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October 10, 2015

My post-Comic-Con report, part one

by Keith McDuffee, posted Jul 28th 2008 11:21AM
comic-con line
Even more-so than Rich, I was indeed a Comic-Con newbie. I'd never been to a single one before this past weekend. The closest I've come is Linux World. You can stop laughing now.

Let me start out by stating the obvious, though those unfamiliar with Comic-Con may not know this: Comic-Con is an out-of-control monster. It doesn't quite know what it is, nor do the people attending it. To see everything, you'd need six or seven clones of yourself. The "comic" in Comic-Con must mean that it's comical, not that it's about comic books, because it's about much more than that these days. Television, Movies, Books, Toys, Games ... about the only entertainment medium that isn't represented is radio, and that I'm not even sure is true.

(NOTE: The banner on the left for our Comic-Con coverage should be working now)

Unfortunately for us, we were only able to send two people to represent TV Squad. I want to extend my heartfelt thanks to Rich Keller for flying his butt all the way across the country with me to take on the seemingly impossible task of covering nearly all television-related content the 'Con had to offer. I probably shouldn't have said "seemingly," because it really was impossible -- we did not and could not possibly cover every bit of TV-related content with two people.

I was able to fly in on Wednesday, before registration began and before Preview Night. I highly underestimated registration, as the line for it was long and slow. Actually, it appeared long and slow at the time, but looking back, compared to what I endured later, it was minuscule.

Once through that registration line, I decided to take advantage of Preview Night and walk the showroom floor. "Blown away" is all I can say about it. I simply had no idea what to expect nor how huge this convention floor really is. You could literally fit perhaps six or seven football fields in this building. The thing probably has its own zip code.

At the time, I thought it was a madhouse. It was difficult to get around much, and as the registration lines ended, the hall began to fill up. I'm glad I took advantage of the time, though, as I had really no time later in the weekend to walk around. And when I was able to see the floor again over the weekend, it made Wednesday night look calm.


The first full day of panels, and for the majority of it I was alone. Rich wasn't flying in until later that afternoon, and I was worried I'd have to cover Doctor Who and Torchwood in his place, two shows he's much more familiar with than I am. Unfortunately his flight was late, and I did attend both panels and, I admit, didn't cover them the way a true fan of either show would. Trust me, we've got plans in place for next year for this possibility.

I got to the doors a full hour before they opened, and already people were lined up waiting. An hour was a good amount of time to get close to the front, since by 9 AM it was a madhouse. The doors wound up opening about 45 minutes later than they were scheduled to, and then the herd piled in. Already there were lines forming at the exhibition rooms, and I was nervous I might not get in.

First up was the Kings panel. Strangely this was one of my favorite panels of the weekend, even without Ian McShane's presence. I've been very curious about this show ever since Joel's TCA report about it, and we got to see the first 20 minutes of the pilot. You can read my report about that rather than me going into it again here.

The room for Kings, I thought at the time, was huge: Room 6B. In actuality, I was starting out small. Very small, in fact, compared to the rest of the panels over the next few days. That's newbie thinking for you.

I almost didn't attend the next panel, which was in the same room so I didn't have to move. That's one thing that happens very often at the 'Con: you enter a room, you don't leave that room without a return ticket or you'll never get in again.

As I said, I had to attend Doctor Who and Torchwood, and because I decided to hang around for the BSG 30th anniversary panel, I was a bit late for them but was lucky to get in. This was Ballroom 20, and I laughed at my thinking that 6B was huge. Ballroom 20 is so big that there are giant screens halfway down the room so people there can see those on-stage. Seriously, you cannot make anything out from the back of the room -- it's enormous. You'd think it being such a big room that everyone would be able to get a seat. You would be very wrong.

The rest of the panels throughout the day bounced between rooms smaller than 6B and then 6CDEF, which is nearly the size of Ballroom 20. I started to learn my lesson quite quickly for how early one had to line up for a room, so I didn't miss anything for the rest of the day. Then, luckily, Rich arrived and hit the panels less than an hour after landing. The saddest moment came when my first time meeting Rich was as I passed him waiting in line for another panel, with a quick handshake. I wouldn't see him again until I got back to the hotel.

Let me tell you about eating, or should I say the lack thereof. You really need to pack well for these things and have nourishing snacks in your bag, otherwise you're sprinting out of the rooms between panels to grab a crappy, overpriced hot dog. I'll try to get into the food challenge in a later post, because it could use its own panel at Comic-Con.

