On the trolley, we meet an amusing duo, the kind you might see in a movie. A white guy and an Indian guy named Raj who are quite the jokesters. They tell us about their Scavenger Hunt, which calls for them to find, among other things, a black Vulcan, a female Klingon, an Asian kid (ha!), a Cyclops, and a Browncoat actually in a brown coat. When we ask them what the Hunt is for, they say they just made it up for fun. Ha! What a fun idea. We totally need to come up with one for next year.
We have a good time with the guys on the trolley, but we break from them as we rush toward Ballroom 20 (even though that is also their destination). It is 8:16 or so, less than two hours from the start of the panel, and the line is already at the tent. I didn't expect that. But I reassure everyone that we will get in, based on my experience yesterday. I started out inside and waited through two panels and got in. That meant that the number of people in line ahead of me had to have cleared out of the room in that two-hour timeframe. Today, the room started out completely empty. We would be in the back half, but we would get in.
In line, we meet another running joke. As we talk about getting in line so early to get into the panel, a man jokes that we are in line with the "unwashed masses." He then comments to someone else about the unwashed masses. He calls someone on the phone and tells them he's in line with the unwashed masses. He cannot get enough of this phrase.
Since it is the Chuck panel, we see some Chucks. One guy looks a lot like Zachary Levi, and the costume works.
These girls look nothing like Zachary Levi, but the costumes still work! Aw, adorable.
Once we make it inside, there is more genderbending!
My logic is sound; we do get in. We're in the last third or quarter, right behind (or in front of, depending on how you look at it) the second big screen. smoo_nyc has found a seat elsewhere.
The Chuck panel begins with a fun season one recap. Mini guesses the last four words of the finale and feels proud since she hasn't actually caught up, but I roll my eyes at her since we all called them during the actual finale.
Then the video flashes to one month later, as Josh Schwartz and Chris Fedak are sitting in their office eating Subway sandwiches (with a bunch of Subway wrappers on the desk), explaining to Zachary Levi that it's been a good run, and they wish him well, since they assume they're cancelled. But then Josh gets the call about the renewal. They wave an exuberant Zach out. Chris is furious with Josh! "You told me there was no way we were going to be renewed! What do we do now?" They have no ideas, and Comic-Con is going to be a disaster.
Josh says that they'll just go with something that always works. And the camera pans over to Vik Sahay and Scott Krinsky on the couch.
AND THEN JEFFSTER COMES OUT ON STAGE.
IT IS SO EPIC I CANNOT EVEN GET A CLEAR SHOT.
JEFF ROCKS THE KEYTAR.
LESTER ROCKS THE VOCALS.
THE REST OF THE CAST JUST PLAIN ROCKS.
WITNESS THE GLORY OF "FAT BOTTOMED GIRLS" ON YOUTUBE.
Seriously, it's like every day, there's another Most Amazing Thing at Comic-Con.
The panel itself is also very entertaining. There's a lot of thanking the fans and everyone who made a ruckus to get the show renewed, and Zach Levi singles out Wendy Farrington in the audience and tells everyone how awesome she is for coming up with the Finale Footlong campaign.
Playing off the intro video, Josh and Chris joke that they really don't know what they're going to do next season. Chris hilariously takes it another step: every time an audience member asks a question or makes a suggestion about something that might happen to Chuck next season, he writes it down on a little notepad. Sometimes Josh says, "That's good, write that down." It's really funny. They play it completely straight, so straight that I will not be surprised if some of the Comic-Con suggestions end up in the show, even if they were already going to be. (At one point, Zach catches on and says, "Suggest a raise!")
Josh jokes about budget cuts that will force Adam Baldwin to speak only in grunts. "But my inner monologue," says Adam, "is saying, 'Joss Whedon.'" The Whedonites cheer on command. "It's Comic-Con," Adam says, "I've got to throw them a bone."
I have a feeling that deep down, Zach Levi gets irritated at Adam's fan-pandering. When someone asks if there will be action figures, Adam says, "Yeah, I want another one."
Zach mocks him: "'Oh, I was in Firefly and everyone loves me.'" Joshua Gomez says that, yeah, Zach wants an action figure so he can beat down on Adam's. Zach mimes an action-figure beatdown with his hands: "Take that, JAYNE! Not so shiny now!" It is absolutely hilarious.
Zach has a fun time getting questions from little kids. He gets one from what he calls the most adorable little girl ever. "Her parents should bottle her," he says. "'Do you want a little adorable? Here.'" He tosses some invisible adorable.
Another time, a little boy asks a question. "Hi, my name is Orion, and..."
"Your name is Orion?" asks Zach, incredulous.
"That's awesome. Are you my father?"
"I'm not." Heeeee.
Also, Joshua Gomez is wearing pink underpants. Adam Baldwin proves it to us. It's a very fun panel, as expected.
(Oh, for foresthouse's benefit: Zach says that Chuck is like Peter Parker, but he would like to be Deadpool.)
