San Diego Comic Con 2017: Freaks and Geeks? Part 2 The Con.

 

San Diego Comic Con 2017: Freaks and Geeks?

Part 2- The Con!

Dr. Idries J. Abdur-Rahman, MD

 

So what actually happens inside of Comic Con?

 

 

Well, we made our way to the San Diego Convention Center bright and early the first morning of SDCC to find just that out. And what did we find you ask?

 

besides lots of signs advertising the convention both outside and…

 

inside, we founds lots and lots and lots of…

 

lines.

 

Yup, the first thing you are going to do is get into a line to enter the convention center.

 

Then there are the lines to collect your conference materials and swag bag.

 

And of course there are lines to get into any of the really good panel discussions. But hey, we were finally at SDCC, so what are a few little (or not so little) line here or there? At least it was day 1 and people were still relatively well washed.

 

Speaking of Swag Bags, here is my son walking the convention floor with his swag bag. Awwwww man, we got Ninjago! Oh well, it could have been worse, at least we didn’t get the Wonder Woman swag bag. Nothing against Wonder Woman of course, but there was no way a teenage boy was going to walk the streets of San Diego with a Wonder Woman bag on his back!

 

The exhibition floor is the hub of activity, this is where just about any and everything horror, scifi, fantasy and comedy can be found and purchased.

 

Here is the ni,ni,ni,ni,ni,nick, Nickelodeoooon exhibit (I’m guessing only people who were adolescents in the 80’s or early 90’s would get that reference). I stuck my head in but refused to wait in the long line. When I saw that they had an interactive Spongebob exhibit, I almost broke down and lined up. I’m not ashamed to say that at 41 years old, I am a longtime lover of Spongebob, I mean come on, who lives in a pineapple under the sea?

 

I’ve never seen the show, but this was the exhibit for the ABC show Once Upon a Time. Having never seen it, I thought it best just to give you the description straight from the bible of all information, Wikipedia: Once tells the story of a new world, one in which fairy-tale legends and modern life collide. Okay, if you say so.

 

Now this show I have seen, People of Earth on TBS. Kind of funny but not as funny as the preview made me think it would be. Spoiler alert, the first time I saw this show was on a plane heading to The Seychelles. Keep an eye out for our next trip report to you guessed it, The Seychelles!

 

False advertising! Bob’s Burgers was NOT selling burgers! Thanks for making my mouth water for nothing!!

 

Now I have not only seen this show, but it and it’s spin-off (Fear The Walking Dead) are among my favorites. Again, I just couldn’t see waiting in that long line but…

 

I did manage to take a few pics with The Walkers. If you didn’t know, black folks don’t play when it comes to scary things. If horror movies were real, there is no way the brother would be the one walking in the direction of that bump in the night. So yeah, the other side of the fence was the perfect spot for me.

 

I don’t know about you guys but, I think these walkers look pretty realistic, well, whatever realistic is for the undead back from six feet under to roam the earth.

 

Now I am a huge Steven King fan, so you know I’m going to be all over this come September. Steven King’s IT was heavily advertised this year at SDCC.

 

If I ever see a little kid walking around in a yellow raincoat with a red ballon, I’m making tracks! Sorry kid!!

 

Next up was Inhumans, an upcoming show on ABC based on the Marvel Comics race of the same name. And why the big dog? Well the real questions is why not a big dog, this is SDCC after all. But to answer the question, he is one of the characters from the upcoming series.

 

No, you are not seeing things, this is Mariachi Man getting his Lucifer wings. Only at Comic Con my friends, only at Comic Con.

 

Okay, if Mariachi Man can do it, why can’t I? I grant you my picture didn’t have the same umph as Mariachi Man’s, but I’m going to blame my son for that! I mean how hard is it to center the picture while getting the entirety of the wings? Kids!

 

See? This is how it is done. What was the caption I used when I sent this picture to my wife you ask? “We’ve always known it”, what else?. BTW, if you were wondering, Lucifer is a comedy on FOX. Never seen it.

 

Now who said school can’t be cool?  I don’t know about you but if they are still taking applications, SIGN. ME. UP!

 

I’m not sure if you could actually pay to have makeup applied or if these were just demonstrations, but either way they were pretty dang cool.

 

And guess what? There actually is a Cinema Makeup School and where else would it be but Hollywood California of course. Now here is my question. Once your makeup is done, how long do you wear it? Just through the end of the convention? on the flight home? Maybe to work or school? Curious minds really want to know.

