time for you all to see how much of a nerd I am. ENJOY! featuring: many photos
As you can tell by the majority of posts I’ve made on this blog, I am a fan of pretty much everything. And there are always conventions for things that I love. However, I grew up a Navy brat – and though I am so, so thankful for all of the opportunities traveling around the world has brought me, I didn’t have the chance to attend nerdy conventions growing up. Bummer, right?! As an avid internet user, I have had to go through several years of Comic-Con pining over panel videos and kick-ass cosplay online.
But, this year, everything changed. I am incredibly grateful that I got to attend the first days of both Anime Expo and San Diego Comic-Con International 2015. The chance to go to these very large conventions was an absolute blessing (special shout out to the Leyco family for the tickets to both cons). They were also on my bucket list too, so I got to cross both of those off, which was absolutely crazy.
Stepping into the Los Angeles and San Diego Convention Centers and being exposed to utter pandemonium, excitement, and euphoria was very surreal. I had never seen so many people who liked the same things I did in the same room. Thousands of individuals, in costume or not, from all over the country and the world came together to celebrate what united them – their sheer love and passion for popular culture. Needless to say, I was utterly speechless.
People so often mock people who are passionate about any facet of pop culture. Girls and boys alike are criticized for liking boy bands like One Direction, comic book fans are pegged as “elitist” – the list goes on and on. Conventions like these, no matter the size, allow for everyone to unite and let all of these negative feelings go away. It’s very exhilarating to see and hear people discussing the latest issue of Matt Fraction and David Aja’s Hawkeye (which hadn’t been released yet) and what kind of ending “Rio Bravo” would have, people helping out cosplayers with broken props and costumes, people holding other peoples’ camping spots in the massive Hall H lines each day, and fans greeting strangers with so much enthusiasm. What is also very great to see are groups of friends who probably met online meet each other for the first time.
All of that aside, here are a few highlights of my time at both Anime Expo and SDCC 2015.
ANIME EXPO 2015, DAY ONE
Disclaimer: I am not as big of an anime and manga fan as I was back in middle school and high school, but I enjoyed Anime Expo nonetheless. Waiting in line was truly a nightmare, though – we waited about four hours to enter. Good thing we did, though, or we’d be stuck outside even longer when the doors actually opened at noon. We did meet a bunch of cool people in line, though! That made it so worth it. I also managed to see a few Five Nights at Freddy’s cosplayers. They got the creepiness of the game’s animatronics down to a T.
When we entered the LA Convention Center, seeing a giant Shenron from Dragon Ball Z dangling from the ceiling made all of that waiting worth it. I also kind of freaked out when I saw a Naruto booth a few paces away from Shenron: I immediately snapped a photo of myself dorking out. Picture to follow in just a little bit as the recap goes on!
We had no idea where to start. There were so many booths and SO. MUCH. FREE. STUFF. I spent an ungodly amount of money at the Artist Alley, buying some Naruto prints and other fun stuff. Though we didn’t get to sit in any panels, we walked around soaking in the fun atmosphere. I actually lost my brother in the exhibition hall at some point (I’m such a great sister), but we eventually found him buying a Kingdom Hearts keychain. The fun re-commenced and we snapped so many pictures all over the place. I got to live the fun dreams I made for myself as a twelve year old obsessed with Naruto – I bought so much Naruto stuff. And Sailor Moon. Oh my goodness, so much Naruto and Sailor Moon. I was pretty much in heaven.
After a fun and frankly, exhausting (for all of us physically and our wallets as well), six hours in the convention center, the first official day – and our only day – at Anime Expo was over. We all got some delicious ramen and sake at Silverlake Ramen along Sunset Boulevard, and drove back to San Diego. I’m definitely going to try to come back to AX at some point. Personally, I think I can only handle one day of it, but will for sure give other days a chance in the future! But first – I must catch up on some manga and anime that my brother recommended to me.
COMIC-CON 2015 – DAY ONE
Day One of Comic-Con 2015 was probably the best day of my life. I’ve always wanted to go to Comic-Con but never had the chance to before because a) I lived abroad, and b) even though I’ve lived in San Diego for the past three years, I have never been able to get tickets. Until this year. I actually was not supposed to go until Ian texted me saying he had two extra ticket codes. My brother and I seized the opportunity and with Ian and his sister, bought tickets for Day One. Funny thing was he texted me about the tickets while I was looking for free stuff to do around the convention center online. Ha!
That Wednesday, my brother and I picked up our passes and bags up at the Town and Country Convention Center in Mission Valley. Ever since finding out about the bags they were giving out this year (a lot of really cool bags featuring the CW’s DC Universe, the Vampire Diaries, etc.), I had my sights set on a bag featuring The Flash. WE GOT THE BAGS! The process was very fast and the staff was very kind and accommodating. Thanks for making our first bag purchase easy, SDCC volunteers!
The next day, my brother and I took the local trolley to the San Diego Convention Center. To say that the Gaslamp District downtown was “crowded” is an understatement, but the pure feeling of excitement permeated the air; I couldn’t help but not mind that we had to slowly slink our way to the doors of the Center. After a little bit of time waiting in line, we finally made it to the Exhibition Hall. Then, I cried, because “OH MY GOD, I’M ACTUALLY HERE!” and went straight to the Lucasfilm Pavilion.