As we exit the panel, we encounter this guy:
Comic-Con is weird, you guys.
I hang around the Browncoats for a bit waiting for the Jayne hat flash mob to gather, but I have a press room to get to, so I ditch.
But I am waylaid by AWESOME AVATAR COSPLAYERS! I have to stop and take a picture.
I LOVE THE DUDE WHO DRESSED UP AS CABBAGE MAN. (I also love that Haru is clearly doing a Sexyfine pose.)
I also randomly pass Jeff Lewis (Vork) on my way to the press room, which I just barge into this time. I am not officially signed up, but Rae (Rae!) has assured me that I'll be cool. Unfortunately, we are apparently on standby or something. The woman tells us to sit in the back, and she'll get us if seats open up. Even though there are open seats. Chris Fedak is right there, talking to a table that is not full! Rae and I decide to make a break for it when the woman is not looking. So we do.
I take a seat at the table in front of me as Chris is talking. La la la. He's just finishing up, though.
He rocks the glasses, however.
At this table, unlike the Psych table, we actually do have One Fat Guy. We also have a blonde girl. These two are the closest to the talent and are very pushy, asking question after question whenever they sense a moment of silence—or right before, which is how you have to play it. The guy is also making a video for his friend Sam (a girl), so he asks every single person to record a little message for her, which they all do but takes up extra time. There's some funny business since everyone assumes Sam is a guy, so he has to correct them when they make a gendered statement.
I ask Josh Schwartz about all the geeky references. He says those come from Chris, Chris is the geek. Ah, I say, Chris is the geek and you bring the music. Josh does bring his musical sensibility to the show, but he adds that Neil Diamond came from Chris.
Mark Christopher Lawrence is very sweet and friendly! I tell him that when I saw him on the show, I knew I knew him from many things, so I ask what his favorite non-Chuck role is. He says that the role he's most often recognized for is Tone Def in Fear of a Black Hat.
"YES!!" I cry. Because that is where I know him from! I didn't realize it until then. "I love that movie!"
He shakes all of our hands before he leaves. Aw!! No one has ever done that in a press room before.
Scott Krinsky and Vik Sahay are a hoot, as you'd expect. Vik especially is quite fiery. He wants us tell him what Josh and Chris said. We compliment them on their awesome live performance. I ask Vik if he was really singing up there. It was him singing, yes, but he wasn't singing. Which makes sense.
It's sort of weird to see Jeff smile. Someone asks Scott a question I wanted to ask as well, regarding the fact that he plays creepy so well and what that means. "Are you scared that there's a little Jeff in you?" I add.
"Yes," he says.
Like I said. A hoot.
I ask Vik about the growing number of non-stereotypical Indian roles in TV and movies over the last few years. Is it that people are writing non-stereotypical Indian characters or that people are giving non-stereotypical roles to Indian actors?
And I am going to be non-lazy and consult my audio for this one because I enjoy his answer. Vik says, "It must be both, man, it must be both. I think that if you're going to reflect society, society includes us, brother!" I think he makes a "brother" gesture to me that I reciprocate. "I've always said, I don't mind doing an accent, I don't mind doing that stuff, as long as a camera can follow me home and I get to do the backstory and investigate the character and stuff like that. So, to answer your question, I don't know, what do you think?"
Dammit! I don't have an answer! That's why I asked you! I say that I don't know, but I've just seen it grow, especially with Slumdog Millionaire recently, it seems like the presence has really...
"We're the next big thing, man!" says Vik. "The South Asian Invasion, right?"
Vik and I, we're tight now. I tell him he has great hair.
Adam Baldwin is not up for singing and dancing! (The blonde girl asks everyone if they're game for a musical episode of Chuck.) Adam Baldwin loves Ronald Reagan! (It was his idea for Casey to have his picture.) Adam Baldwin thinks Casey is a patriotic American who thinks he's best for the job, so it hurts his feelings not to be included in important jobs! (I ask him about his behavior in the penultimate episode.)
Joshua Gomez has an unfortunate beard. Someone asks him why he's always playing geek characters.
"Because I am short and not very good-looking," he says. "So that usually results in being a 'tech guy,' apparently, in Hollywood."
"No, you guys can dispute that."
(No one does. The blonde girl asks about the musical episode instead.)
Yvonne Strahovski is kind of overwhelmed by Comic-Con. I could consult my audio, but I will never finish this post if I try to transcribe everything.
Here, have a cute picture instead.
Ryan McPartlin joins the table, and he is pretty...wait for it...awesome. He's very lively and fun and brings a lot of energy to the table. But, uh, yeah, I have no interesting notes about what they said.
But they sure are hot.
When Zach Levi sits down, I address him before the questions are fired, reminding him about the story he told at WonderCon about the girl who gave him Y: The Last Man. I tell him that I wrote about it in my LJ and the girl found my post and was so excited. He says that he actually met her later, which is cool. He also informs me that Shia is out of the Y movie now, so...
"It's you!!" I say. "It's you!"