 

And here is the Batmobile from Justice League’s Batman Horizons. Apparently the rope around the car means they frown upon you trying to take it for a spin. Who knew?

 

Guess I will just have to settle for these pics.

 

There was a lot of phenomenal artwork for sale though some of the price tags made my jaw drop.

 

The Tower of T-Shirts on the other hand, their products were just within my price range.

 

The exhibition floor was huge and after having walked it for two days I’m certain that we still didn’t see everything. If only I had four legs, things might have been different.

 

A lot of Comic Con’s activities surround panel discussions, many of which feature popular entertainers, authors and screen writers.

 

This particular panel featured the cast of SyFy channel’s Z-Nation.

 

I haven’t seen Z-Nation, but I recognized Kellita Smith from the Bernie Mac Show.

 

Now anybody who knows anything about Comic Con knows that Hall H is absolutely the place to be. Hall H is where all of the biggest panels, with the biggest A-listers take place. This year hall H hosted celebs like Will Smith, Halle Berry, the cast of The Big Bang Theory, and the casts of The Walking Dead and Fear The Walking Dead just to name a few.

 

With 130,000+ attendees and capacity for only 6,500 in hall H, the lines to get in are insane. When I say insane, I mean people lining up and literally camping outside overnight insane. I admit that I am a Com Con convert, but there is no way in hell that you will ever catch me sleeping outside just to get into hall H. Not. Gonna. Happen. For those diehards however, there are stories of celebrities coming by to take pics with the camped out fans and even bringing them snacks and other goodies to pass the time. Thanks, but I will just buy my own donuts and crash in my hotel room, tucked away in my nice, soft bed.

 

On Sunday, which happened to be the last day of the convention, the lines for Hall H were actually reasonable. When I say reasonable, I mean no more than 30 minutes reasonable, so Sunday was our day to get into the hallowed and coveted Hall H. The fact that my son is a huge Doctor Who fan and The Doctor Who panel was taking place in Hall H, meant we definitely had to go. The fact that the Doctor Who panel was the last of the four panels meant that we definitely had to stay, all day.

 

First up in Hall H was the cast of the show Supernatural, who made a rockin’ entry to their theme song, Carry On Wayward Son by the group Kansas.

 

I guess I’m what you would call a casual observer of Supernatural. The elliptical machine at the health club only has 10 channels and I often watch TNT  between 5AM-6AM when Supernatural is on, so the faces were at least familiar.

 

The cast and crew were really engaging and the hour went by pretty quickly.

 

The big screens made it easy to keep up with what was going on on the stage, but with my camera’s zoom function, I still had a pretty good view as long as I could aim between people’s heads.

 

The next panel was from the TNT show The Last Ship. I had never heard of the show before and I have to honestly say that the panel didn’t make me want to start tuning in.

 

Doc McSteamy (Eric Dane), as Grey’s Anatomy fans would probably know him, really just seemed like he didn’t want to be there. To be fair, it was probably the end of a long weekend for him and I think most of the people in the crowd were there for Doctor Who anyway, so the audience just wasn’t all that engaged.

 

Next up was Kevin Smith. He is best known as a film maker, actor and comedian but some aerophiles may remember him as the guy Southwest deemed “too fat to fly” in 2011. He says that embarrassing incident prompted him to lose weight. Lemons are now lemonade, bravo!

 

Kevin, who was quite funny by the way, was moderating the panel with the cast from Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency.

 

After suffering through the last panel (sorry Doc McSteamy), this panel was really entertaining. I’ve seen the show a few times when my oldest son was watching, but after checking out this panel and the show clips they previewed, it looks like a nice mix between supernatural, comedy and mystery which is right up my alley.

 

It was cool to see Frodo Baggins (aka Elijah Wood). I have to say his feet were way smaller in person than they were in the Lord of The Rings trilogy. I guess it’s true what they say, TV really does add 10 pounds….to your feet.

 

And then came the moment that most of the people in hall H, including my son and his dad who by now had a sore butt, had been waiting formal day, Doctoooooooor Whoooooo!

 

And for a Walking Dead fan (and Comcast customer) like myself, having Chris Hardwick moderate the panel was pretty cool too.

 

The Doctor Who panel held my attention for the hour and while I’m not a watcher of the show, I was a bit intrigued by discussion about the apparent controversy over the next Doctor Who being a woman. Gaspssssssss!

