Tip of the Day #15: What Kind of Bag Do You Need?

a.aaa-Chinese-backpackFor today’s tip, we’re going to be talking about something simple but can still have a huge impact on your Comic-Con experience- your BACKPACK. I know what you are thinking, “what’s the big deal? Well, there is actually more to it than grabbing your pack from college and hitting SD for the week. During the grueling 4-days in San Diego, there is no companion more faithful to you than your backpack. It will be there for you during the good times and bad- it will never leave you nor forsake you. Besides carrying your prized SDCC Exclusives, it will also be filled with much needed food, water, and other con supplies that might make the difference between life and death (ok, not really death but how about a really bad day). Here are a few tips to consider when choosing a carrying companion.

WB Swag Bags
Screen Shot 2015-05-25 at 10.24.29 PMUpon entrance to the show, you will be given one of the exclusive Warner Bros Swag Bags- which are a time honored tradition and a great Comic-Con keepsake. The various bags, advertising WB/DCs properties, are collected, traded and coveted during the 4-days. However, as awesome as these bags are, they are not ideal to carrying around a lot of precious cargo during the show. Designed for you to be a walking billboard, these giant bags are really more for show than functional. With the exception of an occasional poster sleeve, there are no compartments so everything just rolls around at the bottom of the bags. Another drawback is last year some of the bag straps were breaking because of the weight, so you have to be careful how much you put in them. Overall, I LOVE these bags and they have become a signature of the show. However, I would not rely on them to be the luggage workhorse for you during SDCC.

xnintendo-reversible-messenger-bag.jpeg.pagespeed.ic.KE85Wdc_unSide Satchel
I used to be a hardcore backpack guy but I have been able to reduce how much I carry over the years. I pre-print the schedule or use my smart phone so I don’t carry the program book. I also don’t collect much of the swag since most of it get’s thrown out. So the space I need is just for food, water, and some basic survival stuff (which I’ll post later). Because of this, I go with the ‘man-satchel’. The problem I have with the backpack is that in order to access it while walking, you have to sling it off your back, hold it with one hand, or drop to the ground. When you are in a PACKED showroom, that is difficult. I like being able to reach down to my side and grab my camera or a granola bar quickly and easily. Plus, since it can shift side-to-side, I can squeeze through tight spaces (which is common on the floor). If you are only carrying a moderate amount of supplies, not buying a lot, and geek fashion is a priority, then go with the satchel.

Screen shot 2013-05-06 at 10.30.45 PMBackpack
We are all pretty familiar with the traditional backpack- none of us would have graduated college without it. They come in all shapes and sizes- range from the the cute and plushy to the functional and all purpose. I would definitely encourage you to use a backpack if:

  • You are carrying a lot of tech like a laptop, iPad, extended batteries, etc.
  • If you are prone to being cold, you will need one to stuff extra clothing layers in.
  • If you need extra space for food and water
  • Buying a lot of larger items like toys and you have no place to store them.

Remember, something cute like R2 here won’t be feeling cute by the 3rd day. You may want to have something with more functionality and options- especially one that has cushioned straps.

Screen shot 2013-05-07 at 6.57.26 AMThere are a few things to consider when choosing a backpack for SDCC. First, ask yourself what you will be accessing the most. Make sure you have an easy way to get to them so you’re not having to drop and unzip every pocket. For me, I like to have food and water where I can reach it quickly, so having a side pocket would be critical. If tech is your highest priority, get a tech designed bag. You don’t want your electronics and food to be in the same compartment. Plus, there are ‘external battery’ backpacks that can be used to charge your tech (pictured left). A must for heavy bloggers. You never know what the weather will be like so you may want to get a waterproof bag just just in case. Regardless of your backpack of choice, remember be mindful of how much space you are taking up when you walk- The WORST is getting body slammed by some random backpack that is crossing your path. It unintentionally but is a hazard at Comic-Con. A backpack can extend a full foot backwards so you have to be careful when weaving in and out of the crowds.

I know this is a lot to consider for just what bag you are carrying at a convention. While it seems a little overly-complicated- believe me, it’s important. For those veterans of the show, we know that what you carry and how you carry it will make a big difference. Like I said, it’s your closest companion during the show. The right bag will either weigh you down or assist you in a dire moment. With just 6 weeks to go, I wanted to give you time to shop around and try out some options.

For you con vets, what is your bag of choice? Leave a comment of what is your favorite bag type is or how you wished you chose differently your first time. Thanks and check out my other Tip of the Day Posts!

Post Comic-Con: Your Favorite Swag is…

This is a picture of all the SDCC swag we got! @GeekCrusade

This is a picture of all the SDCC swag we got! @GeekCrusade

One of the favorite parts of Comic-Con is the time honored tradition of SWAG (stuff we all get). Swag taps into the little archeologist in all of us. We search, hunt, and discover what might be a hidden treasure among the sea of over prices Exclusives. Most of it is ends up in the trash or in the back of the closet- but some end up being the cherished trophy to commemorate this year’s Comic-Con. Here are some of your favorite swag you sent in:

“It has to be the Sharknado tee I snagged from SyFy. Showing off my intellectual taste in film!” @The_Green_Key

“I have a collection of Psych comic con T-shirts and this year’s didn’t disappoint.” @Adieangel

“The free custom House shirts at the @GameOfThrones #JoinTheRealm! Kudos to the workers for making them so fast!” @Tabo4Life

BP_oD3FCAAAjzv_.png-large“My ‘House O’Toole’ shirt from #JoinTheRealm! (custom shirt from the Game of Thrones exhibit)” @WonderShannon

“The Samsung store was handing cases,speakers, and batteries for Galaxy phones users and #GOT personalized House of tshirts” @Jricekrispsy

“The FOX panel swag.” @Younghov63

“Fave SDCC swag? Nothing beats seeing my wife pull a red bead at Dark Horse to win autographs from the Falling Skies cast. It’s not swag, but my only real #SDCC2013 exclusive: BatBun by Giant Robot! Handmade and numbered 02 of 10!” @Brainwise

“It’s definitely a tie for best free swag between the Bates motel room keys and those Regular Show posters” @Williebates

“All the awesome Psych swag given for the midnight premiere of the musical and my cereal bowl from King of the Nerds. @Meshellv

BP_MYTJCIAAfquI.jpg-large“My Sharknado poster signed by director Anthony Ferrante! Heh heh!” @KBknowsbest

“My favorite item was my badge and lanyard from Psych The Musical. How could I forget the Psych slap bracelet?! I missed the initial giveaway in line but a kind fan had 2 & shared” @FatesWarn

“Superman 75th anniversary poster signed by JimLee & the MockingJay pin!” @Jahilianaire

“I loved the red solo cups from Community!” @Nicoleanell

“Kre-o transformers deceptecon figure also battle beasts purple hawk” @jcarbajal44

“I think it has to be the Fighting the Mutant Threat” poster, just love the art!” @GeekCrusade

BP_EJnvCIAAAMdA.jpg-large“Definitely this for me. (Governor eye patch, Walking Dead) @Sonya415

“Falling Skies poster signed by the cast with bonus Hope poster signed by Noah Wylie.” @Dangrdafne

“The overnight bag from the Bates Motel party!” @TashaPuffs

“Archer T-shirt. Game of Throne shirt looked good too.” @BluHeeler

“Game of Thrones custom t-shirt.” @ToddAwbrey

“The Catching Fire mockingjay pin from the Lionsgate booth!” @Roseclear

“Ridiculously soft DRN shirts for Almost Human FOX!!!” @Doc_riverloki

“Sharknado poster then signed by director and two actors who I can’t even identify…because…it’s SHARKNADO! Geek Mag booth” @Tudec

“Coulson lives shirt.” @Mmflood

“Not really Swag I guess, but I got Arnold and Sly’s autographs at the Escape Plan premiere.” @Azmatthews

“The religious tracks by the wack-o protestors out in front of the convention center” -Said no one ever

I know there is still a ton of swag unaccounted for- so please leave your favorite swag as a comment below. Thanks!

My San Diego Comic-Con 2013 Cosplay Reveal!

It’s time to reveal my Comic-Con cosplay project for this year! With my love for Doctor Who and my love for Comic-Con, I combined these past and current Warner Bros Swag Bags…

BeforeBags

…to make this!

DW07

DW01

DW04

DW17

DW02

DW15

DW11

DW13

DW14

DW16

DW10

A HUGE thanks to my friend Michael Lew of Faces Apparel for his amazing suit designing skills. This may have been my idea, but Michael’s magic is what made this project possible. Not only is he a great guy, but his non-profit empowers migrant clothes industry workers all throughout Asia. These pics were taken by fellow Comic-Con nerd, Jon (aka @Joits). Thank you brother!

Detail shots below:

CL05

CL03

CL06

CL04

CL02

2013 Tip of the Day #26: The Best Swag is…

$(KGrHqZ,!iIE++MR-KsZBQ!v(f(1nQ~~60_57If you are new to Comic-Con, everyone is always in search for the Holy Grail of swag. There is plenty to be had from the exhibition floor as well as the panel rooms. They range from the incredibly awesome to the the disposable. I usually warn from the ‘mad grab’ of swag and encourage you to be more selective. Most swag just takes up space, weights you down, and just gets thrown away. So the question is, who gives the best swag? While the answer is highly subjective and will vary from fan to fan, my answer has been the same over the past couple of years: HBO. HBO has had the most generous swag bag from anyone else I have seen. Even if you are not a Game of Thrones or True Blood fan, you can’t help appreciate everything they give you. Typically you get: a shirt, journal, key chain, mouse pad, and a novel, all in a cool bag. The best part about the Game of Thrones bag is the variety of different houses- Stark, Baratheon, Lannister etc. So if you don’t get what you want, try to trade up. No studio has matched this level of generosity- but you never know what is planned. Warning though, this is a relatively heavy bag in comparison to other swag so take that into account as you are hauling your gear around. Good luck!

lous_swagbag2Both panels are expected to be packed with a line that would cross Westeros. If you want one of these bags, expect a long wait for them. The ‘Game of Thrones’ panel will pack the seats of Hall H on Friday, Jul. 19 at 2:50 p.m and ‘True Blood’ panel will be in Ballroom 20 at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday. If you con vets have some favorite swag to keep your eyes out for then let us know by commenting below!

Check out my past Tip of the Day posts.

2013 Top 10 Ways to Ruin Comic-Con 2013

Like Frodo and Sam on the way to Mordor, we have journeyed together to reach this point. We are on the precipice of the final 14 days. Every year, within the last 2 weeks of the con, I write the 3 biggest and most important posts of the year. Here is the first; After a year of planning and preparation, I believe their are a handful of things that can end up ruining your Comic-Con experience. Avoid these missteps and you will be well on your way to having a phenominal Comic-Con:

1. Not accounting for traffic or parking: Whether you are commuting in all four days or just coming in on Saturday, account for traffic and parking. The first year I went I almost spent an hour in downtown trying to get through traffic and find parking. In haste, I ended up up parking far away and had to walk across town. I was frustrated and already tired, not a good way to start the day. Plan an extra hour for traffic and parking. Your smartest move is to buy ACE Pre-Pay Parking. Hurry though, spots are limited.

hallh2. Lack of Planning: If you’re new to Comic-Con and don’t plan your entire day out to the hour, you will not have a very good time. Most other conventions you can wing it- not at SDCC. Other than the showroom floor, if you just try to spontaneously get into panels, you will literally not get into anything. It’s INCREDIBLY frustrating and demoralizing. In a follow up post, I’ll share about the best way to plan for panels.

