Being a self-proclaimed nerd, I had always been intrigued by the idea of Comic Con, and this year I finally decided to take the dive and go to DCC - or Denver Comic Con. The online site sold out pretty quickly, but, luckily, a local art store called Guiry's sells tickets. I bought the three day weekend tickets for me and Nathaniel, which aren't terribly priced - the conference also helps benefit Comic Book Classroom.
As it drew closer, I got more and more excited, seeing the guest list grow (and shrink, which was sad - I wanted to see Karen Gillan!). When we saw that the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation was going to be there, we got excited and decided we might need to see them because our dog is named Riker. We then discovered, though, that autographs and photos are not included in the ticket price and that they cost quite a pretty penny if you want to get a lot of them. Thinking back on this, it makes sense. Since our tickets weren't insanely priced, how would these guests get paid for their time being at the conference? However, to have the whole cast sign a picture of our dog would have been over $200, which we just couldn't justify right now. We didn't end up getting any pictures or autographs, but we did decide to buy the extra tickets to see The Next Generation Reunion panel.
We arrived at the Convention Center in our Doctor Who costumes, only to wait in a big line to get our badges, then another big line to enter the building. Once inside, we took a little time getting our bearings (the session on Sherlock was full so we just wandered around instead). I figured out where Karen Hallion was, but I should have looked at her hand-drawn notecards and claimed one (she finishes drawing them while at the conference!), but I was being indecisive.
The first panel we went to was called "The Best of Doctor Who". We didn't really know what to expect, but it ended up being a half dozen Whovians (Doctor Who Fanatics) discussing their favorite and least favorite episodes, story arcs, companions, doctors, etc., in a game show style (apparently there was a place online to vote, but we didn't know about this). It was a fun little session, but it wasn't anyone official from Doctor Who or the BBC.
For lunch, we went to Pizza Republica. It was right outside the convention center, had yummy food and was reasonably priced. I would totally go there again.
The second panel we watched was Peter Davison (the Fifth Doctor) answer questions from two of the ladies who sponsored the previous panel, and then answer some fan questions. They have microphones set up in the halls, specifically for this purpose. It was fun hearing him talk about his experiences on Doctor Who - we haven't watched much of his stuff yet, so we didn't know the specific episodes he was talking about, though. It was also cool hearing him talk about how David Tennant (the Tenth Doctor) and him would try to hide themselves during family walks around the park because they are both Doctors, and David is his son-in-law.
The next panel we went to was Walter Koenig (Chekov from the original Star Trek) answer questions from fans. He told a story about how he and other cast members got to go to the unveiling of the NASA Space Shuttle Enterprise. He is getting older, so it was bittersweet hearing him talk about the things he'd done and a couple of the roles he missed out on. He also said has a respect for Anton Yelchin, who plays Chekov in the new Star Trek movies, which I think could be a very difficult thing.
The last session we went to that day was LeVar Burton talking about Reading Rainbow. He started by singing the theme song with the audience, and then asked if anyone brought any books with them. People held up the books, and he made a funny joke that he couldn't read the titles because he didn't bring his visor (like Geordi from Star Trek, who he played). He ended up bring up a woman because she had an actual Reading Rainbow book, and she was a teacher. He said he had a soft spot for teachers because his mom was a teacher, so he signed her book and gave her a hug. He spoke about how wonderful it was to see such an outpouring of support for his Kickstarter to bring Reading Rainbow to every classroom and every child. They got special permission to do a 35 day campaign, rather than the usual 30, because they wanted to raise a million dollars. They ended up making that goal in 11 hours, and currently, with 7 days to go, they are over $4,000,000. I loved Reading Rainbow as a kid, and I love that he is so passionate about it. He wants it to be in classrooms and libraries, and on every platform, because he knows not every child and family has the same means to buy a specific device (or any device). It's a beautiful thing to see someone so passionate about something so important to the future. Everyone should support this.
We decided to wear red shirts (from Star Trek) that day because we were going to the Star Trek panel that evening. We had a lot of people joke that they were surprised we were still alive, because Red Shirts tended to be expendable in the original series.
The first panel we attended was Jason David Frank, the Green/White Ranger from the Power Rangers. It was kind of silly - I haven't watched the Power Rangers since I was little, but the Pink Ranger was always my favorite, and I'm pretty sure they were love interests for a bit. He had us sing the theme song for an Instagram video, and borrowed a transformer from someone in the audience so he could say "It's Morphin' time!". He also is a karate instructor, so there are lots of kids who look up to him. He wasn't the most well-spoken guest we saw, and he did seem to have a big ego, but it brought me back to my childhood to hear him talk.
The next panel was Adam West, Burt Ward and Julie Newmar in honor of the 75th Anniversary of the Batman comics. We got to see crazy Julie Newmar talk about being a sex symbol (and mime something to Adam West...) while wearing cat ears in her eighties. Adam West said "Quick, Robin, to the Batmobile!". Burt Ward talked about how he survived the series since his stunt double didn't look like him.
