August 26, 2011

San Diego Comic-Con Recap (A Month Later)

Remember the time I went to San Diego Comic-Con and didn't write anything about it? Other than a wrap-up of my lunch with Timothy Zahn anyways.
I've decided there is no statute of limitations on recapping my convention experience, and maybe you'll agree. And if you don't, well, hopefully you'll read anyways.

I feel like I say this each year, but it seemed crazier than ever at the San Diego convention center. I don't mind, and I expect most of it. One doesn't walk into Mordor unaware that it's going to be hot and uncomfortable (incidentally, SDCC is hot and uncomfortable but there's not any lava. or eagles). Normally I'd wrap up the happenings day by day, but since it was a month ago and my memory is fuzzy on events that occurred last week, I'll go for broad strokes.

The Floor
Most of my exhibit hall wandering this year was going from point A to B to specifically visit someone I knew behind a table, to get to a signing, or to meet a friend. I didn't get to do the systematic up and down the aisles to make sure I saw everything, but for the first time that didn't make my insides twitch. I just went with it. I picked up commissions, stopped by the Marvel and Archaia booths frequently for hugs from friends working at each place, wandered through Artists' Alley, visited justJENN for cookies, delivered some of those cookies to people who needed them, saw the full size TARDIS at Quantum Mechanix, shopped at Her Universe, and took several photos of toys.

SDCC 2011 Day 1

My favorite purchases: Battlestar Galactica toaster necklace from Her Universe, mini AT-AT plushie, a pile of books from Archaia, original art from Gronk by Katie Cook, BSG Triad cards by Anovos, and a book called Sprocket & Gear by Richard Peter Han.

SDCC 2011 Day 1

Commissions: Daenerys by Grant Gould, Death and Obi-Wan (not in the same drawing) by Thom Zahler, and a lovely English countryside scene by Janet Lee.

Every year I make it to fewer panels. This year I saw just five of them: Oh, You Sexy Geek, The Clone Wars Season 4 Preview, and Her Universe: Writing Female Characters for Sci-Fi for me and Green Lantern: The Animated Series and Falling Skies for IGN. I waited in line for all of those and in a particularly long, hot one for Green Lantern and Falling Skies (they were in the same room). If anything, it discouraged me from going to more panels next year. Standing in line is not my favorite thing, unless I'm at Disneyland.

Not that the panels weren't worth it, I'm just impatient. I particularly liked The Clone Wars (highlights here) and Her Universe panels. Lots of clips were shown at Clone Wars, and Supervising Director Dave Filoni dropped hints about what's coming up for season four. The Her Universe panel was exceptionally informative and fun. So much so that I'll write a summary of it next week. The panelists all brought good points to the table about female characters in science fiction and comics.

Offsite (read: the parties)
I slept the least amount ever at Comic-Con this year. It's not a bad problem to have. After I checked out preview night for about thirty minutes on Wednesday, I went to Action Flick Chick's party at Hard Rock Cafe and ran into almost everyone I knew at the convention. That party extended to another bar and eventually that led to me not feeling so hot on Thursday. I had a late dinner Thursday night and ended up staying awake late watching Star Trek: TNG in my hotel room. Friday night was the Geek Girls Network party at Vin De Syrah, a cozy underground wine bar. The party was a blast until the mundanes were let in after 10 or 10:30. Then it got crowded. Some people went to bars, some to The Nerd Machine's Nerd HQ, and some to the Hyatt. I walked until the heels hurt my feet too much and turned in.

Saturday night, I finally figured out that the bar at the Hyatt is the most fun place to be. Everyone I wanted to see ended up there, just up the escalators, and we had an impromptu love fest (not as dirty as it sounds). Just hanging out in a space with breathing room (though it was loud) and time to talk and laugh was perfect. I ran back to Nerd HQ to end the night.

I didn't do any cosplay this year. I realize how sad that statement is. I did pack my Indiana Jones costume and a Captain America shield, but the universe conspired against me playing dress up. I loved seeing what everyone else came up with though. Read about my favorites in this article on Fashionably Geek.

SDCC Day 2

By the time Sunday came, I was glazed over and in a barely functioning state. I fangirled all over Zachary Levi, talked for what I'm sure was way too long to Janet Lee, and used a lot of single syllable words in all conversations. It wasn't a pretty sight. Around 12pm, I decided I couldn't take anymore Comic-Con. I wandered past a farmer's market in the Gaslamp Quarter and was briefly resuscitated by a bacon wrapped hot dog with guacamole, but it didn't last. I had to pick up commissions, and I kept running into people I wanted to see and eventually I left around 3:30. I won't tell you about the extreme measures I had to resort to in order to stay awake on the drive home (it might have involved singing along to boy bands).

Still. Being exhausted after going to a nerd convention is satisfying. I like coming home and surrounding my bed with oversized bags and swag that will never see the light of day, curling up with a new comic or book, and falling asleep with my con badge still around my neck.

See all my photos from San Diego Comic-Con here.

