Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Amber vs. Comic-Con or An Epic Post of Epic Epicness

San Diego Comic-Con 2010 is officially a wrap and, for me, the experience was overwhelmingly dope, occasionally unreal, and thoroughly insane.

Comic-Con, for those who don't know, is the world's largest comic book convention, though, I use the words "comic book" loosely. I suppose there must have been a period when the convention actually revolved around comics, superheroes, etc. But these days it's very Hollywood, very commercialized, and disgustingly crowded. Don't get me wrong, I dig celebrities just as much as any US Weekly reader, but Hollywood's growing presence at the convention is directly responsible for the ridiculous number of attendees and probably indirectly responsible for the stabbing incident this year. Like I said earlier, I had a good time but trying to walk around the convention center was one of the most sickeningly oppressive experiences I've ever had.

This being said, I'm not really a superhero comic fan. I've read some Astonishing/Uncanny X-Men and Geoff Johns' Blackest Night/Brightest Day but I'm really an alternative press, zine, Fantagraphics girl. Since there's an entire convention here in San Francisco devoted to the sorts of comics that I usually pick up, I spend most of Comic-Con attending TV panels. So yeah, to a certain extent I'm one of those celebrity obsessed people who've made the convention the gigantic clusterfrak that it is today.

I was a Comic-Con virgin last year and didn't understand how the convention worked. Like, I didn't know that if you wanted to see a movie/TV panel you were supposed to get there three hours before the doors even opened, stand in a long ass line, and then, once you got in, stand in another long ass line for two hours. (Geeks heart queuing.) But I learned my lesson and this year I was able to get into pretty much every panel that I wanted to see (Big Bang Theory, True Blood, Glee, Bones, Joss Whedon, Caprica, Fringe) and a few that I was totally indifferent about (American Dad, The Vampire Diaries, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Sons of Anarchy, Stargate Universe).
Panel surprises included The Barenaked Ladies performing The Big Bang Theory theme song, which I've captured here on Shaky-Cam:
Big Bang Theory Theme Song Live from The Amber on Vimeo.

And Nathan Fillion showing up at the Joss Whedon Q&A.
As cool as it was to listen to Joss--one of my TV writing heroes--discuss his upcoming projects, it was infinity times cooler when I met him down in the convention hall.
This is by far the geekiest picture I've ever taken in my life. Not only because I look like a mega nerd-hobo but there are just so many layers of geekery going on here:
1. We're at a comic book convention.
2. Joss Whedon, creator of Buffy, Angel, Firefly, etc. = geek icon.
3. Joss is wearing a Scott Pilgrim shirt.
4. I'm wearing a Jedi beanie.
5. My overbite is out in full force.

When I saw Joss, he was with some woman near the mellow end of the convention hall--this is the area where comic books are sold/the area almost no one at this "comic book" convention visits. I sort of interrupted him as he was talking (by "sort of," I mean totally, unmistakably, and rudely) and then I pulled that dick move where you hand your camera to the famous person's non-famous friend and have them take your picture. Joss and his friend were pretty cool about it, though. I mean, there was no eye-rolling or annoyed sighing from either of them and I felt like a real champ afterward. Like, I could have flown back home right then, satisfied with Comic-Con 2010.

Other celebrities seen while walking around include, Jerry O'Connell (who was power-walking so I couldn't take a picture of him without chasing him down), Adrianne Curry--the first winner of America's Next Top Model--dressed as Leeloo from The Fifth Element...

and Mark Hamill.

Seeing Mark Hamill was incredibly bizarre. He was just sitting on these steps by himself, looking sort of dejected. No one was swarming him or really even talking to him. Of course, being a Star Wars nerd, I refused to act as if he were just "some guy" and asked him if I could take a picture.

I think the fact that no one was asking him for an autograph or hovering around him sort of speaks to the Hollywoodization of the Con. So many people are there to see Angelina Jolie or Michael C. Hall, etc., that the convention is starting to lose touch with its nerdy roots. After I took my picture, some girl asked me who the guy sitting on the steps was. I told her that it was Mark Hamill. "Oh," she said, disinterested. Her boyfriend asked her who the guy was. "Mark Hamill," she said, followed by, "who's that?"

One of the most exciting things going on at Comic-Con this year, at least for me, was the "Scott Pilgrim Experience."
(Scott Pilgrim is this awesome manga-styled, pop culture/video game influenced series by Bryan Lee O'Malley. If you want to know more about the books from the POV of a fan, I suggest you check out these posts at Soft Nonsense.)