Josh Gomez joins the proceedings, perhaps so they can have a beard-off. Again, I am sure interesting things were said, but I do not remember them. Other people were there and you can find more detailed reports if you like.
As Zach is leaving, I call to him, "Zach! Thanks for doing Shades of Ray."
He turns to me. "Thanks for liking it!" (I didn't actually say I liked it, but... [I mean, I liked it but I had issues...]) "I didn't think I could pull it off."
"Thanks for making that movie happen," I say as he leaves.
We don't get a chance to talk to Sarah Lancaster, sadly. There were a lot of people there, and not enough time...for print media. Pictures and video, that is the new thing!
I walk back toward the lobby to cross to the other side, but where I saw the Avatar cosplayers before, there is now a huge crowd of people in awesome costumes. I move closer to investigate. Everyone is crowded around a central point. What is going on in the midd—OMG OMG OMG IT'S MIKE AND BRYAN OMG.
THEY ARE JUST AWESOMELY TAKING PICTURES WITH PEOPLE IN COSTUME AND BEING AWESOME BECAUSE THAT IS WHAT THEY DO.
THEY WILL EVEN LET PEOPLE PUT COSTUMES ON THEM.
SIFU KISU IS THERE TOO. Later, I see him sitting by the window signing DVDs. I did not bring my DVDs since I didn't expect to meet Mike and Bryan! Their signing was ticketed! And conflicted with things!
Rae is drawn to the crowd as well, and she starts taking her own pictures. I resist the urge to yell at Mike and Bryan about how awesome they are and how much I love Avatar. This is for the people in costume, not me. Besides, they know I love Avatar. I am hanging around and taking pictures of them.
How awesome is this Suki? She made the costume herself (and Iroh's costume as well). Jilli will be pleased to know that I checked to see if she'd put makeup on her ears. She hadn't. Oops.
ariiadne wants to see me, so I meet the purple-haired girl between the lobby and the Sails Pavilion. Jess accompanies me to the line for Room 6DE, which is ricockulous as usual, fucking lines. We wrap around corners until we find what appears to be the end, where we find Jilli! She just got there as well. Jess waits with us in line for a bit, but in a strange, confusing, and unprecedented occurrence, we end up getting into the very next panel in the room! So Jess leaves us.
There must not have been a huge crossover between whatever panel was before; the line looked really long! Whatever, we are in! We have to sit through an Xbox Live panel, which is more boring and uninteresting to Jilli than it is to me, but I don't pay much attention either and use the time to catch up on taking notes. One thing I do note from the panel is that someone sent the guys Master Chief cakes and plasma grenade cakes. They were good cakes!
When the panel ends, I conduct Operation Better Seat. I tell Jilli to save my seat while I go scope out a closer seat; just in case I don't find two seats for us, we don't want to lose the seats we have already. I do find us a couple good seats in the second row in the section over. Score! We are quite excited for the Gerard Way panel.
I notice a man in the front row in the section over being mobbed by teenage girls taking his photo. Jilli tells me it's Mikey Way, Gerard's brother and bassist of My Chemical Romance.
He looks kind of vampiric in low light without a flash.
Now, I know very few of you read The Umbrella Academy, but you really should. Gerard Way is more than the lead singer of My Chemical Romance, so don't let that affect your opinion of him as a comic book writer. To your utter horror, I inform you that I actually took notes during the panel for this one.
Scott Allie of Dark Horse Comics introduces Gerard Way and—SURPRISE PANELIST ALERT—Mikey Way. Gerard announces that his new project is a Twilight/MCR crossover slashfic. Haaaaa ha ha. Apparently, he's been mistaken for Robert Pattinson ([Editor's note: I actually refer to him as RPattz in my notes to save time.]) recently.
"He has a squeaky voice!" I remark to Jilli. It's adorable.
He talks a little about the next volume of UA, Hotel Oblivion, which is sort of like Hargreeves' Arkham. This volume, he says, is where it gets "really weird."
There will be eight volumes in all! Jesus shit, I didn't know what I was getting myself into when I started, but I'm game for more. Tell me a story, Gerard.
He wants to talk a little about Hargreeves, but he needs to mention something spoilery from the second volume. "Who here has read Dallas?" he says. The last issue of Dallas came out a few weeks ago, but the trade has not been released.
"Woooo!!" I say along with surprisingly few others in the completely full room.
"That's, like, fourteen of you," says Gerard, amused.
There's some drama with the Q&A! Because Scott Allie, I think, tells us to start lining up for the Q&A, so I get up and go the microphone behind a couple others, but then some woman tells us it's not time to line up, so we sheepishly return to our seats. But then without warning a few minutes later, there are people sitting on the floor in line in front of the microphone, so what the fuck, I get up and get behind them. The girl behind me complains to the woman, telling her that we'd just been told the line wasn't ready, and she had been up at the front, so the woman takes her up to the front. I, indignant, follow her and take my rightful third spot in line.