August 22, 2011

Art From a Galaxy Far, Far Away

Leia & Luke with comic book backgrounds by Randy Martinez
It's not often that you see an Imperial Stormtrooper on the streets of downtown Los Angeles on a Saturday night. At least, I don't think so. That could be the in thing these days. I just assumed it meant I was in the right place. It turned out to be the art gallery I was looking for. Hold Up Art in Little Tokyo is hosting a Star Wars themed exhibit featuring pieces by Randy Martinez and Denise Vasquez, and Saturday night was the opening reception. How could I miss an art show called Art From a Galaxy Far, Far Away?

I couldn't. That simple.

Dia de Los Muertos Vader by Denise Vasquez
If you follow Star Wars art, you're probably familiar with Randy Martinez's work. I got to know his art through his promotional work for Star Wars Celebrations. He's done covers for the programs and designs for exclusive merchandise. Last year he did a set of ten postcards that mashed up Star Wars and Orlando with some fun retro designs. I might have bought two of those sets.

Denise Vasquez is a toy designer (among many talents), and she brought custom vinyl dolls to the show. The dolls combined Star Wars with Dia de los Muertos sugar skulls for a creepy, yet somehow adorable look.

Randy & Denise with 501st Stormtroopers
People poured in from the street and crowded the downstairs area of the gallery. Darth Vader, Boba Fett, and accompanying Stormtroopers were treated like celebrities. I had to elbow into a huge crowd of paparazzi with camera phones to get the above photo (this is why I should always carry a lightsaber). As always, it was proved to me that Star Wars fans are just the nicest and most approachable sort of people in the world. They also recognize my tattoo.

Really though. Everyone was enthusiastic, even the people that just wandered in without fully knowing what was going on. I heard exclamations like, "Dude. Darth Vader's in there."
Star Wars is universal, and the people who are passionate about the cultural phenomenon that is the Wars are my favorite kind of people. I was thrilled to be walking among them on a real life Saturday night. And by real life, I mean not at a convention.

Star Wars Topps trading cards by Randy Martinez
The exhibit filled downstairs, and though only a select number of pieces are up, it's more than worth stopping by to see. And if you need to buy someone an extravagant gift, this one of Han Solo is my favorite. Just putting it out there.

You can catch the show until 9/15 at Hold Up Art.

August 16, 2011

New Trailer for Season 4 of The Clone Wars

Season 4 of The Clone Wars is premiering with two episodes on Friday, September 16. I don't have to remind you that it's the same day as the release of Star Wars on Blu-ray. If you need to find me that weekend, I'll be in front of a television somewhere to be determined watching Star Wars. All. weekend.

We'll see the first two parts of a three story arc during the hour premiere: Water War and Gungan Attack. As confirmed at The Clone Wars panel at Comic-Con, we'll be seeing Captain Ackbar.

Along with the premiere date news, Lucasfilm released a new trailer for the season. The new tagline is Battle Lines. I'm hoping that means more time on the action side of war and less time on the political topics. The trailer definitely makes it seem that way. We've seen some of these clips before, but the last minute or so is all new. It seems that Anakin is falling further towards his dark path. At its heart, I think Star Wars is about the story of Anakin Skywalker and I'm looking forward to seeing more of his struggles in the upcoming season.

Can I also just say: this series is visually impressive. I wish I could watch it in a movie theater every week.

August 2, 2011

Rambling Round-Up

Insert pathetic excuse involving Comic-Con and tiredness for my lack of posting here.
I'm finally catching up and feeling back to normal. In that vein, here's a list of articles I've written elsewhere on the internet over the past couple of weeks! (Note that there's a new site in this list - yay for contributing to IGN!)

Best Games in Sci-Fi & Fantasy - My list of games I'd love to play in sci-fi and fantasy. Also: fantasy novels need more games that aren't chess.

My Favorite Costumes of San Diego Comic-Con - The usual parade of fantastic, disturbing, and uh... interesting costumes were on display at SDCC. I feel like I saw hundreds of them. These are ones that I loved for sentimental reasons or because they are just so well done (two words: horse heart).

Review: Magic Beyond Words - Lifetime made an unauthorized movie about J. K. Rowling's life. I reviewed it. You might already have a bad feeling about it (and you'd be right), but indulge me and click through. It's my first negative review.

Conan O'Brien Crashes Comic-Con - O'Brien brought the Flaming C (designed by Bruce Timm) to SDCC during the Green Lantern Animated Series panel. As you can imagine, he totally stole the show.

Green Lantern Animated Series: What to Expect - What happened at the Green Lantern panel before Conan O'Brien showed up and derailed the party.

Falling Skies Panel Coverage - The actors and creators on the Falling Skies panel gave away a surprising amount of information at their SDCC panel. News about aliens, tactics, characters - don't read if you wish to remain unspoiled.

Peggy Carter: More Than Captain America's Girlfriend - Character profile of the movie version of Peggy Carter. She's sort of kick-ass.

10 Attractive Minds in Sci-Fi TV - I find brains much sexier than brawn. Not that I mind brawn, especially paired with brains. Anyways. It was a fun and silly list to make.

SDCC 2011 Recap - Down and dirty recap of Comic-Con for

Sebastian Stan on Playing Bucky Barnes - My roundtable interview with the actor who plays Bucky Barnes in Captain America. He discusses preparation for the role, including physical training and how the comic book character is different from the movie interpretation.

Review: Captain America - I was surprised by how much I liked Captain America. I fell pretty hard for scrawny Steve.
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