3. Having the Wrong Bag: I know this doesn’t seem that important but if you have the wrong bag, it can really hinder you all day long. The WB swag bags, while spacious, do not protect your valuables. Make sure you have the right bag and poster tube to protect those valuable artist sketches, posters, and Exclusives.

4. Not Bringing Supplies: Navigating the Con is physically exhausting and there is no way of getting easy food. Sure there are a few vendors spread out but the lines may be too long to get food in time. You might literally be in line from 6:00 AM and not get out of a panel till middle of the afternoon. So extra food, snacks, and liquids are essential. If you are serious about Hall H, you will have to do some waiting outside and you may not have the luxury of the grassy knoll tents. I’ve been out there some years when it was blistering hot. The only way to survive it is to have a hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, etc. You might want to invest in one of those small pop up stools. Those heat induced headaches will end your day early. Besides having nice shoes that you can wear all day, make sure they are properly broken in and ready for the Con.

mophie-iphone-4-juice-pack-plus-cases-with-purple5. Running Out of Power: The Con is a black hole of power that will suck your phone dry. Because of the congested network, your phone spools all day long trying to find a signal. A single tweet could take up to an hour to go out. This means your phone will die much quicker. If your phone is dead, there is no way of finding your friends or maybe getting home. An external battery or charging case is your only hope.

6. Not Having Meds: Speaking of headaches, if you don’t bring a small pharmacy, you run the risk of getting knocked out by headache, flu, sore feet/knees, indigestion, etc… My Kryptonite is migraines. It’s the one thing that will immobilize me and ruin my day. Know your Kryptonite and have preventive measures.

7. Not Coordinating with Friends: If you have a diverse group of friends, there will be times when you will end up going solo in order to see what you want at Comic-Con. If you don’t make a plan to re-connect, you won’t see them for the rest of the day. Believe me, I know. There is always something else to distract you or your friends and you’ll end spending the con day by yourself- which sucks. Comic-Con is awesome but it’s much better enjoyed together.

Dollar paper plane8. Stressing Over Money: You are going to spend a lot of money at Comic-Con, so just accept that. Whether it’s comics, toys, or Comic-Con Exclusives, you are going to spend more than you thought you would. For those of you that fixate on getting the ‘best’ deal, you will drive yourself mad. As soon as you buy something, the next vender will have it for $2 cheaper. That’s okay. Efficiency and economy is low priority. So prepare yourself to let go of the penny pinching side of you.

9. Unrealistic Expectations: Comic-Con is a whirlwind of activity filled with many highs and lows. You WILL NOT see everything that you want. In fact you might miss a lot of things that you were hoping to see. You might not be able to get that exclusive you waited hours to get. That event you were hoping to attend might be sold out. Grumbling and complaining won’t help anyone. The higher your expectations, the greater the chance you will be disappointed. Comic-Con is a constant winning and losing battle. For most there are more wins than losses- and your expectations will help decide that.

Screen shot 2013-07-02 at 10.31.02 PM10. Nerd Rage: From the crowds, to waiting in line, to missing panels, it’s easy to develop serious nerd rage at Comic-Con. There are tons of things to complain about- and do enough of it and you will ruin your day. A bad attitude affects your friends as well as your fellow con-mate in line or in panels with you. You have everything you need to generate synthetic happiness even in the most dire circumstances. When you consider how many people were not able to make it to Comic-Con and if you relish in the fact that you are one of the fortunate few, it’s easier to let things roll off your back. Don’t sabotage your own happiness.

If you have ever let one of these ruin your day or if you have one of your own, please leave a comment. see you in two weeks!!!

SDCC 2013: One month and counting…

Screen shot 2013-06-17 at 6.40.05 AM*Scream* Can you believe it? The San Diego Comic-Con is only 1 month away! For some, this brings excitement and enthusiasm. For others, this realization is starting a panic attack that won’t be over for till Sunday afternoon of Comic-Con. You know Con season has kicked in when you are blabbing it to anyone who will listen (and some that are not). A month sounds like a long time but it will go by faster than the Flash. In this final month of preparations, here is my top 10 list to help you get ready for the big show:

1. Reservations/Cancellations
Make another check of all your plans. If you canceled badges/Hotel, make sure they have been returned $ to your credit card and you’re cleared away. Double check that your current badges/hotel reservations are confirmed. These are the two most important elements of your trip so don’t overlook them.

tcats2. Exclusives!
More and more companies are releasing their Comic-Con Exclusives for this year’s show. San Diego offers the largest collection of Exclusives than any other convention- no where else in the galaxy will you find a more wretched hive of geekiness and villainy. Whether you are a toy enthusiast or casual fan, this will be heaven for you (and hell on your wallet). AwesomeToyBlog has a great list to help you see the latest Exclusive treasures. Some of these will be harder to get than others, so make sure to account for it in your schedule planning. Follow Shawn aka: @The_Con_Fluence for more Exclusives info.

3. Outside Events
One of the biggest aspects that separates Comic-Con from the rest of the shows, are the amazing events, parties, and other smaller conventions that occur in the Gaslamp. In recent years, the quality and quantity have grown offering all kinds of nerdy options after hours at SDCC. These are great places to meet new friends and recap the day’s experience . Some of these events will range from the very specific like the SherlockDCC party to the general hang out like the Defective Geek Fan Mixer. Either way, you want to have a good idea of what’s going on what night so you can plan. Some are paid events so you want to make your purchases ASAP. Check out the Unofficial Comic-Con Blog for a great calendar of what’s going on. Follow @OutsideComicCon for more up to date news.

4. Sign up!
walkingdeadescapeFor some events you not only need to purchase tickets in advance but need to pick a time slot to participate. For instance, you might need to choose what day to survive the zombie apocalypse in The Walking Dead Escape. Or you may want to participate in the mini-con of Nerd HQ. In the past years, Nerd HQ has offered some great panels like Firefly and Doctor Who, but seats are very limited. You may also want to volunteer at Nerd HQ as well. For those sick and twisted individuals that want to add more mileage on your feet, there is a great Star Wars themed run that leads up to the show called Course for the Force. Much more happening but time/tickets are limited so don’t wait.

???????????????????????????????5. Cosplay
This is the make it or break it time for cosplayers. Besides time to build your costume, you need to account for shipping time for parts or materials ordered online. If you are an experienced cosplayer, you don’t need any advice from me. However, if you are new to the costume play, then make sure your outfit is done about a week before Comic-Con. You want to have time to play-test it for durability and comfort. One of the most important things you can do is assemble a ‘survival kit’ containing sewing thread, tape, glue, safety pins, etc, all in a handy pouch. You can ruin your cosplay experience with a blown seam or popped button. If you want to participate in the SDCC Masquerade on Saturday night, read up on details. There are plenty of great cosplayers to follow like @YayaHan @VampyBitMe and @Vamp

6. APP-ly yourself
Back in the early years of Comic-Con, all you had to help you was the Program Book, a compass, and a hunch. Now ‘con-going’ has changed because of the million Apps available for your smartphone. Whether it’s Zap-Kapow’s Guide to Comics or Autograph This, there are many Apps out there to make sure you are not caught unprepared. Check out my post on what Apps to download.

7. Checklist
The best way to prepare for SDCC is to make a check list. A good place to start is my recently posted: The Ultimate Checklist for SDCC. General rule of thumb: ‘Bring half of what you think you need and twice as much money” 🙂

8. Nerd wear
image-tsstrwrsdvcstjr-primary-shswatermarkYou should be circling in on your outer geekery for the week of Comic-Con. San Diego weather will vary from very hot to mildly cool. Keep in mind that regardless of the outside temperature, the panel rooms like Hall H are kept very cool. At the beginning of the day, it is like a meat locker in rooms like Ballroom 20. So you may want to have a nerdy light hoodie packed in your bag. Even though you aren’t doing cosplay, SDCC is the ‘Project Runway’ of the nerd world and a chance for you to express yourself. One of the best ‘brick & mortar’ stores to get nerd themed Tees, hoodies, and accessories is Hot Topics. A couple of my favorite online stores are Superhero Stuff and Stylin Online. Remember, it will take a couple of weeks to get your nerd swag in the mail so order right away!

9. Twitter
Finally, make sure to you are following the right folks into Comic-Con. Some of my favorites are: @SDCCNerdsAttack@TheNerdyGirlie, @Evico, and @SD_Comic_Con.

10. Helpful links
Read other helpful posts with my Tip of the Day. If you are new to Comic-Con, read about fans ‘First Time’ experiences to get an idea of what to expect.

2013 Comic-Con Tip #6: Who’s Got Your Back?

Screen shot 2013-05-06 at 10.32.18 PMFor this week’s tip, we’re going to be talking about something simple but can still have a big impact on your Comic-Con experience- your backpack. I know what you are thinking, “what’s the big deal? Just find a comfortable one and go- right?” Well, there is actually more to it than grabbing your pack from college and covering it with the latest nerd swag. During the grueling 4-days in San Diego, there is no companion more faithful to you than your backpack. It will be there for you during the good times and bad- it will never leave you or forsake you. Besides carrying your prized SDCC Exclusives, it will also be filled with much needed food, water, and other con supplies that might make the difference between life and death (ok, not really death but how about a really bad day). Here are a few tips to consider when choosing a carrying companion.

warner-bros-comic-con-tote-bagsWB Swag Bags
Upon entrance to the show, you will be given one of the exclusive Warner Bros Swag bags. A time honored tradition and a visual reminder that you are in the happiest place on Earth. The various bags, advertising WB/DCs properties, are collected, traded and converted during the 4-days. However, as awesome as these bags are, they are not ideal to carrying around during the show. Designed for you to be a walking billboard, these giant bags are really more for show than functionality. With the exception of the poster sleeve, there are no compartments so everything just pools at the bottom of the bags. Another drawback is unless you are around 5 1/2 ft tall or above, they have a tendency to drag on the ground unless you start modifying the strap. A few years ago, WB made the bags convertible to a backpack (pictured above) which was really cool. Overall, I love these bags and they have become a signature of the show. However, I would not rely on them to be the workhorse for you during SDCC.

xnintendo-reversible-messenger-bag.jpeg.pagespeed.ic.KE85Wdc_unSide Satchel
I used to be a hardcore backpack guy but I have been able to reduce my ‘attendee footprint’ over the years. I pre-print the schedule or use my smart phone so I don’t carry the program book. I also don’t collect much of the swag- most of it get’s tossed anyways. So the space I need is just for food, water, and some basic survival stuff (which I’ll post later). Because of this, I go with the ‘man-satchel’. The problem I have with the backpack is that in order to access it while walking, you have to sling it off your back, hold it with one hand, or drop to the ground. When you are in a PACKED showroom, that is just not possible. I like being able to reach down and grab my camera or a granola bar quickly and easily. Plus, since it can shift side-to-side I can squeeze through tight spaces. If you are only carrying a moderate amount of supplies, not buying a lot, and fashion is a priority, then go with the satchel.

