Tag Archives: Comic Con 2009

Comic-Con 2009 Complete Index

Here’s a quick index to all of our posts about last month’s Comic-Con International in San Diego: here, at Speed Force, and on Flickr.

Around the Con

We saved most of our long-form writing for panel and costume write-ups (see below), but I made extensive use of Twitter during the convention. These are auto-generated digests of each day’s Twitter activity, presenting a view of the convention as I experienced it.

In Costume

On Friday we attended in costume as Yomiko Readman from Read or Die and Jay Garrick, the original Flash from the Golden Age (1940s). On Saturday Katie attended as Kate Austen from Lost.



That covers all the major posts we’ve written from the start of the convention onward. There are a few minor bits, like the “We’re here!” post from when we arrived in San Diego, and various posts about the build-up to the con. You can find these by looking further back in the Comic-Con 2009 category here and in posts tagged CCI 2009 at Speed Force.

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Comic-Con Triathlon: Running Through Downtown San Diego at Night

Friday night at Comic-Con. After walking around all day in costumes, we returned to our hotel, got cleaned up, had dinner at the hotel restaurant and got in line for the shuttle back to the convention center to catch “The Worst Cartoons Ever” at 9:00.

Except only one of us made it onto the bus.

Missing the Bus

We’d thought about going back to the restaurant for dessert later (they had Bailey’s cheesecake), so I did something stupid and went back to check the hours. (If they were going to be closed, we’d go somewhere in the Gaslamp area like Ghirardelli.) This took longer than expected, and the shuttle arrived in the meantime.

The shuttles only run every 20-30 minutes at night, and we had barely 30 minutes to the screening. Chances were if I didn’t catch this one, I wasn’t going to make it.

I fought my way upstream through the crowd that had just gotten off the bus, saw that Katie wasn’t at the stop, and ran halfway down the block as the shuttle pulled away…and immediately stopped at a red light.

I ran to the front of the bus and knocked on the door. The driver gestured toward the back of the bus. I looked back to see if there was another door. Nothing. I knocked again. He glared at me and pointed toward the back of the bus again. It became clear he was not opening that door for anything.

Words Exchanged

So I pulled out my cell phone and called Katie, who was in the process of calling me to ask where the hell I was. Whichever call connected, I started out with something like “The &@^#*& driver wouldn’t let me on the bus!” We each fumed a bit, the light turned green, and the bus pulled away.

I wasted a precious minute trying to decide whether it was worth trying to catch a trolley or something. I figured their schedule was about as bad. Driving didn’t even cross my mind — it probably would have taken me long enough to park that it wouldn’t have helped anyway. If I’d really been thinking I would have walked around to the front of the hotel and hailed a taxi.

Maybe it was that I’d spent the day dressed as the Flash. I decided to run.

Continue reading

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“Lost” Panel Made of Win

One of the coolest things to happen at last year’s Lost panel was Hurley Guy: a large, scruffy, longish-haired guy coming up to the Q&A mike wearing a green shirt. The producers were as amused as the audience, and his prize for asking his question was a tub of Dharma ranch dressing. I caught sight of him again on Friday afternoon of this year’s con, dressed this time in a yellow “I (heart) my Shih Tzu” shirt and pajama pants with a plaid bathrobe. I hung around him, waiting to ask for a picture, as he talked with his friends about when they planned to get to the line the next morning. The consensus was 4 a.m., which I found ridiculous. Later, after giving up on the picture, I learned that people were already camping that night. Even more ridiculous. But for the kind of panel that this year’s, the final Lost panel, was, I can see how they’d decide it was utterly worth it.

I arrived on the Plaza Park lawn as soon as the 8 a.m. shuttle could get me there. No one noticed I was dressed to resemble Kate, and Hurley Guy was nowhere in sight to beg for a photo. The doors opened at about 10:30 for the 11:00 panel, and on the way in we were handed pencils and fliers for “Lost University” (and I also got the “9″ card being handed out as a promo for 9). We found out what that was all about at the beginning of the panel, when a clip advertising the website (lostuniversity.org) was played. I haven’t looked at the site, so I don’t know if it’s another ARG or another fan-gathering site. But with “test” questions and “schedules” involving polar bears and hunting boars, it’s bound to be at least slightly funny.

