention earlier, we found EXCELLENT parking *just* across the street for less than half of what I’d been told I’d have to pay. It felt like a gift from The Universe.
Of course, I woke up this morning with a head cold. But, still, we had a magical weekend.
You can see the whole set of pictures here at Flickr.
*Although I may have met her at park days before, I think she got my number from a mutual friend. This was legit, not some creepy scam.
**Because there were probably only 500 people in line behind us.
***I probably don’t ACTUALLY hate France. But I should probably go there once more. Just to make sure.
****You can tall I’m Californian because I say “in” line and not “on” line the way East Coasters do. I learned that from A Way With Words. #Smrt
*****Or with “certainty”.