Aug 212014
 

fourColorBullet1Four-Color Bullet is back, and we are aimin’ to misbehave! It’s been a busy week, with all kinds of juicy picks, so let’s just run them down, shall we?

From Marvel this week, Storm is New York City investigating the disappearances of some wayward teens, not suspecting that the culprit is one of her oldest and deadliest foes, in Storm #2; Deadpool is called in to generate book sales– I mean, um, help the Secret Avengers on a mission, in Secret Avengers #7;  and it’s the Mighty Avengers, with some help from the original 1970s team, versus the Deathwalkers for the life of Blade and the survival of humanity, in Mighty Avengers #13.

On shelves from DC this week, the hotly anticipated Multiversity #1, as a team of heroes from all 52 worlds must assemble to defeat a menace that could destroy the Multiverse. And Captain Carrot is back! Red Hood and the Outlaws are dealing with the fallout from Starfire’s past, when a secret foe arrives to make things worse in Red Hood and the Outlaws #34; Batman’s Bat-Robot! Taking out crime in Gotham! Is the Caped Crusader obsolete?! Find out in Batman ’66 #41!

From IDW this week, The X-Files: Zero Year continues in its second issue, as a pair of FBI agents from the 1940s investigate the mysterious Mr Xero, as the events leading up to the creation of the FBI’s X-Files unit is revealed; and the Turtles are transported by a new foe to another dimension, where they are forced into combat with some of the deadliest warriors in the universe, in the 2014 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Annual.

And Dark Horse Comics rounds out the bullets with Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 10 #6, when a simple exorcism is not so simple, and Buffy and the Scoobies are forced to fight a demon who fights back with their childhood fantasies. Joss Whedon approved!

 

Written by Mark Waid Penciled by Javier Rodriguez MARVEL

Written by Mark Waid
Penciled by Javier Rodriguez
MARVEL

Mark Waid’s Daredevil has consistently been one of the best all-new titles to break out of the Marvel gate; this one is no exception. I might liken this particular issue to a Very Special Episode kind of storyIn this Original Sin tie-in, Matt, like other heroes in New York at the time, was bombarded with potentially devastating secrets about his life.

Matt was shocked last issue to have the revelation that his dad, Battlin’ Jack Murdock, a man that Matt worshipped as a child and who played a significant role in his becoming a lawyer as well as Daredevil, may not have been a nice guy. Matt received troubling flashbacks of his dad standing over his mom, while his mom lay bruised on the kitchen floor.

To learn the truth, Matt goes searching for Maggie, his mom, who later abandoned him and became a nun. He discovers that she and three other nuns have been illegally arrested and kidnapped by Wakandan forces, and taken to Wakanda after they discover some nasty goings-on by that government on United States soil.

Spoilers follow. Be ye warned.

In part two of this story, Matt makes it to Wakanda, brilliantly rescues Maggie and the others, and heads home. During the ride back to the states, Matt finally confronts his mom about why she left, and what follows is a poignant and moving scene where Maggie confesses to postpartum depression that hit the emotional keys, and was even so prophetic regarding Robin Williams’ death as to be downright eerie. We learn that the the scene Matt received was a scene of Maggie attacking Jack Murdock and falling to the floor. This is important for one reason. Matt Murdock idolized his dad. Everything Matt is, he owes to his dad. If it were revealed that Jack was a wife beater, it would have undone Matt’s reason for living, and changed the whole dynamic of Matt’s world. So not only do we get this great tale of Matt rescuing his mom from Wakanda, we’re forced to wonder for a whole month, was Jack Murdock not the man we knew? And Mark Waid was brilliant and mindful of the character, to turn that all around.

Spoilers end. Proceed.

My only dislike? Wakanda. Not that Matt’s mission to Wakanda was at all far-fetched, it just seemed forced for a story that really could have taken place in New York or San Francisco. Although I know what Waid was driving at, in that there’s nothing Matt wouldn’t do or nowhere he’d go for justice, or his mother.

This is some of Mark Waid’s best writing work, on a book that is always well written. And penciler Chris Samnee takes a break this issue, leaving the talented Javier Rodriguez to share storyteller duties in the artist’s seat. I brag and glow about Daredevil  every month because it’s that good. And I’ve been a Daredevil fan for years, even during the dark and hateful Bendis and Maleev years. It is always a must-read, and the first title I read in my pile. Every month. Good, good stuff all the time. And when comics are at $3.99 an issue, quality is what you want.