I believe this was also where there were some clips played of “things that might happen” in an altered world of Lost. I can’t remember precisely where this bit was, because I was a good fan and didn’t take pictures of any of the videos. The lineup included a commercial for Mr. Cluck’s featuring Hurley, who had apparently bought the company and had nothing but GOOD luck since winning the lottery. The restaurant was featuring “Australian” combos to commemorate his return from his walkabout trip. Then there was a segment from a “Most Wanted Fugitives” show, letting us know that Kate was still on the run. Apparently, instead of killing her stepdad in the explosion, she’d actually killed the underling he’d sent back to the house to collect his tools.

The panel itself started with Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof saying that they planned to make this mostly Q&A, to give back to the fans. Continue reading

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Flash Forward Looks Incredible (Comic-Con)

One of the events I made sure to hit at Comic-Con was the Flash Forward panel. Flash Forward is a new series launching on ABC this fall — you’ve probably seen ads for it — about what happens when everyone in the entire world blacks out for two minutes and has a vision of what they will be doing at a specific time in the future. This incident has two major consequences:

  • Millions of people die, worldwide, in the space of moments. Cars and airplanes crash, people standing on staircases or ladders fall to their deaths, swimmers drown, etc.
  • The survivors know exactly what they’ll be doing for a two-minute slice of time in the future…but they don’t necessarily know why.

It’s based on the novel Flashforward by Robert J Sawyer, which I reviewed at Speed Force last December. It’s a great book, and I highly recommend it. The focus seems to be different, though: the book follows the scientists whose experiment accidentally triggered the event, in which everyone sees visions of 21 years in the future. The TV show is following, to start with anyway, an FBI agent investigating the event.

So where the book is mostly philosophical science fiction, the show looks like a mix of action, mystery and drama.

Both have, as their major theme, a single question: If you knew what your future was going to be, what would you do? Would you try to change it? Would you try to make it happen? If you saw a future you wanted, would you slack off, confident that things would work out in the end, or would you put in extra effort knowing you’d succeed?

To start with, they brought out the producers of the show, had some discussion, then ran the first two acts of the pilot episode.

Read on for a write-up and photos from the panel. Continue reading

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The Other 10 Essentials of Comic-Con

You know what to pack on vacation. You know to bring your camera, spare batteries, and a bottle of water. But here are ten things you might not think of that will come in handy at a comic-con.

  1. Medical tape – preventing blisters from costume shoes. (Also, repairs in a pinch)
  2. Extra lanyard for your camera
  3. Umbrella for outdoor lines
  4. Costume-appropriate bag
  5. Insoles – you’ll be walking a LOT
  6. Burt’s Bees Res-Q Ointment for sunburn in case your sunscreen wears off or otherwise fails
  7. Safety pins
  8. Reliable writing surface (in case you have paper but not a notebook)
  9. Napkins or paper towels (especially if you’re bringing your own food)
  10. Extra shirt to go over tank tops to prevent sunburn or backpack friction

Read more Tips for Comic-Con.

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Comic-Con Hotel Review: Holiday Inn on the Bay

During Comic-Con we stayed at the Holiday Inn on the Bay (not to be confused with the Holiday Inn Bayside). It’s sort of in walking distance of the San Diego Convention Center (we did it one morning…and I did it again one evening after an incident with the shuttle that deserves its own write-up), but at more than a mile it’s not a distance you’d want to walk with a heavy backpack, or in a costume, or carrying bags, or on a hot afternoon, or after a long day of trudging around the convention center.

It’s located on the bay (of course), near the San Diego Maritime Museum where they have several classic ships permanently anchored and available for tours. If you happen to have an upper-floor room, the views are quite nice. (We were on the second floor, so our view was of the roof of the hotel’s conference center. It’s funny how quickly we got used to the sound of the air conditioner.)

