SlifeGoesOn traveled to San Diego to get his Comic Con cherry popped, and while getting his nerd on, got a bunch of exclusive insider TV goss to share!
Hello, gasmii! For those of you curious about the pop cultural phenomenon / Hollywood circle jerk that has become San Diego’s International Comic Con, I am happy to provide a first-timer’s first-hand account from the front line! I should preface this article that I am myself a recovering ex-Trekkie, who has a very soft spot when it comes to sci-fi geekdom.
FRIDAY, JULY 22
9:00am I arrived at the Con bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. I was accompanied by my two friends, Jon and Ian, who acted as my sherpas, since they’d been to the Con several times before. After checking in, we each got a program of events, as well as a giant gift bag to load up with freebies, giveaways, prizes, and toys. Ian informed me that I was lucky to get the Justice League bag, which was the most highly sought-after of all the bags. Apparently, they can fetch a pretty penny on eBay after the Con. Sweet! This trip’s already paying for itself!
I’ve got a golden ticket!
9:05am We headed straight for the Locke & Key panel, and were disappointed to find out that it was completely full. In fact, people had been lining up for hours before the Con had even opened to get into it. Seriously? Well, that blows!
9:10am After much grumbling and consternation from Ian about how crowded the Con has gotten with every passing year, I manage to cross off the first thing on my Comic Con to-do list: take a picture with a Star Wars Storm Trooper!
The force is strong with this nerd!
9:15am With nearly every panel being shut out, we decided to head downstairs to the main floor where all of the booths and sellers were. Let me just tell you, dear Gasmii, if you are not into comic books or sci fi, then this would definitely have been one of Dante’s levels of hell for you. Throngs of geeks and nerds of every walk of life from around the world trudged up and down the aisles like zombies, oohing and ahhing over comics, graphic novels, toys, dolls, action figures, posters, t-shirts, costumes, and collectibles.
Welcome to the Hellmouth.
There were booths from all of the major comic book publishers, like Marvel, DC, and Dark Horse, as well as booths for the major video game companies and movie studios, like Capcom, Sony, and Legendary Pictures. AMC had a cool setup where fans of The Walking Dead could pose in an interactive scene from the show.
I can understand why a show about zombies would be here…
Then there were booths that seemed completely out of place at Comic Con, like ABC‘s new show, Pan Am. WTF?!
…but what’s up with the flight attendants?!
10:00am After snorting my nose at how lame all of these rabid fans were, I finally started to let my hair down, and agreed to pose for a picture with Ian at the booth for Starz‘s ridiculous swords and sandals series, Spartacus. Hey, when in Rome, right?!
By Jupiter’s cock, this is kinda fun!
11:30am A small riot of fans brandishing camera phones broke out on the floor when the entire cast of CBS‘s The Big Bang Theory showed up to sign autographs. Why all the fuss over Jim Parsons and Johnny Galecki, I’ll never know…
12:00pm I trailed behind Ian through rows and rows of comic book booths, as he had quite a lengthy list of comics he was searching for, including The Uncanny X-Men, The Walking Dead, and Sweet Tooth. I half-listened as he tried to school me on the difference between gold, silver, and bronze age comics, the buzzworthy gay comic book character Kevin Keller from the Archie comics, and the general awesomeness of the Fables comic book series. Everywhere we went, the Locke & Key series was selling like hot cakes.
A comic book fan’s wet dream.
What the hell are these weirdos supposed to be dressed as?!
12:30pm We passed by a booth where Lou Ferrigno aka The Hulk was hocking his autograph for $10 a pop. He didn’t seem too pleased when I asked to take his photo – for free.
12:45pm We headed back upstairs in the direction of the True Blood panel. We got stuck in a herd of heifers, and during the melee, Ian informed me that I had nearly trampled actor Seth Green. Well, that’s his problem for being a midget!
1:00pm We arrived at the line to get into Ballroom 20, where the True Blood panel, and were horrified to find out that the wait was FIVE HOURS! Oh, hell no!! Where’s my damn fast pass?!
Damn you, Sookie Stackhouse!
