retsuko: finn & jake's fist bump of awesome (fist bump!)
OMG OMG OMG. It was just one day, but it was AMAZING. It was really funny how going for one day only changed my approach to the experience; in the past, when we've had four-day passes, I was far more organized and planner-ly than I was this year. Instead, on Friday, I was so dazzled by the Exhibit Hall floor that I threw all my careful plans out the window and just rolled with the punches. This lead to trouble only once (which I'll talk more about below) but, generally, it was a good strategy. I didn't end up at any super-spoilery/specific panels, but I saw a ton of stuff, spent money fairly freely (although I didn't go overboard, except for one obligatory splurge), and had a great time with my friends, which is the whole point.

This day was also notable in that it was the smoothest and quickest check-in I've ever had when I came to the registration desk. It did help that I arrived a little later than I normally would have, around about 9:30 when the Convention Center was already open, but even so, I got through so quickly that I almost doubted what convention I was actually attending! All told, I only waited about five minutes from the time I got into the center until I had my badge in my hands (at which point, I had to resist the temptation to break into a jig and a song because it was REAL and ACTUALLY HAPPENING.) I should say that before I got into the center, I was in a scrum of people getting off the trolley, during which time I had a lovely discussion with a woman dressed up as Cruella DeVil about the difficulties of cosplay in a hot costume/intense wig. The fundamentalists were there, too, as usual. I saw a SDPD officer having a very difficult but respectful discussion with one of them about where he (the protestor) was allowed to stand in relation to the convention attendees, and I wanted to high-five the officer for being so infinitely patient, but I held back.

Once I had my badge and had squared away the free gigantic bag (I got the Lucifer one, somewhat to my disappointment--Teen Titans Go! or Supergirl were also in evidence and I would have preferred one of those, but oh well, whatever), I headed downstairs and started looking at EVERYTHING. It's a little hard to describe the rush that comes from stepping in the Exhibit Hall for the first time; there is so much to see, and there are so many people, and 99% of them are happy, and there are costumes everywhere, and there is a low hum of enthusiastic chatter, and it's just magic. Further fannish babblery ensues! )

There was only one bad thing that happened all day, and it had to do with (you've guessed it) zombies. Dammit, people. )

If you want to see my photos, I've put them all up on my Twitter feed (@ChaoticSensible). I saw some amazing cosplay this year, and I tried to get a few shots of the scene around the Con itself (although these are often tough without being on a ladder, because it's almost impossible to convey the scale of the experience.)

I think we're gonna try to go all four days next year, providing that we can get the tickets. Bad stuff aside, I had a wonderful time, and I'd love to put together a costume of some sort together. As usual, the frustrating/difficult parts were far outweighed by the good times and I really can't wait to go again.
retsuko: (cool yuuko)
OMG OMG OMG: longer teaser trailer is here!

Pros:
*No one appears to be dead (except for those who were already dead, see comments in the Cons section), which is what I thought, so YAY!
*Abby and Crane are back in action together again, and hopefully defeating all evil through shear force of AWESOMENESS. XD
*Jenny appears to have more to do this time around, which is also AWESOME.

Cons:
*Goddamn zombies. Will this be the season that forces me to confront my phobia? Dammit, people, I didn't feel like doing that this fall. >:{
*Katrina appears to be very much damsel-in-distressed. (Oh, see, I have this pretty necklace for you, why don't you love me and sing in my opera house, oops, wrong media.) Hopefully, this plot line is dispatched IMMEDIATELY and then everything goes back to being awesome.

Aw, Sleepy Hollow, I have missed you so much! Can't wait for the opener.
retsuko: (spoilers!)
Thursday!: Videos Games! Awesome Web Comics! A depressing panel that turned out OK! Talking with awesome people! )

Friday!: Defiance! Literary How-To's! Weird Outside Stuff! )

Saturday: We camped out in Room 8 for five hours! But the Adventure Time panel was worth it! Huzzah! )

Sunday!: Loose Ends of all varieties! )

General Thoughts:

~ The fundamentalists were more vocal and more... uhm, personal, this year, for lack of a better word. Last year, they just yelled about Jesus, but this year, their attacks were more Comic Con-specific, like the guy with a megaphone who shouted at all and sundry, "Don't let your souls be enslaved by comics!" (It took some willpower not to shout back, "Too late!") There were counter-protests, of course, and those looked unpleasant to referee. I tried to thank as many of the law enforcement people as I could when they weren't working or concentrating on other things; one of the transit security police officers looked surprised when I did, and confessed that he really wished he could go to the Con himself. (He wanted to meet Stan Lee for real, not just pay for an autograph.) As usual, even in the hoards of people, I never felt unsafe or afraid for my physical well-being once, and I think the SDPD is responsible in a large part for that.

~ For some reason, the crash after this Con was especially hard this year. The real world, as much as I love it, doesn't seem quite as interesting for the first few days afterwards, and today was no exception, with mundane chores and problems looming large.