 

Written by Tony Lee Penciled by Aneke Colored by Alex Starling DYNAMITE

Written by Tony Lee
Penciled by Aneke
Colored by Alex Starling
DYNAMITE

I stumbled across this one thanks to my editor, being the fine enabler that she is.  *grin*  Dynamite is an up-and-coming comic publisher who is printing critically-acclaimed stuff like Green HornetSix Million Dollar Man, and Battlestar Galactica series, both old and contemporary. So you can take your pick with whichever version of BSG you like.

This month, Dynamite released a third BSG title that is just absolutely freaking brilliant, and if you’re a steampunk fan like me, it’ll make you happy. Steampunk Battlestar Galactica: 1880 follows the crew of the Aethership Galactica in their struggle against Professor Baltar and his Cylonic warriors, clockwork robots loyal only to him.

In this beginning of a four-issue steampunk tale, the twelve colonies have just ended a war with the Ovoid race, using Baltar’s clockwork Cylonics to defeat them. But Professor Baltar had higher aspirations. He didn’t want to just save humanity — he wanted to rule it. Following an argument with Archduke Adama, Baltar takes his Babbage computer, Lu-C-Fer, and leaves Adama and the others behind, never to be seen again. At least until he turned his Cylonics on Caprica …

I won’t say anymore because the rest has to be seen to be believed. Writer Tony Lee, who co-wrote the fantastic Star Trek: The Next Generation/Doctor Who crossover, gives everybody a swashbuckle-y, steampunk twist and it’s beautiful and grin-worthy and just downright fun. And this was the first time I’ve had the privilege of seeing the artistic team of Aneke and Alex Starling, but the pencils were crisp, the colors vibrant, and best of all, you knew who was who on the page. And kudos to them for maintaining the steampunk look throughout.

I learned a long time ago from Joss Whedon that you can turn any word into an adjective by adding “-y,” so I stand by “swashbuckle-y.”

Moving on.

Minor spoilers ahead.

My only dislike, and it really isn’t a dislike  per se … to be honest I don’t know what it is beyond maybe a tongue-in-cheek thing. Anyway, there’s a scene involving steampunk Starbuck that is very reminiscent of a scene in Star Wars Episode IV, where Han and his new passengers go to board the Falcon and Luke gives Han some lip about the spaceworthiness of his ship, then Jabba comes out … remember that  one? I can’t tell if it’s an homage or a rip off. It’s a fun scene, don’t get me wrong, but I felt like the whole thing just took too long.

Spoilers over

I was glad to have found this book because I would have kicked myself if I hadn’t. Steampunk fans and Battlestar Galactica fans rejoice. We just got a geek-filled Reese’s cup and it all tastes good.

And that is Four-Color Bullet for this week. Email and comments if you have opinions on my adding “-y” to words, or anything else you want to discuss. Have you seen that cray-cray Spider-Woman variant cover yet? You haven’t?! I wrote a whole editorial on it. Go read it and tell me how curmudgeonly I am.

It’s a good time to be a comics fan. See ya next week. Go Vols!

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Jul 292014
 
SDCC 2014: Steam Powered Giraffe's Rabbit and Spine. Photo by Zoe Simsay

SDCC 2014: Steam Powered Giraffe’s Rabbit and Spine. Photo by Zoe Simsay

by Aly Runke, contributing writer

Krypton Radio DJ Willow Leafstorm has been an extremely busy fairy at SDCC 2014! This time, she caught up with steampunk performers David and Isabella “Bunny” Bennett (Spine and Rabbit) from Steam Powered Giraffe (SPG) to talk to them about their music and other ventures in the steampunk culture. Steam Powered Giraffe got their start in 2008, the founders, twin siblings David and Bunny Bennett began in junior college by performing on the street as people-bots, something quite popular on San Francisco’s Pier 39; if you’ve ever been there, you’ve surely seen such performers along the sidewalk. From there it was a slow but steady rise to having their own concerts and shows.

The band tours all around the San Diego area at different venues, including different conventions, and has stops outside California as far away as Ontario, Canada. If you want to see them in person, they are playing at Nerdfest in Orlando, Florida and Ani-Jam in Fresno this year. To keep up with other dates and appearances like their Facebook page, follow their twitter and visit the SPG website.

