I almost didn’t make it to Comic Con this year. I had decided earlier in the year I wasn’t going. After five years of fighting crowds and paying outrageous prices to fly cross country to San Diego and stay in sky high priced hotels (yes, the Motel 6 was even $180 a night), it just wasn’t worth it compared to my day or two of euphoria from the “Supernatural” panel and a couple other shows I cover. I was going to maintain my sanity and walk away this year.
Well, a month before I started getting announcements about it. Then I received invitations to events. Friends started asking if we were going to meet up again this year. But I think ultimately, July just didn’t seem like July without a trip out West. I was also in dire need of a “perspective” getaway because honestly, the day to day of running a site and dealing with a turbulent online fandom can wear thin. Too many times lately I’ve been asking myself why I’m still doing this. Conventions like Comic Con are usually like a religious retreat – a set of events that restore faith in whatever is weighing down the spirit. When a reasonable deal for airfare and hotel surfaced with Southwest, it suddenly became a no-brainer. Of course I was going! I ended up making my arrangements and San Diego Comic Con 2015 was a go.
This turned out to be an amazing trip, perhaps the best ever. Then again, I say that every year. 🙂 For one, by now, I have the Comic Con mindset down. This is not an easy beast to tame. With so many shows, comics, movies, projects, etc. being promoted, it’s always hard to sift through the noise. It can be overwhelming for the novice. It’s hard to give attention to everything you love, let alone take in new stuff. One can say they are going as a “Supernatural” fan, but that’s not so realistic in terms of focus. We always find we’re fans of something else. So sometimes you find yourself in lines talking about how Jon Snow is really not dead in “Game of Thrones” just as easily as debating Sam and Dean’s emotional arc with the Mark of Cain. I mean, Jon Snow really can’t be dead, right?? RIGHT???
The point I’m trying to make is when all put together, no matter what your love or what is being promoted, we’re all fans. We’re all part of something and this is our Mecca. We all gather together for four days and share something that cannot be explained. We have a mutual appreciation of all things that we love, even if we don’t love them ourselves. For example, when I walked around on Thursday with a “Pig in a Poke” t-shirt, nobody got it but they “got it.” It meant something to me and it celebrates what Comic Con is, the freedom to show your inner fan. Plus, wearing that t-shirt was far less effort than all the amazing and elaborate costumes I saw people wearing (talk about appreciation…).
So here is my report of the weekend. This will read part eyewitness news report and part travel log. It’s long, detailed, and I’m including all my pictures from the weekend (don’t worry, I’m not a shutterbug as a rule so it won’t be that many). It’s so big, it’ll take two parts to get all this done. Part one goes all the way until the beginning of the SPN panel on Sunday, and part two focuses on the rest of Sunday, which was truly epic.
Thursday was a travel day for me. There’s no such thing as a direct flight to the West Coast from Columbus, Ohio. My flight was delayed getting out because as the flight desk clerk put it, “something was broken.” Not exactly something you want to hear before boarding a plane, but after a few Hail Mary’s (which is miraculous since I’m not Catholic or religious), I made it safely to Chicago – where my flight to San Diego was delayed, for unspecified reasons this time. I suppose unspecified made for a better mindset than “something was broke.” Anyway, 45 minutes later than planned, I was crammed in between two people in a middle seat (the fun of flying Southwest) and we were on our way!
I’m not sure what happened when the planning Gods got together in San Diego, but scheduling a giant One Direction concert at Qualcomm on the same Thursday that Comic Con was going on was probably not the brightest move. You see, they tell us staying outside of downtown (which is a crap load of us since the hotels fill up super fast) to park at Qualcomm for free and take the trolley in. Turns out, that is really the only viable place to park. At the other stations parking is very limited to non-existent. Well guess what lot is impossible to get to when a One Direction concert is scheduled to happen? All the roads surrounding Qualcomm were jammed and not moving. Plus fans were playing One Direction songs loudly and singing along while they were waiting in traffic. It was my personal version of Crowley’s Hell.
