Last night ended Day 3 of San Diego Comic Con. Despite some disappointments earlier in the day, the night ended on a high note for me. It also reinforced a long-held belief of mine when it comes to conventions; have backup plans when your primary goals fall apart, and most importantly, allow room for the unexpected, because the unexpected is usually the best and most memorable stuff!
My original plan was to try to get into a few off-site panels at the Bayfront hotel. There was a panel for the new upcoming season of COSMOS (a continuation of both the original 1980 series and its 2014 revival, starring my hero, Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson) and a panel for the upcoming second season of Seth MacFarlane’s hit new sci-fi series “The Orville,” of which I’ve become a fan.
Well, I woke up at 4 am that morning, went online to see the San Diego Comic Con blog on Twitter, and found out the line to get into the Bayfront ballroom was already 100 deep, and growing rapidly. Now, I hadn’t even had breakfast or showered yet; not to mention that I’m not a young man, so the idea of squatting on pavement for hours on end just to see press junkets (that I can watch in entirety on YouTube the next day) is no longer my idea of a good time, so I passed.
Luckily, I had a backup plan to see several easier-access panels much later on in the evening, which I did. More on those later.
In the meantime I decided to roam around the convention and take pictures of cosplayers, meet a longtime friend for lunch, and to rest my aching joints. I would then come back to the convention center in the evening for my ‘backup plan.’
First, the pictures:
The most surprising thing for me occurred as I walked along the Gaslamp Quarter to return to the convention center (around 3:45-4 pm or so). I was politely stopped by a couple of guys from SyFy network (the same group who awarded my wife earlier) and they told me they were asking cosplayers if they would read selections from classic literature for their camera (in character, of course). I said sure, why not?
I didn’t have my glasses on (I don’t wear them when I’m ‘in character’), but luckily they had cue cards with letters big enough (and far enough away) for me to read without them. This Fred Flintstone is seriously farsighted. I signed the TV release forms (necessary whenever you agree to appear on US television) and we got started. They asked me if I would read the “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” passage from Charles Dickens’ “A Tale of Two Cities.” So I read it for them twice for safety, ending each reading with a somber ad-libbed “Yabba-dabba-doooo…” which they liked very much. It’s due to air sometime next month (August). I had a blast! Thank you SyFy network, both for awarding my brilliant wife’s creativity, and for giving me my TV ‘acting debut’ (hehe…).
Last year I got to ‘model’ for the King Kong exhibit; this year I got to act. Yeah, yeah, I know; another model who wants to act, right? Oldest story in Hollywood. Haha…
Then, around 4 pm, it was time to implement my ‘backup plan’; since I avoided the overcrowded “COSMOS” & “Orville” panels, I decided to attend two other events in the (briefly) less occupied Room 6CDF (one of the larger venues, though nowhere near as big as Hall H or Ballroom 20). I dragged my blistering, tired, sandaled feet (still wearing my Fred costume) into the room to find that, to my surprise, it was still about 2/3rds empty (really rare for Comic Con these days). I grabbed a nice, 7th row right-side aisle seat and sat through several panels. Of course, as I sat, it rapidly filled up.
Comic Con, like nature itself, abhors a vacuum…
First up was a panel that I frankly don’t even remember; sadly, I used it as a ‘social media break’ to catch up with everybody. Then it was onto the next one;
Then came the panel I’d waited the entire day for…the 25th anniversary panel for my favorite animated movie of all time: Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas” (1993). I’d taken a LOT of photos during this panel, and am sharing a few of them here, but I’m holding onto a few others for a special retrospective I’m planning for the film this October. But here are a few that capture (I hope?) the overall essence of the event:
So ended the panels. It was around 10 pm, and I was exhausted, my arthritis was hurting like hell, and I still had to walk back to the hotel. The foot traffic on the streets, even at that hour, was about as intense as it was in the afternoon (see the photo at the top of the post) but the vibe was a little different. There were, as always at Comic Con on Saturday night, parties everywhere. With costumed, occasionally inebriated revelers packed on every corner? The feeling was almost more like Mardi Gras than Comic Con…
That crazy-looking robot was followed by a half-starved, me returning to our room, wolfing down down a horrible microwaved dinner of a lean Hot Pocket & veggie chips. Soon after, my wife came in from the Masquerade Ball. We were both pretty well spent, but it was that kind of elated exhaustion that comes after a full and wonderful day.
Thus ended Day 3 of San Diego Comic Con. As I write this, late in the afternoon of Sunday July 22nd, the 4th and final ‘official’ day of San Diego Comic Con is over now. More to come on that one in the next and final San Diego Comic Con 2018 mega-post.