~ There was a lot of zombie stuff--costumes, toys, images, etc.. It was not fun for me. I wish this trend would run its damned course.

~ There were times when the Exhibit Hall didn't seem as crowded as usual, and I couldn't figure out if it was actually truly empty, or I had just gotten really, really good at making my way through the knots of people. It is a lot easier when it's just me, and I tend to stay out of the central scrum of the big companies and their lines, but I could have sworn there were times when there were swathes of empty space, and that's an oddity.

~ The overall theme of this year's Con ended up being something along the lines of, "Crazy Contradictions!" It was personified best in the juxtaposition of the Christian Comic Arts Association booth next to the Killer Zombie Bunnies booth in the Small Press area. Comic Con often leaves me with the aftertaste of sweet and sour. On one hand, there's a pure interest in comics and reading that makes my heart sing, but on the other, there's a crass commercialism that manifests itself in the crazy-long lines for the exclusive toys and vinyl collectibles that makes me alternately groan and grumble. Comic Con is the only place where I can wear my Kate Beaton t-shirt and people not only compliment me on it, but also want one themselves. Comic Con is also the place where my phobia is everywhere, all the time, and I have to make compromises with myself to get past it, but it's also the place where many, many people I admire (both real and fictional) are front and center, and I can draw on their words and examples to give me strength. There's beautiful art, and there's the cheesiest of cheesecake, side by side; in fact, there are Charles Dickens-esque contrasts every two feet or so. It's sublime and ridiculous, and I love almost all of it, even as I realize that what I love is what some other attendees hate. But that's the beauty of multiple fandoms, and when they're all present and not in conflict, it's just completely awesome.

Pictures are here, updated with Saturday stuff. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera on Sunday, so no extra photos. Still, lots of good ones, though. :)
retsuko: (spoilers!)
In some ways, I'm really glad it's over... and in others, I'm not.

In the "Not Happy" category, I have the issue that there are problems that have to be dealt with NOW and that I put off thinking about completely for four days. Most of these are long-term issues that are jostling for short-term attention, and as usual, sorting through them takes patience and time, which are entities that I don't have in large supply at the moment. (As Shanghai Vixen quoted to me this morning, "Temporary battles will take up half your life.") There's also a huge letdown now that comes with having to realign myself to the reality that I'm no longer in a space where people will necessarily "get" my nerdy t-shirt or quotation. There's also a political re-calibration that will need to take place, too, when it comes to disclosing how much of a fan I am or not, depending on the conversation or the people involved. (Of course, disclosing what I'm a fan of at the Con was a separate decision-making process in and of itself!)

On the plus side, of course, in real life, there aren't any crazy lines for fun things. My feet are slowly recovering, hindered only by a blister in a weird and uncomfortable spot between my toes. We probably spent a little more money than we should have, although as usual, we didn't go anywhere near as crazy as we could have. (Yebisu's interest in the collectible sculptures only seems to extend to looking at them and fantasizing about the Manly Den of Manliness that he will have someday.)

This year, I was especially proud that we didn't come out of the whole thing feeling as exhausted as we have in years past. In fact, getting up early wasn't a problem because we are so used to doing it now, at R.'s insistence. But we were really judicious about leaving when we felt tired, and not stretching things out past the proverbial point of no return. We've also gotten much savvier at negotiating the Exhibit Hall floor and judging what will be popular enough to avoid, so mega kudos to us!

Further chat about conversations overheard, fundies, goddamn zombies, and interacting with small children. )

In short form:

Best Free Stuff: The Dalek hat, hands down. Even though wearing it was a little tricky (it didn't balance quite right and swayed on my head quite a bit, like a posture test), I got a lot of compliments and envious looks from other Con goers. How I ended up getting it was a complete fluke, since I think [profile] figgy_newton unintentionally cut through a line, but wound up with one anyway. The poor BBC America staffer looked a bit shellshocked/stressed when he handed me two.

Worst Free Stuff: The stale box of supposedly "fresh!" popcorn I got from a Fandango snack wagon outside the Convention Center.

Most Earnest Free Stuff: On Sunday morning, while Yebisu and I were waiting for the Adventure Time exhibit to open up, a group of women came along, handing out sequined tiaras to promote a children's book along the lines of Harry Potter. I could tell that unlike other swag, these things were hand-made, and I suspect that this was the author's family, trying to promote his work. I wore it on the front of my Vader baseball cap and got several compliments on it.

Pop Culture Entity We're All Going to Be Sick of This Time Next Year: The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot. There was so much promotional material for this, and the whole thing reeked of desperation--even the freebie comic I got featured the toys, not actual drawings, as if the studio thought, "Holy crap, we have to promote this! Someone, do something that will help us sell stuff!" The clips from the cartoon feature shoddy animation without any subtext or soul. Angels and ministers of grace, defend us.

