Emily recaps her favorite week of the year!
I’m a little late on this post. I had the bright idea to move three days after Con ended, so after 10 days straight of walking a billion steps and being socially active and then packing and picking up heavy things and then cleaning, I passed out in my new bathtub and soaked there until I woke up and realized I’d put off my recap for way too long.
So here it is, my rundown of San Diego Comic Con 2018, a distant memory now, of the time before the great migration to New Apartment. But I like to share my five-day journey for all the people who couldn’t be there, or for anyone who wants to relive the greatest week of the year.
Before you read this, know that I had plantar fasciitis the entire time. I walked like, 20,000 steps a day while sort of pretending everything was totally fine. It was not fine, and eventually my foot just fell off, but I kept walking. Heroic? Maybe. Painful? Definitely. Worth it? Present Me will say yes and let Future Me deal with the long-term consequences.
If you learn nothing else from this article, you should take my advice on two points: 1) Do not move the week after Comic Con and 2) Don’t have plantar fasciitis the week of con.
Every year our room all drives down together, and every year we increase in size. Next year we’re going to have to strap somebody to the roof. This year it was five of us; we had one guy sleeping on the floor who decided he hated con and spent the entire week wandering around the outskirts of San Diego. We snagged the Hyatt this year, which is the third-closest hotel and has a lovely adults-only pool. Our tradition is to get to the hotel early, get really drunk, go swimming in the pool, then clean up and go to dinner and preview night. This year my buddy Brian and I were also going to wait in the Hall H wristband line to get into the Doctor Who panel for Thursday. You get a wrist band the night before, then as long as you show up before 7:30am the next day, you’ll get into Hall H. So that was our plan.
A couple of friends buy us two pitchers of pina coladas and I drank like, a mountain of wine on top of that, and halfway through my shower I begin to realize that I am not going to make it to preview night. What follows is not one of my proudest of moments, and I would like to thank my friend Kristine for making sure I wake up in the bed hours later with clothes on, as everyone returns from all the Wednesday night activities. On the upside, puking my guts out leaves me with 1) no hangover and 2) no desire to drink for the rest of the week.
I don’t think I could get into the Doctor Who panel, but I make a go for it anyway and head to Hall H.
The Hall H line is this thing that snakes all the way around to the harbor. Hall H holds over 6,000 people, but even with a full house, tons of people don’t get in to the more popular panels. Sometimes Thursday is doable though, since many con-goers aren’t there yet. This line is short, so I figure that the worst that happened is I waste an hour in line. I have a rule about Comic Con – never wait for anything more than an hour and a half.
Anyhow, I end up chatting with a delightful lawyer who’s standing next to me. He was interviewed by the BBC about being a fan, so I’m in the back of the shot trying not to look like I’m aware that I’m in the back of the shot. Time ticks by. The panel starts. Brian is in there (he made it to the wristband line without me) so he’s giving me updates from inside Hall H. The line moves just enough to make us all think we can get in, but people start leaving anyway. And then it happens. We get in! The initial interview is over and they’re just starting the audience Q&A. But hey, I get to see the trailer in a room with 6,000 other fans.
So people start asking questions, and then there’s Brian up on the big screen! He’s in his Thirteenth Doctor cosplay and the place goes ape shit at the sight of it. Jodie Whittaker says “Comfy init?” And then he tells all 6,000+ people in Hall H that his best friend made his coat and I yell “THAT’S ME!!!” to all the people around me who do not care.
The panel is available online, but sadly Brian isn’t onscreen in the official video. He asks a great question about how she’s handling the pressure of being a geek icon.
After the panel, we head to the Wired lounge, this fancy party Wired Magazine puts on every year for industry people. Free food and booze. I’m not drinking, but I’m starving. It takes like a million hours for any food to come out, and when it does, the crowd descends on it like a plague of locusts. I’m pescatarian on account of my cholesterol, but by the time the food arrives I’m so hungry and just go with the crowd, grabbing any and all food I can fit in my grubby hands. Yes I eat beef. And a donut. I’m not proud.
For me, the big event of Comic Con every year is always the Her Universe Fashion Show. Geek fashion designers from all over each make one couture look inspired by their favorite fandom, and their models walk the runway. The winners get to design a line for Hot Topic. They also give out a pretty righteous swag bag to the audience.
This year, after the first round of models shows off some amazing designs, Her Universe founder Ashely Eckstein comes out to tell us that they forgot one model. She asks the DJ to play some Doctor Who music, and then we’re all looking at each other like WAIT A MINUTE, and sure enough, it’s Jodie Whitaker. She was supposed to just come out and do an interview and Ashley was supposed to model the Thirteenth Doctor outfit, but Jodie showed up early and asked if she could walk, so they threw her in their version of her coat (Not screen accurate, if you’re into that sort of thing, but nice enough), and handed her a sonic, and she walks that catwalk like she owns it. And the place goes completely bananapants.