1:30pm Back down on the main floor, I was elated when we came upon a comic book booth that was selling Star Trek: The Next Generation comics, and I just happened to find the very first issue from 1988! Natch, I HAD to buy it.
3:30pm Exhausted after a long day of being on our feet, we decided to call it quits. But I was determined to come back early the next day with a renewed vengeance to get into the panels.
SATURDAY, JULY 23
10:00am Tearing into Comic Con, I made a beeline for what I thought was the line for The Vampire Diaries panel. I was then informed by the bespectacled nerd in front of me that I was actually in line to get a wristband so that I could get into another line later for the cast of the Vampire Diaries to sign autographs. WTF?! I was then informed by security that I had inadvertently cut the line, and that the end of the line snaked around the corner, and was full of lots of angry geeks who tattled on me. Whoops! My bad!!
10:20am Having found the correct line for Ballroom 20, Ian and I spent the next two hours slowing inching our way closer and closer to the panels.
12:23pm We missed the premiere of FOX‘s new show Terra Nova, but at long last we were finally granted access to Ballroom 20, which could accommodate approximately 4,200 seats. We managed to get pretty good seats up front, but we were packed in like sardines amongst fanboys and fatties. We didn’t dare make a break for the bathroom, lest we lose our seats!
12:30pm First up was the Futurama panel, which featured creator Matt Groening, executive producer David X. Cohen, and the entire cast, including Katy Segal, Billy West, and Phil Lamar. Fans were treated to hilarious clips from the show’s new season, including an extended sequence which spoofed Japanese anime cartoons. They also announced a new Futurama Monopoly board game, as well as a Head in a Jar app, where you can create your own collection of heads in jars. I literally saw people start to download it instantly – including Ian! During the Q&A session, the best question from a fan was: “Why do you guys always pick on Richard Nixon?” To which Billy West replied, “Because he drafted me!”
Katy Segal, David X. Cohen, Matt Groening.
There was then a really fun “draw-off” between creator Matt Groening and lead animator Peter Abrenzino. Natch, Matt Groening won, lest Peter get fired. LOL.
The great draw-off.
1:15pm Next up was The Simpsons panel. Creator Matt Groening stuck around, and was joined by Al Jean and the other producers, but surprisingly none of the cast was there. Ian snorted that they hadn’t come to Comic Con in years, and were too busy counting their money to bother with fans. The panel started with a really funny spoof of the Dexter opening title sequence starring Ned Flanders. Producers revealed that their upcoming 23rd season would feature voices from guest stars: Jane Lynch, Gordon Ramsey, Shepherd Fairey, Joan Rivers, Michael Cera, Keifer Sutherland, and Jeremy Irons as the voice of Moe’s bar rag. LOL. This season will also include the long-running series’ milestone 500th episode, and a Christmas episode set 30 years in the future, where Bart is a dead beat dad living in the school! There are a few more Banksy-esque opening titles planned throughout the season. The Simpsons will also visit their final continent this season, and Sideshow Bob MAY make a cameo in the Halloween special. Michael Cera will play a love interest for Lisa, but Al Jean revealed, “If she ends up with anyone, it’ll be Millhouse.” One fan asked why The Simpsons doesn’t poke fun back at rivals South Park and Family Guy, to which producer Matt Warburton joked, “We’re too classy!” When asked if there would be a crossover event between The Simpsons and Futurama, Groening replied, “I think about it sometimes. But, the problem is Futurama is real. And The Simpsons is just a cartoon.” LOL.
Matt Warburton, Al Jean, Matt Groening.
Check out this fan!