Beside touring and putting out albums, the band has its own card game and web comic, as well as videos of their concerts. The web comic tells the story of what the robot characters in the band do offstage. Spine, Rabbit,  and the others were built in the 1890s and are AI’s with a talent in music. David Bennett works on the comic and explained why he enjoys working in this medium as well, “In a comic book you can do just about anything, you’re not limited by reality and that’s really fun.”

When talking about their character’s lives the twins were very upbeat, obviously holding their characters near and dear to their hearts, and they use their story as the inspiration behind the albums they’ve produced. Spine told Leafstorm, “the robots have been around since the 1890s and they’ve basically dabbled in every genre of music throughout the decades.” The group has three albums out, the first has a more vaudeville sound, and the latest dabbling in the ’60s and ’70s styles, with what they called a Beatles feel. You can see this for yourself, as they will soon be releasing a DVD of a show they did last summer in collaboration with steampunk artist Professor Elemental. The twins also hinted at doing future collaborations in their music with various artists including Professor Elemental.

Steam Powered Giraffe, while having a lot of their own songs, loves to do fun song covers and parodies. One such cover they recently released was “Diamonds” by Rihanna. The twins talked about covering songs, “Diamonds” in particular, “most of them start out as jokes we’re not a serious band we like to make fun of ourselves in the music that we do, it was a joke to have one of our deep voice characters which is the Spine which I play do a pop song that a female usually sings and that was basically the reason why we did it.”

The band’s fan-base has grown over the years and eats up everything Steam Powered Giraffe throws at them, so when Bunny officially announced her gender transition and opened up a bit to her fans about her personal journey and feelings this year, she almost had to laugh at how they reacted.  She explained that the fans couldn’t care less about the gender of their beloved performer or the character she played. They were much more caught up in whether the character’s costume was going to change, latching onto such a small detail in the large picture as fans are wont to do.

The only other thing on the fans’ minds now is the need to know more about when they will get a new album and some details were shared with Krypton Radio. The fourth album to be released by Steam Powered Giraffe will be entitled The Vice Quadrant and, according to the twins, they are in no hurry to release it, wanting to milk out the love for the third album as long as possible. When Leafstorm pressed for details the two did give just a bit more; this new album will be different from the past three, containing a more specific focus of being a space opera. The twins indicated it would be mostly rock ballads, influenced by the likes of David Bowie and Queen. Leafstorm again asked for any teaser they could dish out. Spine said all they had were track names and  left us to ruminate over the song title “In Love With Progress and Technology.”

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Jul 272014
 
Photo by Zoe Simsay

Photo by Zoe Simsay

by Zoe de Lellis, contributing writer

Day three of San Diego Comic-Con International 2014 is a wrap! Today was the big day for cosplayers, for panels, and for exhibitors! As thousands upon thousands of people descended on downtown San Diego for yet another day of Comic-Con fun! And we’ve got the pictures to prove it!

Cosplayers brought out their most elaborate and complicated costumes and took to the exhibitors’ hall to show off! Of course all your main superheroes were there; I suspect that if there were a real crime happening, there’d be at least nine or 10 Wonder Women and Supermen to return the convention to justice! I also saw a lot more camera crews today than on previous days. What they filmed ranged from interviews with cosplayers and con-goers to just panning the immense crowd!!! At around 2:30, the main hall was packed almost wall to wall with fans!

Today’s main events were spread between Hall H and Ballroom 20. Hall H housed a 2-hour panel about some of Warner Bros. Pictures newest films; a discussion about Frank Miller’s Sin City: A Dame To Kill For which stars Jessica Alba, Mickey Rourke, Rosario Dawson, and Eva Green; an Entertainment Weekly panel about strong women in film including Natalie Dormer (Game of Thrones), Sarah Paulson (American Horror Story), Masie Williams (Game of Thrones), Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black), and others; a look into what’s next in the Marvel Cinematic Universe; and a screening of the new FOX television series, Gotham and the CW’s The Flash, followed by a discussion about DC Comics. These panels were coveted by many and attended by a lucky few (thousand). I met my cousin in line around 8:15 a.m.; she and her friends had already been there since 5:30! We made it all the way to the the chutes, where they load people into lines that act as the front of the longer line. After a few hours in the blazing sun, it was apparent that those determined few who had been camping out earlier than 10:30 p.m. yesterday were not leaving the first few panels of the day and had camped out in Hall H for the later, bigger panels. That Hall H line is only for the bravest of heart, and those that stayed in line longer than we did and made it in should be superheroes!

