Let's ComicCon! (San Diego Style)

I wanted to share a couple photos from my trip down to San Diego for a little festival called ComicCon (SDCC). Since I consider myself an internet aunt who only shares vacation pictures, I decided I would do this post in a photo journal style. (My real aunts are actually way too cool to force vacation photos on People. Oh screw it, I love vacation photos. If you stuck me in a dark room with one of those old fashioned photo projector thingies, I'd have a blast.)

Unexpectedly, one of the great highlights of my SDCC experience was the Pokemon Adventures anniversary panel on Saturday morning. I went because I read the Pokemon Adventures manga as a kid. The writer and artist, as well as the Japanese and English editors, made up the panel. At one point, the audience voted on characters (Red, Sapphire, Giovanni, Black) and Pokemon (Pikachu, Greninja, Mew, Tyranitar) to appear in a picture together drawn by the artist live while other panel members answered questions. The audience choose Red and Mew. As the artist started to drew—and we watched his work on the big screen above—the writer commented that we made such a nice choice. Mew and Red were a perfect fit. Now, if we had chosen Giovanni and Picture, said the writer, he would have been concerned. As some of you might know, Giovanni is the evil boss of Team Rocket, and the worst members of Team Rocket, Jessie and James, are always trying to catch Pikachu. Anyway, as the writer made this observation, glowing with happiness, the artist pushed away his drawing and pulled over a legal pad, where he started to draw... Giovanni. Then Pikachu. Then Pikachu kissing Giovanni, and Giovanni blushing, and the audience roared with laughter, and then the writer  finally  caught on. They ended up giving both pictures away in an epic game of rock-paper-scissors with the audience. We all also got free posters. I don't even know what more to say. 

Unexpectedly, one of the great highlights of my SDCC experience was the Pokemon Adventures anniversary panel on Saturday morning. I went because I read the Pokemon Adventures manga as a kid. The writer and artist, as well as the Japanese and English editors, made up the panel. At one point, the audience voted on characters (Red, Sapphire, Giovanni, Black) and Pokemon (Pikachu, Greninja, Mew, Tyranitar) to appear in a picture together drawn by the artist live while other panel members answered questions. The audience choose Red and Mew. As the artist started to drew—and we watched his work on the big screen above—the writer commented that we made such a nice choice. Mew and Red were a perfect fit. Now, if we had chosen Giovanni and Picture, said the writer, he would have been concerned. As some of you might know, Giovanni is the evil boss of Team Rocket, and the worst members of Team Rocket, Jessie and James, are always trying to catch Pikachu. Anyway, as the writer made this observation, glowing with happiness, the artist pushed away his drawing and pulled over a legal pad, where he started to draw... Giovanni. Then Pikachu. Then Pikachu kissing Giovanni, and Giovanni blushing, and the audience roared with laughter, and then the writer finally caught on. They ended up giving both pictures away in an epic game of rock-paper-scissors with the audience. We all also got free posters. I don't even know what more to say. 

I met Victoria Schwab. Accidentally. I feel like I should say that I planned SDCC down to a t, but the truth is that I stumbled across a lot of cool stuff. I ran into my friend Jillian in line for a free copy of  Vicious  at the Tor booth, and I joined her, planning to buy hardbacks of her  A Darker Shade of Magic  series. I thanked her for a writing a great (and inspiring)  blog post  about not giving up as she signed both my new books. It's always nice find that a skilled author is friendly too, even when they're swamped with people expecting free stuff.  Speaking of free stuff, I also ran into Leigh Bardugo, author of the Grisha trilogy and  ix of Crows!  Also, accidentally. As Jillian and I walked away from the Tor booth and wandered down an aisle, I recognized her. I stopped. (It's official, I have a crush). Jillian stopped. We booth decided to get in line, even though we had nothing to sign, because it's Leigh Bardugo, and we're here, and she's here, so... We got free posters and Crooked Kingdom samplers, which Bardugo signed as I attempted to low-key, super casual, like we're friends. Whatever. 

I met Victoria Schwab. Accidentally. I feel like I should say that I planned SDCC down to a t, but the truth is that I stumbled across a lot of cool stuff. I ran into my friend Jillian in line for a free copy of Vicious at the Tor booth, and I joined her, planning to buy hardbacks of her A Darker Shade of Magic series. I thanked her for a writing a great (and inspiring) blog post about not giving up as she signed both my new books. It's always nice find that a skilled author is friendly too, even when they're swamped with people expecting free stuff. 
Speaking of free stuff, I also ran into Leigh Bardugo, author of the Grisha trilogy and ix of Crows! Also, accidentally. As Jillian and I walked away from the Tor booth and wandered down an aisle, I recognized her. I stopped. (It's official, I have a crush). Jillian stopped. We booth decided to get in line, even though we had nothing to sign, because it's Leigh Bardugo, and we're here, and she's here, so... We got free posters and Crooked Kingdom samplers, which Bardugo signed as I attempted to low-key, super casual, like we're friends. Whatever. 

This might be pointless to state, but I am hardcore on for PokemonGo. I was playing it at SDCC. I'm playing it right now. But it was especially special at SDCC because almost  everyone  was playing it. As Jillian and I waited in line for the premiere of Timeless, a new tv drama about time traveling soldier, historian, and scientist (three people), we checked our phones and nabbed Pokemon. Timeless was great. I hope the following episodes are just as fun. But there was something special about being packed in a dark room with lots of other people to watch something for the first time.  Like someone showing vacation photos, but not!  We wrapped up our Saturday in the big dealers' hall, then had amazing burgers for dinner. We crashed at a friend's house. 

