Oh, Comic Con.
The San Diego Comic Con is the largest pop--culture (scif, fantasy, and so on) convention in America, and one of the largest in the world; over 130,000 people attend. It's actually a madhouse (A MAAADHOUSE!), with a packed exhibit hall and hundreds of amazing panels and talks.
[At the bottom of this post is a gallery of pictures I took while I was there.]
This year, I moderated a panel called "The Science of Science Fiction: Canon Fodder" - we talked about keeping the science straight in a pre-existing universe when you're writing a prequel or sequel. I asked top-notch A-listers to be on the panel, and man, they came through. I had Jane Espenson ("Buffy", "Firefly", "Battlestar Galactica", "Torchwood: Miracle Day"), Dr. Kevin Grazier (science advisor for "Battlestar", "Eureka", and the upcoming show "Defiance"), Ashley Miller (who cowrote "X Men: First Class" and "Thor" with panelist Zack Stentz), Jaime Paglia (co-creator and producer of "Eureka"), Jon Spaihts (who wrote the original screenplay for "Prometheus", and Zack Stentz (cowriter with Ash Miller).
The room was packed, and the panel itself was a lot of fun (if you don't believe me, read this io9 review and another on Physics Central). I cannot praise the panelists highly enough, and I really hope someone got video. It was amazing. And I must thank The Science and Entertainment Exchange for sponsoring the panel. Without them it literally wouldn't have happened, and Marty Perrault did the vast majority of work making sure this event happened without a hitch. She's amazing too.
I also sat on a panel myself for io9's Science Fiction That Will Change Your Life, where I plugged my friends John Scalzi's and Rob Reid's books. That was fun, and I clearly need to do a lot more reading given the other panelist's recommendations.
So much else happened it's hard to list it all. I did a video interview with Neil Tyson for his Star Talk radio show, I went to fabulous parties, I went to w00tstock and The Nerdist shows. And Holy Gallifrey, I got into the Doctor Who panel (thanks Lee!) and sat in the eighth row, close enough to feel the wind when Karen Gillan flipped her long, silky, red hair. Sigh. See the gallery below for some great pictures from that panel!
But the best part, really, was meeting up with old friends and catching up. If I thanked them all individually this post would be twice as long, but they know who they are.
Comic Con is insanity, it's a mob, it's a non-stop sprint of nerdnitude for four days, and I loved every second of it. And you bet your lump of glowing green kryptonite I'll be there next year - I have even bigger ideas for panels and guests. If I can pull off even half of this, it'll shake the pillars of heaven. Stay Tuned.
Here are some of the pictures I took from my time at Comic Con. Click the thumbnail to go to a slide, or use the arrows to navigate.
Bad Astronomy Gallery
(click any image to see it full size)
The Science of Science Fiction Panel
The best panel at San Diego Comic Con 2012 bar none: "The Science of Science Fiction". I was the moderator, and from left to right are Jane Espenson ("Buffy"! "Firefly"! "Battlestar Galactica"!), Kevin Grazier (science advisor for "Battlestar", "Eureka", and the upcoming show "Defiance"), Ashley Miller (who cowrote "X Men: First Class" and "Thor" with panelist Zack Stentz), Jaime Paglia (co-creator and producer of "Eureka"), Jon Spaihts (who wrote the original screenplay for "Prometheus", and Zack Stentz (see Ashley Miller).
The theme of the panel was "Canon Fodder": getting the science right in a pre-existing universe when you're writing a prequel or sequel. We had a lot of fun, and the room was packed. I'm really proud of this panel (here's io9's review) and my friends on it. They're a very smart, funny, and talented group! And thanks to the Science and Entertainment Exchange for sponsoring the panel, and taking care of so many of the details of getting the panel together. It was an amazing night.
Cara Santa Maria
Cara Santa Maria is a science journalist for the Huffington Post (she and I did a video interview for the Venus Transit in June 2012). I was in the massive exhibit hall when I got a text from her asking where I was, and then I saw her not ten meters away. The exhibit hall is immense, and jammed with tens of thousands of people, so it was a pretty funny coincidence.
Neil Tyson, Brent Spiner, and Levar Burton
I met up with my old pal, the astronomer Neil Tyson and we walked the floor of the exhibit hall a bit. We went to a table where Star Trek stars Levar Burton (Geordi LaForge), Brent Spiner (Data), and Marina Sirtis (Deanna Troi) were signing autographs and chatted with them a bit.
Brent Spiner and Marina Sirtis
While Neil Tyson talked to Levar Burton, I surreptitiously snapped this shot of Star Trek: the next Generation stars Brent Spiner (Data) and Marina Sirtis (Deanna Troi).
SpaceX Dragon patch
My friend Katherine Nelson was the VP of Communication of Discovery Channel when I first met her, but now she's filling that role with the commercial rocket company SpaceX. I met up with her at a party, and she gave me the hot-off-the-presses official SpaceX Dragon mission patch from the successful launch and docking with the space station in May!
Doctor Who panel
I was able to sneak into attend the Sunday Doctor Who panel, one of the hottest events at Comic Con. Chris Hardwick moderated, and sitting on the panel were showrunner Steven Moffat, The Doctor himself Matt Smith, Karen Gillan (Amy Pond), Arthur Darville (Rory Williams/Pond), and new Exec Producer Christine Skinner. They showed clips from the upcoming season, which included - SPOILER - dinosaurs on a spaceship.
Doctor Who panel
Another shot of the Doctor Who panel. Yes, Karen Gillan was looking right at me. Swoon.
Chris Hardwick at the Doctor Who panel
My pal Chris Hardwick from the online media empire Nerdist moderated the Doctor Who panel. He was great; joking and making the panelists comfortable while simultaneously not soiling his pants. I assume.
Doctor Who panel (the stars!)
Since I'm a super-important journalist, I got to go right up to the panel to take pictures. But because I am actually a blogger, I have a crappy camera. Still, not too bad.
Doctor Who panel (the stars! Again!)
Another close up of the Doctor Who stars.
Doctor Who panel Q&A
During the Q&A, the cast and crew of Doctor Who had a very special questioner.
[This might help if you don't get it. Or this. And possible this. But definitely not this.]
The horrible Scott Sigler
Author Scott Sigler is an old friend, and it's always great to get togther with him. He writes science-based horror, and his stuff is fantastic. I was able to get him away from signing copies of his new book,
, long enough to get a photo. He also has a comic book coming out, and is the hardest working writer in America.
Zach Weiner really likes his book
My friend Zach Weiner writes the incredibly funny and hugely popular web comic Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal (link possibly NSFW). He just wrote a book called
Trial of the Clone
, which is a "chooseable path gamebook", like an adventure where you can choose your path. Say. I happened to be at his booth when the very first printing of the books arrived. This is literally the first copy Zach got his hands on, and he was really, really happy to see it.
Star Talk radio lineup
On Friday afternoon I sat in with Nerdist Chris Hardwick and "Bababooey" - Gary Dell'abate - on Neil Tyson's Star Talk Radio podcast. We talked about tech gadgets, present and future. Gary is an expert in modern tech, and I talked about scifi stuff like the Enterprise, the Death Star, and the TARDIS. Star Talk will soon be a video podcast with the Nerdist network on YouTube!
I love the cartoon speech bubble coincidentally behind me. It seemed appropriate.