Screen shot 2013-05-06 at 10.30.45 PMBackpack
We are all pretty familiar with the traditional backpack- none of us would have graduated college without it. They come in all shapes and sizes- range from the the cute and plushy to the functional and all purpose. I would definitely encourage you to use a backpack if:

  • You are carrying a lot of tech like a laptop, iPad, extended batteries, etc.
  • If you are prone to being cold, you will need one to stuff extra clothing layers in.
  • If you need extra space for food and water
  • Buying a lot of larger items like toys and you have no place to store them.

Remember, something cute like R2 here won’t be feeling cute by the 3rd day. You may want to have something with more functionality and options.

Screen shot 2013-05-07 at 6.57.26 AMThere are a few things to consider when choosing a backpack for SDCC. First, ask yourself what you will be accessing the most. Make sure you have an easy way to get to them so you’re not having to drop and unzip every pocket. For me, I like to have food and water where I can reach it quickly, so having a side pocket would be critical. If tech is your highest priority, get a tech designed bag. You don’t want your tech and food to be in the same compartment. Plus, there are ‘external battery’ backpacks that can be used to charge your tech (pictured left). A must for heavy bloggers. You never know what the weather will be like so you may want to get a waterproof bag just just in case. Regardless of your backpack of choice, remember your ‘backpack ettiquittte’- The WORST is getting the backpack ‘body slam’. The is when a fully loaded attendee turns and unknowingly slams into you with his pack. It unintentionally happens a lot. A backpack can extend a full foot backwards so you have to be careful when weaving in and out of the crowds.

I know this is a lot to consider for just what bag you are carrying at a convention. It seems a little overly-complicated- believe me, it’s important. For those veterans of the show, we know that what you carry and how you carry it will make a big difference. Like I said, it’s your closest companion during the show. The right bag will either weigh you down or assist you in a dire moment. I posted this 2 months out to give you time to shop around and try out some options. For you con vets, what is your bag of choice? Leave a comment and let me know. See you in 2 months!

20 Honest Things About Me… Be Gentle

IMG_8752

We are on the eve of the Comic-Con madness. Starting on Thursday, the SDCC schedule will appear online marking the final two week countdown until the greatest show on Earth! As my 6th year blogging about con culture, I’ve received a number of random questions and made me realize  that as much as I post about my passions, I haven’t shared that much about myself personally. So here are 20 things about me with a few questions from you.

1. What’s the first TV Show/Movie you became obsessed with? [@uncledarryl37 & @0sunny0]

Easy. Star Trek: The Original Series! While all my friends were running around with lightsabers and blasters, I had a phaser and tricorder. If you were a young Trekkie like me, you know that means you were a next level nerd among nerdom- like real inception level stuff. The exploration, diversity and curiosity of Star Trek captured my imagination as a child and shaped me as an adult. It will always be my first love along side DC Comics.

2. Whats the most embarrassing thing you have ever done? 

FullSizeRenderA few years ago, I was moderating a panel at Comikaze Expo with @BlackNerd, @VampyBitMe@GeekPinata and @MisfitsTamara. I began my intro welcoming everyone and attempted to get the audience all fired up. In my enthusiasm, my chair slipped off the back of the stage, sending me  tumbling onto some sound equipment on the floor. I survived but gashed my leg open- but more importantly, I was able to recover for the panel. The crowd and I had a good laugh about it but I am now super paranoid every time I go up on stage. That is just the start, I’m pretty good at looking dumb. Looking like a fool is not the worst thing that will ever happen to you. It creates great memories and pushes you to change.

3. What is your favorite scene from any DC movie? [@batfanjordanv]

My favorite superhero movie of all time is the Christopher Reeve Superman. The wonder, magic, and optimism of it is unmatched in my opinion. Especially when you consider the technical and cultural limitations, Superman achieve their goal of making us believe a man can fly. So I would have to say the Lois/helicopter rescue sequence is my favorite all time scene.

4. Relationship status?

There is a Mrs Crazy4ComicCon. We’ve been married for some time now and I love her more everyday. We met when I was an Art Director at a software company and I hired her to be my design intern. She was charming, smart, talented and of course, hot. We met, dated, were engaged and got married all under a year! When you know you know. She isn’t a nerd like me but supports my addiction. We do however share a lot of similar passions and I am grateful to be blessed with someone like her.

5. What’s your guilty pleasure during SDCC? [@sctdaigle]

While I have loved all the big experiences over the years like the TRON offsite, the first appearance of the Avengers in Hall H and filming videos all day at Comic-Con, my interests have changed a lot. Honestly, my favorite thing in the world is meeting you all, the readers, at Comic-Con. The fact that anyone is remotely touched by anything I blog or tweet about still blows my mind. Hearing your stories, difficult journeys and steps of faith is the best part of the Comic-Con experience. Regardless of my future endeavors, I don’t think that will ever change for me. You all are my heroes and I love be able to meet in person.

6. Do you have a strange or interesting talent? (Pull cars w/your teeth, closet contortionist, fire eating? 😊) [@amlehr]

This isn’t really a talent, but what very few people know about me is that I am ordained. That’s right, I can marry people! So I am still waiting to perform my first wedding at Comic-Con ;). Faith has been an important part of my journey. Not the rules or weird parts but the acceptance of all people and the role of ‘destiny’ in our lives. I find it comforting believing that their is a cosmic plan in motion and that we each have an important purpose in this world.

7. Favorite place to chill at #SDCC [

The Tin Fish right in front of the convention center. Every year, my friends and I have a tradition to eat lunch there before the show begins on Wednesday. I love basking in the pre-con buzz and preparing for the week ahead. The Broken Yolk is my favorite breakfast place and I try to start as many mornings as possible there. This year I will be at the Marriott Marquis for the first time, so I will probably be chilling in the lobby late at night.

8. What’s the craziest thing you’ve done for one of your fandoms? [@ethne88]

IMG_4265It was asking Matt Smith to sign my WB Swag Bag jacket in Hall H for his last appearance as the Doctor a few years ago. I did get some heat over it for making a personal request but part of fandom is taking risks and making memories. It ended up being one of the most shared photos by the BBC that year. As a result, his publicists remembered me from that experience and enjoyed watching me host the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Fan panel at Austin Comic Con shortly after that. Having confidence in me, that directly led me to host Matt at New Orleans Comic Con a few months later. Matt and I had a good laugh over that jacket moment. You never know what taking a risk will lead to. Fortune favors the foolish.

9. How many cons do you attend on average in a year? [@stardust1006]

Probably about 10-12 a year. I am very grateful for shows like Wizard World that has had faith in me as a moderator and assisting their program team. I have so enjoyed interacting with fandom from all across the nation and have become a better geek as a result. @Cmjansen, I owe a lot to you and appreciate all the opportunities you and the team have given me. I don’t know how long I can keep up this pace but will enjoy it as long as I can bring value to the con community.

10. What are you passionate about besides Comic-Con?

When I’m not going to cons or tweeting/blogging about them, I’m am also an advocate for foster kids in Orange County. My wife and I adopted two beautiful kids through social services and we have fostered a few more in between. The stories of foster kids are very similar to the stories we find in many comic books. Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, Luke Sky Walker, and Harry Potter were all kids that either were orphaned or separated from their parents. There is nothing more vulnerable than a child without loving parents. I have made it my life mission to help children at risk and support other foster parents. It’s been the hardest thing we have ever done. A lot of tears, a lot of worries and a lot of pain- but it has also been the most rewarding. This is the main reason why I have rarely blogged or shared about my kids. There is a lot of privacy and safety issues when it comes to kids in social services so for their sake, I have to keep that part of my life on the down-low. However, if you ever have questions about it, let me know directly through e-mail and I would be happy to share my story.

11. If you could be transported and intergrated into any fictional universe (comic/movie/tv), which would it be? [@offbeat_lindsey]

p025wvg8It would have to be Doctor Who and I would have to be the Time Lord himself. The ability to travel to the past or future and across all dimensions- how awesome would that be? Plus I love the fact that the Doctor is not a brute force for his own agenda. He is a diplomat and sees the beauty in all things. But, in the most dire of circumstances, he can make the tough call for the greater good. I am so happy for what Doctor Who has brought to con fandom and how it has changed the culture. Plus, an Asian Doctor…

12. What’s your guilty fandom? [@AngusMaximus]

I love HBO’s Entourage. I know it’s super testosterone ‘bro’ life but there is something so endearing about their friendships. I wouldn’t want to live their life but there is something satisfying about living in the chaos and sacrificing for the sake of art. Oh, I can watch Pitch Perfect on endless repeat.

13. What’s something you failed at?

In 2010, I was cast in Morgan Spurlock’s Episode IV: A fans Hope documentary about Comic-Con! After over a week of filming at my home, work and all week in San Diego, I was left on the cutting room floor. Guess I wasn’t interesting enough. I found out when I was sent the coffee table book about the documentary and I realized I was left out of the cast page- that hurt. No one called or explained, just cut. But what came out of it I could have never predicted. In an effort to show my passion for Comic-Con to the producers of the doc, I started this blog. While the film didn’t work out, I discovered I was crazy for Comic-Con and continued on blogging! If it wasn’t for that epic failure I would not have had this chance to interact with you all. Failures suck but there is something always greater on the other side of it. I still haven’t watch it.

14. Your favorite Comic-Con moment or celebrity encounter?

10LIONSGATEjp-master1050I worked full time for a couple of years for Comic-Con International through the 2011 and 2012 shows. During that time I saw all kinds of amazing and crazy things. One time I had to spoon Tailor Lautner (story for another time) and I have been in counseling ever since 😉 The best experience I ever had was being Conan O’brien’s liaison for the day. It was surreal, exhilarating and so much fun. Out of all the crazy celebs I have met or worked with over the years, Conan was the most kindest and social aware out of all of them. He was the only one that at the end of the day, personally thanked everyone that helped him. He embraced me and said “Today, we are now blood brothers!”. It helped wash some of the Lautner’s residue off me.

15. Cats or dogs?

My favorite is a Bilgesnipe. You know, huge, scaly, big antlers and from Asgard. No? In that case, I take dogs. I love my Maltese/Shih Tzu mix named Bitty.

16. Of all your pet-peeves, which is the strangest?

I can’t stand it when people say ‘So without further adieu..’. Related to that, I can’t stand when panels are poorly moderated. I’ve sat through too many panels, from big to small, with hosts that were just awful. This is the main reason I started moderating in the first place. Believe me that I am far from great and I make mistakes all the time (like falling off the stage). But I take it seriously and try to get better every time I take the mic. To have a chance to speak in front of a captive audience is a sacred thing to me. It’s a huge opportunity and I will take it with the utmost respect as long as I have the opportunity. Oh, remind me to tell you of the time I announced the wrong winner of an award, at an awards show…

17. Describe your first kiss.

In the back of a gross dollar movie theater watching Karate Kid. Wax on, wax off.

