San Diego Comic Con 2016 was my first SDCC in over ten years. And while it was certainly a crazy whirl wind, it actually wasn’t quite as insane as I’d expected it to be.
I started my SDCC weekend off on Wednesday by meeting up with Rory O’Connor from Rory’s Story Cubes for some coffee. He showed me all of the latest licensed sets (such as Batman, Looney Tunes, Doctor Who, and more), and I promise I’ll have a review of some of them in the near future. We talked a lot about Story Cubes, but we also just geeked out about a lot of things, including being geek parents. We then headed over to the convention center together for Preview Night.
Rory and I met up with Jamie Greene and Corrina Lawson from GeekDad right outside the exhibit hall. Rory and I were both keen on getting some of the Hasbro exclusives as well as the exclusive Saga figures from Skybound Entertainment. When the doors opened, we headed straight for the Hasbro booth, and upon arrival found that tickets to get in line for the night were already all gone! While this was an auspicious beginning, thankfully, it was not indicative of how the entire weekend would go. Slightly deflated, we headed over to the Skybound booth and both managed to grab the Saga action figures without too much waiting or bother.
We spent about an hour wandering around the floor, mainly checking out the newest toys to drool over. The absolute highlight for me was the Star Wars booth. Not only was there an awesome Ahsoka Black series figure that I’d never seen before, but a whole upcoming line of Star Wars Rebels Galactic Heroes. Anybody who follows me, or, especially, follows my podcast, knows that we are huge Galactic Heroes fans in our house, and Star Wars Rebels is our current Star Wars obsession. While there was no release date for them listed in the case, one of the reps told me that they were probably going to start hitting shelves in January 2017.
We also spent an inordinate amount of time at the Gunplay booth. I used to have an unhealthy obsession with collecting and then not building Gundam model kits (many of which I still have), but I gave it up several years ago, so I’ve been out of the loop. The new series, Iron Blooded Orphans, has a much more stylized look and aesthetic than I’m used to, but I really like it. It took all the willpower I could muster not to buy some. I will neither confirm nor deny if Rory was able to resist the temptation.
Jamie and I then headed over to the Game of Thrones Hall of Faces press preview. HBO had set up a cool little area where visitors could see a bunch of cool props as well as take photos on the iron throne, with Needle, and do a face overlay onto the Hall of Faces. I did my best Star Trek captain pose on the iron throne, Jamie ran me through with Needle, and then we both became No One before calling it a night.
On Thursday morning, I got up and put on my completed Keith (from Voltron: Legendary Defender) cosplay before heading downtown for my first appointment of the day–the Hasbro press breakfast.
Hasbro rolled out the welcome mat with a bunch of themed food items. These were my two favorite food/property combos.
A ton of new My Little Pony toys were on display. My son’s favorite character is Apple Jack, so I’m looking forward to getting my hands on this new set.
Transformers is and will always be my favorite toy line so the mountain of new and upcoming release toys they showed us was a dream come true. Transformers are truly going through a renaissance right now. I also couldn’t resist stopping by the photo booth to see Keith as a Headmaster.
Despite my undying love for Transformers, this reveal was my number one pic of the entire morning–Ms. Marvel/Kamala Kahn! I don’t have any Marvel toys in my current collection, but I will definitely be adding this one as soon as I can.
Lastly, before leaving the breakfast, I picked up a lightsaber and jumped into the video booth. I think Keith looks good with a lightsaber.
Next on my agenda was the Valerian press conference with Virginie Besson-Silla, Luc Besson, Cara Delevigne, and Dane Dehaan. For anyone who hasn’t heard, Valerian is Besson’s next sci-fi film that is based on a very popular twenty-year strong comic series in France. The story sounds great and the few stills I’ve seen so far look amazing. Unfortunately, this was my first press conference using my new audio recorder, and I blew it and didn’t get anything recorded! I will say though, that Besson, Delevigne, and Dehaan, all spoke with such passion about the film and seemed to genuinely enjoy working with each other. Those things don’t always mean a great movie but coupled with Besson’s history of making some of my favorite films and, as Besson asked of us at the press conference, I will go into the theater fully trusting him to take me on a wild, wonderful, and unforgettable journey.