Someone asks Gerard who his favorite character is, and he picks Séance. He's very German, and...something about interpretive dance. Scott Allie comments that Gerard's favorite changes a lot, as it used to Rumor. Gerard notices that there quite a few Rumors in the audience—ah, so that's what the purple hair is about! I didn't put it together. There's also an impressive Vanya.
"Are you naked?" asks Gerard. She's not, though it does look like she is. Gerard dares someone to come as Spaceboy next year.
When I get up to the microphone, I say that I just reread Apocalypse Suite while waiting in all these lines ("Sorry," says Scott for some reason, as if he is responsible for all the lines at Comic-Con), and I was reminded of how awesome and hilarious it was. But one of my favorite things about it was the "Featuring..." jokes in the titles and the little random things at the end of each issue, so I was sad not to see them in Dallas. Gerard says he loved them too, but it didn't feel right to do them in the next miniseries, he didn't want to beat the joke into the ground. What he will continue doing, however, to Gabriel Bá's dismay, is having the two-page spread for the title of the issue. (I don't remember whether I tell him that I won't mind if he brings those jokes back or I just think it in my head.)
Watchmen was what got Gerard into comics. He also cites Garth Ennis as a big inspiration, praising Preacher in particular.
He pictures Gary Oldman as Hargreeves because this one time, he ran into Gary Oldman in the bathroom at some event, and it just hit him that he looked like Hargreeves. He doesn't have any other casting in his head, though.
A little kid asks if UA could be an animated series. Gerard would love that.
Someone asks him what it's like having two jobs. Gerard wrote UA while on the road, and the reason Vietnam figures so heavily in Dallas is because he fell in love with Vietnam while they were touring. He says that each issue (of which volume or both volumes, I forget) was written in a different country.
What has he learned from doing comics? He's learned how to communicate better. To him, art is straight communication, and if you don't have anything to say, you shouldn't be making art. And he doesn't have any strong desire to show how clever he is.
Would he care to share any Comic-Con fanboy moments? He doesn't want to name names, but there have been some musicians he's met backstage that he doesn't give a fuck about; it's the geeky stuff he cares about. At the Eisners last night, he just stared at Jeff Smith, even dumbly mouthing, "Jeff Smith," to him when he caught his eye. Mikey was psyched about meeting Stan Lee.
"Who'd I really nerd out for?" says Gerard. "Fucking LeVar Burton." He texted LeVar when his daughter was born because Reading Rainbow was playing on the hospital television at the time.
Someone asks Mikey what it's like being Gerard's brother or something like that. What he's learned from him. Well, we learn that when they were kids, Gerard wore Robin PJs and Mikey wore Batman PJs, even though the roles appear reversed now. Mikey says he loves his brother and he inspires him in everything he does. Awww!
Haaaaaa ha ha ha ha ha. This is one of the most hilarious things I've ever seen.
"You said that Watchmen got you into comics," Rorschach growls. "What was it you liked about it?"
I LOVE COMIC-CON YOU GUYS.
It was the way the story unfolded, says Gerard. My notes say nothing more. But I don't care because RORSCHACH ASKED GERARD WAY A WATCHMEN QUESTION. HA HA HA HA.
Vanya asking a question isn't as awesome because she's not in-character, but it's still a cool costume.
Gerard likes his issue titles more than his song titles. He considers the issue titles very important, as they really help him write the issues.
Someone asks him whether he knows about the other Umbrella Academy. The what now? It takes some rambling about Google for the audience and Gerard to figure out that, yes, he means the Umbrella Corporation from Resident Evil. "They should sue me," says Gerard.
One girl prefaces her question by informing Gerard that he is her #1 celebrity crush and Robert Pattinson has nothing on him. He thanks her. She asks if he's considered getting into acting as well, but Gerard says he wouldn't be good at acting.
And then a tweenybopper comes up and says that she loves his music, but she's not into "comics and junk."
You can actually feel the entire audience glare at her.
She asks about the new album. He says they're working on it, so keep a lookout.
"But what's it called? How can I keep a lookout for it if I don't know what it's called?" she pleads.
It doesn't have a name yet! What, should he just call it Brothers and Sisters, I Am an Atomic Bomb (the name of an Umbrella Academy issue)?
"Also," the girl adds, "I agree with the girl before me. Robert Pattinson sucks!!"
Whoa, whoa. Gerard doesn't want to knock Robert Pattinson. He thinks he's okay. "He's got a James Dean vibe."
"NO!!" the girl squeals.
"Wow, did you guys see her?" comments Gerard. "She's getting all violent!"
Jilli cringes for her fandom.
We get a cool little history of the evolution of Hazel and Cha-Cha, whom he describes as "two dudes with a great bond who love hanging out, love good food, and love killing people." They started out as one guy with a giant Mickey Mouse head, but Gerard realized that just wouldn't work for copyright reasons, and he split the character in two. The name Hazel came from a band on SubPop, and the name Cha-Cha comes from a line delivered by Divine in Female Trouble. Now you know!