Saturday is Comic-Con’s biggest day! From panels with the biggest names in TV, film, and comics, to the amazing costumes, to the masquerade, to people watching, you definitely will not have a problem finding something to entertain you!

Additional thoughts from Alicia Glass, contributing writer:

This has been happening on previous SDCC days, but Saturday in particular it seemed a huge problem: the dogs. Service animals for the disabled are the only animals permitted inside the actual convention center. The SDCC website says, “If you have pets, including iguanas, parrots, boa constrictors, or other nonhuman critters, please leave them at home. The Convention Center will not allow animals into the building, except for service animals.”

The lines out in front of the Convention Center are absolutely insane, and people keep bringing their dogs right into them! Purse dogs that they carry in their arms like babies, knee-high yap-yaps, and even bigger dogs; I’ve seen ‘em all this weekend. Some have the requisite muzzle, some don’t. The point is, why on Earth would you bring your beloved canine pal to a sea of humanity rushing like a tidal wave, and then stick ‘em on a leash and lead them directly into the crush? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been hurrying somewhere, avoiding elbows and booted feet in the human traffic chaos, only to step on a tail and hear a yip that makes my heart bleed – don’t do that to your dog! 

We’re sure Goddard looks adorable in his K-9 costume, but please, take his picture and bring that to the con. Leave your dog (and other pets) safely at home.

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Stay tuned for our coverage of the SDCC 2014 Masquerade! We’ve got lots more photos for you on Instagram and Tumblr (krptonradio).

Jul 262014
 
Author, Illustrator, and Animator, Elizabeth Watasin. Photo by Zoe Simsay.

Author, Illustrator, and Animator, Elizabeth Watasin. Photo by Zoe Simsay.

by Aly Runke, contributing writer

Krypton Radio DJ Willow Leafstorm has been scooping up amazing and interesting interviews on the floor of San Diego Comic-Con International all weekend and her interview with author, illustrator, and animator Elizabeth Watasin is no exception. If you don’t know Watasin’s name already, you definitely should because chances are she’s had a hand in animating pieces of your or your children’s childhoods, maybe both! She has  contributed her animation skills to an impressive list of Disney classics including The Lion King, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, The Princess and the Frog, and Mulan. And if just the fact that she worked on these films at all doesn’t excite you, she worked on them straight out of college! Watasin got to experience the golden age of animation first hand. And it helped her spur her own comic projects, including the ongoing Charm School graphic novels she is currently writing and illustrating.

Charm SchoolLeafstorm asked about how Watasin was inspired to do Charm School. Watasin said it had been her de-stresser when working for Disney. She also wanted to do something family-oriented with her comic that was fun, had humor, and teen romance. She got a lot of inspiration from Grease and Sabrina the Teenage Witch. “I wanted to do kind of a contemporary fantasy thing, ’50s kind of era, a magical world with vampires and witches and demons and hot rods and malt shops.”

And with Charm School it is safe to say she succeeded. Charm School, if you haven’t picked it up yet, is about a teen witch named Bunny, who is dating biker-butch vampire Dean. However, a bad faerie has also got her eyes on Bunny. To find out who wins Bunny’s heart, well, you will have to dive into Watasin’s magical fifties world yourself.

Balancing a fun, family friendly comic with the LGBT themes present in Charm School is sometimes a hard line to walk. When asked how she pulled such a feat off in face of all the questions of how family friendly Charm School really was Watasin told Leafstorm she simply wanted to have fun. She isn’t out to live out some fetish just make an enjoyable paranormal story where the main characters are lesbians. The stories told in Charm School are “not meant to entertain you sexually” she iterates clearly, “they’re not prurient at all.”

And she succeeds. Charm School is a lot fun to read and the world is fun to immerse oneself into, as well. There are tons of paranormal aspects to explore. Watasin also enjoys playing with different myths and folklore involved in her characters. When it came to research, she pulled form traditional supernatural creatures as well as some of Asian influence. She admits to reading up quite a bit on faeries for Charm School as well as adding her own spice to characters such as the vampire Dean. Dean is a character whose story Watasin is still forming in her head. She is a vampire but Watasin also wants her to have a family, so she isn’t sure how that will play into how vampires are made or born in her world. In creating Dean, she mixed traditional ideas of what a vampire is, taking from western and Chinese folklore. She still wants to keep it fun; She laughed and joked  about “doin’ the Chinese Vampire bit.” And for Dean, Watasin uses traditional Chinese vampire lore where vampires are re-animated corpses who can only hop (not walk), and suck out life force or chi, not actual blood. The character Dan’s mother is a westernized vampire so she sucks blood. This has yet to be revealed in the comic Charm School and is still in Watasin’s mind, being configured for the story. Thus far, Charm School has nine issues out digitally and Watasin is working on the tenth. The issues will be gathered into five books, two issues a piece, along with extras. After these are released Watasin will continue the story of Charm School as novellas.