 

While the convention itself is really great, a lot of what makes Comic Con Comic Con is what happens outside of the convention center, throughout the Gaslamp District and downtown. One thing that happened a lot were the fundamentalists who used their bullhorns to yell at all of the convention goers outside of the convention center…

 

on the streets near the convention center and Petco field…

 

and in the Gaslamp District. They were everywhere, every day and every night. They were even there on Sunday morning which you have to admit was a bit ironic. Wasn’t there somewhere else they should have been on Sunday morning?

 

Apparently Tahnos was coming too. Tahnos is a supervillain in Marvel comics aka as The Dark Lord. I wonder who converted more people, Thanos or the fundamentalist he was following?

 

But even more than the bullhorn carrying fundamentalists, there was branding and previews everywhere. This was a pop-up for the TBS comedy Wrecked. As you can see it took place on a boat that was made to look like a desert island. Unfortunately it was 21+ so I couldn’t go in with my son.

 

Here was the Hilton hotel adjacent to the convention center advertising the show Legion.

 

Legion also got creative with this piece of shrubbery that doubled as a photo op.

 

The FX network had a nice area on the lawn of the convention center with free wifi (thanks!)….

 

a place to sit in the shade and…

 

 

watch previews of upcoming FX shows.

 

Xfinity had a pop-up with set re-creations from Orange in the New Black, Game of Thrones and Luke Cage.

 

The Game of Thrones set mockup would have made for a nice photo but…

 

this was the line so we passed and decided…

 

to spend a little time on the inside with…

 

Orange is the New Black. The set mockup was complete with food trays covered in disgusting prison-like food.

 

After we were sprung from the joint, we made our way to the Luke Cage set mock-up and…

 

Pop’s barber shop.

 

Similar to the AMC Deadquarters inside the convention center, there was a second Deadquarters outside that was open to the public. The lines were crazy here too and I figured I already escaped the walkers once on the inside, why tempt my fate again?

 

Before leaving the Deadquarters though, I had to take off my hat, bow my head in silence and pay my respects to the ones we’ve lost. Heres looking at you Glenn!

 

And then there was The Tick. Don’t ask me how I knew it was The Tick, I’m guess I’m just an intuitive guy.

 

If I had to guess, I would have said ant instead of tick but Entomology isn’t my area of expertise so you wouldn’t want to take my word for it anyway.

 

It’s not real but I kind of liked the wall covered in graffiti that says “No Graffiti”. Oh the irony.

 

Okay Mr. Tick, calm down! Do you really need to add property damage to your rap sheet?

 

Comedy Central’s Broad City, which by the way is hilarious, had an entire restaurant

 

Now I’m a huge American Horror Story fan. AHS is actually a family winter vacation tradition, our nights are spent binging an entire season. I’ve already pre-ordered season 6 for Bali this December!

 

Having said that, I don’t know what in the fig I saw in that sneak peek booth. Don’t worry AHS, your secret is safe with me….because I was clueless!

 

Before we left Chicago, I planned our schedule out day by day, hour by hour. I mean what’s more fun than the spontaneity of a day that is planned minute by minute, right? One of the things I definitely wanted to do was the Impractical Jokers block party. For those who don’t know, Impractical Jokers is a hidden camera show on tru TV. The best laid plans right? The line was literally around the blocks (yup, I said blocks), so we passed.

 

Blade Runner also had a pop-up but you know the story by now. The lines were massive so yeah, we had to pass. Word on the street though was that it was pretty good.

 

Here ye here ye, this was the Nightfall pop-up. It had to be atleast 85 degrees out there and I kind of felt sorry for the poor guys out there in that chainmail armor.

 

The Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim had a huge area on the convention center lawn with all kinds of free programs all day and most of the night.

 

Once again Conan O’Brien was filming his show during Comic Con at The Spreckel’s Theater. As you would expect, tickets were not easy to get but we took our chances and entered the ticket lottery. You probably figured since I am only taking pictures from the outside that we did not get in. That’s alright, I still love ya Conan.

 

Branding was everywhere from…

trains and trollies to…

 

parking lots to…

 

buildings to…

 

the free ComicCon transportation buses. I really liked the quotes on the SyFy buses. “Don’t judge a book by it’s movie” and…

 

“Because you are a pro at cons”.

Now if you are thinking this is a SyFy branded double decker karaoke party masquerading as a bus, you would be correct. I really, really, really wanted to catch one but my son forbade it!

 

And if you hadn’t yet seen enough SyFy branding, there was the people powered rolling bar that slowly made it’s way through downtown San Diego. I could be wrong but isn’t this drinking and driving?