As we leave, I declare to Jilli that I find Gerard Way totally adorable and nice and now I want to listen to more My Chemical Romance so I can be a bigger Gerard Way fanboy. Jilli agrees with me, saying she likes him as a person.
The Gerard Way panel gets out at 3:15, so, given my experience with Ballroom 20, I have already given up home of making the Fringe panel at 4 and begun formulating a contingency plan. I call mutinousmuse to see what she's up to.
She's in the homestretch of the Fringe line! What the hell, I can make the panel after all! I join her and her husband in line. Somewhere in all of this, I see a gathering of steampunk folk.
They let us into Ballroom 20 and we grab seats in the back. Tickets are being passed down the row, so we take them. Ah, these are for the fabled Fulfillment Room, where you get free goodies.
J.J. is not there for the panel because it's Greg Grunberg's son's bar mitzvah. "On rare occasion, being Jewish takes priority over being cool."
Jasika Nicole is a SURPRISE PANELIST.
They show a teaser reel that recaps season one and hints at a very cool direction for season two. I don't want to spoil the end of season one because I know there are a few people catching up on Fringe, but an interesting tidbit: the concept that arises in the latter half of the season and pretty much defines what the show is going to be? Wasn't supposed to pop up for a couple seasons. But they decided to just do it now. Which is just bizarre! What the hell were they planning on doing in the meantime?? It's like how the creators of The 4400 didn't intend to reveal, you know, the entire concept of the show for a couple seasons but instead they told us who took and returned the 4400 at the end of the miniseries.
I get fidgety once the Q&A starts. I already gave up on the panel in my mind, and being there is getting in the way of my alternate plans! I was excited for the panel before Comic-Con, though! But it isn't all that cool. Joshua Jackson is entertaining, though. He realizes that he's very popular.
He leans into his microphone and says, "Rutabaga."
"Awesome," he says.
A few minutes later, Jasika tries it herself, randomly: "Rutabaga." Wooo!! It's amusing. Also, John Noble is a nut.
I can't take it anymore. I must leave and make use of the extra time I thought I had when I didn't think I'd make the panel. But I must say goodbye to Musey.
On my way out, I grab a re-entry ticket. Yesterday, some kind soul had handed Musey a re-entry ticket that allowed her to skip the line and join me in Ballroom 20 for the Dollhouse panel, and I want to do the same thing. After all, my seat is empty. Line monitors are walking down and saying, "Fringe is full. If you are in line for True Blood, please stay in line. Fringe is full." I saw Suki in the Ballroom 20 line when I met Musey, so I look for her, but I can't find her. I don't know how to choose who to give my ticket to. I find an Indian guy, but he's with a buddy. Finally, I just stop and say, "Is anyone alone and want to see the Fringe panel?" Most shake their heads, as they are waiting for True Blood. One girl raises her hand, and I give her the ticket. "Go!"
I continue to the Fulfillment Room, where my ticket gets me...a newspaper! Well, a certain newspaper in the season finale. So it's kind of neat.
On my way back down the hall, I see someone who looks like...mycenae? Is it...? It is! She has a different nametag on. She's trying to get into True Blood. Blast! If I'd run into her just a few minutes earlier, I could have gotten her into Ballroom 20. Ah well. I wish her luck and go on my way.
On my way to the Exhibit Hall, I see Sifu Kisu taking posed pictures with Bumblebee. The Transformer, yes. It's really cute to see people you geek out over geeking out over things.
He's pleased with the pictures. "Awesome," he says.
"You're awesome too, by the way," I tell him. "I'm a huge Avatar fan."
"What's your name?" he asks.
"Kisu," he says, and shakes my hand. Aw. Then he takes a phone call, so I leave him alone.
Destination: Dark Horse. It is time to see whether I have won a spot in the Dr. Horrible signing. It's a formality, really; I have no chance. I had thirteen tickets for Gerard Way and didn't win; I have five for this one and it's Joss goddamn Whedon.
I take out my tickets and arrange them in numerical order. I look at the first one and search for the number on the board.
Uh. What? I check and double-check and triple-check because I can't believe it.
I don't understand what's going on with my odds at all, so I check my other four tickets.
One of them wins too. THE SHIT??
I can't remember who gave me extra tickets; I know that I had more Gerard Way tickets because none of my friends cared about that signing, whereas some of them took the Dr. Horrible tickets for themselves. I know I got multiple tickets, so maybe both the winners were truly my own. There is one person I do know that took a ticket for herself.
I call gymble. "Do you want to meet Joss Whedon?" I say.
"Um, yeah," she says. I tell her to get down to the Dark Horse booth posthaste.
The tickets are to be exchanged for wristbands. I keep checking my winning tickets to make sure I have the numbers right; I still can't believe that two of them won when none of mine won for Gerard Way. I had not really planned on getting into the Joss signing. It was a very good thing I got out of Fringe early!
I give the woman at the booth both my tickets. "You have two tickets?" she asks.
"One's for a friend," I say. "She's coming down."