(Here’s One Direction without Zayn, if anyone knows what that freaking means.)
Getting downtown to Comic Con from my hotel, which BTW was also loaded with One Direction fans pissed off that the hotels were so freaking expensive because of Comic Con (see????), proved to be a near impossible feat. If you went to shopping centers near other trolley stops, they all had signs specifically saying no Comic Con parking or you will be towed and heavily fined. After inching along for at least an hour and a half, I found one street parking spot that I could park in legally without retribution near a trolley stop. It was a pure act of Chuck. I was on my way.
I got to the Convention Center with about 30 minutes to spare for registration, which turned out to be a good thing. They had just got out a fresh set of WB Comic Con bags that they give to the attendees and it was “The Originals.” I was happy to get one of those bags. For one, it’s a show I do watch, it’s a show I’ve done press rooms for in the past (due to conflicts I couldn’t this year), so it’s always nice to have a show I enjoy as part my growing collection downstairs in my basement. Two, I thought their design was definitely one of the coolest they offered this year. I like it way better that the “Supernatural” design. Just like Jared and Jensen, Joseph Morgan and Daniel Gilles are very easy on the eyes.
After that I walked the main floor for a bit, and it turned out to be my only visit to the main floor the entire weekend. That was good too, because normally the main floor is so packed you can’t move and turns out Thursday evening it was doing just fine. Probably because it was close to closing time. I could only check out a couple of booths. The Lego booth always offers some eye candy:
Here’s what the side of the Warner Brothers one looked like. Noticed this year’s super hero theme? Not a Winchester to be seen. Still, Arrow vs. Flash is pretty awesome!
After that it was time to make my way up 5th Avenue to the Wayward Cocktails party. This was a party put together by Jules of Supernatural Wiki. You bought tickets online and that would pay for essentially drinks and food. All proceeds would go to keeping the most valuable Supernatural Wiki afloat, which is no cheap task. They are on a dedicated server because traffic is so high and I know from experience those things aren’t cheap. There are two ways to pay for server hosting when you site grows to the levels of Supernatural Wiki or this site. You run ads or you do fundraising campaigns. Personally, if there’s an occasion to do it, fundraising through a smashing cocktail party is a good way to go.
Before the party though, I did make a stop to my favorite bar, The Yard House. They have these in various places across the country. Why is it my favorite? Over 140 beers on tap. For a craft beer enthusiast, it’s Shangra-La! Needless to say, I had a few samples.
(This is only half of the taps. The rest are on the other side. Folks, don’t try this at home).
I made it to Wayward Cocktails, where there was a long line out the door! It stretched from 5th almost all the way to 6th Avenue. It was kind of amusing standing in the line, because a homeless guy took this captive audience as a way to socialize awkwardly! This can be a common occurence in San Diego, or any big city really. While I’ve had enough experience with colorful homeless people, the young kids in front of me obviously never had this happen to them before. They didn’t know what to do! Ah, children. This crowd keeps getting younger every year.
Eventually I met up with my dear friend Lynn of Fansgasm and the first thing I did was have a quick encounter with Curtis Armstrong (Metatron). I didn’t even have time to snap a photo, but this was one guy that’s been on my “should meet” list for a while. He was talking and posing with a lot of fans that evening, so I felt lucky I got a quick chance.
(Photo from FansgasmSPN)
There were only 300 fans in that bar but it felt like 3,000. I met up with a few of people I hadn’t seen in a while, and got to meet a couple for the first time that I’ve known online for years (Hi Suzette!). I also met a lot of younger fans, aka the “second generation” of “Supernatural” fans. This is the group that were about 4 or 5 years old when the show started and are only finding it now through Netflix. There were a lot those people there. It was stunning! I’m sure they find old timers like me pretty uncool, but that is what makes this fandom so unique. The span of ages in fans for this little cult show is quite amazing. Lynn was busy with a cameraman who was getting some footage for a new fangirl documentary that she’s involved with titled “Squee!” She was also there selling books Fangasm! and Fan Phenomena: Supernatural. She was having a very busy night! It goes to show this whole concept of fandom and what it means in “Supernatural” appeals to the masses.
