Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Sing Me a River

It's hard to explain Comic Con if you don't already know what it is.  And judging by recent conversations, many people I know don't.  The easiest way to describe it is as a geek convention.  Because, while it started as a comic book fans' gathering, it now encompasses many fandoms:  science fiction (Doctor Who, Star Wars, Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, Firefly, etc.), fantasy (Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, Princess Bride, Disney, etc.), anime (Miyazaki, Sailor Moon, Pokemon), other cartoons (TMNT, My Little Pony, etc.), video/computer games (Zelda, World of Warcraft, Dragon Ball Z, etc.) and other popular culture (Sherlock and Elementary, etc etc etc.)  Plus, of course, all the comic book superheroes, like Batman, Superman, and the like.

You can see that we firmly fall into several of the fandoms and so we were excited to attend the convention.  We weren't planning on going to any of the panels--interviews and discussions with the creative teams behind the above, including actors, artists, writers, designers, etc.--because they are much in demand with long lines waiting to enter.

But we did sign up for one photo session:  the kids had their picture taken with River Song of Doctor Who, aka Alex Kingston (whom you probably know from her years on ER.)  They were over the moon!  We hung back while they went up to her and told her she was awesome.  And she said they were awesome back!  Sis even noted later that the actress was wearing an outfit--with a map of London, we think--that River would have worn.  So, even though the encounter lasted less than a minute, I think the memory will last a lifetime.   Mama and I opted out of the photo, wanting it to be the kids' moment, though we like Kingston a lot.  We try to remind the kids that actors are just doing a job--that the characters aren't them, that they are real people with positive characteristics and also flaws, that they are paid to do what they do; we don't want the line between fiction and reality to blur, for them to think they "know" the actors.  Still I get it.  I loved Princess Leia and by extension Carrie Fisher and would've gone nuts if I'd met her.  We connect with characters in movies and tv and therefore with the actors who play them.  We are touched by them and we think the actors are special; we want to meet them to express how much they and their characters mean to us and also to feel special ourselves by connecting even briefly with them.  And that's fine when you're nine years old, I think, but perhaps a little odd when taken to extremes by adults.  Sure, I can fangirl on my own quite a bit, but I'm not sure I'd feel right actually acting on it. . . which is why we didn't go to Gillian Anderson's autograph sessions or the photo session with the cast of Star Trek:  The Next Generation.  Besides, it doesn't always pay to meet an ideal.  But it certainly worked for the kids, and us by extension, who watched Doctor Who tonight and kept repeating, "we met her!"  Thank you, Ms. Kingston!

We spent the rest of the day wandering, shopping (truly I expected better shopping), interacting with other fans, and admiring all the costumes.  I didn't know most of the computer games or anime, but I noticed lots of Doctor Who costumes.  Also Star Trek and Star Wars.  One of the best was a Stormtrooper "on vacation" in a Hawaiian shirt!  Also, Princess Leia, a great Xena, a man wearing a homemade cardboard Millennium Falcon, a minion, and so many others.  The kids posed with lookalikes of Gandalf, a Dalek, Smaug the dragon, the penguins of Madagascar, and others.  Because it was family day, there was no cleavage and only one very obvious Brazilian wax.  Interestingly, we saw no brutish behavior, even with alcohol on premises.  Very well behaved, our geeks.  We got a few things, t-shirts mainly, and mainly just walked around for 7 hours.

Thankfully, Mama had done lots of research about surviving Comic Con, so we knew to:

  • Bring our own food--deli meats, cheeses, bread, chips, cookies--so as not to stand in line for expensive junk;
  • Bring our own water bottles to refill at the water fountains (see above);
  • Not carry anything extraneous because the day is long and things can get lost;
  • Bring a bag to put purchases and freebies in.
We were tired, but we had a great time.  I think we'd definitely go again, maybe with some panels this time.  And maybe by then, we'll have added a few more fandoms to our list . . .but I doubt it will ever match the excitement of our first Con.  And meeting River Song!!!

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