San Diego Comic-Con would be a pretty amazing experience if you hit the show floor a few times then camped out in Hall H for four days straight. You’d get your fill of cool collectibles, dazzling displays and famous faces. And the spectacle on display would be enough to get your geek brain buzzing for a year. But Comic-Con is a massive beast that has extended tendrils through every part of San Diego. Go beyond the con and you can still have a pretty wild, weird and wonderfully nerdy time.
With that in mind, and with Day One of SDCC behind us, join me for a brief look at how I went beyond the con.
As important as breakfast might be, breakfast with the bots is a far better way to kick off the day. I walk into Southpaw Social Club and make a mental list:
Orange Juice? Check.
Optimus Prime, Bumblebee and several dozen toys from 30 years of robots in disguise? Check, check and -- holy crap that’s an original Bumblejumper --check! It is a beautiful thing of Hasbro to host a Transformers Breakfast where you can charge up for the day and do it surrounded by toys on the table. Actually, that’s how I did it as a little kid, so it makes sense to revisit it on the 30th anniversary of Transformers. On display were a lot of the "Angry Birds: Transformers" toys and merchandise, along with massive "Combiner Wars" super-bots. Part of the Generations line, Superion and Menasor will be coming out in 2015. My favorite toy of the breakfast had to be Stomp N Chomp Grimlock. I dined with the Autobot, who transforms swiftly with one maneuever. Yes, I fed him bacon. And at the build-a-bot bar where you could assemble a Transformer using heads, legs, arms, bodies and weapons, I created a robot to haunt my nightmares: An H.R. Giger take on Optimus Prime merged with a Dinobot.
Geek and Sundry Lounge
Held at Jolt’n Joes, just a block away from the convention center, the Geek and Sundry Lounge was drawing crowds wrapping around the block. The nice thing about the area is that it really does serve as a place to sit down and just relax. The area featured a board game library, tables for gameplay and couches all over. In an adjacent room, crowds congregated on two ends. On one, Felicia Day was signing a limited-edition poster; on the other was the merch table where folks were trying to win one of 200 Geek and Sundry Loot Crates filled with, among a load of other things, a Joker/Loki mashup tee. In between, Espionage Cosmetics was making folks look fancy with nerdy nail applications. Personally, my nails don’t lend themselves to cool patterns, but I was nonetheless impressed by the concept of decking out one’s fingers with themed designs inspired by Spider-Man, Firefly and more. A more interesting components of the lounge was the level of familiarity on display. For instance, fans were hanging out with BioWare’s development team before watching a Dragon Age: Inquisition demo.
The Wired Cafe is easily one of the hardest invites to land at SDCC, and for good reason. The oasis at the Omni hotel is a techie's dream. The very first thing that caught my eye was the MakerBot Replicator 3D printer. The two printers on display were creating mini plastic Ugly Dolls and Mr. Snuffleupagus from Sesame Street (yeah, I had to look up the spelling). I was also intrigued by the PhoneSoap device that encases your phone and utilizes UV lights to clean it up. At SDCC, most folks worry about catching "con crud," a nerd flu that spreads fast each year, so I couldn't resist the chance to sanitize my iPhone. I can't verify whether it was cleaner, but it looked nice and shiny after it got cleaned and waxed. Aside from offering a place to chill and grab a bite, a big draw of the Wired Cafe is the celebrity sightings. At one point, I counted most of the Teen Wolf cast hanging out and the Red Viper from Dorne, Pedro Pascal, aka Oberyn Martell from Game of Thrones, arrived at one point to serve up the first taste of Brewery Ommegang's Valar Morghulis (available this fall).
Her Universe Fashion Show
A first at San Diego Comic-Con, the Her Universe fashion show was a fantastic display of geek couture. Merging the elements of a high-fashion runway show with the passion of the con crowd, the event was hosted by Her Universe maven Ashley Eckstein. Appearing in a gorgeous My Neighbor Totoro gown designed and made by Catherine Elhoffer, Eckstein showed off upcoming items in her line and announced a partnership with Japanese animation company Studio Ghibli. Along with Hot Topic and Nerdist, Her Universe highlighted designs from geek designers who were vying for a partnership opportunity with Hot Topic. The crowd (and cosplay celeb Yaya Han, who was in attendance) seemed to be eating up the show as models in wearable art paraded through. Celebrity judges such as Chloe Dykstra and iJustine selected Hannah Kent's "Ventress Gown" (inspired by Star Wars: The Clone Wars) as a winner, while the crowd voted for Adam MacLaine's "Regina's Curse" (inspired by Once Upon a Time).
Stay tuned for more from the Comic-Con social scene!