18. What is the one thing you want people to take away from this site?

star-wars-the-force-awakens-daisy-ridley-bb-8It’s my recent message about Finding your Mission. That really is it for me. I enjoy providing con tips and breaking news about Exclusives, but most of all, I want fans to find their geek purpose in life. Not to sound cheesy, but we will all blink and find ourselves 80 years old someday. Do you want to have a life of regret? I want you all to try crazy things, break rules, create art, connect people and change culture. Disrupt the status quo and be daring! That’s why I love Comic-Con fandom. It’s about a community of people who are creative and love trying new things- and getting others to do the same. The greatest compliment anyone has ever said to me is “I tried this new thing because of you”. When I stop inspiring change, this blog will cease the exist.

19. Margot Robbie or Jessica Alba?… (@Comic_Con_Kook)

Like if God can create a rock that even He can’t lift, that is an unanswerable question.

20. What is your current real-life job? [@Tudec]

4618671983_5b786d1dafFunny you should ask. I recently left my marketing position to take a new big leap of faith for my future. I’m putting everything on the line for this one and it could epically fail. Like it keeps me up at night. However, I have to try and I am super excited to share my new endeavor with you. I’m really nervous about it but also have the peace of mind knowing that this is my calling for the foreseeable future. I plan on revealing my master plan this Wednesday morning so stay tuned. So without further adieu..

I hope you enjoyed these 20 things about me. Please leave a comment about what resonated with you and what you liked or learned about me. I hope to learn some stuff about you at Comic-Con too!

My Mission for Comic-Con

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It might surprise you what the most successful post at Crazy 4 Comic Con was this past year. It wasn’t how to buy badges, my hotel suggestions, or even how to get into Hall H. Surprisingly, it was my article called ‘The Mission‘, where I talked about pursuing a passionate purpose at Comic-Con. From clicks, to shares, to comments and e-mails, I have been super touched that so many of you were challenged by this post and took it to heart. However, I felt like this message was not only important to write about but to live it out as well. So I am here to share my ‘mission’ for Comic-Con 2015.

dw011First, I want to say thank you for journeying with me over the years with not only Crazy 4 Comic Con, but my various cosplay projects. Whether it was the Doctor Swag Bag of 2013 or Jedi Swag Bag of 2014, you all inspired me to do something weird, creative and to take risks at Comic-Con. This exploration was a meaningful one for me and the designer I worked with, Michael Lew. Over the past couple of years, I’ve introduced him to the world of geekdom and Comic-Con while he has educated me in the world of men’s fashion. This led us down a path for this year.

Second, geek fashion overall has changed and evolved quite a bit. I’ve been particularly amazed with the growth of geek girl fashion companies like Her Universe, Black Milk, and Gold Bubble. It’s really awesome that fellow nerd gals have more option than just wearing a dudes black t-shirt that is two sizes too big. However, while the men’s geeky-T has laid the foundation of pop culture, I have also noticed a real stagnation when it comes to options today. Many of us have been fans for decades- ever since Star Wars had no episodes, when there was just a 5 year voyage, and the only Hasbro movies that existed were in our own imaginations. Since that time, we have grown up, and with that, a more evolved sensibilities when it comes to fashion. Sure a black tee with a logo is fine for a night of D&D or trip to the comic shop. But what about going to a movie premiere, heading into the office, or going out for a nice dinner with someone special? What options do we really have? Our nerdy passions matters but so does fashion too. Today’s geeky guy can be sophisticated, mature, and fashion-forward, as well as proud to be a fan AND want represent fandom. So months ago Michael and I started collaborating on this project.

Screen Shot 2015-07-06 at 2.38.33 AM Hero Within Draft

My goal was to design a casual sport coat that not only looked good and was functional, but reflected the vision of the brand: “Outward style to reflect the inner hero“. Thus was born…

HERO woven labels photo

The Hero Within Collection will be a series of mens sport coats designed with three purposes in mind:

  • Sophisticated design and style
  • A bold statement of fandom
  • Designed to be functional at comic-cons

Hero Within NavyThe design possibilities were endless. However, if you have read my story, you would know that Superman has had a profound impact on my life. Much of who I am today has been shaped by early Superman comics and the Christopher Reeves movies. So I knew that the Man of Steel would be the subject of our first design. Once we finalized on the cut of the suit, the specs were sent off to men’s tailoring factoring in China. This is not a hand-made suit but one that can be created in mass quantities overseas. The super S logo and accessories were hand done but that can all be manufactured if needed. Here is the prototype:

OL100472-1 FullSizeRender

Next are some of the smaller details like the Man of Steel cufflinks and lapel pins

 Screen Shot 2015-07-06 at 3.22.43 AM

The interior was designed with comic cons in mind with 9 pockets to carry your phone, extra battery, business cards, note pad, and even a full size iPad mini!

OL100567 OL100562 OL100556

My mission at Comic-Con is to pitch the Hero Within Collection and hopefully find someone that would want to help pioneer this brand with us. Since the WB/DC licensing is a big part, we would have to find a company that currently has or is able to secure the license for the Superman logo. So I will be spending my time casting the vision to anyone that would be interested in this. Some may see this as a foolish adventure, but I have to practice what I preach. If I don’t dream big and take risks, I’ll never know if this could be a reality. Men, it is time that we take another big evolutionary fashion step for geek culture. I think we deserve better and the time has come to where our outward style reflects our inner hero… but I need help.

IMG_8095This is where you come in. Since we have walked this journey together over the years, I am asking for your help to get this story into the hands of anyone that might be interested. One of the biggest lessons I have learned is to never underestimate the power of the tribe. Alone, I can do very little. Together, we can accomplish a lot. Over this week, tweet this, share it, and keep me in mind when talking with your friends, exhibitors, and professionals. The power of Comic-Con relationships can start new businesses and forge new futures. E-mail me (Crazy4ComicCon at Hotmail dot com) or Tweet at me during the show if you can help. To the right is a picture of Michael and I when we were at WonderCon in April. We went to the Her Universe Panel and I showed him around the con. We brainstormed, dreamed and eventually birthed Hero Within. Michael has designed many successful mens fashion lines over the decades and the only thing eclipses his talent is his heart to do good and help others. I am proud to partner up with him on this crazy endeavor. Check out his company Faces Apparel.

Let’s do this! Who is with me!

 

 

Samantha’s First Time…

Here is another amazing ‘First Time’ story from Samantha! I love hearing about the joy and passion that SDCC brings and it helps remind us of the significance of what 4 simple days in San Diego can be. Here’s her story!

FirstPreviewNightIn 2013 I made perhaps the most sought after nerd journey to San Diego in July for Comic-con. I was looking forward to seeing some cool famous people, and attending several off sight events, like Nerd HQ. I waited in line overnight for Ballroom 20 on Wednesday and a nice man next to me bought be a soda from the Subway across the train tracks. This sounds like a romantic comedy, but I feel that is accurate. SDCC is about love. I felt love in B20 that day. I cried when Matt Smith spoke. I screamed with hundreds of adoring fans for the cast of Teen Wolf, and I rolled my eyes heartily at some less than stellar pilots. It was amazing.

On Thursday night, I camped out for the Adventure Time panel in the Indigo Ballroom. I highly recommend this, as you can sleep inside (though this is not “encouraged” by the hotel staff). The panel was wonderful. We all sang and cried our way through “I Remember You” with Rebecca Sugar, and the cast did a table read of a short skit. It was all very funny.

EndersGameExhibitThe day to day of SDCC is just so different from the rest of the year, and it’s delightful. I remember becoming accustomed to seeing Batman walking out of Starbucks with a latte and a bagel, how else would he start his day? The sheer scope of the exhibit hall takes me by surprise every time. Finding ways to walk around and not lose pieces of my cosplay outfit is one of the most enjoyable challenges I have ever faced. People referred to me as Ramona Flowers for a day and that was quite fun. I remember a nice woman telling me I had the best pink hair she had seen at the convention. I felt that was high praise.

The panels and the celebrities I got to see were great, but the thing I carried with me most out of that first comic-con was the feeling of acceptance (and free swag). I, like many others I am sure, feel truly at home in a convention setting. I feel that the most at SDCC for many reasons. In the bonds of friendship I make and strengthen, in the character building that comes from sleeping outdoors on concrete next to a train that makes loud noises every 15 minutes or so, and from the feeling that fantasy can be real at SDCC. It may only be 5 days out of a year, but those 5 days meant so much to me in 2013, as they did in 2014, and will again this year!

Me&HiddlesThat year was just the first in what I hope will be a long line of SDCC experiences. I moved to San Diego in part because I wanted to be closer to the convention. That may sound crazy to some, but as I said already, in many ways SDCC is home.

You can follow Samantha at @SamanthaMaybe. Check out more First Time stories and if you want to contribute, read this post and send it in!

Why I Quit the San Diego Comic-Con Unofficial Blog Last Year

**Updated 8-15-14: Additions at the bottom of post**

Screen Shot 2014-08-10 at 4.01.51 PMNow that Comic-Con is over, I feel it is time for me to share my perspective about the San Diego Comic-Con Unofficial Blog site (@SD_Comic_Con). When Sarah of the ConShark.com announced on Sunday morning of Comic-Con that she resigned from the team for ‘ethical reasons’ involving dishonesty and breaking Hall H line policy, I realized that was the final confirmation I needed. Many of you may have made the assumption that those that blog about Comic-Con are one big happy family, unfortunately that is not the case. Those of you that have been paying attention may have noticed tension and negativity from them towards me and my site over this past year. They have made snide remarks and accusations towards me over Twitter but I have chosen to stay quiet on it. In Sarah’s case, I think it’s safe to assume this wasn’t an isolated incident for her but a straw that broke the camels back. Well it’s time to tell my story.

About 18 months ago, the newly appointed Editor-in-Chief, Jeremy Rutz, asked me to join the newly formed blog team. Over a few months, we brainstormed, collaborated, and dreamed of the future. Then in the dead of winter, Jeremy chose to post a an article about Comic-Con International’s financial information. I felt the article made assumptions and insinuated questionable practices just because of the big numbers involved. More importantly, it felt like the blog site was trying to pick a fight with CCI for no reason. We were doing it to just to get attention. Since I was privy to way more information than him, I asked him to consider pulling or at least temper it- which he refused. I thought it was in poor taste but fine- it’s just a difference of opinion. Then we made a move into advertising and plastering ads all over the site with now the focus becoming about generating traffic. So again, I talked Jeremy about this and he made it very clear that we are going to monetize this with and the focus was going to be on gaining numbers. I didn’t like it because it took our focus off of the fans but I stuck with it. I have nothing against advertising, but the focus to me changed at that point from fans to attracting clicks. Then came the criticism from Jeremy about my own site, that I was spending too much time on it and wasn’t giving the SDCC Blog site enough of my attention- which also led to monitoring my tweets and my updates. Our agreement was I would operate my site as normal and post when I could to their site. After some more troubling conversation with Jeremy, it was clear his intention was for my site (and others) to go away leaving the giant conglomeration of the SDCC Blog site dominating the space. I was not down for that. In my core, I want as many people to launch their own site and write about their love for Comic-Con- and I want to inspire them to do so. I had no interest in becoming an empire and stomping out the ‘little guys’. So because of taking a negative posture with CCI, a focus on traffic over fans, and a desire to build an empire, I knew it was time to leave just after a few months. Our departure was amicable and I thought that would be the end of the drama and I started to focus on covering Comic-Con 2013 on my own.

