Me: Hey Paul, I’d love to go to that Comic Con thingy. It’s a dream of mine don’t you know?
Paul: Really! Me too Craigy.
Me: You think you might be able to to get us there next year?
Paul: I don’t see why not. Lets do this!
The above (rough) conversation I had with our legendary leader around November last year during a meeting with a couple of close friends. What the fuck were we thinking… well, that really translates to the following:
Me: Fancy fucking off to San Diego on a lads holiday to laugh at people?
Paul: Damn right. I’m getting pissed though.
Me: I expect nothing less.
Paul: I wear tight tops and purple socks. That okay?
Me: Yeah. Whatever floats your boat matey. Besides I have Scarface trainers (that’s sneakers for our American friends). I think that’s as stylish as I get.
Paul: Famous people go there don’t you know.
Me: Yeah I know. Fuck. That sounds like work.
I’m sure by now you’ll have read the first part of the boss’ brilliant Confessions Of A Comic Con Virgin, as he perfectly summed in both words and pictures, the blind, clueless actions of two Brits aboard during the ‘celebration of the popular arts’ as the posters around town put it. I say two Brits but with Paul’s perfect Queens English (even when hitting the plonk and quoting Patrick Swayze lines), I found myself, despite coming from near Newcastle Upon-Tyne, just telling the American folk we spoke to, as slowly as possible, I was Scottish, as they didn’t have a clue what I was saying any-fucking-way. It helped though as it stopped their confused expressions as if the boss had brought his simple-minded buddy to point and laugh at (our intention obviously backfiring somewhat). Someone close to looking like Sloth from THE GOONIES in order for him to fit in with these costumed cohorts. Surprisingly, when I’d initially mentioned Newcastle, they always piped up with ‘Oh, like the beer’? ‘Yes‘, I’d say. ‘It was originally brewed there actually’. Looking back at me, as if I’d just mumbled incoherently that I may very well have buried their mother in the basement. Christ knows what it would sound like if I actually drank that shite. Better? Probably.
So, as you’d already know our adventure had us initially shellshocked, despite preparing well. How did we prepare I hear you cry. Borrowing prized comic-books from supporting passionate (or rather geek) friends we never had any intention of reading. Which we didn’t. Well, we looked at the covers to get the gist. They were comic-y and… like a book. Besides, we’d seen those Superman movies. Even that new one with Russell Crowe. All them great BATMAN films (and the shit ones), CAPTAIN AMERICA (I’d even seen that God-awful 1990 version starring Matt Salinger, so I was one up on Paul), and unfortunately I still have nightmares of Tim Story’s FANTASTIC FOUR films. Surely our first visit to San Diego’s prestigious world event would see THN welcomed with open arms? Come on in. Don’t stand outside for several hours alongside the nerds dressed as some bellend from GAME OF THRONES. I mean, who the fuck gets up at 3am to stand in a queue for hours? Well, apparently we do, because we did after said meeting with that foxy fanged girl (see Paul’s priceless piece) on the supposedly quiet ‘Preview Night’. Advice we kind of took. We left the comfort of a glorious 4 star hotel on the beautiful marina, this after only hitting the sack a few hours earlier, to stand in a sodding line. Passing hobo-like head cases who’d actually been there for days to assure entrance and a great seat. If I was sitting next to those minging bastards I’d happily have joined the back. Something we actually did on the official Day One. Only because we’d been in the wrong fucking line for 3 hours. Luckily, many must have believed that day’s schedule was bollocks as there were only around a few hundred people waiting by the time we joined.
Just a quick recap on the aforementioned ‘Preview Night’, supposedly for press and four day pass holders only – FUCKING BEDLAM! I came out of the Expo showcase 30 minutes later (although it felt much longer), along with our chieftain, feeling violated. Like I’d been spit-roasted and passed around for the pleasure of a group of overpaid Premier League footballers. Quivering in the corner trying to comprehend the mentality of these strange individuals pushing past to get their mucky paws on the latest Marvel tat. I felt like Susan George in that notorious scene in STRAW DOGS. Unwillingly crossing into rough, uncharted territory, yet unsure if I wanted it to stop. Intense stuff I shit you not, but maybe this is getting a little too dark!