2:00pm There were rumblings during the Family Guy panel when the entire cast showed up, save for creator Seth MacFarlane. Not one to disappoint his fans however, MacFarlane made a surprise cameo, and kept the entire audience in stitches the whole time. They revealed that when season 10 premieres on Sept. 25, lottery fever will sweep Quahog. Fans were then treated to a clip reel, which featured Quagmire hitting on Meg in front of Peter on her 18th birthday, Peter at war with the Amish, Stewie driving (and crashing) a car, a spoof of Deliverance, Peter on trial with the jury comprised of Simpsons characters, Brian having a psychedelic acid trip, and Peter committing suicide rather than joining Lois’ book club. Guest voices this season will include: Ryan Reynolds, Cate Blanchett, Anna Kendrick, Mark Harmon, and Ricky Gervais as a dolphin that Peter befriends. MacFarlane also revealed that there will be a Family Guy movie – eventually. They are in talks, but the schedule is tricky. The cast took a couple playful pot shots at fans during the Q&A. “Does that hat serve a function?” Alex Borstein asked of a man wearing an upside-down visor. But they got it as good as they gave it. A tall man at the microphone bent down and asked, “Was this mic set up for Seth Green?”
Alex Borstein, Seth Green, Steve Callaghan, Seth MacFarlane.
2:45pm Seth MacFarlane stuck around for the American Dad panel, and was joined by the show’s producers and cast. The audience was treated to a sneak peek at the full length season premiere, in which Cee-Lo Green plays a singing hot tub. LOL. We also learned that Roger’s home planet will send a ship to come get him this season. During the Q&A, the brave fans who got up to ask questions took a fair amount of ribbing. When a short, little boy walked up to the mic, producer Mike Barker quipped, “Is that Seth Green?!” LOL.
Mike Barker, Matt Weitzman, Seth MacFarlane.
MacFarlane: “I think we found Waldo!”
3:30pm Crazed fan girls started storming the aisles before The Vampire Diaries panel even started. Exec producers Kevin Williamson and Julie Plec were on hand, as was the entire cast. Stars Nina Dobrev (Elena) and Paul Wesley (Stefan) got loud applause, but the largest fanfare was reserved for heartthrob Ian Somerhalder (Damon). The audience got to see a “sizzle reel” which was really just a bunch of clips from season 2, save for a quick nude shot of Somerhalder which had the gays and girls alike swooning. And aside from talking about the creepy and romantic ghost story in store for Jeremy and Bonnie, the producers remained as tight-lipped about spoilers as usual. Ugh. Of the show’s central love triangle, Williamson did say, “Elena won’t run straight into Damon’s arms. But it’s a love between three people. And lots of things get in the way.” It turned out to be Paul’s birthday, so the entire ballroom sang “Happy Birthday” to him. “You look great for 45!” joked Ian. Later, he talked about how difficult it is to shoot shirtless…at night… in February, and how the cast would LOVE to do a Hawaiian getaway episode. When Candice Accola was asked what was in store for vampire Caroline and werewolf Tyler’s relationship, Ian scoffed, “Puppies!” When asked if they can tell the difference when Nina is playing Elena or Katherine, Paul remarked, “The wardrobe’s usually a giveaway!” Dobrev was mock-offended by Wesley’s hilarious impersonation of her when she is in character as Katherine. Later, Paul gave his name tag away to a zealous fan, and then said he felt naked without it. “Here, take a better one!” Ian laughed, handing his over. When asked about potential guest stars on the show, Nina revealed that Justin Bieber wanted to be on the show. But Kevin Williamson said simply, “Stunt casting is not something we excel at.” He just wants the right actors for the roles. At the end, Ian pulled out a Team Stefan t-shirt, and Paul pulled out a Team Damon t-shirt. When asked which team they were on, Kevin and Julie pulled out shirts that had all the characters names on it! It was kinda cute.
Paul Wesley, Kevin Williamson, Ian Somerhalder.
Somerhalder, Julie Plec, Nina Dobrev, Joseph Morgan.
Candice Accola, Wesley, Williamson, Somerhalder.
