The trip marked Pete’s first trip to the Americas, so he was pretty excited about the whole thing, and was fretful/gleeful at the new surroundings. We left Singapore for Bangkok for a quick 2 hour flight, followed by a 2 hour stopover and then a 16 hour flight all the way to Los Angeles. It was quite amusing to run into Stanley Lau (aka Artgerm) from Imaginary Friends on both flights (he had a table at Artist’s Alley at SDCC), but lacking the cojones to take a photo with him (coupled with general fanboy dribbling) we have no proof of this ever happening. Still, this long distance journey was probably the best conversation starter in the whole of SDCC for us – “You came from SINGAPORE?” (2nd best – “You QUIT your JOBS?!”).
Peter and I met up with Wai in Los Angeles and spent the night with our generous hosts before heading down to Union Station the next morning to take the Amtrak down to San Diego. While there – the quest was on – the search for Kieron Gillen. We knew he was going to board the Amtrak after spending the night in LA, so he had to be in the station somewhere! Being extremely well prepared I knew he had spectacles and definitely had to be in a snazzy suit. Sadly, we failed to spot the elusive Brit (or the Artful Dodger) – but ran into Robin Thorsen and Amy Okuda from The Guild! Pete had them sharp eyes and spotted them, and we grabbed the chance to have a nice chat with them by asking them to join us in line. I’ll have to admit I was probably the most mouth agape starstruck and that meant the camera (that I’d bought just for this) went pretty much unused. Robin was very friendly throughout, but I just felt like I was encroaching on their personal space and couldn’t bring myself to really ask for photos. (Is shyness a disease?) That thankfully changed along the trip.
Robin and Amy were actually going to meet Jeff Lewis and Sean Becker on the train down to SD, and good thing we actually managed to board the right carriage, after being a bit confused as to what 3 carriages from the front meant. We did leave them celebrities to their own devices, thinking of joining them later, but we were to discover how crowded the train could get on Comic-Con weekend, especially when it clashed with the Del Mar races. TONS of crazy hats and bronzed bodies were on show. Possibly the weirdest crowd mix you would ever see, half the time we couldn’t believe ourselves when another tanned body in a short dress and a huge hat with feathers and a flower walked by followed by some guy in a flower shirt and loafers. After the crowd finally cleared we went over to the guild peeps and had a nice long chat with them. They were really friendly – and if we were just fans before, now we’re huge fans.
We did a real quick check in at our hotel, and it was TIME TO RUN. We had an interview at the Marriott for Comic-Con Doc (we didn’t get into the final pick, but at least we got this!) and we didn’t want to be late. The whole experience was amazing, and we got to get our pictures taken for a photo book or something they were making. I really should try to get those photos somehow at least… We also ran into Simone Bianchi (artist for Astonishing X-Men Ghost Boxes) who was there to have his interview right after hours! What an honour. I do have a photo of Simone Bianchi from another day, in my panic I focused on the window behind him. Bah.
After the interview we went for a quick walk around San Diego trying to get 3G cards for all of us. Long story short this was a huge pain, but we managed to get our cards in the end. Lesson to learn: Don’t just get data, get a phone plan too, and if you can, get it from T-mobile. The stories are true, AT&T coverage is really spotty (especially when everybody is overloading the towers). Still, breathing in San Diego air and being able to take in the exterior of the convention hall was a crazy thrill already – and armed with our passes we made our way into preview night!
Preview night was… stunning. I think all three of us were pretty much immobilized when we got in (didn’t help that a Tron cycle was right in front of us)… we soldiered on, as Stan Lee would want us to. There’s really too much seen even in the first night alone, so I’ll just sum up my highlights here.
3. The cast of Star Trek: TNG! Well, most of them anyway. I’m no Trekkie, but even then seeing them in the flesh was a blast (a phase?). My first celebrity sighting of the con.