It’s an easy walk to Little Italy (we went out to one of our favorite San Diego restaurants, Indigo Grill, on Wednesday) or the trolley, and on the convention shuttle route.

Holiday Inn RoomThe rooms were nice, clean and spacious (absolutely huge, compared to the last few places we’ve stayed in San Diego). The bed was comfortable, and they had pillows with two different levels of firmness, so neither of us had any trouble getting to sleep. The hotel restaurant/pub, the Elephant and Castle, is quite good. There’s also a Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse in one tower, and a deli next door. And for those looking to save money on breakfast, the in-room coffee service is a single-cup disposable-basket setup, so that if you want plain hot water for tea or oatmeal, it won’t taste like coffee! Wireless internet access is complimentary, and easy to set up. Our room had locked doors to adjoining rooms on both sides, so a large group could presumably link together at least three rooms into a suite.

The only annoyances were:

Internet access during the convention was absolutely swamped. Sometimes pages just wouldn’t load, and the Flickr uploader actually gave up several times. This would have been less of a problem if I hadn’t been so determined to post photos and blog during the con, though at least with photos it turned out I could (usually) start them before going to bed and let them run overnight. The one night that it just gave up, I tried when we got up at 6 AM and they posted extremely quickly.

The bathroom had a sliding door that didn’t seal. Like the room at the Omni, it blocked light but not sound or airflow. On the plus side, it was actually big enough that we could brush our teeth at the same time.

Overall, though, we really liked it, and agreed that it would be near the top of our list when it came to hotels on the shuttle route. Though if possible I’d really prefer something close enough that we wouldn’t have to rely on the shuttle or other transportation.

Note (2014): This hotel is now the Wyndham San Diego Bayside.

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Mad Science: The Science Behind Science-Fiction – Fringe, Eureka! and Caprica

This was a fun panel with representatives from Eureka!, Caprica/Battlestar Galactica, and Fringe, moderated by Phil Plait of Bad Astronomy.


Some interesting moments:

After they talked about the ethics of interrogating a corpse, one of the guys from Fringe (I think Rob Chiappette) remarked that he wanted to see a Law & Order: Fringe show. I think I’d watch that!

One of the reps from Eureka revealed that they’d planned an episode that would take the Attack of the Killer Tomatoes concept and play it seriously, but it didn’t make it. Jamie Paglia said “It’s so good we didn’t do that episode.” Either Glenn Whitmann or Rob Chiappetta remarked immediately, “You’ll see it on Fringe!”

Phil Plait asked why there wasn’t more astronomy on Fringe, and Glenn Whitmann explained it was because it was a horror show, and it’s easier to creep people out with biology & neurology than astrophysics.

A fan asked the panelists whether they had ever done something dangerous on their show that made them worry about people trying the experiments at home (“Don’t try this at home, kids!”) For the most part they figured the level of technology, gadgetry and genius that their characters had made things impractical to imitate, though Rob Chiappetta added, “If you see Walter [Bishop] do something on screen, don’t do it!”

Another audience member mentioned that he worked in robotics, and was concerned about the way robots were portrayed as good or evil. If too many robots were portrayed evil, he might lose funding… Jane Espenson explained that “Killer robots are a lot more fun to watch.”

And of course Phil Plait plugged his book, Death from the Skies! “I love having a microphone!”

Photos will be on my Flickr account later tonight, once they trickle through the incredibly-slow hotel wifi. Update: They’re up! The trick was apparently waiting until 6am when no one else was using the wifi.

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Why I Want a Netbook (and why I’m not letting myself get one)

I have to confess: I’ve started seriously thinking about a netbook.

Not that I actually need a netbook. I’d only really end up using it for conventions that I’d want to post live (which would probably boil down to Comic-Con International), and I have the ability to do that using either my G1 or the laptop.

Long-time readers (all five of you :-) ) may remember that last year I agonized over upgrading my phone to something with real web capability until they announced wifi, and I just lugged the laptop around. Which worked fine, but it was heavy, especially the day I was also carrying around Comic Book Tattoo.