The Dexter Party

After an incredibly long day, I caught a free shuttle that took me out to Showtime's Dexter party, one that I and a few other fellow bloggers were invited to attend. I wasn't quite sure what to expect, since I'd just gotten out of the Dexter panel, so how could those panelists have time to schlep out to a bar so soon after being on-stage.

The first somewhat odd and surreal moment was when Marc Ecko hopped on the bus with us. Here's this guy who certainly puts out an "I'm hotter-than-shite" vibe, on a bus with us dorks. I had to shake my head at that.

The party was at the Airport Lounge, and we quickly figured out why that was. The planes flew directly overhead, so closely that I swear you caught a bit of downdraft from them. They were so loud and impressive that, when one flew overhead, you had to stop mid-conversation. But I've always loved those clubs where there's no roof, like those in Vegas and San Diego.

Soon Michael C. Hall showed up, which when you're not used to such a thing, catches you by surprise. I'm always surprised at the height of actors as I see them in person, as they're either much shorter or taller than they appear on TV. Hall, in case you're wondering, is the former.

Unfortunately, Michael didn't stick around very long at all, but he didn't leave before a bunch of female fans got their pictures taken with him. That's probably a good reason why he took off, and the other bloggers I was at the party with didn't even know he showed up, never mind get a chance to talk to him.

The bunch of us bloggers took off for dinner in the city, then I headed back to get sleep for the next full day. The clock said 11 PM, but my body told me it was 2 AM. Thankfully it got better later in the 'Con.

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HAHA! My favorite was getting realtime twitter status from you guys while I was at the Con. I missed so many panels. The lines were atrocious. By far the worst in the 14+ years that I have been attending.

In years past Hall H and Ballroom 20 were more than accommodating for any attendee that wanted to see the larger panels. It has only been in the last two years that lines for those rooms have been larger than the rooms can hold. :(

Your Twitter comment on Moffat was spot on.

July 29 2008 at 1:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

thanks for the coverage. i went to my first Con last May (Animazment in Raleigh, NC) and it was all kinds of overwhelming at first, despite being on the smaller side. i can't imagine Comic-Con. one day i hope to be able to make it out there (living east coast). but until then i have to rely on internet posts and youtube clips.

July 28 2008 at 5:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I read TV Squad for the articles.

July 28 2008 at 4:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Jimmy -- The photos are meant to help those who weren't at the 'Con to see what it was like. Yes, they could have been taken by anyone who was at the 'Con, but for the most part people reading this probably weren't there to take them, so it works out.

Also, "professional media organizations" wouldn't likely do a post like this. My purpose with these is to give people a sense of what it's like to attend these things while keeping it real, not trying to take a stuffy tone. Know what I mean?

Part three will be the most interesting post, as the party Rich and I attended was amazing, to say the least.

July 28 2008 at 2:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Jimmy, I apologize for calling you a jerk. Namecalling is an uncivilized way of communicating, and I was wrong.

I was just offended that the very first comment after Keith's great article was a complaint that called the photos "horrible". Haven't you ever heard of prefacing a complaint or some negative feedback with something positive? If you expect such high-class, professional behavior from a blog like "TV Squad", you should exhibit the same professional demeanor when you leave a comment, no?

July 28 2008 at 1:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Thanks very much for your report, and I look forward to the others. I've been at other events at that convention center, and yes, it is massive, and yes, the food is incredibly overpriced (true of every convention center in America, maybe the world).

Ignore the jerk complaining about the "quality" of the photos--I appreciated them. They aren't fancy, just what any of us might have taken had we been there instead. They capture the rushed craziness of the event.

July 28 2008 at 12:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Scott's comment

I appreciate Keith's serious reply to my question; your calling me a jerk, not so much.

I think TV Squad did a nice job of covering the event, but lo-res snapshots of panels on jumbotrons don't do much to supplement the reporting. Contrary to what you might think, professional media organizations do not publish "what any of us might have taken had we been there instead."

July 28 2008 at 1:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Re-posting from the Eureka Comic-Con thread:

If you guys are going to cover the Comic-Con so extensively, why don't you spring for a freelance photographer? These snapshots you've been running are horrible.

July 28 2008 at 12:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Jim's comment

The answer to your question is too complex to get into right now, but the short answer is that we didn't have the resources to. Hopefully next year.

July 28 2008 at 12:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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