The Dark VictorianWatasin has also made herself known in the world of writing novels; her series The Dark Victorian has two books out on Amazon. Once again, Watasin delves into the world of the paranormal but with this world, there is more steampunk Victorian England. The main character is Artifice, an artificial ghost. When Leafstorm asked how she came up with Artifice’s existing as a sort of ghost,  Watasin explained that Artifice is like an alchemic formula. “She is written is how I see it, and it is possible to un-write her and that’s something I’ll be able to explain better in the later novels.” A lot of what Watasin wants to do with this series and character is to show Art’s self-discovery, both in terms of her paranormal existence as an otherworldly crime-fighter in Victorian London, and as a woman who loves other women in a world where the view on such existence is changing.

This theme of self-discovery is also, according to Watasin, at the root of making Artifice a Quaker. She told Leafstorm, “I wanted someone who was outside the society and who spoke in an archaic sense, and then I realized she is a very good contrast from Victorian values, she functions outside of that, as a woman.”

The time of The Dark Victorian novels is a point when society was changing, in the Victorian age was when the standard of LGBT persons being abnormal and outside-of-society became widespread: a standard that would prevail for the next hundred-plus years in society as we know it. Watasin wanted to show an outsider character dealing with the LGBT community at the point when such lifestyles were normal, respected, and accepted and then through that character’s story show when that changed in the society she was already an outsider in. Of course in the midst of these themes is the story of a detective solving paranormal crimes when the normal police cannot with a talking animated skull as her partner. And it is that image that birthed The Dark Victorian.

Watasin was working on another novel, never finished, when she drew a poster with a ghost detective holding an animated skull. From there this, magnificent world was born. And Artifice isn’t this world’s only story subject. Watasin also writes Elle Black penny Dreads: stories about a young housewife in an unconventional marriage with a woman who has telekinetic powers. She solve crimes that are too small for newspaper star Artifice, but still too paranormal for Scotland Yard. This universe Watasin has created is so rich, we  cannot wait for more!

Charm School,  The Dark Victorian, and the Elle Black penny dreads are available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble now.

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Jul 262014
 

 

Photo by Karina Montgomery.

Photo by Karina Montgomery

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!

I don't care that this image is blurry; this kind of moment is what makes Comic-Con special.

I don’t care that this image is blurry; this kind of moment is what makes Comic-Con special.

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.

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Jul 222014
 

by Karina “Cinerina” Montgomery, contributing writer

If you’re just now joining this series, we have already discussed tips for out-of-towners, tips and tricks to make things easier, and attitude and manners. As you know, Preview night is TOMORROW and then it’s four wonderful days of action, adventure, spending, crowds, lines, and fun. Find a meet-up for your favorite group of folks, be it Marvel or DC cosplayers, Trekkers, Browncoats, Twihards, Steampunks, Homestuck, Furries, Night Vale, Sleepyheads – there’s something for everyone. Or rove the con like a leaf on the wind – sometimes that leads to the best accidental discoveries.

I’ve said a lot before about pacing yourself but this is Comic-Con! You can sleep Monday when you call in with nerd flu. Live it up – you have no idea how many people could not get tickets to this event.

HowYouFeelMOnday

Uh oh! Someone’s got a case of the Mondays!

Wireless access at SDCC

A con-goer’s best friend

Communications Officer

Wireless access: It’s there! A booster antenna is planted every few feet in the convention center, but your fellow nerds have a LOT of tech, so it’s pretty glutted. Your batteries will drain faster than normal no matter how good they are. Post responsibly. That said, if you get a picture of yourself with Nathan Fillion giving you a high five, POST THAT IMMEDIATELY! The 4GB video of the cast of Falling Skies talking about script revisions: that can wait until you get back to wherever you’re staying. Public transportation in San Diego does not have wireless access. This means using Twitter to let people know where you are will be time delay nightmare. Text, or better yet plan ahead.

Don't let this happen to you.

