I had the privilege to attend three days of Comic Con this year- Thursday through Saturday evening. Though this was the most crowded Comic Con I’ve attended so far, I was able to get into several panels, and see plenty of the main floor, and the fantastic costumes people put on for the event.
First off, early on Thursday morning was “The Witty Women of Steampunk.” This all-star panel included authors Anina Bennett, Gail Carriger, and Kaja Foglio, as well as actresses Robin Blackburn (The League of S.T.E.A.M.) and Robin Thorsen (The Guild). The panel was moderated by none other than Lady Steam herself, Dina Kampmeyer. These dauntless women discussed a variety of subjects, including reclaiming the corset, and what got them into Steampunk in the first place. Though they each came from different backgrounds, all were inspired by what Anina Bennett called, “the birth of the progressive era,” and the panel professed that they had a certain weakness for Victorian era clothing. Robin Blackburn added (to complete mutual agreement), “The Steampunk community is one of the strongest things that inspires me.” Foglio, Blackburn, and Bennett were enamored with the science of the era, and the infinite possibilities it seemed to present.
On the other end of the spectrum, Gail Carriger offered plenty of advice about how to find a proper fitting corset, taken from her years of experience working as a corsetiere. A properly fitting corset, she explained, gives you a nice shape and often offers more comfortable support than a traditional bra, especially for women with larger bust sizes. The panel ended on this cheerful and humorous note, and I had the opportunity to see many beautiful costumes close up, on women from a wide variety of age groups.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get into the Firefly panel. People started lining up the evening before, camping out for a chance to get in, and several con goers told me eagerly about how Joss Whedon came out late at night to greet everyone and give as many people a hug as possible, crying as he did so. People who camped out all night for The Hobbit panel received a similar treat, with actor Sir Ian McKellen generously coming out to take pictures and greet eager fans. Spotting celebrities at Comic Con isn’t an uncommon occurrence- I was lucky enough to run into Arthur Darvill (Rory from Doctor Who) and Felicia Day (The Guild). They were both warm and welcoming, taking time from their busy schedules to shake my hand and ask me how I was enjoying the Con.
By far the largest panel I attended was the Legendary/Warner Brothers extravaganza. People were again camping out all night, with more than seven thousand in the regular line alone. I was in the disabled line, which while considerably shorter, still had several hundred people waiting. Hall H, where the panel was held, has a capacity of 6500 people, and was completely full, with what seemed to be enough people to fill the room twice over still stuck waiting outside, hopeful that they would get in. The line and the crowds were well worth it, as Legendary pulled out an impressive array of screenings and showings, utilizing screens on both the front and side of the halls for a fully immersive display. Guillermo del Toro spoke about his giant robots versus giant aliens epic, Pacific Rim, showing some exclusive, impressive footage that still managed to keep much of the details secret. Legendary had a surprise up their sleeve; after del Toro’s panel, they showed a surprise trailer for the soon to be filmed Godzilla film, and a Q and A with director Gareth Edwards. They showed Man of Steel last, a Superman reboot starring Henry Cavill and directed by Zack Snyder. Warner Brothers then took over for what was arguably the most eagerly anticipated part of the panel- twelve minutes of exclusive footage from The Hobbit, and a Q&A with Peter Jackson, Philippa Boyens, Martin Freeman, Sir Ian McKellen, Andy Serikis, Richard Armitage, and surprise guest Elijah Woods. Filming took over a year, but from the brief section I saw, will all be gloriously worth it.
The convention floor was packed with people in costume, from cosplays to original character designs. It was often hard to move around because there were so many people, but the photos I took and the memories made it all worthwhile.