Comic-con 2011: The debriefing

San Diego Comic-con International… you’ll never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. We must be cautious.

I’ve heard my co-workers tell horror stories about SDCC — not because it’s a terrible event, but because it’s the most physically demanding show we attend all year. The hours are long, it starts a day earlier than the other shows we go to, the concrete floor makes you wish for death, and you’re surrounded by 120,000+ folks who are clamoring for the latest, greatest toys. Bearing all that in mind, I was fully expecting a week of hell.

Instead, I got a week of decent discomfort, food poisoning, and some pretty solid geek-out moments.

We came, we saw, we were exhausted.

Had I actually planned this out better, I would have done a few days of posts. Instead, you’re going to get a pretty substantial image dump with some text mixed in — assuming the cider doesn’t go to my head. 😛

This is what greeted me when I walked through door D into the exhibit hall.

I had no clue what this thing was. I'm told it's from "Adventure Time."

So many Doctor Who goodies, so little money.

I was unprepared for the strong showing from LEGO. Mind. Blown.

The mad rush Thursday morning. We were there for preview night, but the crowd was tiny by comparison to opening day.

Oh, the places we could go, dear TARDIS...

G4 interviews Duke next to our booth.

Cool-looking statues draw crowds at SDCC, and our very own Ironclad, dubbed “Big Blue” drew huge crowds on a daily basis — to the point where we needed a staffer to stay close to ask people not to climb on it, learn on it or otherwise disturb it. I haven’t had a chance to look yet, but I suspect Blue ended up in a good many Comic-con photo galleries. Pretty neat stuff.

It was awfully quiet for a Dalek...

SDCC is all about demos for us. Here, Ed "The Beast" Bourelle demos Voltron.

Paul "SRDragon" Luna hams it up with Captain America.

I *am* standing!

Neat banner, still not 100% sold on the new series, sadly.

It wouldn't be a convention without a giant Pikachu pic.

Bedlam ruled. Leaving the convention center was almost as challenging of navigating the exhibition hall. Madness.

One of the best things about Comic-con is that it is a full-on geekfest. Movies, comic books, toys, costumes, TV shows… it’s an entertainment extravaganza that borders on the obscene. It’s far more an entertainment show than a comic book show, which is kinda sad. Speaking of comics, it’s kinda funny that I had to travel 1,300+ miles to meet two of the paragons of geekdom.

Jerry is a teddy bear. Don't let the pic fool you. Mike plays Legion of Everblight but don't hold that against him.

Geek-out, freak-out 1: Early Thursday morning, I made my way over to the Penny Arcade booth. It was frigid there; they were right under an A/C vent. I introduced myself to Mike “Gabe” Krahulik and we chatted a bit about HORDES: Domination and some of the nasty things coming out for his faction of choice, Legion of Everblight. A few minutes later, Jerry “Tycho” Holkins arrived. I started to introduce myself and stopped. He was grinning.

“Hey, I know who you are! I read your blog all the time! You probably don’t have any idea who I am!”

I was stunned. And then he hugged me. “Of course I know who you are! I’ve seen you on your TV show!”

We chatted a bit about painting and what sort of Warmachine goodies we had back at our booth. I had to run back to our booth since the hall was opening soon, but promised to come back and visit them before the show was over. I’m not gonna lie: It still makes me grin that Jerry recognized me and that he thought I wouldn’t recognize him.

Geek-out, freak-out 2: The Friday of SDCC, we were lucky enough to be invited to a party by the good folks at NCsoft. This was doubly cool because I got to hang out with fellow blogger and tweeter Nate Birkholz, who is the lead producer of City of Heroes and a fellow Warmachine/Hordes addict and chat more with NCsoft community manager Andy Belford. We got to see content for City of Heroes: Freedom and Guild Wars 2, both of which look pretty cool.

The highlight of the evening, however, was going to see MC Frontalot at the Ruby Room and getting a formal introduction. Andy and Damian (that’s Front’s “real” name) go back a few years — both of them had documentaries premiering at the same time at SXSW. I’ve spoken to Damian a few times at his booth, but it was very cool to meet him. It was even cooler to see him at such a small venue, especially since my first experience seeing him play live was at Benaroya Hall at PAXPrime 2010.

I don't think I could duplicate this effect if I tried.

MC Frontalot put on a fantastic show.

*That* close to the king of nerdcore.

Saturday and Sunday were all about survival and keeping myself entertained. I finally remembered to break out my “good” camera instead of relying on my cell phone.

Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

I. Don't. Know.


Bender & Frye!

Once again, I *am* standing...

501st attended in force on Saturday.

I thought this was the best Tenth Doctor at the con.

Yes, they're wearing trucks on their heads. Yup.

"Yes, we can get you started with a fantastic Warmachine army for under $100."

Ed does his Sean Penn impersonation.

*Everyone* loved Big Blue.

Ferret and Total Fan Girl!

Steampunk gathering with Big Blue!

For every amazing costume, there where others that… well, I’m just gonna post the pics, mkay?

Transformers... more than meets th— OK, maybe not.


Gotta catch what?

They see em trollin'...

This is OUR HOUSE.

We work hard and we play hard. At the end of the show, we had our staff dinner. Many margaritas and a host of helpless crustaceans paid the price. But boy were they delicious.

The pay off.

King crab and shrimp. Not pictured: steak and chicken. I did not finish it, but found good homes for all.

The aftermath.

Until next time!