Since that time, it’s been very clear they have no love for me. They have attempted to sour my relationship with CCI and have regularly fired Twitter negativity about me for no reason like this:

SD-Comic_Con copy

As well as take aggressive actions against me like starting my own fake Facebook and Google+ accounts- with the purpose of sitting on my Crazy4ComicCon brand while driving traffic to their own site (screencaps below). Go ahead and visit the pages and see where all the links go to.

Screen shot 2014-07-29 at 9.53.14 PM Screen shot 2014-07-29 at 9.56.39 PM

In the midst of all this, I have not said one negative thing publicly about the SDCC blog. Even in the midst of being under fire, I just politely asked to keep it respectful. I even made sure to plug and promote them as you can see from a tweet this past May:

Screen shot 2014-07-31 at 7.12.43 AMScreen shot 2014-07-29 at 9.58.47 PM

Some of you have noticed the negativity aimed at me and have asked me why all the hate? I kept reasons confidential not wanting to start a war and detract from the show. I believed in taking the high road and continued to the best I could. However, even yesterday, when I reported the ConShark’s newly posted article, this is what Jeremy fired off (he deleted after this post):

Screen shot 2014-07-29 at 9.57.44 PM

It was a VERY interesting article about their site’s Hall H unethical practices- no question there but clearly a very defensive Jeremy has not recognized my support of their site. Truth is, because I walked away from them and have a little following, they see me as a threat. I don’t feel the same way and I think the service they provide is good (or at least was). After all this, I was still willing to put all this pettiness aside. As I stated numerous times, this behavior doesn’t serve the fans nor inspire future Comic-Con writers and I was willing to let it all go because I’m not in this like it’s something to win. Well that all changed with the ConShark’s announcement of her leaving the team.

You see, when the Comic-Con fans suffer, then I can no longer can stand aside and let it go unchecked. The NUMBER ONE complaint and overwhelming concern from 2013 and 2014 was the challenge of the Hall H line. THE NUMBER ONE COMPLAINT. More than Exclusives, autographs, hotels- it was how to fix Hall H. Well Comic-Con provided an opportunity to make real progress with their new Wristband/Line system they announced just prior to the show. There were some initial grumbling and complaining which is why I wrote a post stating that the only way this will work is if we ALL FOLLOW THE RULES. It’s the only way CCI can accurately assess and make adjustments for next year. Jeremy and company’s disregard of that has now sabotaged the very thing we all needed to be fixed. I get that we all make mistakes- a rage tweet or an impulsive decision, I get it. However, when you conspire to form an unofficial line, reward others with swag for doing the same, pressure staff to change rules, and ask your team to lie about it- that is different. They are recognized press by Comic-Con for the sole purpose of reporting truthful Comic-Con news. Jeremy’s premeditated and systematized deviant behavior negatively impacted fans and our future Hall H experience. They had an obligation to report the truth and instead withheld information and asked their team to do the same. For an average attendee, maybe it’s no big deal- but for the industry leader, they should have done otherwise. There are now 150+ less of you that did not get into Hall H because of him. I walked the line of Hall H that same night and other attendees noticed this unofficial line forming and naturally blamed Comic-Con for it. Here is an excerpt from a longer podcast I posted in my Podcast section:

If CCI had granted the SDCC Blog special access into Hall H for coverage, I would have been fine with that. Then it’s accounted for and I would trust CCI’s judgement call on it. People get special access all the time- no big deal. But instead, the SDCC Blog took the initiative and exploited a vulnerable part of an experimental system. Because of the ConShark’s courageous act, they got caught. As you can see from the comment section of the post, Jeremy takes no responsibility, blames her for not communicating, blames security for being wrong, and chalks it up to a big misunderstanding. Even though he is arguably the single most influential source for Comic-Con news, his last comment on the post included this:

Next time we’ll just tweet out every unsanctioned line that forms, screw over folks who started them and invested their time, cause a situation for security to deal with and get CCI to hate us. I guess then everyone will be happy.”

Sounds pretty remorseful right? The reason I am now choosing to be vocal about this is three reasons; First, where there is smoke there is usually fire. When two ex-team members come out to say there are unethical practices and mean spirited behavior at the core of their site then you all need to know. Secondly, I don’t want any aspiring creators or writers to follow their example. Doing good and being good matters in this world- especially if you have a large platform. So the last thing I would want is for any young and impressionable con writer to think that this sort of behavior is excused by the rest of us bloggers. I also don’t want anyone to think CCI is at fault. Third, I’ve felt bullied by them and I don’t want anyone else to feel the same.

No doubt this post will have Jeremy deflecting towards circumstantial and environmental reasons as he has already attempted to in the ConShark post. He’ll blame everyone except for himself. He will then turn his efforts to discredit me with petty stories of a rogue autograph, crediting photos, and being all in this for the fame. But nothing will change the fact that he lied, he conspired to lie, asked team members to lie, and lied to you all. Is this blowing it out of proportion over a line? If you saved up a lot of money, traveled long distances, and camped out over night in Hall H- then it does matter. I am going to believe in the best in the rest of his team like Shawn and Kerry and believe that they are probably innocent in all this. The question will be what will they do in the future and will they be next to write a post like this or like the ConShark’s?

The biggest victim in all this is you all. I am sorry to include you in all this drama. We should be one big happy family- I would love that. I have a great relationship with other fellow con writers and I believe together we are better. It’s unfortunate you have to hear any negativity come from anyone about anybody. I hope this is short lived so you can get the very best content for the next upcoming convention.

Jeremy wants me and Crazy4ComicCon out of the picture because of my position in the blog-o-sphere is taking dollars away from their site and for me breaking up with him over a year ago. He has made that clear to me and others. I have even more information that I will spare unless deemed necessary. Despite all this, I’ve never had more resolve to stay in this space and I look forward to serving you the best I can with truth and honesty. Ironically, the SDCC Unofficial Blog Twitter bio says they are ‘not filtered and not biased’, well in this incident with Hall H, we can conclude that they were anything but that.

Comment, like, follow, unfollow, it’s totally your decision- no judgement here. I just want you to know the truth of what’s going on. The person to follow is Sarah at @ConSharkNews of the ConShark. It’s bravery like hers that inspire change and calls out wrong doing.

—————————————–

Updated 11:23a:
SDCC U Blog 2nd in command, James, tweeted this at me later in the day (and he deleted after this post). Clearly still avoiding responsibility. Also note his accusatory remarks in the comment section below:

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Updated 12:18p:
This comment for the ConShark site confirms the claims:

ConShark Comment

Updated at 4:34p:
Now the SDCC Blog Facebook page is trying to blame me for the WB Swag Bag shortage at the show! (they deleted after this post)
Screen Shot 2014-07-30 at 4.34.09 PM

For the record, I receive the bags directly from WB that are designated for promotion purposes, so it doesn’t impact inventory at the show. Fortunately, no one on the post thought this was a reasonable perspective and his bias against me is very clear.

Update 7.31.14 7:39a:
What saddens me is that as the San Diego Comic-Con Unofficial Blog, their first love doesn’t seem to be the San Diego Comic-Con. Here’s an excerpt from their 7.17 podcast about Nerd HQ:

Update 7.31.14 9:32a:
You can follow the thread discussion on this topic in the FriendsofCCI Forum

Update 7.31.14 10:58a:
Awesome friends and fans of the site started the #BlameTony hashtag blaming me for everything that went wrong with Comic-Con. It was a little ray of sunshine in this unfortunate mess. Thank you all for your fun tweets.

Update 8.15.14 5:00p:
Jeremy resigned as Editor-in-Chief and is no longer writing for the blog. His statement says it is for personal reasons.

My Favorite Part of Comic-Con and My Schedule

comic-conWell, can you believe it?  It’s finally here. After all the waiting, stressing, registering, buying, scouting, crafting, researching, tweeting, posting, and stressing some more, Comic-Con has finally arrived! These final 24 hours is a little surreal to me since it seems like the 2013 show was both a long time ago and just yesterday. I don’t know about you but always have trouble sleeping the final few days before the show- mainly because of a mixture of excitement, anxiousness, with a dash of stress. Yes, even after all these years. That’s one of the reasons why I love it so much. Even though this is my 9th year, the awe, wonder, and amazement is still like the first. However one thing has significantly changed over the years. Early on, nothing was better than seeing the Avengers cast, running the Walking Dead Escape, meeting Stan Lee, or experiencing the rest of the endless hype. While all those parts are awesome and will continue to be awesome, I have found something else more rewarding- meeting you all.

IMG_2316Over the years, hearing and reading your SDCC stories has really been an inspiration to me. It’s amazing to me how so many strangers, that live worlds apart, can have such a connection during a brief 4 day event. I think it’s because many of us share what it is like to feel the constraints of living in the Matrix while secretly fighting the nerd battles throughout the internet. Comic-Con is that time where we can all come out from behind our avatars and make real human connections. Don’t get me wrong, I love all the hype that Comic-Con brings, but I love reuniting and making new friends. Comic-Con is different than other shows. We all have to work so hard to make this happen that when we are finally there, it’s like a 4-day collective sigh of relief. I know it’s still stressful and exhausting, but I hope you make margins in your busy schedules to connect with fellow fans. Whenever someone stops me to say they have enjoyed my site or a specific post- it is music to my ears. The fear of any writer is that their work falls into a black hole, unnoticed or not appreciated. So I am grateful for your kind words, feedback, and suggestions. My intention is not to make this site about me but about us. Our first time, our tips, our challenges, and our victories. One of my favorite quotes says: ‘You can go faster alone, but you can go farther together’. So I hope this year, you take advantage of making significant connections with those around you. If you have a group, go deep. If you are going alone, take a chance. The best Comic-Con Exclusive money can’t buy are new friendships. I’m looking forward to making some new friends this week, please stop me and say hello. Here is my cosplay and event schedule below:

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Cosplay
I’ll be debuting my new Luke Skywalker RotJ swag bag suit on Thursday and Saturday. The Doctor Who swag bag suit from last year will return on Friday. While not in cosplay, I will be wearing my custom themed nerdy shirts.

Events
Thursday: Her Universe Fashion Show and the Nerd HQ Fan Party
Friday: The Walking Dead Escape (6:30), Warner Bros Rooftop Party, SherlockeDCC Party, and The Last Ship
Saturday: (tentative to Hall H status)
Sunday: The Battle for Multicultural Heroes panel and Agents of SHIELD Fan Meet Up
Check out a full listing of the Offsite Events.

Eats
Breakfast: Broken Yolk Cafe
Lunch: Tin Fish
Dinner: Bolillo Tortas

Hope to see ya this week and have a nerdtastic show!

My Cosplay the San Diego Comic-Con 2014

Here it is! My cosplay reveal for Comic-Con! For this year’s theme, I took the new Warner Bros Bags- specifically these DC properties to create my cosplay!

