I like to think of Comic Con as the world’s biggest candy store for geeks: whatever you’re a fan of, you’ll find it there. I finally made it to SDCC last year, 20 years after i picked up my first comic book: X-Men #1. All those times as a child that I sneaked off to the comic store when I was supposed to be at the library, culminated in the moment when I stepped into the San Diego Convention Centre for the first time.
How do I begin to describe the intense, intense experience that is SDCC? You turn the corner, and there’s Mike Mignola quietly sitting at his booth. Turn another and you run into Khal Drogo and his Khaleesi, against a backdrop of giant statues of trolls. In the other corner, Archer and Katya patiently wait in line to meet the Battlestar Galactica cast. There are plenty of celebrities around too, and my 30-second encounter with Nathan Fillion was a real treat. The man is a class act, going straight to the handicapped fans queuing for his autograph. I got a signed poster from him, and it still occupies pride of place in my room.
And let’s not forget the panels. Oh, the panels.
Like thousands of others, I woke up in the middle of the night to camp out in the long queue for panels at Hall H and Ballroom 20, when Joss Whedon and Ian McKellen stopped by (I missed out on the latter by just half an hour – curses!). I can still remember what Whedon (jokingly) said when I told him I had come all the way from Singapore to see him: “I came all the way from LA, you think you’re special?” Sleeping on the cold pavement alongside Jokers and zombies and Lokis also elicited this priceless comment from a passerby: “This homeless problem in San Diego gets worse every year.”
We were rewarded by the day of the super panels, when panels for Man of Steel, The Hobbit, Iron Man 3 and more played out in Hall H. My abiding memory of the day – 6,500 nerds in Hall H erupting at the sudden entrance of Robert Downey Jr into the auditorium, dancing his way to the stage with a glowing Iron Man gauntlet strapped to his right hand. He then elicited even louder screams when he grabbed a mike and purred: “How much do you love me?” That was our most exhausting day at SDCC, but also the most fun.
But my real hero is my girlfriend Gillian, a semi-geek who was with me every step of the way. She indulged all my geeky obsessions, got excited along with me and slept on the sidewalk with minimal complaint (well okay, she did complain about that). She’s my Infinity Gauntlet, and she’ll be with me again at SDCC this year, as I undertake an even bigger geek trip from West Coast to East Coast.
I can’t wait.