I sat in the Kid's Corral for a little bit and learned how to draw some Disney characters from Phinneas and Ferb - but I wished it had been classic Disney characters - I've never watched the show.
Next we got to see Peter Davison again, but this time with Sylvester McCoy (the Seventh Doctor) as well. They talked about how their experiences were similar and different. Again, some of the stories they told didn't mean as much to us because we haven't watched all those episodes yet, but it was great hearing them reminisce about being a part of something so huge. Also, we heard them talk about the filming of "The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot", which was Peter Davison's project to pretend he was a part of the 50th anniversary special. (If you haven't watched this, go do it.) It included these two doctors, Colin Baker (Six), Paul McGann (Eight), David Tennant (Ten), and very briefly Matt Smith (Eleven) and Jenna Louise Coleman. Davison even got nominated for an award!
The last thing we went to was The Next Generation Cast Reunion hosted by William Shatner. It included Marina Sirtis (Deanna Troi), Jonathan Frakes (Riker), Denise Crosby (Tasha Yar), LeVar Burton (Geordi), Gates McFaddon (Dr. Crusher) and Michael Dorn (Worf). It was a typical session in the sense that it was based on fan questions from the audience, but because there were so many of them, each question took a while to answer. Marina Sirtis was definitely the most talkative. Gates McFaddon is a classy lady who is also very well-spoken, and she still looks great. Denise Crosby said her favorite episode was the one where Tasha Yar is still alive because another ship went through a time-warp, and Whoopi Goldberg's character knows that this isn't the right universe anymore (this was especially cool because Nathaniel and I had watched that episode just the night before!). The men were a lot quieter, so Shatner (who they all nicknamed "The Shat"), made sure to directly ask them for their answers. Otherwise Marina may have kept answering. We also got to hear about the directing styles of Frakes and Burton, who got to direct their colleagues in a few episodes. Shatner had to leave for a flight about haifway through, which was strange, and then when it was over, I looked at the clock and it was only 7:45. We thought it was supposed to go until 8! It was super fun to watch them talk, but I was glad we didn't spend even more money for the closer seats. I hope those who paid for the gold level didn't feel too gypped by the shortened time, the disorganization, or the Shat leaving early.
That evening we went to a restaurant on Larimer called Osteria Marco. We had a bottle of wine (Elisabetta Geppetti - the woman who runs the winery fired all the men when her father died, and hired all women), and shared meatball sliders, calamari, muscles and carpaccio. It was more expensive than the pizza place from the day before, but I would go back there, too.
On day three, we wore our Doctor Who outfits again, and we actually got to hang out with some friends and wander around the Expo with them! I showed another Disney lover the awesome art of Karen Hallion, and Karen Hallion introduced me to the Naughty Rabbit, where I bought a small figure of Princess Aurora (Sleeping Beauty), the bunny version. I loved it not only because it's cute, but I also have a bunny that I love very much. The artist makes a lot of Disney characters, but also the Wizard of Oz, Game of Thrones, Doctor Who, and Marvel (and probably a bunch of other fandoms I'm not familiar with). This figure will go great next to my small print from Karen Hallion.
The first panel we went to was Sylvester McCoy (Seventh Doctor) answering audience questions about his time on Doctor Who. We learned that he re-uses many of the same answers since we had seen him the previous day, but I think I would, too, if I were in his position. Also, this guy has fantastic, expressive eyebrows.
The other panel we went to was called "Cartoon Voices". It had Jennifer Hale, Kimberly Brooks, April Stewart, and Robert Axelrod. It was cool to hear them talk about their experiences and how they chose that area of the industry and how they can still (mostly) remain anonymous in their everyday lives. My favorite moment was when April Stewart answered a question about if it's ever awkward that she has to say such foul things for South Park when she has a young daughter. When she was pregnant, the day the doctor told her that the baby could hear everything she said, she went to work later and felt kind of weird about the script she had to read (I think it was the episode when Mrs. Garrison is having relations with her new girlfriend). However, I thought that these panelists were going to do their voices, which is what I think most people would want to hear. At the same time, Jim Cummings (Tigger) was in the Kid's area, and I bet he was making his voices for them...maybe I should have gone to that!
This was my first Con experience, and I really had a great time. We had our pictures taken by lots of people (I got many compliments on my hand-made TARDIS dress), saw some cool art, people watched, attended more panels than most people seem to, saw a handful of old Apple friends, and went home with some fun souvenirs. In addition to the prints and bunny I got, I got my Star Trek Red Shirt-dress, an R2-D2 dress, and Star Trek earrings. Nathaniel got a model of the Enterprise to build and a shirt with Archer on it that says "Danger Zone". We also got my dad a T-shirt that is kind of like Spock's shirt (it was Father's Day that Sunday after all!). For next year, I think I need to do a better job at figuring out which artists will be there - I saw some pictures posted of things I wish I had seen! I also will go see Karen Hallion sooner to claim one of her hand-drawn notecards. We also learned that the fan-led panels are fun, but not as important to us as the celebrity ones.
Sorry for the super-long post! I'm realizing just how much we actually did while we were there! And I'm already excited for next year :)