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wb-arrowwb-constantinewb-flashwb-gotham

I designed my costume after my favorite sci-fi childhood hero, the Return of the Jedi: Luke Skywalker outfit (pic at very bottom). His all black suit was simple and elegant- a perfect swag bag canvas. So here it is…A long time ago, in a Comic-Con far, far away…

Jedi01

Jedi03

Jedi04

Jedi02

Jedi06

Jedi05

CI_67831_1346466670Special thanks to my Jedi Master and friend, Michael Lew of Faces Apparel for his amazing crafting skills. This may have been my idea, but Michael’s magic is what made this project possible. Not only is he a great guy, but his organization empowers migrant clothes industry workers all throughout Asia with fair wages, healthy conditions, and skills training. Special thanks to my friend Kyle for the great pics too!

Check out last year’s Doctor Who Bag design too! Well, let me know what you think and I hope to see you this week!

2014 Tip of the Day #19: The Cosplay Survival Kit

DW14The biggest thing that sets comic conventions apart from any other conventions are the cosplayers. Coming in all shapes and sizes, they span every genre from the beginning of time to the farthest point in the future. For Comic-Con, cosplaying is a way for the fans to be intricately involved in the experience of the show. Without these visionary and creative artists, I am convinced SDCC (and other cons) would not be as popular as it is today. I commend the countless hours these craftspeople put into their art. I am by no means a professional cosplayer but I did experience my ‘first time’ last year as the Doctor Swag Bag. While not as complicated as some cosplay, this jacket was still a complex project to behold. Even though it’s solidly constructed, I still ran into some issues during the show that needed attention. So whether you are a first time or long time cosplay veteran, don’t leave home with out your Cosplay Survival Kit:

  • Needle & colored thread
  • Safety pins
  • Zip-ties
  • Sharpie
  • Paint pens
  • Super glue
  • Small hot glue gun and sticks
  • Fabric glue
  • Bandages or moleskin tape
  • Small needle-nose pliers
  • Scissors
  • Double-sided foam tape
  • Fabric tape
  • Adhesive velcro
  • Instahem Tape (peel and stick)
  • Clear Packing Tape
  • Wrinkle release spray (if you don’t have an iron)
  • Stain remover
  • Small travel version
  • Larger version for the hotel

As a novice cosplayer, I can only imagine the more elaborate costumes needing even more supplies- like chicken wire and duct tape! The point is, there is no official ‘cosplay repair’ station at Comic-Con (which there should be). However, I am starting to them pop up at other cons- maybe we will see some this year! If you are an experienced cosplayer and have some important items that I missed in the list above, share it with us below. If you have questions about your kit, then please leave a comment too. Thanks and see you in two weeks!

Monica’s First Time…

Happy 4th of July all! Monica shares her first time Comic-Con experience as not only an attendee but a Zatanna cosplayer. Check out her great story!

Photo-1San Diego Comic Con 2013 was my first convention, but definitely not my last! I’ve been a nerd/video gamer my whole life and I recently started cosplaying. I absolutely love The Legend of Zelda, Batman, TMNT, The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, and anything zombie related, including The Walking Dead. I’ve always dreamed of going to the ultimate nerd-fest with my brother. I was fortunate enough to secure a Friday badge for each of us. For personal reasons, we were only able to go for one day, but it’s a day we will never forget!

I was in complete awe at all the amazing cosplayers. The most funny, memorable event at SDCC was the Adult Swim Funhouse at Petco Park. Of the three exit points, my brother and I ended up crawling out of a “birth canal” and onto a gurney outside the funhouse. The other exits were: A giant slide and the dreaded karaoke cage. We were given a free photo of our “birth” and got to pick out a free customized Adult PhotoSwim t-shirt. We picked up lots of free, exclusive swag at SDCC by walking around and luckily being in the right place at the right time. We avoided big lines and crowds by checking out our favorite booths first thing in the morning. Our favorite booth was The Walking Dead prison.

Despite all the fun I had last year, I did experience some hardships. Because my brother and I were only able to go for one day, we missed out on San Diego’s night life, missed out on a few panels, and missed out on Nerd HQ. SDCC was exhausting for me, especially while cosplaying. I wish I had an extra pair of shoes or slippers for my aching feet. Due to all the excitement, my brother and I only ate breakfast and skipped out on lunch. Peanuts and soda was our temporary dinner until we got home.

Photo-2Everyone I encountered at SDCC was super friendly and I appreciate all the cosplayers that took the time to do photo ops. Of all the attendees, my SDCC hero is my brother. He showed great concern for my aches and pains, helped carried my swag bag, and stood by my side while I rested. My brother put my needs before his own despite my protests. All the hardships we faced turned into valuable lessons. We already started our SDCC 2014 game plan. We now have Friday and Saturday badges and we’re vacationing in San Diego this year. We’ll be able to do more outdoor activities and panels. Anyone looking to connect with me or my brother can follow us on Twitter: @Zombie_Rawr310 and @TurtleDude310

2014 Offsite Events

comiccon2013_17
One of the biggest bonuses about the San Diego Comic-Con experience is all of the offsite events offered all around the Gaslamp District. In fact, there is so much to do that it is worth it to go even if you don’t have a ticket to SDCC! However, all offsite events are not created equal- so I have listed for you some of my favorites you might want to check out. Please note that times, locations, and prices (and CCI badge requirement) are always subject to change so go to the respective websites for up to date info. (Listed in order of start times/dates)

**Updated: July 23**

Friends of CCI Forum Breakfast (Wed, 8-10a)
38963773bbd3cefeb6e0cd8482054038The Friends of CCI Forum community is kicking off Comic-Con with a breakfast at my favorite breakfast locations, the Broken Yolk. If you are new to SDCC or traveling alone, this would be great to help you find some line mates, strategize about Exclusives, share news, and make new friends. Some will be heading over to the Town & Country Hotel for badge pick up afterwards. This is a ‘rolling table’ system, so you are suppose to let them know you are interested in attending. Join their Forum for more details. I’ve not been to a FoCCI event before but I am hoping this will be my first. **You must RSVP so they can manage head count**
Cost: Cost of your breakfast
Location: Broken Yolk (355 6th Ave)
More info: FoCCI Forum Breakfast Page

GodzillaCon (Wed – Sun, 8:00a − 8:00p)
11GODZILLA1_SPAN-master495See the King of the Monsters- Godzilla. Interactive experience, photo ops, and giveaways. The Godzilla promo for the first movie was very impressive and this move to the back bay is intriguing. Expect some great photo opportunities!
Cost: Free
Location: Behind the Hall H lawn near back bay

PIXELS: Electric Dreams Factory Arcade (Wed – Sat, 9a – 9p & Sun till 6p)
984127_530063797120487_7142589646389177302_nA classic arcade awaits you to promote the new film Pixels by Sony Entertainment. Besides being able to play retro video games, win a chance to have a walk-on role in the movie!
Cost: Free
Location: Hardrock Hotel
More info: Pixel Movie

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Interactive (Wed – Sun)
Screen shot 2014-07-22 at 7.10.16 AMCowabunga dude! Paramount Studious will have an interactive zone in the Petco parking lot. In the Tutle Lair, you can watch the latest trailer, get souvenir photos, and play interactive games. Best part- Pizza Hut will be on hand to give out free pizza!
Cost: Free
Location: Petco Park parking lot

The Boxtrolls Food Truck (Thu – Sun)
MV5BMTM5OTUxNTc4NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMzI5Nzk3OQ@@._V1_SX214_AL_Focus Features has partnered with world famous chef, David George Gordon to offer Comic-Con attendees some insect delicacies to promote the upcoming The Boxtrolls. The food truck will be throughout the con but Chef Gordon will only be with the truck on Friday at 1pm.
Cost: Free
Location: Various

Sleepy Hollow Virtual Reality Bridge Escape (Thu – Sun)
Fox brings the headless horseman back to Comic-Con as fans get to take part of this interactive experience. With appearances by cast and crew, fans get to check out the Oculus Rift Virtual Reality headset!
Cost: Free
Location: Petco Park

Assassins Creed Experience (Thu – Sun, 10a – 6p)
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Our favorite assassin will have an interactive experience on the Hilton Gaslamp lawn. A full scale obstacle course will be set up to test your parkour skills. Participants (or survivors) will be rewarded with a limited edition t-shirt.
Cost: Free
Location: Front of Hilton Gaslamp
More info: Promo video

GOTHAM Zip Line Experience (Thu – Sun, 10a – 6p)
gotham-logoUnleash your inner Batman with a zip line experience though a Gotham City landscape (130 feet long and 30 feet high)! The brave and the bold will not only have fun, but will receive a shareable photo and be rewarded with prizes. As a bonus, GOTHAM producers and cast, including stars Ben McKenzie and Donal Logue, will be making appearances at the experience.
Cost: Free
Location: Between the SD Convention Center and the Hilton Bayfront Hotel
More info: Fox site

Nintendo Gaming Lounge (Thu, 10a – 7p & Sun till 5p)
SDCC13_-_Nintendo_Lounge_(Part_3)_(9345249583)Games, games, and games for this gamer paradise. Enjoy Super Smash Bros for both Wii U and 3DS, as well as a bunch of up coming games.
Cost: Free
Location: Marriott Marquis & Marina Hotel

Game of Thrones (Thu – Sun, 11a − 5p)
game-of-thrones-crownAwesome is coming… Located in the Omni Hotel will be the ‘Survive the Realm’ Experience. Featuring authentic show props, multiple photo ops, and a chance to climb the ‘Wall’. As a bonus there will be an Exclusive giveaways for the first 2,000 each day! Last year, they had genuine artists on hand drawing attendees faces into GoT scenes- it was awesome!
Cost: Free
Location: Omini Hotel

The Borderlands: The Laser Tag Arena (Thu – Sun, 11a – 5p)
1405024008-1405024006-borderlandsthepresequelFor the first time, the Nerdist brings us a Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel themed Laser Tag arena for fans. About every 20 minutes two teams of 25 will enter into the arena placed at the top of Petco Park to go head-to-head Borderlands style. The experience also includes, live music, an oxygen bar, and live recordings of the Nerdist News with the Nerdist talent.
Cost: Free (but SDCC badge holders get priority access)
Location: Petco Park
More info on their site (with a great video).