The other special guests of the evening were Hilly and Hannah Hindi, the creators of the recent Hillywood Show parody of “Supernatural.” I confess, I’ve been so outrageously busy with everything, I didn’t see their parody until that night! It was obviously done by two big fans because all the little details were perfect; definitely worthy shout outs to our “once” little show that could. It was all set to a parody of “Shake It Off” and I had no idea it had all the actors from VanCon, including Jared and Jensen, dancing along at the end. That was pretty sweet. Anyway, they did a Q&A session for the fans and they had the full attention of most everyone in the crowd. They’ve certain earned a ton of respect and a coveted spot as part of the SPN Family.
(Photo courtesy of FangasmSPN)
Here’s the lyrics if no one has seen them yet. We have the parody here if you still haven’t seen it:
While I could have stayed for a while, once 9:30 hit, so did my wall. Even though the party was still going strong, it was 12:30 my time, and I still had to get my way back to the hotel and hope I beat the One Direction crowd. After all, the idea of having to listen to one of their songs again was up there in “fate worse than death” territory. On the way out though I was able to say hello and give a big hug to a familiar face, Robbie Thompson. He, Adam Glass, and Bob Berens were just coming in. Looks like their party was just getting started!
Oh, if you’re actually wondering, I got to my car just to witness a sea of parents parked nearby still waiting to retrieve their kids from Qualcomm. One Direction was still going! I zoomed out of there fast.
Friday and Saturday, a bit of a blur
Friday I put my TV For The Rest of Us hat on and made an early press room for “The 100.” Word is this show will be back in March. It did have the Wednesday at 9 pm slot until “Supernatural” took that slot when their season two ended. Will they get that again? I’m not sure. How many episodes is “iZombie” again? All I know is it’s suffering from The CW having too many good shows. That’s a first for this network and a good problem to have!
I had a few oddities happen during the weekend and Friday was one of the biggest. At the end of “The 100” press room, someone next to me, from a website that had more than one writer attending (that’s a big hint WFB and TVFTROU writers!), said their colleague was in Ballroom 20 and it was walk in. NO WAIT. I couldn’t believe that was true. The last time I ever remember that happening was…never. Could it mean that I could walk over there, get a seat, and enjoy “The 100” panel live? Could this finally be my lucky day?
Sure enough, it was! I got to Ballroom 20 and stared at the space where there are usually long winding lines out the door. Nothing! One turn left and I walked right into the ballroom where there was plenty of seating in the back. Yes, I had to sit through the “Falling Skies” panel first but I didn’t mind. It was actually entertaining even though I knew little to nothing about the show. It was their farewell panel since the show is ending this season and they all were in good spirits for such a poignant event. Turns out they film in Vancouver too! That was one thing that star Noah Wyle said he wouldn’t miss, the Vancouver weather.
I’ll have a report up eventually about “The 100” panel on TV For The Rest of Us, but it was pretty fun considering they hadn’t started filming yet and the cast had only seen the first script. This is a really tight knit group. They are so close to one another and I’m thinking something must be in the water in Vancouver. All the casts that film there seem to be like that. Maybe it’s because these guys spend hours on end together in the forest getting sweaty and muddy (Not in that way! I heard your dirty minds). It should be noted “Supernatural” alum Ty Olsson has a recurring role in that show now and he’s awesome. He plays a Grounder!
After “The 100” panel there was just one more press room for the day. I met with the cast and producers from the new Fox show “Lucifer.” That will premiere mid-season. It looks promising! For one, it’s supposed to be heavy on comedy. Two, the star Tom Ellis is every bit as sexy in person as he was hyped to be in this show. I think the lady next to me was hyperventilating!