The movie comes out next month and the public relations/marketing departments promoting it are some of the hardest working and most creative people in the entertainment business (and if I ever met one of them I'd give that person a very earnest high five). At the Scott Pilgrim Experience--which was across the street from the convention center--you could make your own Scott Pilgrim t-shirt, create a flipbook of yourself doing some crazy Scott Pilgrim inspired martial arts stuff...
Scott Pilgrim Flipbook from The Amber on Vimeo. the new Scott Pilgrim video game (which is only being released on PS3 and not Xbox. No one's getting a high-five for that), and get autographs from the stars of the movie.
While you waited in line (I stood in line for 2 hours!) there was someone handing out free garlic bread and t-shirts.
By the time I finally got to the front of the line, I was told that they weren't doing anymore autographs. To be honest, I wasn't that disappointed. I already have Edgar Wright's (the director) autograph from this Hot Fuzz thing I went to a couple of years ago and I was fine with just seeing some of the stars, taking some creepy paparazzi pictures of them, and leaving with all my free shiz. But after I finished making my flipbook, I accidentally wandered into the autograph line. By the time the security guard noticed, a lady in a wheelchair had made the same mistake and wandered in line behind me. Because he couldn't very well deny a woman in a wheelchair an autograph, he had to let her stay in line. And because I was in front of her, he had to let me stay there too or it would have looked like discrimination or something, I don't know. Anyway, I got autographs from Edgar Wright, Michael Cera, and Jason Schwartzman (who said he liked my beanie). 
I got so much free crap (t-shirts, bags, comics, buttons, books, posters) while I was there that I'm considering having a blog giveaway. I'm going to New Orleans tomorrow but I'll post some pictures in the coming weeks of all the swag/junk and gauge interest. Until then, here are a few photos...

Li'l Iron Man
Ben Edlund/Les McClane autographs.
Trolley sign in Klingon.
Me with my new boyfriend at the booth for AMC's "The Walking Dead."
Tron light bike.
My homie.
My robo lover, Optimus Prime. 


The Vegetable Assassin said...

Girl, I am TOTALLY in awe of you. I would LOVE to have made it to Comic Con and nabbed some swag, not to mention seeing Mark Hammil ALL ALONE on the steps? Yikes. Plus that Joss Whedon photo with you is KICK ASS. You both look really good! I'm happy you at least represented the cool geeks. Screw the Hollywood fans.

I'd have loved the 'Fringe' panel and about 3 million others.

RMb said...

hahaha, this is AWESOME! congrats on geeking out. i would have been the same way (hell, the few celebs ive met have caused endless amounts of geekery). thanks for sharing!

Phoenix said...

They probably stopped doing autographs because everyone had garlic bread breath ha ha.

YOU GOT TO MEET JOSS WHEDON!!!! I'm dying of envy right now.

And how can a man with any kind of balls not know who Mark Hamill is? Please...

Barbara said...

This is the first time I've heard a ton of news and press on ComicCon. The amount of celebrities that went was a bit crazy. I guess in a way it's good because it gives the event more exposure, but I could see why some people wouldn't like it.

Georgina Dollface said...

Wow! I wouldn't have recognized Mark Hamill if I walked by him, but holy smokes, I would totally have taken his picture if I did. He was one of my first movie crushes (along with Danny Zuko from Grease.)
Adrienne Curry, is she the one that married Peter Brady?

Thanks for this awesome run-down! - G

Steve G. said...

Wow, awesome entry!

1) You weren't psyched about It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia??? It's my favorite comedy on TV right now :( It's so inappropriate and great!

2) That Mark Hamil incident would bum me out too. He's awesome, and I would just be peppering him with obscure and inappropriate questions about Star Wars. Like, when did he know that Carrie Fisher was going to play his sister?

Jen said...

Amber you sort of had my dream Comic Con experience. Cool TV panels, you met Joss Whedon/Mark Hammil/cast of Scott Pilgrim etc.

My jealousy cannot be contained.

RAY J said...

That's SOOOO neat! Thanks for sharing all this stuff - I was following some of the TrueBlood panel stuff on Twitter but yeah... so wish I could go to Comic-Con some year.

That's so sad about Mark Hammil though - I probably wouldn't have noticed him at first glance cuz he's a lot older now, but still - if I was with my hubby I'm sure he would pointed it out and we both woulda swarmed him for pictures/autographed - seriously, who doesn't know who Mark Hammil is?! He's Luke Frickin' Skywalker!! Sadly, him not being swamped really does say something about what Comic-Con has turned into though...

The Scott Pilgrim stuff looks pretty fun! I read the first 2 books in the series as the rest weren't out yet... I'll probably see the movie too (hubby says it looks too ridiculous not to miss, lol...) Not really a fan of Michael Cera though - he honestly plays the same, awkward guy in EVERY movie he's been in, kinda annoying and overplayed IMO, lol...

Sounds like you had a buttload of fun though - I'm sooo jealous! I wish to go to Comic-Con someday!

RAY J said...

Forgot to mention...

Adrienne Curry as Leelo is AWESOME!

And you should totally do a giveaway!

