My earliest nerd memory is of me at four or five years old being obsessed with the original Star Trek tv series. I remember begging my mom to buy a certain cereal because it came with Star Trek iron-on transfers. I asked my mom to put all of the designs on one light blue t-shirt and I proceeded to wear that shirt until the iron-ons faded/cracked off. After that I got my nerd on by collecting Archie comics, writing my own mystery stories, and devouring any books that had to do with fantasy and/or horror.
So it’s no surprise that it would be a book series adapted to film that got me to my very first SDCC in 2004. When my partner-in-crime, Marisa, told me that she had heard of a place where you were not only privy to find rare Lord of the Rings collectibles but that the actors were often seen milling about as well, we couldn’t start planning our trip fast enough!
The highest of the high points was definitely being a part of the first audience EVER to see the pilot episode of LOST. My love for Dominic Monaghan (Merry in LotR) brought me to the panel but the chaos of all of the intertwining mysteries of that island kept me watching until the bitter end. And while we weren’t lucky enough to score the golden ticket to meet the cast after the panel, we WERE lucky enough to grab tickets to a meet and greet with Billy Boyd (Pippin) and David Wenham (Faramir)! Lord Of The Rings geek out accomplished!
Coming in at a very close second was the Shaun Of The Dead panel. I had never heard of Edgar Wright or Simon Pegg, but by the end of the panel they had won over my heart! They were funny, sarcastic and very visibly taken aback (in a good way) by the warm and enthusiastic reception we Americans had to their little film.
As for hard times, our motel was pretty atrocious! In order to save money, we booked the cheapest one we could find. There was a constant rotation of different smells wafting throughout and none of them were nice. They even made our food taste bad. It was very uncomfortable and definitely factored in to our decision to pony up the dough for the nicer hotels near the convention center in future years. Live and learn! We also had to deal with jocks heckling us when we dared go off-site in search of food. The Gaslamp wasn’t so inviting back then but we didn’t let that ruin our good time!
My SDCC heroes would have to be the DIY comic artists who invited us to an off-site bonfire on our last night. It was great to meet new people, talk about our experiences at the con and bond over deceiving the beach patrol by burying our beer in the sand. Drinks? What drinks?
The fact that I had no expectations and still had a great time full of surprises made SDCC 2004 one of my favorite con experiences. I can’t wait to see what this year has in store!