As for the rest of the day, I plead the fifth. This is one of those times where you can honestly say, what happens at Comic Con stays at Comic Con. All I will say is two things. First, I had the time of my life. I got to see cool things like this:
(Yes, that’s a mermaid)
Second, I found out from the source himself, Jeremy Carver, what Pig in a Poke means. We’ve had the debate on this site for years (all started by our no longer admin Ardeospina) as to the true meaning of Pig in a Poke. She claimed it was a metaphor for buying something without knowing what you were paying for. We’ve gone back and forth on this theory but now I can truly confirm…
It means nothing.
Carver told me he wanted a name of a breakfast to go with the region, which in this case was south Florida. There were no hidden meanings at all. It sounded good. But he smiled when I told him we had theories on it, because Kripke did ask him the same thing. So there. Debate over.
Saturday was me doing the string of “The Flash,” “Arrow,” “Gotham,” and “Person of Interest” press rooms with a hangover. It was worth it. When it was all done I went back to the hotel and worked on posting videos, primarily for us “Person of Interest” fans who are very worried for our show. Despite good ratings, it didn’t make the fall schedule and only has a 13 episode order. For the record, the “Person of Interest” season average was slighty less than “The Flash, “Arrow” and “Gotham” combined! They easily had double the ratings of “Gotham” or “The Flash,” which were supposedly the breakout hits of the season. Part of the problem is CBS has loads of programming and they don’t own “Person of Interest,” Warner Brothers does. Interesting how they replaced the show with a new CBS Studios show instead. The interviews are on our TV For the Rest of Us You Tube channel, but the cast and producers aren’t saying it’s the end. They’re going to produce 13 spectacular episodes, and according to Executive Producer Jonathan Nolan after they air they’re going to “drop the mic” and see if they get picked up for more.
So all in all, there’s really nothing exciting to report but a long work day and a bottle of Tylenol. Oh, BTW, Kevin Chapman and John Wesley Shipp, you guys rock!
Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!!! (SPN Day!!!)
THE big day. While I was en route to the convention center, not fighting One Direction crazies or an aching head this time, this was going on at the Warner Brothers booth:
(Photos courtesy of Warner Brothers)
And this in Hall H:
(Ian Somerhalder and Paul Wesley photos courtesy of FangasmSPN)
Yes, Sunday morning, the final day of San Diego Comic Con, is always an electric event, but this year something a little different happened. For one, “Supernatural” wasn’t the first panel of the day in Hall H. That honor went to new to Sunday appearance of “The Vampire Diaries” (they’ve previously had their panels on Saturday). They joked how they knew everyone was really there for the “Supernatural” panel. Second, this happened:
Yes, the Hall H line was empty before the “Supernatural” panel began! This meant that all those fans that waited in line got in! It’s also a strange phenomenon that mirrors what happened in Ballroom 20 a few days ago. Are fans possibly growing weary of the long lines? Is the dominance of TV at this year’s con over movies taking its toll? Was the great weather encouraging fans to circulate in their costumes? Whatever the reason, this was something I’d never though I’d see once at Comic Con, let alone twice.
Also before the panel, I had the pleasure of running into ex-Supernatural writer extraordinaire Ben Edlund. I was in the VIP line waiting to get in and he came over to see all the “Supernatural” writers that were there with me. Ben told me that he is no longer with “Gotham” and is working on “Powers,” which is an online series for PlayStation network (it’s first scripted original programming). He’s also working on the live action reboot of “The Tick,” which is happening on Amazon. For the one or two of you that don’t know, Ben was the original creator of the comic “The Tick.” I own an original Comic signed by him!