 

I had to stop and take a pic of my son stopping to check out the Adult Swim themed balloons.

 

Of course all of the local restaurants were decked out and themed for Comic Con too. Yoda graced the menu of the Union restaurant.

 

While the Broken Yolk Cafe had a definite…

 

comic book theme.

 

Heck, even my hotel key was dressed up for Comic Con.

 

See? That really was my hotel key.

 

And my favorite walking, talking, breathing (I presume) piece of marketing was this little raincoat wearing, ballon carrying child from Stephen King’s IT. This one happened to be an Asian woman, but there were little IT’s all over the place. Some were male some were female, some where white, others Asian and even a black IT or two.

 

And now you know my trade secret…Google. Oh well, point is that you can see the resemblance and it’s uncanny, right? That woman played the heck out of her role. When I saw her, I saw IT! and IT was creepy!

 

By the way, if you see this school bus kiddies, DO. NOT. GET. ON! I have a sneaky suspicion it’s not heading to school.

 

Okay, lets wipe out that vision of evil with this vision of good, a beautiful angel…I think? Now the convention floor is nice, the cast panels are cool BUT what truly makes Comic Con unlike any thing you have ever seen is the cosplay. Cosplay is the technical term for wearing costumes and if you are heard using the word costume, you will lose any and all credibility, these folks take the their cosplay seriously.

 

Well hello Baymax, nice to meet you.

 

My son got to hang out with Scooby Doo and the gang. Do those Scooby Snax have caffeine or is it just meth?

 

Here was one of the many versions of Doctor Who through the years that we would see that weekend.

 

And everyone’s favorite character from Ghost Busters, the Staypuff woman (I’m guessing by her fancy toes) made an appearance too.

 

Age is nothing but a number at the Con. Who says Elsa has to be in her 20’s? And I’m willing to bet she didn’t even have to dye her hair.

 

The purple coat wearing Joker was the subject of my picture but now that I’m looking closer I’m trying to figure out what in the fig that is behind him! Anybody know?

 

Hey, it’s the crew from Moana. Is it me or does the lady on the end look a wee bit green?

 

Don’t quote me but I’m thinking Game of Thrones here (?).

 

Wait wait, what?!  I’m not sure what in the heck was happening here! Clearly the devil or devils were walking amongst us.

 

I know Robin is supposed to be a side kick but I think he needs to lay off of the cigarettes and coffee because his growth has clearly been stunted.

 

Lookin’ good after all these years R2D2, looking’ good!

 

You want how much money?! C’mon, say it with me folks…. One Milllllion dollllars.

Looks like the classic Joker is out numbered here.

 

According to my son, this is a Steampunk Robot. Now don’t ask me what a Steampunk robot is, even after Google I’m a bit lost.

Well I think this crew is just MARVELous. Get it? MARVELous. Okay, I won’t quit my day job, I promise.

Another Joker and then there is the guy standing next to my son (ba dum dum).

Casey Jones, a sports equipment-themed vigilante and ally of the Ninja Turtles.

Yes, the snake was real and no I didn’t get any closer.

 

Hey, I want a foil hat too! You guys can’t read my mind and no one but me will control my thoughts! Not as long as there is tin foil around anyway!

 

You guessed it, another Doctor Who. Clearly Comic Con 2017 was all about the Doctors and as a doctor, I approve.

 

Rogue One from Star Wars (the robot, not my son).

 

Ares from the Immortals.

 

Uncle Fester has a friend (or two if you count the hand on his head).

 

Well look what was conjured up! It’s the scary nun from The Conjuring 2. You just stay over there sister.

 

One of my understated favorites, 1980’s Darth Vader with his black Run DMC track suit, his huge radio that was actually playing some beat boxing tunes and of course his huge gold chain because…well yeah…he was from the 80’s.

 

Only in San Diego and only during Comic Con will you see grown folks dressed up in the middle of the day waiting for a train.

 

Every time a bell rings and angel gets it wings…….

 

I’m all about protecting the environment and reducing emission but come on.

 

A bit random but guess who was passing out free peanuts to the massive crowds in the Gaslamp District? You guessed it, Southwest Airlines. I figured my fellow aerophilies would appreciate this.

 

Another freebie. On day 1 I laughed, who the heck wants a free meditation book I thought? After four days of battling the crowds and heat, I eagerly grabbed a few books. Oooooohhhhhhmmmmm.