Of course, now I can use the G1 to post to my blog, or Twitter, or Facebook, or (almost) anywhere else even without wifi.


  • Typing on that tiny keyboard is slow. Not as slow as the onscreen keyboard, but still a lot slower than typing on a full-sized keyboard. Then again, netbook keyboards are also smaller than standard, so it might not be much of an improvement.
  • There’s no easy way to transfer photos from another camera. I can only think of two ways other than using a computer as an intermediary: use a Micro-SD card with adapter in the camera, or get a card reader that will clone data from an SD to a Micro-SD.

The camera issue shouldn’t bother me. Chances are I’d just end up doing what I did for WonderCon this year: post the occasional phone pic to Twitter and then upload the good photos to Flickr each evening. Just like I’d mostly be writing brief posts from the convention and detailed posts at the hotel.

Not my book, but the same page that she signed in mine.But then I remember the post I made on the Tori Amos signing last year. After the signing I was so hyped that I found a table, set up the laptop, banged out a blog post, hooked up the camera and added a couple of photos…and the post ended up getting linked on a major Tori fansite, producing a traffic spike so big that not only is the following day still this blog’s busiest day ever, but that post, even though traffic fell off over time, is the 8th most-viewed post on the site over the past year.

Still, the promise of another 15 minutes of blogfame isn’t enough to justify several hundred bucks. (Though the < $200 models that pop up on Woot from time to time have been tempting.) So I’m making an effort to practice typing with the G1, both the physical and on-screen keyboards. I’ve got Twidroid and I Tweet for posting to two Twitter accounts. I’ve got wpToGo to simplify blogging. I’ve got a plugin that will automatically liveblog using Twitter, which I still need to test.

It’s just a matter of making full use of the tools I have, rather than running after the latest cool toy.

Update: I posted this last night, but somehow it ended up backdated to the day I started it on May 20. I think wpToGo must have set a publishing date when I posted the draft. Yes, I started this post on my phone.

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Why Las Vegas is a BAD idea for Comic-Con

It seems as though every year, around the time of hotel registration for Comic-Con International, people start clamoring for the con to move from San Diego to Las Vegas. More hotel rooms! A bigger convention center! Gambling! Strippers!

It makes me want to headdesk.

Now, I don’t hate Vegas. I’m not ZOMG in love with it, but I’ve been there more than once and I don’t think it should be removed from the face of the earth. What I believe about Vegas is that it is a law and a destination unto itself, and that everyone should be able to choose whether they go based on the merits of the place, not on the merits of what else might be going on there that isn’t a usual part of the location. Please keep this in mind as I present my list of Reasons Not to Move CCI to Las Vegas:

1. Weather. San Diego may be incredibly hot some years, but it’s coastal. There are breezes a lot of the time, and it’s often quite bearable. Vegas is inland desert and is 99% guaranteed to be nasty hot in July/August. Part of the crazy fun of CCI is seeing costumes on the street, which would become darn near impossible for a lot of people given the temperature.

2. Distance. I’m not talking about the distance for people to get there (though I will in a bit), but the distance between things. It can take over half an hour to get from the front door of one hotel to the front door of the next one over. In San Diego, it’s pretty easy to leave the convention center, go find food that’s not jacked up in price for an inferior product, and come back. In Vegas, unless you take the monorail, that’s a pipe dream, especially given that the convention center is off the Strip and not really near a lot of hotels. Keep reading for more. Continue reading

Posted in Annoyances, Comics, Conventions, Entertainment, Travel | Tagged , , | 16 Comments

Frost/Nixon, Gooey Trek, BSG

  • Long day: Comic-Con hotel rush, work, drive to LA for Frost/Nixon at Ahmanson theater, drive back w/ stop for coffee+cheesecake. Sleepy. #
  • When headline limits go bad: “STAR TREK Official Movie Prequel Comic Boldly Goes to iPhone And Goo” Sorry, I don’t want a comic that melts. #
  • BSG=WOW #

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