Ben also told everyone there how blown away he is by the attention “Supernatural” has gotten in Comic Con over the years, and how there isn’t enough room in Hall H to hold everyone. He pointed jokingly to Petco Park across the street. “Supernatural” needs a place that size to hold all the fans. “Hall M!” he joked.
We got into the ballroom a little late so there wasn’t much time for the usual socializing. Robbie Thompson, who had another panel that he had to be part of around the same time as “Supernatural’s” managed to stop by real quick before the panel started and give everyone some quick hellos. I sat next to his wife and brother-in-law during the panel. While this was going we all happened to notice an attempting-to-be-sly Mark Sheppard on the stage with a box in his hand, motioning all of us to be quiet. He opened the box and there were Funko Pop dolls in there, but they didn’t look like everyone’s likeness like they did last year. No, they were all Crowley! For those that don’t remember, there was no Crowley doll last year, so while everyone had their dolls, Misha made an impromptu one for Mark with a Starbucks cup and some tin foil. This year, Mark was making sure everyone knew Crowley was in vinyl.
It’s also around this time that we all realized that any attempts at live tweeting would be lost. The cell phone data coverage was nil. I didn’t realize a lot of my tweets weren’t getting through until a third of the way into the panel. Considering that was my only cell phone fail all weekend, it was disappointing that it came at that time! It’s a shame too, because this panel was epic!
It all started with “Supernatural” publicist Holly Ollis stating a fact that we were promoting when the season ten finale aired. “Supernatural” is now officially the longest running sci-fi primetime show in TV history. Season 11 will all be bonus to that. Holly was there to introduce the sizzle reel. Comic Con was strangely early this year, about two weeks early. Considering shooting for “Supernatural” season eleven (it still blows my mind) had only started that week (they had 4 days shooting done), there wasn’t a preview clip they could give us of the new season. This was actually a common problem with lots of shows. Heck, “Sleepy Hollow” had to cancel their appearance at Comic Con this year for that reason! Luckily the guys in the video room found a way to do a super cool three framed montage of the first ten seasons of “Supernatural” to Nickelback’s “Burn It To The Ground” (at least the Shazam app was working!).
After that, “Supernatural” Holly came back to the stage to surprise us with the moderators, who were a secret until that point.
Yes, the Kings of Con! We knew right then this would be the best panel ever. If they did a fraction at this panel what they do at the “Supernatural” cons, we were in for something memorable. Richard and Rob got started with the panel introductions, and they had loads of flattering, very generous remarks for the first guy, aka the one who decides who gets to be on the show. “When this man passes wind, butterflies emerge from his bottom.” Oh yes, that was probably going a bit too far Rob. Enter Mr. Jeremy Carver.
(Yes, those are all Crowley Funko Pop dolls)
The amusing introductions just kept on coming! “The man who hangs out under Jared Padalecki’s beautiful head of hair, Jared Padalecki.” Jared came in and he was wearing a beanie! Richard stated the obvious to the disappointed crowd. “You had to wear a hat when we did a hair bit.” All Jared had to do was take the hat off and wave the hair and that got the crowd in a tizzy, but then he put the hat back on. Boo hiss! (oh, I kid, he was looking fine anyway). Jensen was next, and he is apparently living proof that sometimes plastic surgery is undetectable in High Def. Jensen got the crowd going by stopping on the stage to do one of his poses from the infamous “Eye of the Tiger” video. My favorite intro though was for Misha, probably because we were just discussing this a day or two ago in a press room. “The next person who’s proven there’s only room for one trench coat wearing angel on network television.” Sorry to see you go Constantine, but…yeah. Mark Sheppard, given that his middle initial is A, got a lame “A Shepherd” joke. Ah well, they can’t bat 1000 in the jokes department. Turns out, it wasn’t going to take much to amuse Mark today. He was dying from laughter the entire panel.
Coming up Wednesday, Part Two, which is the rest of the panel report. Things get really, really strange from here, but with Richard and Rob as your hosts, do you expect any less?