Adult Swim Funhouse (Thu – Sat)
image001Returning for a second year, Adult Swim will have a major presence at the Petco Park parking lot across from the convention center. This outdoor ‘fair’ experience will have food, fun, and interactive experiences. Multiple challenges will force guests to crawl, slide, and sing their way to get through this giant castle. There will also be some great food truck options! Last year, this was a little known secret so don’t miss it this year.
Cost: Free
Location: Petco Park parking lot

On the Set with VIKINGS (Thu – Sat)
vikings-prequel-comic-book-sdcc-2013-exclusiveThis History Channel show returns again to Comic-Con but this time with an experience that allows you to walk through the world of Vikings. This ‘back-lot’ experience will include interactive displays, cast signing events, and a exclusive Viking comic book given to select fans who visit! You will also get a chance to create a custom 30 second video from your visit to share on social media.
Cost: Free
Location: 450 2nd Street

SIN CITY EXPERIENCE AT PETCO PARK (Thu – Sun)
MV5BMjAyOTM5MTkxOF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNDM3NzA4MDE@._V1_SX640_SY720_The film’s classic cars will be on display at Petco Park parking lot throughout Comic-Con  against a 102-foot long Sin City skyline. The cars will will include a 1985 Dodge Diplomat, 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air, 1960 Chevy Corvette, 1959 Cadillac el dorado, 1964 1/2 Ford Mustang convertible and 1949 Cadillac Sedanette. There will also be a cast autograph signings, Sin City style photo booth, a live DJ every day, and promo giveaways (t-shirts, poker chips, playing cards, mini posters and books).
Cost: Free
Location: Petco Park

Geek & Sundry (Thu – Fri)
DSC_0030 copyReturning for it’s second year is Felicia Day’s “Geek HQ” gaming/dance-party/hangout. Broken first on Twitter, the official details have yet to be released but it will definitely be returning. If it’s anything like last year, it will be a great place to play some great table top games, grab a quick drink, and dance the night away with some techno nerd musak- as well as some sponsors offering nerdy swag. Definitely plan on stopping by a couple of times throughout the week. More details to come soon.
Cost: Free
Location: Jolt’n Joes
More info: geekandsundry.com

Her Universe Fashion Show (Thu, 6p – 8p)
ff2e7a43d7df80287edd3ad04a84725dFor the first time ever, the prolific nerd fashion empire Her Universe, is presenting a ‘Geek Coulture’ fashion show and design competition. The two grand prize winners (out of 30) will design a future line for Her Universe to be sold at Hot Topics. Partner, Nerdist Industries, will be promoting the event so you know this will be legit!
Cost: Free (w/ CC badge) but limited to capacity
Location: Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel
More info: Her Universe

W00tstock 6.0 (Thu, 7pm)
comic_con2010__344This annual geekfest is a favorite among Comic-Con fans. Focused on comedy monologues, there is much zanyness to appreciate from fans 18 and up. The usual suspects include Adam Savage, Will Wheaton, Paul and Storm
Cost: $40
Location: Balboa Theatre
More info: http://w00tstock.net/ or buy tickets

CBLDF SDCC Welcome Party 2014: A Hellenic Blacklist (Thu, 8p −11p)
Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab is proud to sponsor the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund’s San Diego Comic Con Welcome Party featuring Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples, Scott Snyder, Chris Burnham & More!! We will have a small vending space at the event, where we will be selling a selection of scents whose proceeds go to the CBLDF. Get the Exclusive Goods: The first 200 attendees will receive a free gift bag, with exclusive items Image Comics and CBLDF! RSVP Now to guarantee your gift bag.
Cost: his party is FREE for CBLDF Members. Non-members: Suggested $10 – $20 donation at the door, please.
Location: Westgate Hotel
More info: RSVP and learn more.

San Diego Symphony Comic-Con Concert (Thu – Sat)
Video Games Live w WarszawieWant some art with you nerd culture? The San Diego Symphony is offering three unique concerts themed on video games, Danny Elfman, and Star Trek! This would be a nice way to get off your feet  and enjoy a great experience after a long day at the show. I did a giveaway for tickets last month- the contest is over, but you can read more about the concerts.
Cost: $25-90
Location: Embarcadero Marina Park South
More info: Click for Video Game Live infoClick for Danny Elfman info, and Click for Star Trek info

Gam3rcon (Thu – Sun, 12p -12a daily)
???????????????????????????????This video game convention is a con within a con offering gaming consoles, tabletop games, retro stuff, parties, and more.
Cost: $50 or $20/day
Location: Tenth Avenue Arts Center
More info: http://www.gam3rcon.com/

mtvU Fandom Awards and Linkin Park (Thu & Sun)
51_1600Grammy-winning rock band Linkin Park will headline the first ever mtvU Fandom Awards and MTV Fan Fest at Petco Park on Thursday and Sunday. MTV and mtvU will air the 60-minute mtvU Fandom Awards special highlighting Comic-Con.
Cost: Free with a CC badge
Location: Petco Park
More info: MTV News

Nerd Machine HQ (Thu – Sun)
wpid-20130718_132349One of the most well known offsite events, Nerd HQ is a part hangout, part game demos, and part celebrity panels. Oh and throw in some Nerd Machine merch as well. Open all day and late into the night, Nerd HQ is the best default place to go outside of Comic-Con. Plus the ‘Conversation for a Cause’ panels go to benefit Operation Smile.
Cost: Free and $22 for each “Conversations for a Cause” panel
Location: TBA
More info: http://www.thenerdmachine.com/nerd-hq/

XBOX Lounge (Fri – Sun)
Xbox-logoGamers, looking for a place to hang during Comic-Con? Located in the Seaport Ballroom at the Hyatt Manchester, XBOX will have over 85 game stations featuring over 25 different games! Hulu will also be on location taking your pitches for a new character on ‘The Awesomes’. There will also be special appearances, signings, interactive experiences, charging stations, photo ops, and more!
Cost: Free
Location: Manchester Hyatt Hotel
More info: Tournament info, hours, and featured games.

Sony Entertainment Block Party (Fri, 12-6p)
881Block party with SOE team members, featuring local food, game demos, beer garden, and costume contest. All you need to do to attend Block Party is show up, but we’d love for everyone to RSVP on the Facebook event page. See you on July 25th!
Cost: Free
Location: Look for the SOE team at the Marriot waterfall – 333 West Harbor Drive
More Info: Sony Forum

The Last Ship Experience (Fri, 7-11p)
BtPBS-FCMAE8dwk.jpg-largeThe new TNT series, The Last Ship, is having a private event aboard the USS Midway. Interactive pandemic experience, appearances by cast, and special performances by MGMT and Grimes.
Cost: Invite only
Location: USS MIdway

Super Geeked Up [Fri 7p-10p]
8408773_origThe crew from Super Geeked Up we’ll be doing our live show, talking sci-fi, fantasy, superheroes, and comics and playing super-fun geek-themed games with audience participation! Held at the Villainous Lair Comics & Gaming, there will be games, Mystery Boxes, prizes, comic books, and Star Trek Merchandise!
Cost: Free
Location: Villainous Lair Comics & Gaming
More info: Super Geeked Up

Ghostbusters “Mass-Hysteria” Party (Fri, 7:30)
There will be a Ghostbusters fan gathering for the Paranormal investigators and eliminators. Hosted at the fantastic Restaurant/Bar “The Werewolf”, it’s just a few blocks away from the convention center. The Gorgeous Ecto-1 will also be on display outside of The Werewolf during the event, for anyone looking for the most epic photo op in San Diego!
Cost: ?
Location: Werewolf Bar 627 4th Ave
More info: Their Facebook page

Marked Men V Pirate Party (Fri, 8p – Sat 1a)
Screen shot 2014-07-08 at 1.35.22 AMArrgh! The pirate themed boat party is back, this time themed for Game of Thrones! The party will be held in the back bay aboard an actual pirate ship (used in PotC 4). It will be a night of food, drinks, live music, stunts, props, and great fun. Costume not required but highly encouraged!
Cost: $50 − 125 but limited to only 200 guests.
Location: Aboard the HMS SURPRISE 1492 North Harbor Drive
More info and buy tix: MarkedMenParty.com

The Walking Dead Escape (Fri – Sat, 6p)
walking-dead-escapeOne of my favorite offsite events to participate in, The Walking Dead Escape is three floors of zombie apocalypse madness through the corridors of  Petco Park. An average run takes 20-40 minutes dependent on how fast you take it, so it won’t take up a large block of time. If you want the full Comic-Con experience this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Read my post about it last year for more details.
Cost: TBA ($75-85)
Location: Petco Park
More info: http://www.thewalkingdeadescape.com/ or buy tix here

8th Annual Comic-Con Zombie Walk (Sat, 5:00 PM)
Zombie+Walk+San+Diego+Comic+Con+International+EEYcPPAr2zMlWanna be a part of one of the largest zombie outbreaks of the year? Join this zombie walk as hundreds of undead saunter through the Gaslamp Quarter. Don’t forget your best zombie attire! Typically it ends with a big party somewhere which will be announced on their Facebook page.
Cost: Free
Location: 180 First Ave., San Diego CA 92101
More info: Facebook page

Digital LA Comic-Con Party (Sat, 7-9p)
Description: TBA
Location: TBA
Cost: Free but must RSVP
More info: Digital LA

Recovery-Con (Sat, 8p)
luna grillA good friend of mine is hosting a great “meet up” for those in drinking/substance recovery (as well as supporting friends/family). While the party scene at Comic-Con can be a lot of fun, it also is not a healthy environment for those struggling with addiction. So come to this safe space to geek out together, share your story, and rally together as nerds in recovery.
Cost: Free
Location: Luna Grill 350 University Ave (Hillcrest Location, 3 miles from the convention)
More info: Nerds in Recovery

 

Nerdist Podcast Live! (Sat, 10:30p)
nerdist2There is no host nerdier than the Nerdist himself, Chris Hardwick. Providing year round nerdy podcast content with stars from comics, TV, and film, Comic-Con is one of his most special shows. Joined by his usual partners, Jonah Ray and Matt Mira, he always puts on a worth while experience for the fans. Last year, he hosted Matt Smith so I am sure this year will bring another amazing guest.
Cost: $27.50 (not including surcharge)
Location: Balboa Theater
More info: San Diego Theater Events page or buy tickets

Agents of SHIELD Fan Party (Sun, 5-7pm)
standard_fantasticAfter massively underestimating the response to their ‘Fan Dinner’ (table for 200 please…) the new plans for SHIELD fans is an official party to close out the Con. This could be a great way to debrief a great few days in San Diego. Plus, there will be random door prizes!
Cost: Free but must RSVP
Location: Henry’s Pub (All ages till 9pm), 618 5th Ave
More Info and to RSVP: ShieldTV.net

Sold Out Events:
SherlockeDCC (Fri)
Funko Fundays Event (Fri)

And while this not an event, it’s always good to give back to those in need…

Annual Blood Drive (Thu – Sun)
In the midst of all the nerdy fun, don’t forget to give back to the community. The Robert A. Heinlein Blood Drive will be held at the Manchester Grand Hyatt (Coronado A-B, 4th Fl). You can walk-in or make an appointment on their site. Even though the Blood Drive get’s overshadowed by all the big events, Comic-Con collects an amazing amount of one of our most precious resources for those in need.
Cost: Blood
Location: Manchester Grand Hyatt
Times: Thursday (9am-6pm), Friday (9am-6pm), Saturday (9am-6pm), Sunday (10am-3:30pm)

 

2014 Tip of the Day #11: Your Tips and Suggestions!

Twitter Comic-Con

With 43 days left until Comic-Con, plans are forming, lists are starting, and the SDCC tweets are filling your timelines. While there are a lot of great Comic-Con focused sites out there, one of your very best resources out there is harnessing the knowledge of the nerd tribe. The vastness of the San Diego Comic-Con can be intimidating, but by learning from each other, we can help first time as well as veterans have the best show ever. I asked for your tips on Twitter and this is what you sent in!