 

Okay, everybody stop what you are doing and give this guy a standing ovation. He is the definition of going all out with your Cosplay, I mean a pig head. You win the day if not the entire weekend! Pig Man from American Horror Story.

 

Sardonyx from The Cartoon Network’s Steven’s Universe.

 

I’m thinking The Legend of Zelda, but don’t quote me.

 

And of course SDCC wouldn’t be complete without Thor and his hammer Mjolnir. Well, it wasn’t the actual Thor or even Chris Hemsworth, the actor who plays Thor, but I have to say this guy bore a close resemblance.

 

I don’t ever want to hear my wife complain about wearing high heels again. This Wonder Woman took heels to a new height (yup, pun was totally intended there) and I didn’t see her wobble, not even once.

 

And these ladies were definitely in a league of their own!

 

Not sure who this guy was with my son but something tells me he was a bit envious.

 

At SDCC The King of Pop was alive and well and…

 

The Joker and Edward Scissor Hands were besties. SDCC definitely brings out some strange bed fellows.

 

I was a huge horror movie fanatic as a kid and growing up in the 80’s I was of course a huge Nightmare on Elm Street fan. I have to say, this Freddie Kruger was pretty convincing.

 

And we ran into Thanos again. Whats up Thanos?! Who won the conversion off?

 

Look who got to take a picture with Rick, Negan and Lucille. I don’t know about you but it looks like Rick and Negan have patched up their differences.

 

Now I thought this was really cool. As we were walking around the Gaslamp, we ran into Orlando Jones (almost literally). Apparently he actually got ordained before SDCC and he was performing weddings at the “Geek Love Chapel”. He was followed by a drumline as he made his way through the streets of San Diego to the chapel to perform the weddings.

 

 

 

I think she was going for Wonder Woman here but she really reminded me of a cross between Wonder Woman and She-Ra. I’m probably showing my age talking about She-Ra but hey, He-Man and She-Ra were totally happening in the 80’s when we only had a few TV channels for after school TV watching.

 

Kubo from Kubo and the Two Strings along with ParaNorman.

 

Woo woo, wait…what?! Okay, hands down, you guys totally win Comic Con. Pyramid Head from the Silent Hill series.

 

Spider Man X 4 so I guess that would technically be Spider Men. Is it just me or does the one on the end look a little bit like Toby Maguire?

 

Yeah, he was a pretty good Wolverine. He gets extra points for going the extra mile with the bloody wife beater.

 

SDCC is never complete without a cos-play competition. These were a few of the contestants getting ready to go to the competition.

 

A photo op with some X-Men.

 

I just had to stop and take a pic with Patsy and Edina from the British Comedy Absolutely Fabulous. You nailed it ladies!

 

Okay, I’m pretty sure this guy is a furry and if he is I don’t think I really want to know what in the heck is going down here.

 

Hula hoop Wonder Woman definitely got her groove on.

 

You go girl!

 

Even the cars had to get in on the act, Speed Racer…

 

and the Batmobile (with a shiny bald head that just wouldn’t get the heck out of my shot!) and…

 

an Old School San Diego police car.

 

Oh boy, looks like the copers nailed somebody.

 

If you haven’t figured it out by now, nothing at Comic Con could be ordinary. This is not an ordinary shoe shine stand after all, no, this is Captain Kirk’s shoe shine stand.

 

If I accomplished nothing else this weekend, I can most definitely say that I got my steps in.

 

With each passing day, the total step count went up and up and up which would explain why…

 

by the end of the weekend, my dogs were definitely barking.

 

As the sun set on our four days at Comic Con, I realized that I had totally become a Con-vert. Most people would probably consider a bunch of adults who dress up and walk the streets of a major American city to be maladjusted or just plain weird. If you would have asked me a few weeks ago, I probably would have agreed. Now I haven’t gone all in, I have never cos-played, but I can’t guarantee that I won’t one day. So are the Con-ers freaks and geeks? Maybe, and thats okay. We could probably all learn a thing or two about the liberation that comes with shedding the costume of your normal life (yup, I said costume, Con-cred gone) and getting back in touch with that part of your inner child that says the hell with what people think.

 

We had most definitely Con-ed it up and it was now time to head on back to sweet home Chicago, sore feet and all. Much like the outbound journey, the return journey involved a connection (this time at LAX) because it was much cheaper.

 

Be sure to check out part one, the journey to San Diego HERE

Be sure to check out part three, the journey home HERE

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