San Diego Comic-Con International 2017 Recap

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San Diego Comic Con 2017 wrapped last week and what a convention it was!

Wednesday

I hit the ground running on Wednesday, dropping off my stuff and unpacking a little right after my flight and then headed straight to the convention center in my casual Voltron cosplay–the Voltron role-play set and a Voltron apron.

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My first stop of the day was the DC Collectibles press preview. There were some amazing things there. My favorites were the PVC figures designed by Chris Uminga and the Batman Black and White statue designed by Becky Cloonan. The DC Bombshells were pretty awesome too, though, and the Joelle Jones statues, especially that Batgirl selfie one were great too!

I then headed over to the exhibitor hall just in time for Preview Night to begin. My first stop was Entertainment Earth, where I got a little press tour of their SDCC exclusives, reveals, and a sneak peek at some new things they have in the works. My favorite exclusive, aside from the die-cast Voltron: Legendary Defender lions was the Big Bang Theory Star Trek: The Next Generation action figure set. As someone who has worn an ST: TNG uniform to a convention before, that episode remains one of my favorites, and seeing the cast immortalized this way brought a ton of joy to my heart. Before heading off to explore the rest of the hall, I snagged myself a set of the die-cast Voltron: Legendary Defender lions!

I walked around the hall a bit more, checking out as much as I could and snapping a ton of pics before I headed out to grab a drink with some friends, because it was my birthday, after all! Special thanks to Anabel and Allen for buying some drinks for me to celebrate! I headed back to my friends’ apartment I was couch surfing at and was welcomed with a homemade birthday cake! It was a perfect way to celebrate my birthday and SDCC.

Thursday

Typically, I try to plan my weekend cosplay around my facial hair, which means I usually do bearded cosplay early in the weekend and then shave. However, Thursday had all of the Voltron events, so instead of shaving and ruining the rest of my cosplans, I decided to keep the beard, not wear my wig (so my hair matched the beard) and go as Old Man Keith!

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My first stop was the annual Hasbro Press Preview Breakfast. It’s a great way to see, touch, and take pics of all the new Hasbro goodies without having to deal with crowds, and worse, the dreaded glass cases! All of the Hasbro SDCC exclusives were on display along with a ton of other new stuff, my favorite of which were all of the Transformers and the new Star Wars: Forces of Destiny line (as soon as I got home we found and bought three of them for our family–Endor Leia, Jedi Rey, and Sabine).

Next up was the Voltron: Legendary Defender Panel. Last year, the panel was crammed into a smaller room, but this year, it was in a giant room. I am thrilled that one of my favorite fandoms and shows has gained such a huge following! We were treated to the first episode of season 3 as well as a Q&A with Joaquim Dos Santos, Lauren Montgomery, Bex Taylor-Klaus, and Tyler Labine. We were also shown an SDCC exclusive season 3 trailer (not the same one they released publicly after the panel). After the panel, I headed straight over to the Voltron press room to chat with the four panelists. The full interview with the Voltron crew is coming soon! I gifted Montgomery and Dos Santos with some one-of-a-kind Voltron props I made, and gave Taylor-Klaus and Labine my boxed-set Voltron bayards.

It was then over to the Petco Interactive Zone (a free, badgeless area across from the convention center with tons to do) for a Voltron meet-up at Hunk’s food truck! The food truck was serving up green goo (it was really frozen sorbet) and tons of Voltron fans and cosplayers got to hang out and chat not only with the four panelists, but a bunch of the rest of the Voltron crew was there too, like Steve Ahn.

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After the Voltron fun was over, I headed back to the exhibitor hall to walk around some more and scope out booths before heading to the QMx booth for a little tour. At the booth, I got to see all of their SDCC exclusives as well as talk a little bit about some of the upcoming 12″ Star Trek figures they have in the works. I can’t reveal some of what’s coming soon, but suffice it to say that if you are a Trek fan like me, you’ll be very happy. I also tried to convince them that they needed to do a Wesley Crusher. While everything at the QMx booth was pretty amazing, my favorites were the Harry Potter figures.