The woman is hesitant to give me two wristbands, but it's getting hectic already, so she gives them both to me and ominously asks me to please give it to my friend.
The fans can smell my extra wristband. People glance at me. A girl looks at me and asks, "You got two?"
"Sorry," I say, "it's for a friend." I put it in my pocket so it's not noticeable. I get in line with my own wristband; there are only four or five people ahead of me.
Another man has two wristbands, or else he is just a kind and generous soul, because he gives it to the girl I passed. I'm really glad for her. She's practically crying, she's so happy. The man recognized how much she wanted to meet Joss. It's very nice of him.
Gymble buys the latest Buffy Season Eight trade since she doesn't have the Dr. Horrible DVD with her. She joins me in line. I spot the woman who gave me the wristbands and motion to her. "See, this is my friend."
She's glad to see it; she had just wanted to make sure I wouldn't sell it. She saw someone selling a wristband for $50 the other day.
I'm flabbergasted. The thought would not have even occurred to me. If I hadn't been able to reach gymble or anyone else, I would have just given it to someone, like that girl who really wanted it. Like I gave my re-entry ticket to someone. "No, no, no," I say. "That's not what Comic-Con's about." It made sense that people would try to take advantage like that, and you probably could make some money. If you could live with yourself afterward.
We maybe see Juliet Landau exit the little room behind the booth. She's wearing a white dress, and I don't see her face, but she's followed by a man with "Juliet Landau" on his shirt, so chances are good!
I chat with the cute teenage girl ahead of me, who comments that Comic-Con is interesting because no one knows the Japanese guys. You have really famous people like Stan Sakai (she's pleased that I recognize the name as being that of the creator of Usagi Yojimbo) and Yasuhiro Nightow, who did Trigun, and their booths aren't completely mobbed like they ought to be!
I am talking with her about fifteen minutes before I realize that the reason that she has red dots on her cheeks is because she is in costume. I finally process that she is wearing black biker pants and a tiny white shirt. She's Ed!
Finally, the talent arrives! Some lady we figure is Joelle Jones! Maurissa Tancharoen! Zack Whedon! Some dude who made some TV shows! Hey, where's Jed? We were promised Jed! Lame!
Zack, the most underappreciated of the Whedons. Unless there's another one. Then he's even less appreciated.
They're brothers! I wonder if Joss inspires Zack in everything he does.
I love Joss's shirt.
It's a Joss!
(I am not the only one taking pictures. I notice the illustrious One True B!x taking pictures behind us. I greet him. He is too busy taking pictures to be excited about meeting me, but he hands me a pin so that I can declare myself a False B!x.)
The absent Jed snagged himself a talented wife to add to the family.
A random girl asks Gymble if she can have Joss sign something for her, but they're only signing one thing. Lame! Gerard signed two things! Also, I am nice and all, but I still find it weird to ask a stranger to get something signed for you.
Aaaah, it is my turn, okay, here we go. There is a Dr. Horrible card that you can have signed too, especially if you didn't bring anything else to have signed. I meet Joelle Jones, who is illustrating the Dr. Horrible one-shot comic. Good for her!
Next up is Maurissa! "It's nice to meet you," I say. "You should read more from your childhood diary." Her childhood diary reveals that when she was a kid, she embraced her inner black woman. I ask if it was really her diary or just a joke, but, no, that was her real diary she was reading from. "You had an interesting childhood," I say.
"That's what I thought I was," she says.
As I move on, I call back, "Thanks for your work on Dr. Horrible, I love it!"
Then, it's Zack! And I can't remember what he's done, specifically! I am horrible. I completely blank on the fact that he writes for goddamn Fringe, of all things. That could be something to say! But no. I seize upon something I think I read this one time. "Were you responsible for 'Bad Horse'?" I ask.
Ah, no, that was Jed and Joss; he can't take the credit on that one. But he did sing in it. Ah, yes, I knew he was in there somewhere. GAH. IF I REMEMBERED WHAT YOU WROTE I WOULD HAVE TOLD YOU IT WAS GREAT. I honestly had not expected to make this signing and so had not done any research to make sure I had things to say to people who weren't Joss.
And then and then and then and then and then and then.
It is Joss Whedon. Right there, signing my shit, waiting for me to say stupid shit to him.
I am all casual. "I saw you after the Guild panel," I say, explaining about Dahlia and Natalie. "I was just standing there, and I didn't say anything, but now I can say something!"
"No, it's over, the time has passed," he deadpans. Noooooooo, please don't be serious aaaaaahhhh.
Years ago, I came up with what I wanted to say to Joss Whedon if I ever met him. I knew that I would only have a couple sentences' worth of time, so I needed One Thing just in case I ever ran into him randomly or met him at a signing or something. Obviously, there were many things I would want to say to Joss, but I needed to summarize and encapsulate just how important his influence on me was. Because it was quite strong, I realized. Which is why I came up with my piece. I practiced it in line, kept it fresh in my mind.