“This is common but: bring water and snacks! It’s never fun to be thirsty and hangry at the con.” ‪@geekpinata

“To save $$ and time on lunch, pack a small soft-sided cooler and check it. Retrieve when hungry, recheck it … repeat. :-)”  ‪@KBknowsbest

“Do homework! Read lots of blogs & POVs. Learn as much as possible before getting to the con. Don’t shy away from questions.” ‪@the_green_key

kc_bad332668x015_r940x635“No need for fancy downtown restaurants. I think I’ll be packing some military-grade MREs this year.” ‪@Dvann562

“External battery packs to recharge your phone and other devices.” ‪@tmvogel

“Plan, plan, and plan some more — then be ready to throw the plan out the window and go with the flow once you’re at the con.” @kwhitehouse

“Wear deodorant. Can’t stress that enough!” ‪@lehea1212

“Always have a plan B, because things won’t go the way you want. Also, walk around the Convention Center, since there a lot of things besides the con.” ‪@elmachas

“Be kind to everyone, SDCC staff, security, and if someone asks a question, even if you think it is dumb, answer it nicely” @newhousebailey

US-ENTERTAINMENT-COMIC CON 2013“I’d say bring business cards or something of the like. Helps to make and keep new friends you’ve met at the convention! 🙂 @_StevenGood

“If you want things signed pack a silver and a black sharpie in your bag.” @SilverLocust1

“Get a UPS account before you go and ask your front desk if they have a box at check-in. Ups your swag home!” @SuperSquint

“Airborne is a must and Arches for your feet.” @cstrife77

“Bring an extra battery pack for your cell phone, poster tube w sling and be ready for the hordes of sweaty people😱😱😱” @DavidFirkins

“Eat more than usual because your body is burning more calories than usual. Fuel the con body :)” @Lauren_Gallaway

“Step out of your shell! Try to make new friends at the con, as you’ll be sure to find someone who has similar interests” @_StevenGood

sdcc-2012-trip-19

Photo by Michael Arbuckle

“If most of what you’re trying to do are panels, accept the fact that you’ll likely need to pick just 1 room a day.” @LadyJenevia

“If you have a child old enough to use one, bring a pair of walkie talkies in case you get separated.” @cofphoto

“Gel shoe inserts. Seriously!” @kristenlanae

“For commissions/sketches, don’t be afraid to contact the artist pre-con for terms/conditions. It may save you a spot.” @aganej2

“Funko, a huge con favorite, has almost all their exclusives online at geminicollectibles.com SDCC weekend. Free shipping too” @CaniacKid

And I blushed over this last one…

“Okay. Go through EVERY POST AND BLOG ENTRY that Crazy4ComicCon has written about SDCC.” That helped me. #YouCanQuoteMe ;-)” @HiddlesEducates

2014 Tip of the Day #10: Your Most Important Companion…

a.aaa-Chinese-backpack

For this week’s tip, we’re going to be talking about something simple but can still have a big impact on your Comic-Con experience- your BACKPACK. I know what you are thinking, “what’s the big deal? Well, there is actually more to it than grabbing your pack from college and covering it with the latest nerd swag. During the grueling 4-days in San Diego, there is no companion more faithful to you than your backpack. It will be there for you during the good times and bad- it will never leave you or forsake you. Besides carrying your prized SDCC Exclusives, it will also be filled with much needed food, water, and other con supplies that might make the difference between life and death (ok, not really death but how about a really bad day). Here are a few tips to consider when choosing a carrying companion.

warner-bros-comic-con-tote-bagsWB Swag Bags
Upon entrance to the show, you will be given one of the exclusive Warner Bros Swag bags. A time honored tradition and a visual reminder that you are in the happiest place on Earth. The various bags, advertising WB/DCs properties, are collected, traded and converted during the 4-days. However, as awesome as these bags are, they are not ideal to carrying around a lot of precious cargo during the show. Designed for you to be a walking billboard, these giant bags are really more for show than functional. With the exception of the poster sleeve, there are no compartments so everything just pools at the bottom of the bags. Another drawback is unless you are around 5 1/2 ft tall or above, they have a tendency to drag on the ground unless you start modifying the strap. A few years ago, WB made the bags convertible to a backpack (pictured above) which was really cool. Overall, I LOVE these bags and they have become a signature of the show. However, I would not rely on them to be the luggage workhorse for you during SDCC.

xnintendo-reversible-messenger-bag.jpeg.pagespeed.ic.KE85Wdc_unSide Satchel
I used to be a hardcore backpack guy but I have been able to reduce my ‘attendee footprint’ over the years. I pre-print the schedule or use my smart phone so I don’t carry the program book. I also don’t collect much of the swag- most of it get’s tossed anyways. So the space I need is just for food, water, and some basic survival stuff (which I’ll post later). Because of this, I go with the ‘man-satchel’. The problem I have with the backpack is that in order to access it while walking, you have to sling it off your back, hold it with one hand, or drop to the ground. When you are in a PACKED showroom, that is difficult. I like being able to reach down and grab my camera or a granola bar quickly and easily. Plus, since it can shift side-to-side I can squeeze through tight spaces. If you are only carrying a moderate amount of supplies, not buying a lot, and fashion is a priority, then go with the satchel.

Screen shot 2013-05-06 at 10.30.45 PMBackpack
We are all pretty familiar with the traditional backpack- none of us would have graduated college without it. They come in all shapes and sizes- range from the the cute and plushy to the functional and all purpose. I would definitely encourage you to use a backpack if:

  • You are carrying a lot of tech like a laptop, iPad, extended batteries, etc.
  • If you are prone to being cold, you will need one to stuff extra clothing layers in.
  • If you need extra space for food and water
  • Buying a lot of larger items like toys and you have no place to store them.

Remember, something cute like R2 here won’t be feeling cute by the 3rd day. You may want to have something with more functionality and options.

Screen shot 2013-05-07 at 6.57.26 AMThere are a few things to consider when choosing a backpack for SDCC. First, ask yourself what you will be accessing the most. Make sure you have an easy way to get to them so you’re not having to drop and unzip every pocket. For me, I like to have food and water where I can reach it quickly, so having a side pocket would be critical. If tech is your highest priority, get a tech designed bag. You don’t want your tech and food to be in the same compartment. Plus, there are ‘external battery’ backpacks that can be used to charge your tech (pictured left). A must for heavy bloggers. You never know what the weather will be like so you may want to get a waterproof bag just just in case. Regardless of your backpack of choice, remember your ‘backpack ettiquittte’- The WORST is getting the backpack ‘body slam’. The is when a fully loaded attendee turns and unknowingly slams into you with his pack. It unintentionally happens A LOT at Comic-Con. A backpack can extend a full foot backwards so you have to be careful when weaving in and out of the crowds.

I know this is a lot to consider for just what bag you are carrying at a convention. While it seems a little overly-complicated- believe me, it’s important. For those veterans of the show, we know that what you carry and how you carry it will make a big difference. Like I said, it’s your closest companion during the show. The right bag will either weigh you down or assist you in a dire moment. I posted this 2 months out to give you time to shop around and try out some options. For you con vets, what is your bag of choice? Leave a comment of what is your favorite bag. See you in 2 months!

The 1st Annual GEEKIE AWARDS

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I’m excited to be attending the 1st Annual Geekie Awards this Sunday night in LA. Major props to Kristen Nedopak for creating such a monumental event to celebrate nerd culture in all its various forms. The night is to include a red carpet experience, award show, Stan Lee, and an after party. Keep an eye out; I may be in my Doctor Who/Swag Bag cosplay that I debuted at Comic-Con. The Geekie Awards is already sold out but it can be watched online– and I’ll be tweeting pics too! Here are event details:

Sunday, August 18th, 2013 from 5:30 PM to 11:00 PM (PST)
The Avalon / Hollywood, CA
Presented by The Avalon Hollywood

(From the site) The 1st Annual Geekie Awards is the first-ever live streamed geek-genre award show featuring the best indie-created, high production value work. The Geekies will be awarding the best comic books, graphic novels, short films, web series, podcasts, trailers, music videos, toys, games, art, craft, crowdfunding and websites via a live-streamed, action-packed award show.With a vibe such as the MTV Movie Awards and Spike’s Scream Awards, The Geekie Awards will be a live ceremony intermixed with humorous, well-crafted digital content. The Show will go further to offer on-site interactive experiences for guests, created by several top-name product design and tech sponsors involved this year.

Watch it live this Sunday night on U-Stream here.

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Tony’s Story

My Mission: To empower First Timers to have a life changing Comic-Con experience.

Are nerds made or born?

Hi my name is Tony and thanks for visiting my site. While working on a recent project about comic books, I started reflecting on how the cultural perceptions of nerds have changed over the past couple of decades. While this very special demographic (which I proudly identify with) is still largely misunderstood, it is more mainstream than ever due to the rise in technology, the popularity of superhero movies, and the explosion of the video game industry. At the heart of it all has been the implacable comic book universe. This 80+ year old genre has not only been a source of unending creativity but has also brought nerds out from their parent’s basements and onto the surface of the vast sea of popular culture.

Comic books have a very special place in my heart. As a child of immigrant parents from Korea, I grew up in a very traditional household, eating with chopsticks, speaking the language, etc. Contrary to home life, my school and play world were primary caucasian communities and I was a part of a very small minority. I never felt truly comfortable in either environment. I was stuck between two worlds and it caused me to feel alienated, alone, and confused. I always felt like I was meant for something greater but was left to wandering through the dark to discover it. Then came that monumental day when I came across ’The Man of Steel’ issue #1.

This man of steel always felt like he was created to make a difference but wrestled with compromising the two worlds of his heritage. He was in an identity crisis. I started to feel understood. I realized that pain and struggle is part of this journey into young adulthood and I was not alone on this path. Comic books continued to be a HUGE part of my youth. My parents had  the typical Asian mindset and immersed themselves in their work and as a result, were not very involved in my life. Turning to comic books, superheroes ended up raising me. It’s from them that developed and early sense of morality, corruption, truth and justice. Early on, I adopted a heart of advocacy for the misfits and marginalized of my community. That same passion continues today.

In the mid 80′s, Frank Miller created his masterpiece, The Dark Knight Returns- and I instantly fell in love. It was my bible and I read it over and over. It was the first time that a mainstream character was depicted in a gritty, realistic way with real story lined and real consequences. I knew that if the big screen could ever depict heroes in a similar tone and style, that it would change the industry and culture forever. It was a dream that I thought was impossible. Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight remains one of the highest grossing ($600 m) movies to date with every studio trying to reproduce the same formula. I’m still in disbelief that one of the most powerful industries in the world are now turning to comic books for ideas. Life is but a dream.

I owe much of who I am to comic books. I know it is still struggling to be considered a legitimate form of literature but I know it has touch me in more ways than Shakespeare or Hemingway ever did. The fusion of art and story to this day still inspires me as a leader, artist, movie enthusiast, AND as a proud nerd. I am eagerly looking forward to where the art form will go and what dreams will unfold. Nerds are back and with a vengeance but in a good way. They are here to create and craft dreams and to help lead our generation into the future.

Why Comic-Con?
Growing up in Texas, I had always heard of the mythical land known as the San Diego Comic-Con. I never thought I would ever attend but finally had a chance once I moved to Southern California in 2005. Since that time, I enthusiastically have made the annual pilgrimage to ‘Nerd Mecca’. Just in the few years I have been attending, the Con has exploded in size and scope. It is my second home and my second family. There is nothing like it in the world. I consider myself a Comic-Con evangelist and will be passionately spreading this nerd gospel for the rest of my life. Hope to see you in San Diego.

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