My big finale for Thursday was attending the Battlestar Galactica Reunion press room. I’ve had the honor of meeting and chatting with a good chunk of the BSG cast over the past couple of years. I lucked out and got to sit next to the hot seat at the press round table. When Tricia Helfer sat down, she immediately recognized me. It amazes me how some celebrities can remember anybody when they meet so many people. Though, to be fair, we’ve met and chatted several times before. I also got to meet Grace Parks for the first time. The full interview with the BSG cast is coming soon!

Friday

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Friday kicked off with the unveiling of my, up to that point, secret cosplay–Sirius Black from the Harry Potter series. Although all of my costume was found/purchased clothing with a Sirius flavor, I did make the wand from scratch. You can read about the entire Sirius Black build over on Billythebrick Cosplay. Sirius was so much fun and popular that I missed the first two panels I had planned for the day as I got caught up with a bunch of other Potterverse cosplayers!

Sirius Black versus Zarkon.

I finally had to break away to head back over to the Voltron food truck where Neil Kaplan, the voice of Zarkon, was hanging out and meeting fans. I met Kaplan last year at SDCC, and he was, as always, super kind and giving to the fans. We took a couple of fun pictures together and chatted for a minute.

I then headed to the press room for Preacher. Seth Rogen, Dominc Cooper, Ruth Negga, Joseph Gilgun, Graham McTavish, and Ian Colletti were all returning this year. In anticipation of meeting the cast and crew again this year, I made another of my Preacher replica coffee cans to bring with me. I set it up on the table before the press conference began and when the cast came in they saw it and loved it. I told Cooper he could bring it home with home, to which Gilgun proclaimed, “I want one to store my weed in!” I told him I’d make him one too, and McTavish asked if he could have one too! Needless to say, I told them both I’d make them replicas. The full press conference details are coming soon!

I then headed over to my first and only Hall H panel of the weekend (thank you, press pass) for Preacher. The panel kicked off with a real New Orleans marching band. And then, I still can’t put into words my shock, Dominic Cooper walked out into Hall H carrying the replica can I’d made for him. That moment was a spectacular high point in my career as a prop maker, no doubt. After talking a little about the new season, the audience was treated to an extended trailer for the rest of season two which included the full reveal of Herr Starr. Then Herr Star himself, Pip Torrens, along with Julie Ann Emery (Featherstone) and Malcolm Barrett (Hoover), joined the cast on stage. It’s plainly obvious that this group loves working together on Preacher. I still maintain that Preacher is the best on-screen adaptation of a comic book. Period. Season 2 just wrapped, so now is a perfect time to binge the first two seasons if you haven’t started yet!

I then headed over to the Marriott for a maker and cosplayer meetup being held by none other than Evil Ted Smith, also known as the Bob Ross of foam! I love going to these types of meetups and meeting people in person that I’d only seen or talked to online in chats or in Facebook groups with.

And sometimes, you meet people that you’ve talked to online for the first time, and it’s like you’ve always known them. Jackie and Garrick from Knowone’s Designs, Deb and Paul from Frank and Nat’s Armory, and Taylor and Kevin from Cosplay Bakery all came to the meetup as well, and after the meetup wound down, I ended up hanging out with them the rest of the night. We didn’t do a whole lot other than wander around looking for something to do or eat or drink, and although we never found any of those things, we had a ton of fun!

Saturday

Because I still didn’t have my Kanan ready, I decided to do Sirius again on Saturday!

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My first stop of the day was the Gentle Giant Ltd. booth. Gentle Giant had so many cool exclusives and items, but my absolute favorites were the Skottie Young Marvel heroes.

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I then headed over to the Factory Entertainment booth to get a look at their exclusives and a sneak peek at some of their upcoming releases. Their planned line-up for their wobble line of figures, especially the Harry Potter ones, were so cool and cute! I also love their line of SWAT props. These props are relatively inexpensive and totally convention safe, so if you want a Harley Quinn bat or Wonder Woman sword that your kids can whack each other with, check them out!