Whether or not the time has passed, I must say my piece. "What I wanted to say," I begin, "was that Buffy changed the way I watched television, which made me become a television fan, which led to making friends like [Gymble]." I point to her. "So, in essence, Buffy changed my life, so thank you."
I am crisp and clear. I do not stumble over my words. I talk swiftly but not incomprehensibly. I do not know whether Joss was paying attention. I don't know whether he said anything in response. I am not even there in that moment; the words are coming out of me but I cannot comprehend what is going on. It is such a Big Moment, after imagining for years what it would be like to meet Joss and tell him that he changed my fucking life, that I cannot conceive of it actually happening. It's like walking the stage at my college graduation. It's like telling a girl, "I love you," for the first time in my life.
See, there's proof that Gymble met Joss, but you can't prove that what I wrote actually happened. It could all be in my head.
I check to see how the Bryan Lee O'Malley line is, and it looks surprisingly short! Huh. The guy at the booth assures me that I will be fine, but I wait to buy a book to get signed before I'm sure I'll make it. At the back of the line, I talk to a guy from National Lampoon and a Canadian guy getting his friend a wedding present. The Canadian guy has not actually read Scott Pilgrim, so we recommend it to him heartily.
A familiar face dashes by me. It's Amber Benson. "Hey, Amber!" I call.
She turns. "Hey," she says. Then, with recognition: "Hey!" Aw, she remembers me. I ask her how her panel went and tell her I'll see her at the signing tonight. She says Comic-Con is crazy; she's dazed.
The Canadian guy says, "Why do I know her?"
"Tara," I say. Heh.
I am getting very close to Bryan Lee O'Malley, so book-buying is a go! I didn't bring my books with me because sophia_helix had them and I wasn't sure I'd actually make the signing. I buy Book 3 for me and then have the great idea to buy Book 1 for my brother, since I'll be seeing him soon.
I am very close.
A man cuts in to look at some prints. He flips through the book and chats with Bryan casually before leaving, possibly with a print.
"That was Philip Bond," says Bryan, jokingly making reference to Kill Your Boyfriend. "That man loves me." Wait, what?? Philip Bond was right there? I really like his art! He did the art for Vimanarama and the covers for The Exterminators. I didn't even get a good look at his face; I only really saw his arm.
And then it is my turn to meet the great Bryan Lee O'Malley. "Nice to meet you," I say, "I'm spectralbovine on LiveJournal." He is destroyerzooey, and I have commented a few times. "I love your polls, and I love Scott Pilgrim."
"What is your real name?" he asks so he can sign my book. I flip my badge over.
I tell him that one of my favorite lines—besides the Monkey Island reference—is "Scott, if your life had a face, I would punch it. I would punch your life in the face" because I talk about punching things in the face all the time, and I'm glad someone else has that phrase in his lexicon. He has no response that I recall.
I say that the other book is for my brother and give him his name. "We bonded over video games, so I know he'll love it."
As I leave, I look inside the books. He drew me a little Kim Pine. And in my brother's book, he wrote, "You will love it." Ha!
I swing by the Entertainment Earth booth to see how the C.S. Lee line looks. It doesn't look that bad! The guy running the booth tells me I will be fine. I just made it, really, because he closes the line a minute or so after he lets me in.
My notes say that once again, I tell a famous person, "Nice to meet you." IT IS ALWAYS NICE TO MEET A FAMOUS PERSON. THEY ARE AWARE OF THIS. I AM SO REDUNDANT. "I'm a fan of your work," I also apparently say. CLEARLY. THAT IS WHY I AM HERE. He seems pleased that I've brought Chuck DVDs to sign as well as Dexter. I ask him if we'll ever see Harry Tang again. C.S. Lee says that he should come back for an episode with a tan. I also ask him if he heard about the Dexter panel, where Michael C. Hall said that he'd want to be Masuka, as he often fantasizes about what his personal life must be like.
At this point, I must make sure you understand what has just happened. I had scheduled three signings from 5:30 to 7, hoping to make one of them, at the most two. I MADE ALL OF THEM.
Hell, I still have time left over, so I go visit my pal David Mack to have him sign my last Alias trade. I have also resolved to buy something from him because I have gotten him to sign so much of my shit and never bought anything, even though he's given me a few free issues of Kabuki. It is high time I read Kabuki. I choose one of the cheaper trades for $13.
I hand him the cash. "Take my money," I declare.
"Thanks, Sunil, I appreciate it," he says. He's so sincere! I adore him.
And now I really must be off, though, to meet Rae at her hotel. We have a Borders signing to go to! Featuring our friend Seanan McGuire! And Amber Benson and Patrick Rothfuss and some other people.
Rae and I walk up the street. And who should be running down the sidewalk but Vincent Caso (Bladezzz from The Guild).
"Vince!" I say.
"Hey!" he says, slightly confused but not losing momentum.
"..." I say, not having come up with anything else. He continues on his way, as do we. We look out for food. We reach the Borders and have not really picked a place, but we freak out over the sign.
Seanan! Rosemary and Rue! Panel!
