Wednesday July 8, Day 4
James and I are given the lay of the land around the convention centre by Chris (not his first rodeo) and some advice from Matt Dunford, a local and an old pro at SDCC. Matt walked us through his very thorough and amusing list of tips on convention etiquette which should prove very useful in the days to come.
Preview Night begins at six o’clock. We bide our time until then by joining Bleeding Cool alumni Cameron Hatheway and Amanda Levine for lunch at the Karl Strauss Brewing Company to sample some excellent chocolaty stout (with a shockingly high alcohol content) before collecting our badges.
Once we’re through the doors, we hit the ground running. My senses are overwhelmed; nothing could have prepared me for the sheer scale of it all. Three hours fly by, and we come away with armloads of goodies.
We drop off our bags and head over to the IDW Publishing headquarters for a post-con get-together. IDW have just moved house to the former Navy barracks in Liberty Station and opened the San Diego Comic Art Gallery (go check out their Kevin Eastman exhibition). VP of Marketing Dirk Wood’s band is playing, so we get to hang out in their super-cool new offices and see a gig. We get back in the wee hours and crash hard. Tomorrow is the first big day, and we want to be ready for it.
Thursday July 9, Day 5
We’re up early to make sure Chris has time to get situated before the How to Get News Coverage comics journalism panel he’s participating in at 10:30. James and I wander through the central area of the exhibit hall. As we make our way through we stop to say hello to some of the publishers, embracing the rare opportunity to meet them in person and put some faces to names. Here and there we see familiar faces from back in London; we bump into Kieron Gillen and wish him luck on his Eisner nomination, and have a lengthy conversation with JP Bove and Jess Bradley about defunct media formats.
The three of us meet up to conduct podcast interviews with Jason Lenzi of Bif Bang Pow! and Top Cow’s Matt Hawkins. After that we go our separate ways; James wants to queue up to get his Rick & Morty comic signed by Dan Harmon, and Chris goes to check out the exclusives at the Peanuts booth (which sadly he doesn’t get).
I make my way upstairs for the Vertigo: What’s the Story? panel. There they announce a whole slate of upcoming titles, including a new series of Lucifer. Then it’s the panel I really geek out for: nineties heartthrob Nick Carter is making a zombie-western movie with The Asylum (the production company that brought you Sharknado) with two of his fellow Backstreet Boys and a member of NSYNC to boot. It’s called Dead West, and it’s essentially going to be nineties boy bands versus zombies, set in the old west. And if that doesn’t sound amazing to you, I’m sorry but we can’t be friends.
We reconvene for dinner at a Mexican themed bar, then swing by the Andaz Hotel Rooftop for the Outcast party. We gaze over the city and sip cocktails, and do some celebrity spotting. James and I can’t resist taking a photo with Peter Capaldi; James wants to meet Malcolm Tucker, and I want to meet The Doctor.
[Chris’ note: I resisted being that guy and approaching Peter Capaldi, but I was tempted to get a picture with the ageless and beautiful Heather Graham. I chickened out, but James took a picture of me with her in the background. Just as he took the shot she moved, so I now have an excellent photo of me with Heather Graham’s ass …
Given the circumstances, I’ll take it.]
James and Chris carry on into the night for the Suicide Girls‘ Blackheart Burlesque show at the House of Blues. I go back to the hotel; I can’t think of anything I want to do more than sleep. It’s been a full, great day.
Friday July 10, Day 6
Chris is booked all day with interviews, so James and I (the wide-eyed SDCC newbies) set off on to see the sights on our own. We start with a champagne breakfast at the Museum of Impractical History, hosted by titular TV pranksters the Impractical Jokers. In addition to the breakfast tacos and mini pancakes, there’s entertainment on offer as well: an artist is doing caricatures, and a spinning Wheel of Doom selects from a variety of body parts onto which will be sprayed a temporary tattoo. One of the options is ‘forehead’, so I politely decline.
Once inside the convention centre we start in the far corner of Artists Alley to see how far we can get before a one o’clock meeting (the answer is: not that far). We spend much of that time chatting with friendly artists and shopping for sketchbooks.
We attend the DC: From Panel to Screen discussion, where Geoff Johns and Mike Allred (to name a few) talk about their current and upcoming film and TV projects. On the way out we run into my favourite cosplayers of the day: Chewie’s Angels (pictured here with Spider-Man). Fabulous, ladies. Fabulous.
At the IDW booth I have an issue of Locke & Key signed by one of my top favourite artists, Gabriel Rodriguez. James, in turn, commissions a sketch of the Phoenix from Adam Warren at the Udon booth; we’ve just sifted through Cel screens from the nineties X-Men cartoon at the Van Eaton Galleries booth and James is feeling nostalgic.
We meet back up with Chris for a catch-up over Thai food. His day was spent recording interviews, including an exciting one with Skottie Young that I’ll look forward to hearing soon. Chris and James order Hulk-themed cocktails which inexplicably cause them to flex their muscles (I stick with the sake).
We go back to the hotel with the intention to get some work done before bed, but we’re falling asleep by the time we’ve made it up the stairs to our rooms. Early nights, I’m discovering, are a necessity.
And on the way back…
[You can hear more about Liz, Chris & James’ adventures as part of #OrbitalWorldTour2015 on the latest Orbital In Conversation]
[And read about the first part of our #OrbitalWorldTour2015 here]