Sadako said...

Adrienne Curry! Nice. (I'm showing my anti nerd flag by saying that I watch Top Model, aren't I?)

soft nonsense said...

Can' much....

You literally had the ultimate soft nonsense nerd experience there. speechless.

Now I'm going to go to bed and cry.

Amiee said...

That was awesome...did Michael Cera's hair look a bit weird or was it just me?
Poor Mark Hamill, can't believe there's no love for the skywalker. Love Joss too.

Lorelai said...

I keep scrolling back up to see that picture of poor old Mark Hamill...sitting on a step by ComiCon...while people walked right past him. That just...I'm not even that big of a Star Wars fan (like, at all) and that's just the saddest thing I've ever heard. How do you NOT know who Mark Hamill is?

Ashley R said...

Giiirl I didn't know you were there! I went too! I missed the BBT panel though, which made me infinitely sad since that was the entire reason I decided to go this year (although to be honest, no loss to me since I got to go for free so I guess I shouldn't complain). Buuuut I got into everything else I wanted to, so that was good. I was at the Sunny thing panel! Crazy we were in the same room.

Also, Joss Whedon seems so freakin frakkin cool man. I love him for Buffy and for Dr. Horrible. I was in the big Hall H panels the first day so I got to see him and JJ Abrams do their panel together and i just want to be BFF with them all the time.

Did you get to see the Scott Pilgrim movie? I was in their panel the first day and went to the last secret screening and I seriously think it is the coolest, most innovative film I've ever seen. So funny!

Aaaand I should stop writing a novel in your comments. But I'm glad you had fun! Having a blog giveaway of the free loot is a brilliant thought, I have so much of it that I don't need...I may have to steal the idea.

Princess Geek said...

Holy crap that was one epic post, and I'm now supremely jealous. =(
Joss, Mark, Jason Schwartzman! GAR I temporarily hate you.... okay I like you again now.... but I'm still jealous. =D

nikki said...

Oh man, I'm so jealous! My husband and I just watched The Simpsons where Mark Hamill was at Springfield's Bi-Mon-Sci-Fi-Con, which I'm assuming aired because it's comicon week. Shame on anyone for not knowing who he is!

Is Caprica a good show? I meant to start watching it, but missed the first few episodes and am now waiting for the DVD, because I didn't want to start in the middle. I loooove Eric Stoltz.

Also, that picture with you and Joss? You know you're crazy cute, right?

The Mad Hatter said...

You are so lucky. I must admit I'm not really interested in comics, but Cera may be a bigger nerd than myself...

No One Reads The Copy said...

I am epically jealous.

JoAnne Ferrie said...

WOW - I can only say thanks! I feel like I actually experienced being there :D
I have always wanted to visit comic con and after reading your blog, I only want to go more now!! WHY - does it have to be soooo far away :((

maybe next year :P

T. The Destructor said...

The first image I conjured up in my mind when I decided to lose weight, was the picture of leeloo in that damn oversized band-aid. If I could manage to look good in THAT...I'd made it.

Oh yeah, like everyone else here, I am so jealous that you made it to Comic-Con. Michael Cera= love

SERENA said...

I am SO jealous!!! Sounds like the perfect ComiCon experience! I so wished I could have hopped on a plane and attended! Thanks for sharing the pictures and the videos. Big fan of TBBT here, so the Barenaked Ladies performance was a treat! Actually, would you mind if I shared it with some friends on Facebook? I know they would appreciate! :)

soft nonsense said...

ALSO - I missed the blog shout out the first read through. Thanks buuuud!

And yes, I occasionally read your posts twice. Or like seventeen times.

TbR said...

I'm a bit jealous. I don't think there's much of a comic culture over here, I'll have to fly out for the next one. Except then it could be full of celeb hunters AND tourists. Hell on earth?

Simon said...

I appreciate Jason Schwartzman's excellent mustache.

Wait, there are people who don't know who Mark Hamill is? Werer they too busy failing life to pick up a damn DVD?

Angie said...

I'm SOOO jealous! I've been drooling over comic-con stuff on the net for the past week or so, wishing I could be there!

michelle said...

i think im having an omg-heartattack. scott pilgrim! baby iron man! leeloo!!! *brainsplode*

if the amount of crowding and my extreme dislike of queuing weren't in the way, i would be booking my comic con 2011 tickets immediately!

Tasha said...

I'm not into comics but I love all the pictures you snapped =)

oh and I tweeted about this the day I wrote it but I'm not too sure if you had a chance to see. I gave you an award and you check it out here:

have a happy Friday and a great weekend!

Kylee said...

I am beyond jealous. I have decided I am going next year, I need an excuse to go to San Diego anyway.

Also why Jason Schwartzman weirdly attractive. I love him.

Lastly, I vote for you for 20sb blogger of the month.