We hit nearby Ciro's Pizzeria. I am not in a slice mood, although I really should have just gone with slices since they would be faster. I opt for a sandwich, which the girl tells me will take some time to cook. Rae gets her slices and begins enjoying. I wait. And wait. And notice a sign on the wall.
I didn't even notice the other thing wrong with this sign.
I wait. And wait. And wait. The girl makes a gesture bringing an invisible cup to her mouth and mouths, "Wanna drink while you wait? On me?" Sure, thanks! Finally, I get my food, and Rae and I swap Comic-Con stories.
We're late for the panel, already in progress. But we let them talky talk while we freak out over the display of Seanan's book.
We take our seats for the panel. The panelists discuss fantasy and urban fantasy and epic fantasy and science fiction as genres. Patrick Rothfuss talks a lot.
Seanan enjoys her DDP.
Amber chimes in as well.
It is so cool to see Seanan being...Seanan in front of other people. She is very well spoken, but she will say the darndest things!
The other panelists are interesting, and they make me want to read their books! There are so many books, geez. It turns out I am actually familiar with Tom Sniegoski, as he co-wrote Talent with Christopher Golden.
It's a good showing. And, oh, you can see the sweet-ass Dexter bag I got. Finally, I have one of those cool bags everyone else has!
Standing room only!
Then there are all these weird issues with lines. It's a signing, but there seven different authors! So the logistics are strange. Awesomely, Patrick and Seanan appear to get their own lines, whereas the others answer to one megaline.
I talk to a girl in line about Amber's book. I do not enthusiastically recommend it, but I say it's all right, enjoyable.
Then I talk to Amber about her book. I tell her I enjoyed it, which is true, for the most part. I give her props for the inclusion of Indra. "Anyone can do Kali, but Indra? You did your research!" She loves Indra, and she loves mixing the mythology. Yeah, me too! If only it made sense! I...don't say that last part.
I move on to Seanan's line, which is adjacent to Patrick's line. I hear him mention The Guild season three, and I ask him if he was at the panel. He couldn't get in! he says. They showed the premiere! I say. I notice he's wearing a Legend of Neil shirt.
I meet Seanan McGuire, author/panelist. "It's a real book!" I say.
"Yes, honey, I know."
"You're a real person!" I say. She begrudgingly signs my book.
"Wear your rue with a difference," it says. What the hell? Luckily, tibicina, Shakespeare nerd, is there to explain it to me.
When I get to Patrick, I agree with many others that have said similar things that I loved The Name of the Wind even though I don't do epic fantasy (and Seanan specifically recommended it like that).
I have bought a paperback of the book since I didn't want to drag my hardcover down. He signs it to me, and then he asks what line to write. He also writes a line from the book with his signature, which is cool. I tell him I want the last line of the book. It takes him a few seconds, but then he realizes that, of course, he knows that one by heart. And he does get it perfectly correct. I tell him I love how its meaning changes from the beginning, and he's glad I noticed it because he likes it too.
It's the cutest thing: all the authors love each other and are buying each other's books and getting each other to sign them.
Seanan and Amber discuss comics. Seanan needs to get a book (or maybe DVDs) signed for a girl from her comic book store who would stalk her if she were here. Amber is a notoriously bad speller and jokes that she'll sign it, "I'll stock you if you stock me."
Amber is going to buy The Name of the Wind, but Patrick says that he'll just give it to her. "I make it out to T-A-R-A...fuck." We crack up as we realize he hadn't been joking. He says this always happens; before he was geeking out over Felicia Day and messed up her signature.
I want to talk to Patrick Rothfuss a lot! He has a really long book! There is a lot to talk about! But I refrain and resist. Or recoil.
After Seanan kills her hand signing more copies for Borders to sell with an "autographed copy" sticker, we go and admire the shelves again.
Seanan cannot believe that people paid money for her book. Compare and contrast:
Eeeeee. Then I steal Rae's idea for a picture.
In this picture, you can see that the two pictures aren't even comparable, as the second leaves out the COMPLETELY SOLD-OUT TOP SHELF.
(I totally recommended the book to some random dude, and he seemed impressed, but he had no money. But when he has money, he will buy it! Because I said so!)
Seanan and friends head to Buca for food, but I am very tired and cannot stay long. My notes do not sufficiently describe the hilarious bit where Seanan declares that she and I are essentially the same person, both of us being long-winded essayists who write humorous accounts of our days.
Rae and I duck out and walk down the street. We pass the SyFy party, where Adam Baldwin and Zachary Levi are making their entrance and being nice to fans. It's like the red carpet for geeks.
On one street corner, Rae says that Mark Valley and Anna Torv just passed us. I turned around and yeah, that does look like them from behind. They're on their way to the party. Then someone mentions James Callis, but I am having trouble focusing. I catch a glimpse of him as he walks right fucking by me. James Callis! Goddammit! I LOVE YOU BALTAR!
This is Comic-Con, you guys.
I trolley back to the hotel and pack.
The madness is almost over.