Each of the further remaining days, as Paul confirmed, saw us joining the madness of the early morning line for Hall H(ell). The first of which saw some mean mother-fucker set the sprinklers on the greenery we planted ourselves to get some preparation done. Cunts. However, it was soon to change our fortunes and our spirits, as we began to fall in love with the shear joy of the experience. Laughing our asses off for hours at how bloody mad and devoted we must be to do this for our brilliant website. We began to see the passion these (touched) people displayed, all helped by later witnessing the talent on stage in the star-studded and fascinating panels. If it wasn’t the joy of seeing the cast of television favourites DEXTER or THE WALKING DEAD, there was always surprise appearances from the likes of legendary cinematic heroes Tom Cruise, Michael Keaton and Bill Paxton for varying projects, to put another smile on the face. All before that jaw-dropping combination of X-MEN past and present for Bryan Singer’s DAYS OF FUTURE PAST, and the details of MAN OF STEEL/AVENGERS sequels, all of which brought the house down. Seeing impressive first ever footage from ROBOCOP, GODZILLA, CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER and the incredible-looking GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (a charismatic and naturally comedic Chris Pratt is surely destined for superstar status from what we saw). That marvellous introduction from Tom Hiddleston’s costumed in-character Loki. It truly made each long, punishing day worth the carnage initially endured before we ventured back to our hotel to bring you more in-depth analysis, reviews and images each day.
If you’d been a regular listener to our genius podcast (if not rectify that immediately), you’ll have noticed our first report recorded on Preview Night had us somewhat disillusioned and downright suicidal. Hell, we were jet-lagged, sleep deprived and stunned at the prospect of another day(s) like that. Thankfully we’d been given a little bit of welcome respite with the special screening and Q & A for home-invasion horror YOU’RE NEXT (my review here). Still, we had time for a joke or three with the closing question posed by Paul of “Will we be coming back next year?”, with me sharply and sniggeringly replying “We’re fucking not!”. I can assure you we will indeed be venturing back as our experience went from Ned Beatty’s DELIVERANCE raping to a tearful and fist-pumping home run hit by ‘Shoeless’ Joe Jackson in FIELD OF DREAMS. Our tones well and truly changed in our latest guest slot on the podcast, although still amazed at what we’ve seen during the week. Even with a certain Comic Con host who seemed to to have his head so far up his own arse he put Blighty’s own Alex fucking Zane to shame.
We had a wind down on Sunday. There was no sodding way we were getting up at 3am for DOCTOR WHO. That fella who plays him, you know, him who looks like Eric Stoltz’ character in heartbreaker biopic MASK, gets well on my tits. Instead we took a leisurely stroll through the upper echelons to see what we’d been missing during our Hall H shenanigans. It was here we came across Desperation Station. At least that’s what I called it. An hilarious place where fans could pay for the autograph of the ” guy” or “gal” who brushed past Schwarzenegger in CONAN THE BARBARIAN or blinked in the background of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA. Whoring themselves out to all and sundry before the public questioned their integrity. Pantomime ‘superstar’ Shane Richie would make a fucking mint here. Speaking of which, another UK national treasure (or prick) John Barrowman beat him to the punch as he pimped his signature. Probably hoping nobody mentioned that terrible show old Grannies seem to love, TONIGHT’S THE NIGHT. SURPRISE, SURPRISE it fucking ain’t Johnny Boy!.
If you ever get the opportunity to venture to San Diego Comic Con, do not pass it up as it is truly a wonderful experience despite my Grinch-like retrospective. Having said that – don’t bother. We’re going next year and if I encourage you it’s sure to mean a longer fucking line! Stay home and catch our coverage instead.
Catch all of our Comic Con coverage HERE