My next appointment was with the folks from Rocksteady who have developed Batman: Arkham VR. I don’t have a lot of VR experience, but this game was very intuitive to get the hang of, plus, you get to be Batman! It was really cool getting to suit up and look at myself in the mirror as Batman. I couldn’t resist flexing and watching Batman follow my lead. The game is a lot heavier on detective work than straight up fighting (though there is fighting as well). This is one of a very few games that actually make me sad that I don’t own a PS4 since it will be a PS4 exclusive. If you do have a PS4 and you like Batman, you have to get this game. It’s a real blast grappling around through the sky and hurling batarangs as quickly as you can.
From Batman, I raced over to one of the most anticipated events of the whole convention for me–the Voltron panel and press conference. As the panel began, Steven Yeun made a surprise appearance which made it extra exciting for me since he is the voice of Keith! The biggest news of the panel was the official announcement of Season 2. We got to witness a great trailer of Season 2 that was full of so much intense stuff, I think I held my breath the entire time. I’m eagerly awaiting the release of that trailer so I can watch it again and digest everything I saw!
Dressed as Keith is the only way to go to a press conference with the show’s creators. As I waited outside for the doors to open Joaquim Dos Santos, Lauren Montgomery, and, Tim Hedrick came by. We took pics together and chatted a bit before going inside. The details of my interview with them will be coming soon in a dedicated post, so keep an eye out for it!
I had every intention of wearing one of my cosplay to the convention on Friday morning, but apparently I was so tired the night before that I passed out without setting my alarm and woke up with barely enough time to get dressed and get to my first meeting–the DC Comics Press Breakfast.
The DC press breakfast I attended was focused on Gerard Way’s new DC Young Animals imprint. I am so excited to see Cecil Castelucci’s Shade: The Changing Girl as Peter Milligan’s Shade: The Changing Man is one of my all-time favorite series. We also heard about the rest of the line, but one of the other GeekDad’s in attendance will be covering the details in-depth. The highlight of the breakfast was when Tom King (writer of Batman, Sheriff of Babylon, Vision, and A Once Crowded Sky) happened to sit down next to me. Turns out that King knows GeekDad well and was profusely thankful to us for giving him his first great review on A Once Crowded Sky that, according to him, helped launch his career!
I then headed over to my one and only Hall H panel of the entire weekend–Con Man. Nathan Fillion took the stage as the panel host for the first time ever in his con career. The panel was a blast and the cast shared not only some of their favorite stories about Season One, but also some sneak peeks at Season Two. Season Two features a musical production of Of Mice and Men called I’m With Stupid with Tudyk as Lenny and Lou Ferigno as George. The word is that although only bits and pieces of the musical show up in the actual show, it is fully written and performed and a soundtrack of it may be made available in the future.
Next up was the Preacher press conference with Garth Ennis, Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, Dominic Cooper, Ruth Negga, Joseph Gilgun, Ian Colleti, and Graham McTavish. I’ll also be covering this press conference in-depth in a later post, but I do want to say that Preacher is my favorite comic to screen adaptation. It’s done so perfectly. Also, Joseph Gilgun is Cassidy.
Before leaving the convention center for the day, I had two more downtown stops to make–The Punished Props meet-up and dinner with the other GeekDads and GeekMoms attending the con.
I’ve interviewed and written about Bill Doran and Punished Props a few times because he is one of the the top prop makers out there today. I try to attend these meet-ups when I can as its great to meet fellow enthusiasts. In addition to seeing Bill and Brittany again, it was great getting to meet several people I follow online like Evil Ted (who requires no introduction) and Anabel Martinez (from Men vs Cosplay). Everyone there was either in cosplay or had brought a prop or two to share with the group. I love seeing things in person that I’ve only seen online. Even my bayard makes an appearance in the meetup video!
Then it was off to meetup with the rest of the crew. Jamie Greene, Corrina Lawson, Jim McQuarrie, Ariane Coffin, Kishore Hari, and I all met up for beer and food. I work with these folks almost daily but, other than Kishore and Jim, had never met any of the others who came to SDCC, so it was great fun hanging out, swapping stories, and talking about our plans for the rest of the weekend.
I finished off my night by heading over to the Suicide Girls Blackheart Burlesque show. I’ve wanted to check out their nerd show for awhile but kept missing it, so when I got a press invite, I jumped at the chance. Note: I did ask my wife before going. No, I didn’t have to ask her permission, but I wanted to make sure she was ok with it. I only have a few photos to share since this is GeekDad, but the show was a lot of fun. Think of it as a slightly kinky cosplay show! Costumes included Donnie Darko, Thriller, Sailor Moon, The Little Mermaid, Adventure Time, The Legend of Zelda, Orange is the New Black, Beetlejuice, A Clockwork Orange, Planet of the Apes, and many more. And this definitely isn’t just a guy thing–there were plenty of geek girls and geek couples in attendance. Everyone just had a really great time.