Megs said...

Joss Whedon and Michael Cera and Mark Hammill and Jason Schwartzman? Its like you wandered into a dream I had.


Amber said...

Phoenix: Yeah, the garlic breath was pretty brutal.

Georgina: Yes, she's married to Peter Brady. Apparently he was there as well.

Steve G: I haven't really gotten on the Always Sunny bandwagon yet. But they previewed an upcoming episode and it was pretty funny.

Ray J: You should definitely finish the rest of the series if only to lord it over everyone who goes to see the movie w/o knowing anything about the books.

Sadako: I used to watch top model pretty religiously so I don't think there's anything wrong with that.

Amiee: Michael Cera's hair was weird and he was incredibly skinny. Like, INCREDIBLY.

Ashley: I didn't get to see the movie. I spent so many hours in line I didn't want to wait for that as well. Plus, I'm going to see the movie anyway. It would have been nice to see it with the comic-con crowd, though.

nikki: Thanks! And yeah, Caprica is good. It's more of a soap opera than a sci-fi show. I have a feeling that it's going to get better in the second half of the first season so I'd definitely wait for the whole first season to be released before you start watching.

JoAnne: You should go! Be sure to buy your tickets soon, though. It sells out pretty fast.

Serena: go ahead, share the video but I'm sure there's a better one up on youtube by now.

Soft nonsense: Yeah, I read your posts a couple o' times as well.

TbR: You must go to comic-con next year. They might be moving it to LA or Las Vegas in 2012 which I think will make it even more bonkers.

Simon: Isn't that a first rate 'stache?

Tasha: Thank you so much! I haven't been home for a couple of weeks so I'm behind on all my blog reading.

Kylee: Thanks for the nomination!

Megs: It was like I wandered into a dream I had! The whole experience was pretty wild.

Semaj said...

Great, post. One of these days I need to get to comic con. I feel ya on crowds, and I can’t stand them. I can only imagine how you felt being around that many un-washed fanboys.

I would have totally geeked out for Mark Hamill. I probably would have asked him more about his voice work and try to convince him to still play the Joker and not hang it up.

Margaret said...

Husband and I spend most of the con in comics panels or over on the comics side of the exhibition hall- I swear it sometimes feels like two totally different conventions are going on simultaneously.

My Mark Hamill moment: We walked by when he was doing a signing and the line was SUPER long and not worth it, not even for Mark-freaking-Hamill, so I decided to holler "MARK HAMILL WAS THE BEST JOKER EVER!" and then someone else yelled "HELL YEAH" and Mark Hamill looked up and smiled this big creepy grin.

YOU MET JOSS WHEDON? Gahahahahahaagahagahagahaderp!

Heather Taylor said...

Your new boyfriend is pretty cute, not gonna lie ;)
Poor Mark Hamill. That's pretty depressing that people don't know who he is. I bet if Harrison Ford walked into that convention, he wouldn't be stuck sitting on the steps.

andi said...

good article

Sexy Women Shoes

Richard @ The Bewildered Brit said...

AWESOME! So cool!

That photo of you with Joss Whedon is fantastic!

I was at Comic-Con last year, though the best I could do was "stand relatively close to David Tennant and John Barrowman"!

How can anyone not know who Mark Hamill is???!!

Margaret said...

@Heather - The crazy part is that harrison ford DID show up this year. And people went NUTS.

Christina In Wonderland said...

You freaking suck in that kind of unsuckish way that makes me want to be you- again- for ever.


You cannot understand the extent of my geek love for Joss Whedon. My heart not-so secretly belongs to his creative juices.

That sounded kind of dirty.

You lucky bitch... :P And now I die.

Oh, and yes, every other one of your Comi-con adventures paled in comparison with me. :)

dailydinosaur said...

I'd have made best friends with Mister Hamill. We'd have gotten crazy drunk together, throwing waterballoons full of pee at all the Scott Pilgrim fans.

MrsCaptKerk said...

yay for CC!

Actually, Comic Con was a sort of spin off (I guess you'd call it) from the Star Trek conventions. I agree with you though, it has definitely become more of a pop culture thing, than comic books.

catherinecw said...

Found your blog from 20sb and it's pretty damn funny. I have to say 1. if I saw Mark Hamill sitting alone I'd probably pee my pants. And then have a full on conversation with him. Probably not in that order. And 2. if I heard someone asking who he is I would cry sacrilege! Baaah.
3. Star Wars and Voldemort in the same picture: epic.
Anyway, I like this.

Synna said...

The line is "No, I am your father", not "Luke, I am your father", though :p.. Omg, I would so want to meet Mark Hammil! Jelly........

stateofgreen said...

This is sooooo late, but did you post your pic with Mark Hamill on this blog? would love to see it...I just read about the 2010 stairway encounter...I can't believe they didn't know who he was!?