EventsSan Diego Comic-Con

San Diego Comic-Con Diaries: Getting There and Preview Night

The photos are in the can and the videos have been largely ignored. And the step back into (short-term) memory lane begins… sitting here right now it feels like ages ago. Still, looking back at the loot we got and the photos we took… the memories of our very first con will last a very very long time. Still can’t answer what I loved MOST about the con, but maybe after going through all this and sorting my brain out we’ll have a definitive answer. We did learn a lot from this trip, and perhaps the next time we’re there, we’d have the chance to put these lessons into use. But enough about the unimportant, now it’s time to heat the meat of the matter!

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.

1. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade prop. Right behind… that… glass….

2. The Black Hole. I wonder if anybody remembers this, personally I only remember it from the audio book I had (and loved very much) as a kid. Yes, on tape, not mp3.

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.

4. The corpse of Abin Sur. Talk about creating hype for Green Lantern – I think everybody who saw it was pretty awed by it.

5. The horcruxes from the Harry Potter movies, and the invisibility cloak. Pictured above is Helga Hufflepuff’s cup. I think at this point I was close to tears at how closer I was to the props. Not as close as the last time I was at the Harry Potter museum at the Warner Brothers’ lot, but back then they didn’t have the horcruxes done up yet…

6. My first purchase – both volumes of Whiteout by artist Steve Lieber. Actually he only sketched in one of the books instead of both, but I didn’t mind. At this point I’d reached the artist alley, and was beginning to scan for familiar names. It was fun having a quick chat with Steve, but the rest of the floor was waiting!

7. Living legend Arthur Adams. He looked busy sketching or talking to others the entire convention I just took photos of him from far away and then gawked. I’m very calm and classy like that.

8. Tony Washington! Colorist for the World of Warcraft comics, I caught him just as he was going to take a break. He did ask me to come back, and was really friendly.

9. J. Scott Campbell!!!!! Got some stuffed signed from him… I still remember the days when I first restarted buying comics, just as Danger Girls (and Battle Chasers by Joe Mad) hit the scene. Good days.

10. Odin’s throne. Must of you should have seen this by now, compared to DC, the Marvel booth really brought it this year.

11. If you haven’t figured, I’m a huge Indy fan… and this is one piece I would love to get for my home! It even opens, and I’ll probably store some manna, a rod and some stone tablets and see what happens after that.

12. JIM LEE!!! JIM LEE!!! JIM LEE!!! (Probably a good time to mention that for this very night I’d left my sketchbook at home. I’m a good planner like that.) JIM LEE!!!!!! Good thing I’m made of solid stuff, and did not melt into a puddle of tears and geek sweat. JIM LEE!!!!

And… that’s the first 2 days! Given how long it’s taken to write for just these 2 days… the next few posts are going to be hard work indeed. But man, it’s been fun reliving these moments! The full gallery is below if you’d like to peruse them.


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  1. What. No way you got to see the horcruxes?! ah, pity you didn’t get to see the DH screening ;)
    And I finally get to see how you look like~ #woop (my stalking skills fall short here, alas)

    1. We wish! Sadly as of right now budget is an issue, unless a kind sponsor flies in from the sky… but yeah, we definitely hope to be there again :)

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