Is This My Last Comic Con Ever? 2014 Edition Part II

Freya’s Day, Jul. 25

It was Freya’s Day because it was “Vikings” day. Friday was the day the cast of the show was due to appear for a short autograph session at 1 p.m. and for a panel at 4:45 p.m.. The signing was to take place at the big “Vikings” set-up on a lot near the convention center. As I walked past it in the morning there was maybe ten people already waiting. I thought, “Well, it’s not that many.” The plan was to come back at 11 a.m. and get in line.

I forgot to mention in my last post that inside the Marriott, there’s a grand piano in the back lobby area. Before leaving for the day I stopped in the Marriott to use the restroom and saw a guy in a Boba Fett t-shirt and a girl dressed like that dragon chick from “Game Of Thrones” playing the piano and singing a duet. They were pretty good. SDCC ought to think about a talent show. Every time I walked in that part of the Marriott, somebody was playing that piano. I also run into a lot of the booth babes in the bathroom. They always look so done and pretty while I feel like whatever the cat dragged in.

At 9:30, I went inside at Hall C and dashed back to the Hallmark booth. Security was yelling at con-goers trying to run to various booths, “STOP RUNNING! NO RUNNING!” It’s like fourth grade all over again. As expected, the Hallmark line was already capped. “THE LINE’S CAPPED! KEEP MOVING!” I’m surprised they weren’t using Tasers. The Del Rey booth however, had a big pile of free copies “A New Dawn,” the novel by John Jackson Miller that sets up the events of “Rebels.” Well, I’ll take anything for free. The lady at the booth scanned my badge and the freebie went in my bag.

Fortunately I didn’t have to bother with the Funko exclusives today. My friend found out that Barnes & Noble was selling them online so she’d called to let me know she didn’t need them. Whew! I’d looked up the artist I had been searching for on Thursday and found his booth. I bought the print, then hustled over to the Fox booth line, which was letting people in and was moving. Great! I’ll just go through the swag line, get that Firefly button, and pick up the paper fold up. This middle-aged woman and two younger people squeezed in line in front of me and the lady kept looking back at someone and gesturing helplessly at whoever it was. She was holding up the line. This time I was the one saying, “Keep moving!” I was afraid they’d run out of buttons or stop the line. It was bad enough they’d just cut in. I finally get to the Fox booth, got a free poster tube which came in handy for the just-purchased print, and then I asked about the Firefly buttons. “Oh, we’re giving those out later,” the girl said. You mean I have to come back???!!!! @#@$#$%$%

After that I bumped into a co-worker, visited the restroom, then I decided to head back out to Vikings land to join the autograph line. Bear in mind it wasn’t quite 11 yet. But I get there and I find out from some re-enactors that the line’s already been capped! “They capped it at 9,” one of them told me. I looked at the line it didn’t seem like that many people. I know if you hustle fans along quickly, you could easily get double the number of those in line through in an hour. But that’s now how they were going to do things. They wanted quality time for the fans. Grrr. I decided to come back at 1 and see if they’ll let people in the line if it moved fast enough. So from there I headed to the supermarket to buy a soda. On the way I came across a truck promoting the Science channel. They were giving away t-shirts! So I snagged one, then got my soda. Then I went over to the Assassin’s Creed obstacle course and watched a bunch of hapless stuntmen get knocked off of things by the sneaky “assassin.” “Where is he?! Where did he go?!” the announcer shouted as the assassin walked right up to his victims in broad daylight.

While parking somewhere to eat my sandwich and chips packed at home, I looked through the day’s schedule. I saw that there was a problem with the “Vikings” panel. The panel right before was “Bates Motel” and worse yet, the panel right after it was “Orphan Black.” Plus the “Outlander” panel was on earlier. I figured that meant there would be a lot of seat squatters and it might be tougher than anticipated to get into “Vikings.” But I still wanted to see if I could get autographs. This was going to be tricky.

I went back out to Vikings land at 1 and one of the people working there said that they were not letting anyone else into the line and even the people at the end were not guaranteed autographs. Apparently they were going to allow fans to take pictures with the actors and get personalized autographs. The good news is I did get to see the main players and the show’s creator as they arrived. I also got a free comic book. But the line moved really slow and by 1:30, I knew it was going to be no dice for the autographs. So I went back in the convention center and got into line for the room hosting the Vikings panel. At first the line moved really fast. I thought, “Well, this isn’t going to be too bad.” Then it stopped and for the next two hours, it hardly moved. A guy in line behind me grumbled that the room was too small. As I figured there were a lot of fans of “Orphan Black” and they were nervous they weren’t going to make it. But there were Vikings fans too, as exemplified by the number of girls in Loki costumes.

Girls in Loki costumes was one of the popular trends at this year’s SDCC. I guess now they’ve got a Thorette, there needs to be some Lokiettes to battle her. The other big trend was “Frozen.” Frozen, Frozen, Frozen everywhere. My nieces would go bananas. There were little girls dressed like Elsa. Teenage girls and adults dressed like Elsa and Anna. Even a young lady in a Slave Leia-inspired Elsa costume, though she looked more like Lady Gaga in my humble opinion. At one point I saw a little kid in a stroller dressed as Olaf and along comes a Frozen-themed group of cosplayers, including one person in a great professional-quality Olaf costume. The two Olafs of course had to pose for pictures. Then there was the ever-growing trend of people waving religious signs outside of the convention center.

While waiting and hoping I’d make it to see the panel, or else I’d have wasted a big part of my day in yet another line, I was following the Star Wars book panel on Twitter, where I read the announcement about the Clone Wars-based novel. I’d also started reading “A New Dawn,” though that’s on hold for now.

Anyhoo, the “Bates Motel” panel ended and they started letting people in for “Vikings.” Fortunately I made it inside though my seat wasn’t all of that great. The show’s creator and the main cast came in. For those of you who follow the show, they have started filming Season 3 so everybody had the oddball haircuts and beards. Travis Fimmel looked like Ragnar disguising himself as a 21st century man with a baseball cap. Though Katheryn Winnick, all dolled up, was even prettier in person. The panelists were great and fans seemed just as eager to share their girl crushes on Lagertha with a very flattered Winnick as they were to drool over the hunky dudes. Fimmel was very soft-spoken and that along with his Australian accent made it a little hard to make out what he was saying. A girl behind me joked, “Can we have subtitles please?” But Fimmel also had the best answer to a panel question. When the moderator asked Fimmel who was the better kisser, Aslaug or Lagertha, he said, “Athelstan,” the puppy-dog-eyed Christian monk turned slave turned Viking who everybody keeps slashing with Ragnar in fan fiction. They also showed a brief look at Season 3 that won’t debut until sometime in 2015. Clive Standen dropped a hint that somebody gets killed off; “Vikings” rivals “Game Of Thrones” or “The Walking Dead” in terms of unpredictably killing off characters.

Before the “Vikings” panel started I got a ticket for the fulfillment room, so once the panel was over I trucked over to the Hyatt to pick up my freebie, which was another copy of the free comic book (already spoken for). I noticed though that the swag given for big Hall H or Ballroom 20 presentations were fancy. Those who sat through the “Game Of Thrones” panel got something, probably a shirt, in a nice bag. The folks who attended the “Pixels” panel got sunglasses. It’s the least they could do for fans who camped out for a week.

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