Thursday, July 28, 2011

Panel rookie no more!—ComicCon '11: some reflections

Get ready for a big wrap-up ... even video below! .... because the phenom that I've only tasted since 2006—an eon ago now, it seems—this year was a very different Comic-Con experience for me, as it was planned. I gave up purely fanboy moments ages ago—even though I still make sure to find one or two, like Chuck before, Looney Tunes this year. [See yesterday's photo.]

I barely got around the exhibit floor, and had to apologize to a lot of boothing buds that I didn't get to see—but I was still present enough to be struck by all the sudden elbow room, even at midday Friday and Saturday. You could breathe! But was this due to a big dropoff at the "long sold out" show?

Hardly—just the effects of the big push do centralize events out of the Convention Center and into the bigger adjacent hotels. Lots of events, and new maps to show it all—big program book/app revamp. (And thumbs up for it to SDCC staff). Seems to be working, too—and ending all the talk of recent years about taking mushrooming SDCC to L.A. or Vegas—that, and the city bond issue recently passed to expand the convention center soon.

No surprise, as the city tourism booth folks told me that nothing brings it to San Diego like Comic-Con—other events at most are 1/5 the size and money impact of SDCC. So locals sit up and listen when this fandom barks ...and even tax themselves more!—a far cry from all those years of being dissed by the hotel help and diner waitresses, ridiculed in so many cities while at cons, even as they added to the tax base and local economy just as much as any straight-laced trade show or sports event. There's another culture sea-change for fandom!

And here's another:  The first thing to hit me on Thursday, though, in a tweet-exchange I shared with dear @Televixen: even more teenage girls, streaming into the center, en masse. NORMAL ones. Not even of the anime/manga cosplay variety: these looked like "ordinary" freshmen, like they skipped 4th-hour cheerleader practice or a mall meetup to come over to Comic-Con for the day's kicks. In a pack. Over and over. I wish I'd snapped a few of them without seeming like a weirdo ... but the Twoint is: "Corner is turned: How much longer can we call fandom "geek"?

Friday I had the pleasure of hosting Alison White, our creator-producer-actress of the L.A. Comedy Awards-nominated webseries "Divine White's Introduction to Hollywood" that coaxed me back onscreen as a guest star . OK, so it's not really genre—unless you count as the Brits as aliens!—and then Sunday I scooped up two licensee vidchats I'll get up ASAP with Dana at Andovos high-end costumes and Neil Bulk with the new TNG CDs released by LaLaLand Records. Their presence, as well as Roddenberry's and those of say IDW and CBS and Hallmark, for starters, made sure there was a Trek look to Comic-Con, even in an off (ie, non-movie) year.

But most of all, I had my serious hat on for just one thing, like never before: my commitments. A longer-than-normal table slot in prime time Friday and Saturday in Autograph Alley?—thank you Katherine! It cut down my con roving time, but I learned long ago for me a SDCC table wasn't about "sales bucks" but about having a stated place where anyone could find me in this sea of humanity—old friends, new business contacts. Indeed, this year I look up to see a fellow approach, saying he had done all the official translations into Japanese for my TNG Companion editions, and wanted to meet me! How cool is that? So thanks, Norihiko Nakajima, for tracking me down!

The topper, though, was my DEBUT for Comic-Con—thanks Eddie!—in what would be the oxymoron of a "solo panel." Here's a truism: You can do the same thing for 10 years, but no one takes it seriously until you NAME it—so, my slideshow... ahem, "Trek: Between the Cracks" ... finally came to SDCC. But, running low on prep time to puff it into an SDCC-worthy level, and up against all Saturday-night competition... anxiety reigned until Friday night's prep. Then, even a sinus cold Saturday couldn't stop us, and the result—a whoopin' 500-some SRO crowd seemed to have a good time.

Best of all, at the end of the hour,  that crowd got the WORLD PREMIERE of our first public promo trailer for The Con of Wrath, featuring teaser clips of Harve and Walter, along with my intro. Thanks to DP Neal Hallford for helping there...

If you were in 7AB that night, too, thanks much for sharing your time with us... (and if you took any pics of me, feel free to share! Just use's contact form.) I trust you learned and laughed, equally... and hope you can give The Con of Wrath's webpage and Facebook page a look and a Like—especially the small-donor and thank-you's gifts page.

And thanks to the mob that stuck around afterward, including current ST Magazine writer Dwayne Day—good to meet!

So, yes—a more serious Con for me, more work-mission-oriented and tiring, less friending and partying. General trends were obvious as well, mostly for the better .... but overall: Unique and ever-fun as always.

Especially when you consider I got two shout-outs: the panel, previewed by the Nikki Finke bunch at (see 7:30 p.m.)—pretty funny, sadly accurate!

And, finally, the showstopper: my old college buddy Steve Myers, now anchor at ABC Channel 7 in Amarillo, threw this special tag out Thursday to close a network feature on Comic-Con. He  shared a little code with all those Panhandlers whom I bet had no clue what he was talking about:

And oh—you want a happy ending, even after that? Literally, on my way out the front door Sunday on final exit, I was able to trade my SDCC "big bag" adorned by Fringe for the one featuring LooneyTunes' Bugs and Daffy. Seriously—just as I stepped outside.

So that's it: a few random thoughts on all things Comic-Con and Me.
Okay, okay, a token costume shot, too:

1 comment:

Tamara said...

Very cool. I hope you get back next year too. I would have kept the Fringe bag though....