For some reason, I didn’t get any photos of my own of my Ashitaka 2.0 cosplay. The only things I changed since ECCC were the hood and belt. While there are still more changes and additions to make, those were the two pieces that had bothered me the most, and both of them worked perfectly in their updated versions!
I then went in search of Adam Savage. I knew he was out in his incognito costume, but not what it was. I caught a glimpse of his bear suit just as he was leaving the convention center, so I wasn’t able to actually say hello or get a pic with him.
I then headed over to Petco Park for the first time to check out the ‘Science of Star Trek‘ panel (featuring Adam Savage). The panel was hilarious and informative. The panelists discussed the real science that could make things like teleporters and replicators real. After the panel, I was lucky enough to get access to the green room thanks to GeekDad Kishore Hari. I got to meet Adam in person (and out of his costume) and chat for a couple of minutes. The crew of Critical Role and Legends of Tomorrow were also in the green room, but I didn’t want to bother them so I just enjoyed being in close proximity to them.
After that, I headed to a special private demo of the latest Zelda game–The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild I am planning to do a full write-up of the game, but for now I will say that this may be the game that finally gets me to buy a Wii U.
I then attended the 50th Anniversary Star Trek press conference. Yes, this is how close I was sitting! I won’t go into too much detail as one of the other GeekDads is going to cover it, but I will say that I got verification from Michael Dorn himself that all food on starships is vegan (it’s from a replicator, not animals).
My last press event of the day before heading to the Masquerade was a press conference for The Expanse. I had some really great conversations with the cast and crew and will be writing it up in-depth in a coming post.
I finished off Saturday by staking out a spot in the press photo room for the Masquerade. The downside of doing this is that we didn’t get to watch any of the performances, but the bright side is that we got to see all of the costumes up close and in good lighting. Please check out the gallery of all the cosplayers from the competition. The winner list is below.
Best Young Fan – Supergirl 2016
Most Beautiful – Cleopatra
Most Humorous – Addams Extended Family
Best Workmanship – Captain America
Best Original Design – The Angel From Hell
Best Re-Creation – Lex
Judges Choice – Lumiere from Beauty and the Beast
Best in Show – Queen Amidala Senate Gown
Honorable Mention: Most Humorous – Geralt of Rivia
Honorable Mention: for Re-Creation – Guts in Berserk
Honorable Mention: Judges Choice – Fidget
DC Comics – Lex Luthor
Lucasfilm – Your Father’s Lightsaber
Anime Pavillion Best Anime – Kronos Finds the Missing Unit
Best Young Fan Anime – I’m the Real Supergirl
Sideshow Collectables – Queen Amidala Senate Gown
The Costumer’s Guild West – Lumiere from Beauty and the Beast
The David C. Copley Award for Most Innovative Costume – Hysteria
The Costume Designers Guild IATSE Local 892 – Lumiere from Beauty and the Beast
Motion Picture Costumers Union, Local 705 – Queen Amidala Senate Gown
The Will Eisner Spirit of Storytelling Award – Best Mashup Ever!!!
Frank & Son Collectable Show – Kylo Ren and Rey from the Force Awakens
I decided to wear Keith out for a second time before the con ended. I changed the way I did my hair and was much happier the second time around. I then headed downtown to meetup with Roll20. We chatted about all the cool new stuff they were about to announce. GeekDad Ryan Hiller wrote all about it (they are doing officially licensed D&D stuff with Wizards of the Coast).
I then just spent the rest of the day wandering around looking at cosplay, taking photos of cosplay, and getting my fair share of photos taken. My favorite moment was when I ran into Neil Kaplan–the voice of Emperor Zarkon himself! Let me tell you, when Emperor Zarkon whispers into your ear, it sends chills down your spine!
I finished off my con weekend by attending a special Fathom Events screening of the original Planet of the Apes. It was great getting to see one of my favorite classics on the big screen. Unfortunately, it was also a bitter reminder that, as far as we’ve come since the movie was made, we still have a very long way to go. There are so many quotable lines, but this one hit me the hardest, “Does man still make war against his brothers, keep his neighbors’ children starving?” The best science-fiction is about social commentary and, while a bit heavy-handed nowadays, Planet of the Apes is no less relevant.
As always, I took some photos of my favorite cosplay from the convention. Please enjoy the gallery.
What were some of your favorite parts of SDCC 2016? I hope to go again next year!