Almost five days after it ended, my head is still filled with strange, surreal thoughts about SDCC. Was I really there? Did I really see/do all those awesome things? And why do I still wake up at 2am thinking that it’s time to go and queue for a panel? But the San Diego Comic Convention has come and gone, and it’ll be a whole year before SDCC 2013 comes. In the meantime, I’ll have these memories to keep from crying myself to sleep at night.

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  • Meeting Nathan Fillion

I’ve written about my encounter with geek god Joss Whedon in another SDCC post, but Nathan Fillion is someone that I’ve liked since I watched Firefly and Serenity. I thought I had missed the boat when I was unable to get tickets for the Castle star’s panel at Nerd HQ, nor for his autograph session at the Marvel booth on the last day of the convention. But having heard that Fillion always has time for fans, I decided to go try my luck – and ended up right at the rope line before the stage. I’ve said in a previous post that the former Malcolm Reynolds is great at playing to the crowd, but he also has a heart of gold. After emerging on stage to cheers and whoops, Fillion’s first act was to go straight to the fans in wheelchairs, to the sounds of “awww” all around. When the ticketed fans were done, the minders started picking fans at random from the crowd, including one grandma who went: “You have just made my day.” Then before you could say “ruggedly handsome”, I got in too, and was standing right before him. It was one of those 10-second encounters with a celebrity you admire where you haven’t the slightest clue what to say, before it’s over all too soon.

“And who have we here?”

“I’m Nick.”

“Nick, nice to meet you.” *firm handshake , signs Castle poster with a flourish*

“I love your work.”

“Well, Nick,” *hands poster back with a diffident smile and a wink* “You have excellent taste.”

San Diego Comic Convention

Malcolm Reynolds was rather pleased to meet me

  • Iron Man 3 panel a.k.a The Robert Downey Jr. show

From the moment he danced into Hall H brandishing a glowing Iron Man gauntlet, prompting audience members to stand on their chairs en masse in order to catch a glimpse of him, Downey had the fanboys eating out of his hand. Whether he was purring “how much do you love me?” or leading the entire hall in singing Happy Birthday to a besotted 15 year old fangirl, the fanboys lapped it all up as he went to town. Though he constantly looks like he wants to lick himself, Downey has an undeniable presence that drives fans crazy. For all the excitement over the revelations of Ben Kingsley as the Mandarin in Iron Man 3 and the upcoming Thor, Captain America and Ant-Man movies, it was Downey who was the undisputed star of proceedings. As IM3 director Shane Black put it: he IS Iron Man. And of course, Downey had a quip ready: “So you’re saying I’m an asshole.” To which Don Cheadle quickly replied, “Rich asshole.” Check out the video below of a great exchange between the two, followed by Downey answering a question about his future as Iron Man.

  • Camping out
I ended up sleeping on a grass patch, and then the sidewalk, for two nights running. It was all part of the craziness that led to fans queuing in line as early as 630pm for a panel THE NEXT DAY at 1230pm. The Browncoats played a big part in this, as well as the Hobbit, Quentin Tarantino and Iron Man 3 fans. If you think Singaporeans are kiasu, just consider that when we arrived at 230am on Saturday morning to get in line for the Hall H mega-panels – starting at 1130am – , there were already at least a thousand people ahead of us. By around 7am, the queue had stretched across the convention centre to the Hilton Bayfront, down to the waterfront and doubled back. Some came with sleeping bags, pillows and thermos flasks, while others made do with just the clothes on their back. But while the sidewalk was cold and hard and gave me backache for several days after, it was strangely kind of fun. Talking to fellow fanboys in the queue who shared your passion was a joy, the excitement built up as the hours passed and the joy of getting a great seat when we finally entered made it all worthwhile. We were also treated to the bizarre sight of cosplayers in costume (hello, Joker!), as well as some choice comments from passerby.
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“This homeless problem in San Diego gets worse every year.”
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“What are you queuing for?”
“Hall H.”
“Is that a movie?”
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San Diego Comic Convention

These girls were among the first in line for Ballroom 20 on Friday morning, July 13

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The queue for Hall H on Saturday morning.

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The zombie infection started in the queue for Hall H.

Cosplayers galore

To give you an idea of the lengths to which cosplayers go to dress up at SDCC, take a look at this girl in her INCREDIBLY realistic Catwoman costume.

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Catwoman. Meeeoooowwrrr.

Ogled enough? You might be interested to know that this particular lady told me she designed her costume while still preggers, then worked out to get into shape for it. If that doesn’t boggle the mind, I’ve got more people in costume for you to look at. But I sure had a lot of fun taking pictures of cosplayers, who were always game for a heroic pose. Here’s just a few of my favourites (to see more, go to The Straits Times Through The Lens Facebook page)

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The Surfer seemed okay with how Spidey had let himself go.

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Archer and his ex-fiancee Katya. The one with the detachable vagina.

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Someone forgot to tell Wolvie and DD that their weapons didn’t actually work.

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The Avengers! Kind of…

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I quite liked the look of Cap’s new sidekick.

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The thinking man’s Deadpool

  • Meeting the creators

For all its awesomeness, I find it slightly strange that comics have almost come to take a back seat at Comic Con. In all honesty, my priorities were the movie and TV panels – until I began to walk around Artists’ Alley, and realised how many creators that I admire were present. It’s hard to sum up your feelings when you meet someone whose work has impacted your life, and even harder not to degenerate into stammering and spluttering when they’re right in front of you. So I’ll just let the pictures do the talking.

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This sketch from the legendary Neal Adams cost me US$50.

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While this wonderful sketch from The Walking Dead’s Charlie Adlard cost me just US$10, which went to charity.

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Another legend, Groo creator Sergio Aragones. He told me he’d love to come to Singapore!

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This sketch of Snow White by Fables inker and Eisner-award winner Steve Leialoha is almost heartbreaking.

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Dark Wolverine writer Marjorie Liu may be headed to Singapore soon – fingers crossed!

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With Hellboy creator Mike Mignola.

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Courtney Crumrin creator Ted Naifeh. I highly recommend his work.

And that’s a wrap for SDCC 2012, everyone! Tell me, what were your favourite moments of Comic Con?