Don’t let this happen to you.

 

Quiet offsite places and/or good places to set pre-determined rendezvous points: Nerd HQ, Petco Park, the Sails Pavilion, the Mezzanine, the patio, the big steps on the front of the convention center, or one of the bars and restaurants nearby.

Your badge is a treasure coveted by many: keep an eye on it, and when entering restricted areas, have it out and ready to scan, even if you tuck it inside your costume to keep your cosplay pure. Badge access gets you into a lot of things, but there is a lot that goes on around the convention center that does not require a badge. Explore downtown and see all the fun stuff going on outside the convention center. Catch a concert or a show!

 

Julie, Your Cruise Director says plan, but don’t over-plan

By now you should already have looked at the programming schedule online. So now you are probably going “OK, at 2 there is this and at 3 there is this…” slow down, partner. Definitely add everything you want to do into MySched or on your iPhone/Android – it’s a phenomenal tool to use when the schedule is as varied and packed as SDCC’s is – but be sure to allow for travel time, bathroom or food breaks, and just be realistic. When will you even get to the vendor floor, where all the good people watching is? There is a ton of stuff to actually do down there, too, it’s not just shopping.

 

 

Fill up your schedule with stuff you want to see, and then pick out the ones that you really don’t want to miss. Or things that you are cool with seeing that are right before the thing you MUST see. And then line up some alternates in case the room is full or you get waylaid. Flexibility is key. You don’t want to Hulk out and ruin your own day.

 

Rest. Sit. Eat. Hydrate. Mints.

Walking around talking and snacking all day, cheering your fan favorites, or just gaping at all the wonders will give you sewer breath. Bring some mints and don’t be shy about sharing with those in need. It’s all about getting along.

Don’t make me call security.

Bring sunscreen! Sharing is caring.

Most true nerds come with a “Keep out of direct sunlight” label affixed to them somewhere, but at San Diego Comic Con, especially if you wait to get into Ballroom 20 or Hall H (or any offsite location), you will be in the sun, and it can burn you pretty quickly. I go into some additional detail about things to pack in part 2 of this series, but really, sunscreen cannot be dismissed.

When in line: keep a small footprint, keep the line tight so they can fit as many as possible without interrupting foot traffic flow around you. A gap means someone might not get in. Would you want that to be you? Be cool and help your compatriots out if they are alone and need to zip away for a bathroom break. Buy a loyal line buddy a snow cone if they hold your place.

This is the best place in the world to interact with fellow fans and chat with folks. Don’t just hide in your phone! You can tweet later about how you wish you had a hat or sunscreen right now.

DO NOT PUT YOUR BAGS IN THE CHAIR next to you unless you are for real saving a seat for a real person who is really coming. If you must sit on an aisle, put your stuff in your seat and stand up so everyone can squeeze in.

 

 

 

Cheap and awesome!

Cheap and awesome!

Darsek, Spice, GIL, Kalganids, Galleons, Crindars, Septim, and Credits

I’m here to tell you, if you aren’t tightly disciplined, it’s very hard to not spend more than you planned at Comic-Con. Whether it’s a chance to buy an autograph unexpectedly to the perfect t-shirt that sums up your personal philosophy, you’re going to buy stuff you didn’t intend to. Thanks to the future, many (but not all) vendor floor merchants can accept Square or a few similar phone-based payment services. Bring a bunch of one dollar bills for buying things like pins or stickers; using your debit card for that is just mean. Get registered with Square ahead of time (choosing email receipt by default) and you can make your transaction faster for everyone. You can also get into their system by using Square with your intended card at a restaurant or some such before you come to SDCC.

Exploration Achievements

Despite the masses of humanity surging around you, enjoy it! It’s always an adventure but it doesn’t have to be miserable if you prepare. Being in a place with a trillion like-minded people who love what you love can be a unique and wonderful experience. Even if you are a person who is not into crowds, once you pick up your badge and actually enter the event, there is a place for you to enjoy yourself.

Do enjoy all the crannies, even if they might not appear to be your thing. The comics aisles are quiet and relaxing after all the crowds, and you might find the most unexpected things. Small Press is my favorite section of the vendor floor – it’s artists selling their wares directly to you, often self-published, or crafts/toys/art they have made themselves. It’s a great way to find exciting new titles or just awesome buttons. And meet Eisner-winners who are just sweet guys!

Final tip

Don’t forget your towel, and be awesome!

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