4:15pm The screaming girls filed out, and the crazy fanboys flocked in for the Fringe panel. Anna Torv (Olivia) and John Noble (Walter) lead the entire cast out, except for Joshua Jackson (Peter) who was notably absent. In light of last season’s cliffhanger, in which Peter was snuffed out of existence, fans were obviously worried about his fate on the show. Producers then showed an exclusive “casting reel” of other actors looking to replace Peter. The funny video featured cameos by Zachary Quinto, Michael Emerson, Greg Grunberg, Rebecca Mader, Bobby Moynihan, Jorge Garcia, Damon Lindeloff, and Jeff Probst. Just as the video ended – surprise, surprise – out came Joshua Jackson to a rousing, standing ovation. No one was terribly forthcoming when it came to spoilers, but we did get a few interesting teases. During the Q&A, one fan asked, “Will Olivia learn to control her powers?” To which producer JH Wymann replied, “Who said we’ve seen all her powers?” Anna seemed genuinely intrigued by this. “Really?!” she squealed. LOL. Josh said, “The Peter who went to 2026 and made the ultimate sacrifice is a very different Peter from the start of the show, and a very different Peter from the one who will somehow get folded back into this season…” Jasika Nicole started to give things away when she said, “There’s a whole new Astrid this season.” But co-star Seth Gabel (who plays Lincoln and is now a cast regular) stopped her short. “Shh! Don’t give anything away!” he warned. So Jasika merely started singing, “Astrid’s got a gun…” Noble was by far the most animated of the group, and it was cute to see what a close-knit family they’ve all become.
The cast of Fringe.
Lance Reddick, Joshua Jackson, John Noble, Anna Torv.
6:45pm At the end of the day, I was invited to the press room to meet and interview the cast and producers of MTV‘s smash hit Teen Wolf, which was just picked up for a full second season. Creator and executive producer Jeff Davis and director Russell Mulcahy had A LOT of great spoilers, the biggest being that they are not waiting until the August 15 season finale to reveal the identity of “The Alpha.” “It will be revealed this Monday!” Jeff said, with a twinkle in his eye. As for the finale, Jeff warned, “Not everyone makes it out alive. And not everyone makes it out human.” When it comes to other supernatural creatures, they definitely plan on sticking with werewolves. Jeff promises there will be no vampires – unless they run out of ideas! Russell did add however, “But, we are open to shapeshifters! There’s a whole were-universe!” Hmm! They also said the season finale will take on a very original approach, as they pose the question, “Can you cure a werewolf?”
Tyler Posey, Crystal Reed, Dylan O’Brien.
Colton Haynes, Holland Roden, Tyler Hoechlin.
I then had the pleasure of interviewing the entire cast. Tyler Poser (Scott) was incredibly charming, and very excited by all of the fanfare they were receiving at Comic Con. Last year, they were virtually unknown, and this year they were mobbed by fans the second they got off the train in San Diego! Crystal Reed (Allison) was even more breath-taking and effervescent in person than she is on the show. She admitted that she was skeptical of a Teen Wolf remake at first, but she loved the pilot, and she trusts Jeff implicitly. She also said she was a huge fan of the new Teen Wolf comic book which just debuted. “Have you seen it? My boobs are so big!” she laughed. Dylan O’Brien (Stiles) is definitely the breakout comedic star of the show, and it’s no wonder that he is busy spending his down time this summer shooting the romantic comedy The First Time. Of season two, which starts filming again this fall, Tyler Hoechlin (Derek) hopes that his character can finally get some lovin’ just like everyone else. Holland Roden (Lydia) refuted the charge that her character is a queen bee, and insists that she based her more on a cross between Election‘s Tracy Flick and Charlie & The Chocolate Factory‘s Violet Beauregarde. She loves the fact that Jeff made her character complex, and that she’s secretly the smartest girl in school. She teased that next season Lydia will remain unaware of werewolves, but she’s still very integral. She also thinks that Lydia and Jackson are a good match, but she has a huge crush on Dylan, and she thinks that Stiles should get his wish! When asked for spoilers, the humble and handsome Colton Haynes (Jackson) grimaced, “I’m terrible at this! I always give things away!” Holland was much more forthcoming with the spoilers, and she dropped a huge bomb when she confessed, “There’s more than one Alpha!”
Me and Tyler Posey!
Me and Crystal Reed! She’s gorge!
So, my dear Gasmii… that’s what I got for you! I hope you enjoyed all of the inside scoop on some of your fave TV shows! Maybe next year I’ll be seeing you at Comic Con in person!! Until then… stay tuned!!