You can look up online all the outfits that walked the runway. They are stunning. I have a long way to go before I’m anywhere near some of these talents, but they are very inspiring.
After dinner with a friend, I go back to my room, analyze my swag, and fall asleep. In previous years I would have gone to a fancy party where you have to get yourself on a list, but I’m getting too old for this shit, and my body is still pretty angry at me for last night’s puke session and today’s beefy donut lunch. Also my foot is probably going to have to be amputated. Three more days to go.
Today’s biggest regret is pizza. I love pizza but it has betrayed me. I bail on my first panel of the day because it’s boring and I am hungry, so I get a tiny pizza from the Marriot food stand. It burns my mouth. My decision to get that pizza made me get to the next panel too late to get in line. The room was already full by the time I arrived. That panel? Ruth Carter, costume designer for Black Panther. It’s the one panel I wanted to hit today, and I have missed it.
I take my burned mouth and my gangrenous foot and go shopping. This is what we call “Walking the floor”, when you just sort of aimlessly walk from one end of the dealer hall to the other, trying to figure out which path will have the fewest cosplayers stopping in the middle of the aisle to take pictures, and spending money. I buy two worthy purchases: a Cowboy Bebop print and these $12 porg slippers, which I am wearing right now as I type this.
I hit up two more panels: One about the symbiosis between cosplayers and photographers, which is pretty cool. People are out there doing some artsy shit, and now I want to get in on it. Then I hit up a panel for business owners (all women) giving advice about how to network with other business owners. This year I started a business making cosplays for people (you can commission me!) so all this is interesting stuff.
The roommates all join up to go to a National Geographic party for their new Mars show. These astronauts on stilts are handing out Mars bars in the line. But the line wraps around the building twice and isn’t moving, so we bail and go to The Monkey King for dinner, where two dragons dance in front of us and we eat a buffet with plenty of vegetarian options and some killer salmon. No regrets.
You may be wondering why I haven’t mentioned my costumes. It’s because I spent a lot of time on one killer costume for this year, and decided to throw all my eggs in one basket and wear geek street fashion on all days except Saturday. Today, I bring you my costume: Gender bent Tenth Doctor.
Brian and I started our day checking out a panel on Doctor Who cosplayers. It’s a small community of very supportive, very talented people, and I loved watching them talk about their costuming process. Nobody in our hotel room understands how corsets work and my lacing is terrible, so I ask one of the costumers, who is apparently a legendary corset lacer, to do me up properly. He does a fabulous job. The trick to corset lacing is to make it so that you are forced to stand up straight, but you also don’t die.
Now it’s time to walk the floor. Brian and I wander in our costumes, enjoying just being in a custom costume at Comic Con. We’re not as flashy as a giant Transformer, but we feel pretty cool. I LOVE my costume. I love it even more because I know how much time and effort and money I put into it. I had a vision and I made it happen. The Tenth Doctor is my favorite, but I don’t like suits very much, so turning a suit into a corset gown was the best way I could think of to portray a character I love.
There’s a party we go to every year where we see some of our more successful writer friends. Free booze and an AMAZING abundance of free food. This year there’s a bar where you can order a custom ice cream sundae with booze in it. Remember, I am wearing a corset. Eventually I stuff my face so hard that I feel like a sausage casing, and instead of just having someone loosen my laces, I hobble back to the hotel to change into the exact opposite of what I’ve been wearing: An oversized T-shirt and leggings. Then I head back to the party, which has morphed into a writer telling us all stories about his various jobs in the industry. I walk home to see that every single person at Comic Con who had not been at our party was now in the hotel bar.
“I already bought everything I’m going to buy” I say as I wander into the dealer hall to kill time before our one scheduled event.
I emerge 2 hours later with two new prints (Leia and Chirrut Imwe) and two oven mitts.
That’s con. If you think you are done spending money, you are not.
Because of my rule about never waiting more than an hour and a half, I have not done any of the offsite events. But we had all signed up for the Secret Lies escape room ahead of time, so we only wait about ten minutes to go in. I’ve never done an escape room before. It’s pretty simple, but we have to do it as a team with people we don’t know. We finish with a few minutes to spare, but we would have shaved a whole minute if everybody has just believed me when I said there were 4 dots on the picture. People in my group wouldn’t have questioned me. I’m a script supervisor, y’all. If I say there are 4 dots on the picture, there are 4 dots on the picture. I’m just saying, we could have been faster if bitches didn’t second guess my observational skills.
And that’s when we peace out of Comic Con. Fun has been had. Over 80,000 steps have been walked. I had to replace my dead foot with a robot foot, so I guess next year I’ll cosplay as the Terminator. See you in 2019, Comic Con. Stay classy, San Diego.
Emily Blake writes screenplays with lots of fight scenes. She is a vocal advocate for feminism, polyamory, kink, and sex positivity. She makes most of her money as a script supervisor for film and television, but she also makes cosplays for clients out of her little apartment in Los Angeles.