This might be pointless to state, but I am hardcore on for PokemonGo. I was playing it at SDCC. I'm playing it right now. But it was especially special at SDCC because almost everyone was playing it. As Jillian and I waited in line for the premiere of Timeless, a new tv drama about time traveling soldier, historian, and scientist (three people), we checked our phones and nabbed Pokemon. Timeless was great. I hope the following episodes are just as fun. But there was something special about being packed in a dark room with lots of other people to watch something for the first time. 
Like someone showing vacation photos, but not! 
We wrapped up our Saturday in the big dealers' hall, then had amazing burgers for dinner. We crashed at a friend's house. 

On Sunday, I waited in the long (and infamous) Hall H line to attend the panel on PokemonGo. It was hosted by Chris Hardwick and he interview the president of Niantic, John Hanke. All the information from that panel, if you are interested, is repeated in countless media outlets. I had a great time, planted somewhere in the middle of Hall H. I learned that I am on the same PokemonGo team as the president. That's all that really matters. (Go Team Instinct!) 

On Sunday, I waited in the long (and infamous) Hall H line to attend the panel on PokemonGo. It was hosted by Chris Hardwick and he interview the president of Niantic, John Hanke. All the information from that panel, if you are interested, is repeated in countless media outlets. I had a great time, planted somewhere in the middle of Hall H. I learned that I am on the same PokemonGo team as the president. That's all that really matters. (Go Team Instinct!) 

Many steps were walked, and many snacks were had. I wandered the artists' alley and the dealers' hall one more time before heading home. It was a great time. If I can manage it, I would love to come next year. And maybe one day I'll get to sign books her myself! 

Many steps were walked, and many snacks were had. I wandered the artists' alley and the dealers' hall one more time before heading home. It was a great time. If I can manage it, I would love to come next year. And maybe one day I'll get to sign books her myself! 

Let's Anime Expo

This weekend, I had the opportunity to go to Anime Expo, also known as North America's largest anime convention! 

It's been a long time since I saw an anime convention floor. In high school, I had the unique experience of trying to explain to a Princeton rep the value of being anime club president and hanging with some of the coolest people ever. 

But it's been a long time since I saw an anime series. Anyway, with a press pass from work, I dove in headfirst. I saw lots of things. I saw crowds. 

I saw gamers.

That guy waiting looks kind of pissed. 

That guy waiting looks kind of pissed. 

I saw lots of people waiting at lots of booths for free stuff, people playing ocarinas, people selling pictures, and cosplayers.

Of course, even though I've been an anime prodigal daughter, I still enjoyed seeing all the venders, panelists, and cosplayers. 

I really enjoyed going around the Artists' Alley, which was huge. A+, Anime Expo. I took it upon myself to look over every booth, and there are a lot of booths, and on my first day, I decided that I was most interested in the people who were not selling fanart, and people selling things other than pictures. Artists in the alley are talented superfans, but I got excited by people sharing their own creations with the world. 

Since writing The Princess and the Fox Demon, I've become the person who gets sent pictures of foxes, socks, and links to foxy things. Foxes are not even my favorite animal, but because of Chirikai, I've become this strange receiver of foxes.

So, I naturally stopped to talk with Emily Chan, who ran a table dedicated to "StupidFox." 

 

"It came out of being bored in high school classes," she said as I asked what inspired the character. She doodled in notes and eventually started comic strips. Now she is surrounded by bright orange plushes.

Alexander Lee's table was dominated by his own creation too. Blue Cat Cafe is an online comic strip series about a girl who works at a (cat) cafe and takes up online dating, only to discover one of her nerdy patrons is her romantic online fellow. Lee sold all kinds of high quality prints, books, puzzles, mirrors, and bags with his designs. It stood out for being mostly done in ink and watercolor amidst countless tables of non-traditional art.

But maybe one of my favorite Artist Alley discoveries came in the form of personalized hygiene...

Alice Roy makes bath bombs. They smelled nice. And even better, there was a set of Pokeballs, each with a plastic toy in the middle for when the bath bomb dissolves. 

"I really liked bath bombs," said Alice, "but there weren't any nerdy bath bombs. Like, I searched everywhere and I could not find anything..."

Another girl at the table pursuing the offerings chimed in. "Bath bombs are good for you, right?"

"Right."

"Sometimes," continued the girl, "I worry that if I get them on my body, am I going to have body problems afterwards?"

"No, I keep the ingredient list as short as possible. Just baking soda, citric acid, and grapeseed oil and fragrance oil. All the colors are water soluable too, so they won't stain your skin or your towel."

More women hurried over to the table. I ask her how long she's been making the bath bombs. 

"About two years. It took me six months to really get started because it took me a while to learn how to make them. There are so many different recipes. Some won't stick together, but I realized too that you make the bath bombs in a mold..." She points to the Pokeball series. "These were the first ones I made. I actually started with an Indiegogo campaign, and they did so well that I... I love making these."

"They're literally divine," shouted a happy onlooker. 

These were some other unique creations I found in the Artist Alley: pinatas, banana alligators, elaborate plastic melting art that was popular in the 90s, balloon art...

What sort of nerdy goods would you like to buy? Comments are love.

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