One thing that was really big this year at SDCC was immersive events. I heard that the Blade Runner one was the best by far, but, unfortunately, the lines were so long, I couldn’t’ fit it into my schedule. There was one I did get into inside the convention center, but it was so lackluster, I don’t even want to mention it by name.

On the bright side, immediately after that, I headed over to the Star Trek: Discovery press conference where we got to throw questions at the cast members Sonequa Martin-Green, Jason Isaacs, Doug Jones, Shazad Latif, Mary Wiseman, Anthony Rapp, James Frain, along with Executive Producers Alex Kurtzman, Aaron Harberts, Gretchen J. Berg, Heather Kadin, and Akiva Goldsman. The full write-up of the press conference is coming soon!

With my duties wrapped for the daytime, I headed out into the surrounding San Diego downtown area to meet up with GeekMom Ariane and her brother and husband for a drink. We had a great time catching up and talking about how much fun we’d all been having so far.

I then headed over to the National Geographic party to meet up with the aforementioned Anabel, Allen, Jackie, Garrick, Deb, Paul, Taylor, and Kevin. The NatGeo was so cool. Upon entering, you chose Earth or Mars and were given a light up bracelet. Once inside, the food and drinks were all divided up into Earth and Mars concoctions, but you were able to get anything you wanted regardless of your wrist band. It was all so delicious, and, of course, free! There were also two former astronauts–Jeff Hoffman and Jerry Linenger–in attendance who spoke, which was fascinating.

We finished off the night by heading over to the SyFy party. They also had a bunch of free snacks and drinks, along with a dance floor, tons of music, free arcade games, and live t-shirt screen printing. I didn’t really pay too much attention to the shirt when I got it, but after I got home and put it on, I discovered that the SyFy t-shirt is one of the comfiest shirts I now own! After many hours of hanging out and cementing our new-found/seemingly old friendship, we all called it a night. But not one to rest on my laurels, I happened to run into a couple of other really cool random people and we hung out for awhile too. I’m even planning a potential cosplay partnership with one of them for next SDCC!

Sunday

I rolled out of bed on Sunday and decided that I was too tired to do a cosplay and that I’d enjoy the final day as a muggle.

I started the day off by visiting Recoil. Recoil is basically the modern equivalent of Laser Tag combined with a first person shooter. I got to play a round with a bunch of folks and it was so much fun. Using a combination of 3D sound, cell phones, and feedback weapons, Recoil makes any space into a real live video game. Recoil sent me a base set to try out at home, so I’ll keep the details about Recoil to myself for a little while longer, but keep an eye out for the full review coming soon. But in the meantime, Recoil is available now.

I then headed over to the FX area to participate in the Legion: Sessions immersive experience. Unlike the other event, the Legion one was so awesome. The door opens, and you enter, all by yourself, and are treated like an escaped David Haller. The actors talk to you and interact with you as if you are David Haller. You put on a Microsoft HoloLens before proceeding, which adds a cool augmented reality to the world which is how you manifest and use your powers. It was a lot of fun and I loved how completely immersive the experience was.

I then met up with my new friends from the night before, and we grabbed a Starbucks at the Harry Potter decorated location. Why I couldn’t have found that Starbucks either of the days I was dressed as Sirius, I’ll never know.

We spent the rest of the day walking around the exhibit hall, window shopping (I don’t think any of us ended up buying anything), and chatting. It was great fun, and I certainly hope to see then again next year and that our cosplans work out!

To finish off my weekend, I thought I’d stick with my tradition of going to a movie on Sunday night to decompress from the weekend. I ended up going to dinner with my friend who was letting me couch surf, before then grabbing a drink at Stone Brewing–and, of course, I got the new w00stout! We then went to the theater to catch a screening of Valerian. I had been eagerly anticipating Valerian since SDCC last year, and with all of the bad reviews, I was really worried going in. Maybe because of my newly lowered expectations, I was actually pleasantly surprised at how much I liked the movie. It’s no Fifth Element or Leon, but I do think it was exactly what I was expecting and hoping from it.

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In closing, as always, please enjoy a gallery of my favorite cosplay from the convention!

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