by Karina “Cinerina” Montgomery, contributing writer
Another frantic, fabulous, fiscally damaging, fooforaw Friday at San Diego Comic-Con!
Unlike my fellow contributor, Zoe, I don’t seem able to be everywhere at once, but the places I got to were great. I even got to go to some panels this year! After a frantic shopping line-up, where I chatted up a Blizzard programmer about the awesome things they have incorporated and stuff we care bear players love, I saw the “Is it Steampunk?” panel. Andrew Fogel (The League of S.T.E.A.M.), Paul Guinan and Anina Bennett (Boilerplate, Frank Reade), Claire Hummel (Bioshock: Infinite), and Thomas Willeford(The Steampunk Adventurer’s Guide) discussed various works (mostly films) and what elements in them were and were not truly steampunk. It was actually a very interesting philosophical discussion, splitting hairs about the variations of period fantasy, actual Victorian science fiction, and proper steampunk. The room was packed to the gills and like yesterday’s When Steampunk and Pop Culture Collide panel, had far more interested attendees than there were seats. Time to bump up the rooms, CCI!
At more than one time during the day, Ballroom 20’s line was no longer than 100-150 people – and as a result I was able to get in to see the Entertainment Weekly: Brave New Warriors panel, featuring Jon Berenthal, Tom Mison, Theo Rossi, Freddie Highmore, and Brenton Thwaites. This unusual range of actors are united by the challenges of portraying iconic characters and ways in which they make or made them their own. So much personality up there!
On the vendor floor and in the hallways was the usual mix of intensity and glee, with amazing costumes and friendly people. While sometimes I found myself in a line surrounded by the crowns of heads, faces aglow with phone light, on the vendor floor eyes are peeled and smiles are wide.
Disobeying most of my previously published tips and tricks, I skipped a meager dinner plan to attend the Sleepy Hollow panel, which was full of delightful banter from Mison and the cast, and enigmatic clips. Fans were treated to a few upcoming scenes, the least spoilerish of which is Abbie and Ichabod in the bank, while he puzzles hilariously over the chained pens and no-collateral credit. Meanwhile, in the Orphan Black panel (also in a much-too-small room), an audience member got up to speak of her struggles in the closet and how the characters on the show helped her show her parents that a person is so much more than just their sexuality and how it made it possible for her to come out to them and to share the show with them as well. My source said, misting up herself, that there was not a dry eye in the house, not even on the dais. And then the questioner continued: “So my question is…” which is probably literally the only time in the history of Comic Con that no one actually was worried that she had not asked a question and had instead dominated the mic to praise the talent. Heart-breaking with a funny, tear-stained finish.
Tonight was the 21st annual Klingon Lifestyles panel/play, which I swore I would go to but I was about to collapse from hunger (thanks to disobeying my own advice). These guys work super hard on this show and try to truly keep a through line from the first show to now, not just episodic silliness. Though I am pretty sure there is also silliness. Collectibles were bought, costumes were exclaimed over, feet ached and wallets spontaneously combusted. I sat in a panel for something I was not at all interested in (so I shall not name it) to be on deck for the next one, and I was fascinated by observing the discussion and fandom as a complete outsider. I know next to nothing about the show, only know one actor in it, and yet I have sat through two panels for it (incidentally). It was a wonder to listen to the depth of the discussion from this perspective – the level of effort and intensity and love in the room for this work. This is what Comic Con – what all fan conventions of any stripe – really is about.