Con report time!
On Friday, registration was to begin at 1:00pm, with the Exhibit Hall opening and panels beginning at 3:00pm. Since we had pre-registered, we figured on getting there only a little early, getting inside at about 3:00 and heading right to the Celebrity Summit to check on autograph schedules. It didn't quite happen that way. We arrived at a little before 2:00pm. When we got there, all lines had converged into one massive line, which when we entered it, had wrapped all the way around the Colorado Convention Center. Shortly after we got in line, it began to double back on itself and wrap around again in the opposite direction. As the line actually began to move at about 3:00, the end of the line kept passing us as we were moving forward (meaning it was growing significantly faster than it was moving into the building). We got inside and got our badges at about 4:30 or so.
When we got in, though, we had a great time. That afternoon, we attended a discussion on violence in the media, which was an interesting talk (and I largely agreed with what the gentleman had to say).
I got an autograph from Jim Steranko, who was quite entertaining. He told many stories of his work for Marvel comics and his days as an escape artist when he was younger.
We then went over to meet Colin Baker, the Sixth Doctor, who was wonderful. As we reached the front of the line, a person with a VIP pass came through the VIP line and so went ahead of us (which I'll discuss more later). No problem. The Doctor then called us forward, addressing us as "commoners." I got him to autograph my DVD of Revelation of the Daleks.
We spent a little bit of time wandering the floor, and then called it a day.
The Exhibit Hall was to open at 10:00am, the same time panels would start beginning. Doors were to open at 9:00. We arrived at about 8:30 or so, and there were separate lines forming outside for those who had badges already and those who did not. There was also some type of major race happening across from the Convention Center, so it was a rather noisy morning. They got the doors open a couple minutes late (but reasonably close to on time). The line progressed a little slower than it might have because people were receiving wrist bands as they entered. Only the first x-number of people in would receive the band which guaranteed admission to George Takei's talk later in the day. We got wristbands.
We then lined up at the bottom of the escalators to wait for entry to the Exhibit Hall, which was to be our first stop. I am told that this line exceeded the capacity of the lobby (per fire codes) and that they had to block the line outside until 10:00 when everyone could filter in to the Exhibit Hall.
When we got upstairs, our first stop was George Takei's table. He's a wonderful person, and took a couple minutes to talk to everyone who came through his line. He signed my copy of his book, Oh, Myyy!
We then got into Wil Wheaton's line. Unfortunately, herein was one of the problems. At some point, the organizers had decided that the regular line would not progress at all until ALL VIPs were through the line. Because VIPs can keep coming (and did keep coming), the line did not progress. After about an hour or so with barely any movement through the line, we realized that if we stayed in line, we would miss George Takei's talk. So we left.
On the way out, I stopped at Kevin J. Anderson's table. He was perfectly happy to sign the book I had brought with me, and I also purchased one more for him to sign. (A tip: most people are happy to sign your books, but I think it's good form, if you ask someone for a favor, to make a purchase at their table.)
We then stopped by Jon Bogdanove's table. He was doing some original art for some people, so it took a few minutes to move through his short line, but he happily signed my copy of Death of Superman. And once again, I made a purchase--in this case, a limited edition book of unfinished art, in which he had drawn and original sketch of Superman.
George Takei's discussion was fantastic. He spent a little bit of time talking about science fiction and how Star Trek has inspired so many people. He then took questions. For the first, someone asked him to say his catch phrase, which he did. But he also managed to turn that into a thoughtful answer. He explained both how "oh my" became his catch phrase, and why he is glad that it did.
When we got back upstairs, Wil Wheaton's table had gotten so busy that they'd closed his line so they could clear it out in time for him to go do his panel discussion, so we went over to Peter Mayhew's table instead, and got an autographed 8x10.
After Wil Wheaton's line cleared out and he left, we camped out at the front of the line. By the time he returned, the line was full again. And once again, they let the VIPs go first, so even though we were at the front of the line, we still waited about twenty minutes before a volunteer arrived and directed the lines to alternate.
Wil, however, was great. I asked him to sign my copy of Just A Geek. It also turns out my girlfriend is very probably related (however distantly) to Wil Wheaton. That side of her family is from Michigan, and Wil said that all he knows about the Wheaton clan is that they came over from Scotland in the 1600s, and eventually settled in the Great Lakes area. We have an invitation to e-mail him if we're able to discover any new information.
By the time we got through his line, Felicia Day's line was full, so we spent the last couple of hours just wandering the artist and dealer areas.
On the way out, I stopped by William Shatner's table to ask what his schedule would be on Sunday (the only day he was to appear). They said he'd sign from 10-12 and 2-4, but that the tickets would need to be purchased in advance. Good thing I stopped--that part of the process was not well-advertised. So I bought my ticket and went on my way.
After the con, we went with some friends over to the nearby hotel were some of the guests and staff were staying. While there, I noticed Phil Plait wandering around the lobby. We went over and said hi and that we enjoyed his work. It turns out, he'd come down for Comic Con just for the one day, but had been turned away, as the part of the Convention Center the Con had had exceeded capacity per the fire marshals. When we were invited to provide notes on what worked and what didn't to be sent back to the organizers, I included "don't turn away Phil Plait."
We arrived at 8:00. The line was long. Doors were supposed to open at 9:00, but because of the issue they'd had the day before, they decided to hold them until 9:45. However, we were able to get wristbands to get into William Shatner's talk.
As soon as we were in, we went up to the Exhibit Hall and got in line for Shatner's table. Because I had my ticket, it went very smoothly. They were still finishing up the VIPs who had tickets to get in 30 minutes early when we arrived, but our line was quite short. It took less than an hour to get through his line. He kindly autographed my book and we went on our way. The organizers did a very good job of keeping that line moving quickly.
Dee Bradley Baker had been kind enough to offer everyone with a weekend pass a free autographed 8x10, so our next stop was his table. His line was relatively short and moved pretty fast. Many of his photos were of characters for whom he's provided the voice acting. He impressed in that he addressed the fans in the voice of whichever character they'd selected.
It was then getting to be that we didn't have enough time for another line, so we wandered the hall for a bit, and then went downstairs to Shatner's talk. Shatner is awesome. He wanted to talk about how puppies see the world anew and are filled with awe and that science fiction can help us do the same thing. He began this story by explaining that a few years ago, he'd had to have his dog castrated.
We deliberately sat in the back for Shatner's talk so that when he finished, we could immediately dash out of the room and get back upstairs, as Felicia Day was beginning to sign autographs again at the same time. We did so. When we got there, the line was already almost full, but we were able to get in. It took a while, but I was able to get my autographed 8x10 from Felicia Day.
When we got to the front, Felicia became rather animated about my girlfriend's costume. She explained that she loves velvet and remarked that she just wanted to roll in Diana's costume. I'm quite sure she didn't intend it to sound nearly as dirty as it does. She also petted Diana's head (or more specifically, the cloth covering said head).
And then we just wandered around a bit, watched the people in costumes, and eventually called it a day.
Overall, despite some organizational hiccups, it was a great con. I got everything autographed that I'd intended to, and had a blast.