Monday, May 20, 2013

Dallas Comic Con 2013

I think it's fair to say that all conventions are a mix of amazing and annoying. Lines are never perfect. Organization often fails. Even if every possible precaution is taken by the folks in charge, things can go wrong.

Wait... Alan Grant plays video games?

In this case, they were at a disadvantage from the start when Nathan Fillion was struck with some kind of gross eye infection that meant he canceled his appearance altogether. So much for me completing my celebrity list this year. This made people understandably a little disappointed (okay, okay, we were all crying inside... shut up about it).

The con also suffered from the fact that their venue (which I understand they're contracted to for a few more years yet) is too small for how huge the event has gotten. The escalators get crowded (why large event centers use them instead of traditional stairs I will never understand), any attempts to herd the crowd fall apart, people are sweaty and short-tempered and just want to be where they're trying to get to. I really can't blame the organizers for a lot of that since it's the nature of the beast. I will say that on Saturday I was sad to see that no attempts were even being made in the early afternoon to help people figure out where to go in the crushing mess that was the ground floor.

I attending the make up effects tutorial with Heather on Saturday along with my sister (she let me put a wound on her arm - good sport!), and that was a lot of fun. I took pictures that are trapped on my phone... I'll try to remember to update with those later. It was a relatively small group, so we all got to chat with her and ask questions about Face Off. Since my hubby and I are big fans, it was really interesting. As much as I enjoy looking at art and cool vendor goods, it was also just plain fabulous to have an interactive session. I hope that perhaps in the future the organizers will consider more side events like that to relieve some of the crush in the autograph and Q&A areas where I think some people were flocking less out of interest than for SOMETHING to do. Programming matters as much as the guest list!

Ultimately on Saturday, we ended up skipping the Q&A sessions after the line got too long, too ridiculous, and never seemed to move, hit up the dealer room where we were thrilled to get to see Halo & Terry from Shonuff Studios - love them! There was some excellent stuff on display everwhere, and I was just sad not to have the cash to buy more of it. Especially the TARDIS-themed deerstalker caps. Super freaking cute.

Starship acting never goes out of style.

Sunday we braved the long line waiting to get in again because it was worth it to get decent parking and blaze a trail to the Q&A room. We parked our butts down and didn't move for anything but potty breaks. I am thrilled to say that the sessions on Sunday really made up for any lingering annoyance from Saturday. The TNG panel with Brent Spiner, Levar Burton, and Gates McFadden was fantastic. Brent is hilarious and light on his verbal feet, and I believe we birthed the #bigbangcougar push to get Gates on Big Bang Theory. I'm so in.

Ridiculously nice to a crowd that could easily have been quite bitchy.

After that panel (which my sister loved despite her utter lack of Trek education) came Adam Baldwin, who took over by himself a slot he was originally meant to share with Nathan Fillion (he of the diseased eyeball). Adam was a total trooper. They showed a trailer for Last Ship, his new show on TNT... with no sound. He helpfully added both dialogue and sound effects (which was probably better than the real thing anyway). He politely played off a questioner who obviously thought he was Alec Baldwin's little brother. He told sweet stories about watching Firefly with his kids after their dance class and the whole family singing the theme song together... and subsequently led the room in a round. The man's got a pretty decent voice.

He also called Nathan, so we got a little bonus bang for our buck, and I could frankly have just listened to the two of them chatting for another hour or so, but I guess the Richard Dean Anderson fan wouldn't have appreciated the change in schedule. In any case, it was fantastic. My sister and I promptly hightailed it out of there so we could spend time with my brother-in-law before he left (yes, we had family visiting on top of all this).

Ultimately Comic Con was fun and mostly satisfying, but I won't lie: I probably won't spend the cash on it again. Nathan was the deciding factor for me this year. That obviously worked out... For me, the lack of programming apart from celebrity Q&As and the fact that you pay a large fee to get in and then the autographs and everything else inside cost an arm and a leg feels a little rough. I know a lot of people loathe it, but I truly feel I get more value out of A-Kon. Next year? We're trying out Texas Frightmare Weekend somehow. Toddlers love Pinhead, right?

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