I am a very big Star Wars fan, so I was literally shaking with excitement when I saw other fans cheering at the sight of clips playing on the large screen above the Pavilion. We met up with Ian there and waited in line to get a Star Wars freebie from Petco. I cheered along with these two guys standing in front of us in line and we all had a really fun conversation about Star Wars: Battlefront and which of the films was our favorites. The choice was unanimous: Empire Strikes Back was the best. No arguments there. We ended up getting funny little Chewbacca chew toys (“Chewie toys”, ha). I am kind of scared of giving it to my dog because he will absolutely rip it to shreds.
I had the opportunity to try on some pieces from the Her Universe Star Wars collection! Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough money saved up to purchase anything but the glow in the dark lightsaber logo shirt, but hey, it’s better than nothing!
We did a lot more exploring and took so many photos. I was really anxious to get to the Artist Alley, because I knew some of my favorite writers and artists would be there. I managed to meet one of my favorite writers, Chip Zdarsky (writer of Howard the Duck, and one of the writers of Sex Criminals). I told him I loved Howard the Duck, and he looked really happy but also comically added, “…but he’s a duck!” It was super fun. This was the result of that meeting:
There is absolutely no way to describe how crazy that day was. We went from booth to booth, line to line searching for freebies and emptying our wallets for expensive little things. Going to the Marvel and Image Comics booths were probably the highlights of my day (besides going to the Lucasfilm Pavilion) – I won a free exclusive Ant-Man (WHICH IS A VERY GOOD MOVIE. PLEASE WATCH IT) poster and took a pic with a replica of Captain America’s shield. Check out the gallery below for the #iconic photo.
My friends and I found ourselves by the Nickelodeon booth, where Kel Mitchell from iconic 90’s shows such as Kenan and Kel and Good Burger. We were so upset because we didn’t know that a signing was happening and that you had to have a ticket to get a signed Good Burger hat. Fortunately, a lady overheard us and offered me her ticket! She already got a hat signed, but the Nickelodeon people didn’t take her ticket stub! I got to meet Kel Mitchell! I anxiously waited in line, and once I got up there, he and I both said “HEEEEEEEEEEEY!” at the same time and both of us danced a little bit where we were. It was so funny. We took a quick picture and he signed my hat and ticket and the rest was history:
At the end of the day (around 7:30PM), my friends and I were hella exhausted, but incredibly happy. The first day of Comic Con brought on a lot of surprises, and I am very thankful. Ian and I decided to soak up the atmosphere one more time and went inside the Exhibition Hall fifteen minutes before it closed, and lo and behold, one of my favorite comic book writers of all time, Kelly Sue DeConnick (writer of the critically acclaimed Captain Marvel and Bitch Planet), literally just finished a signing and was just hanging out by the booth she signed at. I kind of froze for a second and then waved happily and she enthusiastically waved back to me. I said, “Oh my god, I love your work so, so much. May I take a picture with you?!” and she happily agreed to. Too excited, I smiled like a goof. She looked at me and asked, “Wait, did you duckface? Let’s take another one!” Just so we could do her iconic duckface photo, we took another one! She was so sweet and so nice and we had to go, so we waved goodbye and I was dead.
We made our way towards the DC and Star Wars booths one last time, and said goodbye. Thanks for pretty much one of the best days of my life, Comic-Con.
Things to remember for future Comic-Cons: save more money, bring a refillable, water bottle, and please, for the love of God get tickets for all four days. Always come back in before it closes. You never know who you’re going to meet.
Other really cool things that happened:
- I met one of the artists for Lumberjanes, Carolyn Nowak! I wasn’t too familiar with Lumberjanes before, but she really recommended that Ivy and I read it, so we both bought volume one and she even signed our books! (I finished it. It was absolutely AMAZING. Congrats to the entire team for their Eisner Awards!)
- I saw Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman’s Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice costumes in the flesh!
- While passing by a booth to look for my friends, I saw Bryan Cranston, Walter White himself, doing a signing. I was a mere few feet away from him.
- I finally bought the second volume of Alex + Ada!
Honestly, attending both conventions really showed me that one’s feelings towards stuff like movies, TV, books and everything are completely valid. These things serve as a uniting factor – yes, it has the brand, capitalistic aspect to it that I acknowledge – but there are things beyond the brand and the merchandise that make people truly happy and excited about life. In the past I used to worry a lot about what people thought of me and my little obsessions over things, but I’ve come to learn that if something makes you happy, then stick with it (and a lot of things make me happy). All of this reminded me of a beautiful quote about passion that I found a while back, said by Matt Cohen:
I’d rather be around a passionate nerd than a non-passionate cool person. Because if you lack passion, your soul is diminishing by the second. You have to be passionate about something. Call it obsessed or whatever you want, but be obsessed about something. Obsessed people care. I’m passionate about so many things, it becomes an issue at certain points, but at least you have the ability to feel that much about something.
Of course, I am passionate about things beyond popular culture – social issues, marketing, et cetera – but to diminish how one feels about anything just feels so wrong. To feel is to be alive, and I thank Comic-Con and Anime Expo for reminding me of that.
SLIDESHOWS! YAY, slideshows!!