Costuming Trends: Steampunk Everything. I saw steampunk Batman and Poison Ivy, general steampunk costumery, and even a steampunk crow sitting on a woman's shoulder. There were a ton of Avengers (of course) and lots of Thor/Loki, in male and female form. For younger boys, there were a lot of Finn's as well as the de rigeur Batmen/Supermen/Spidermen. For girls, there were more than a few My Little Ponies, Fionna's (YAY!), and Disney princesses.

2013... here we come?!? I'd be happy to go again. I just have no idea what form that's going to take, but I definitely hope we can get there again.
retsuko: (fierce!)
I've seen two movies recently with Chris Heimdall in them, but neither of them had any shirtless shots of him to make up for their other errors. I'm trying to dial down the disappointment, but it's a little difficult.

First of all, there was The Cabin in the Woods, with spoilers: )

And then there was "The Avengers." Yeah, yeah, after all my grumbling about how I wasn't going to see this newfangled nonsense, you young people get off my lawn, etc. etc., [profile] yebsiu9 pulled out his most-excited voice and shiniest eyes and the reviews were decent enough that I didn't feel like I could refuse.

My favorite scene was the one at the very, very end, after the credits rolled. Without giving it away, I can safely say it's the sort of thing I normally have to go to fanfic for, and to have it as part of canon narrative... well, it's nice to know that other writers want to have the same sort of scenes I want to. :)

More talk, with spoilers! )

This is a lot of Joss Whedon for a few weeks. In fact, not since Buffy/Angel/Firefly were on TV have I had so much JW storytelling in such a short amount of time. And it's funny because it reminds me in short order what I love (banter, and not as an afterthought, or intended to further a franchise) and hate (kickass female characters with infinite possibility for power and agency... until they don't) about his writing all at once. CitW and Avengers are some of his better work, but neither one is perfect.
retsuko: (artist etc.)
On DVD:

The Middleman: Oh, there are so many reasons to love this show, which was over too soon for its own good!

1) Banter, banter, banter: I love characters who can verbally spar with one another, and when it's almost all of the characters, then I'm in banter heaven. But it's never overdone or forced, and for the most part, feels like a normal part of communication between everyone involved.

2) Ably passes the Bechdel test: Not only do we have a strong female lead character (Wendy Watson), we have two strong second tier female characters (Wendy's roommate, Lacey, and the female robot who runs the show at the Middleman HQ, Ida) and all the female characters talk with each other, and it's about something other than the man. There's a strong, positive friendship between Wendy and Lacey; the two of them genuinely support each other in all things, and the character development as the series progresses is actually quite touching (so much so that when we get to the AU, final episode, it's almost unthinkable that... oh, just see #5, below.)

3) Seriously? Only just a little bit: Even though the stakes are high, this show isn't overly dark, and really doesn't take itself too seriously. And in the cases where things do become very serious, it's handled deftly by the writers and actors, who never overdo the emotions involved. For a show about spies, Mexican wrestlers, aliens, monsters, soul-stealing superscience machines, secret organizations, romance, zombie fish*, art, temp agencies, and Western movies, there's not a lot of time for too much serious stuff, anyway.

4) Kevin Sorbo!: As a dashing rival to our stalwart hero! Who plays some incomprehensible card game with a group of villains in order to... well, it's complicated. Silly and complicated!

5) The final episode turns out to be surprisingly awesome: Spoilers ahead. )

* This show has the dubious distinction of being the only zombie-related material I've been able to stomach in the past few years, and honestly, it was still dicey. I'm working on the phobia, dammit.

In Comics:

It occurs to me that I've not recently written about the webcomics I'm following, which is mostly a failing of my tidy little routines in reading them. (M/W/F mornings, followed by the newspaper websites and work email.) Webcomics are often a hit-and-miss proposition; since there isn't a unified industry promoting and publishing them, the artists and writers can easily fall victim to real life problems/time sinks and stories that I was faithfully following abruptly stop and never go forward again. But when there's a focused effort on the part of the artist/writer, webcomics are a wonderful medium that reminds me why I love the internet so much. In any case, updating on a regular basis, I read XKCD, which is wonderfully funny math-, science-, and sci-fi-related humor told in deceptively simple pictures. I also cannot recommend Gunnerkrigg Court highly enough; it's like Lost went on a date with The Dresden Files, with a twist of British Boarding School adventure story. (If you're wanting to jump in, now's a good time, as a new chapter's just starting!)

In the not-updating-so-regularly-but-still-made-of-awesome-my-this-is-a-lot-of-hyphens category, I always look forward to updates from Lackadaisy. Tracy Butler's wonderful artwork (I mean, check out this and this, each equally awesome!) is always worth a look, even if the pages are held up a little bit. Paging through the archive is worth the time, and buying the beautifully published book is well worth the money, too.

May 2016

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