Wednesday, June 25

Posted by Laurel Garver on Wednesday, June 25, 2014 9 comments
Karen Gillan and Matt Smith in PHILLY! 
I don't typically let my geek flag fly as much as some bloggers do, but when I learned that the 11th Doctor and his companion Amy Pond were going to be in MY city, was something that could not be missed.

This was my very first Comic Con. I don't read comic books. Superheroes...I can take 'em or leave 'em. Other than Wii Fit and online puzzle games, I don't really play video games either.

Waiting for the Dr. Who panel with the fourth Doctor!
But I was totally willing to rub elbows with the geekiest of geeks for a chance to see Matt Smith and Karen Gillan live. They have great chemistry, love to laugh, and are just so thankful to have been a part of SciFi's longest-running TV series. The Q&A session ran 90 minutes, and fans asked lots of really great questions beyond "what is your favorite memory?" I especially liked their thoughtful responses to what aspects of their characters do they wish there had been more time to develop. For Karen, it was the period when Amy went through four therapists trying to cure her obsession with "the raggedy man." Apparently the two have an ongoing rivalrly to see which can remember the season and episode number for the particular plots. (Matt won, I think.)

Over the years, these conventions have diversified, and now include all kinds of SciFi and fantasy cultural production, beyond comics and gamer culture. If you like Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Dr. Who, Torchwood, Orphan Black, Battlestar Galactica, Firefly, Game of Thrones, or The Walking Dead you won't feel entirely out of place at a Comic Con.

"Cosplay" is the term for all the amazing getups you are likely to see. Here's a small sampling.

Name those characters...'cause I can't.
Tim the Enchanter: "what is your favorite color?"

The boy wonder at Panera!

Sean has been acting since 1981. He's a busy guy!

The convention floor is largely a giant geek supermarket, where you can trade in or purchase an entire comic collection, pick up a light saber in the color of your choice (teal anyone?), build an enormous t-shirt collection, get signed films posters without the hassle of stalking stars, and turn your hard-earned cash into a cache of geeky gadgets and knickknacks.

My husband, daughter and I spent two days at the con, the first largely on the convention floor, the second largely attending Q&A panels with various TV and film stars. In addition to Karen Gillan and Matt Smith from Dr. Who, we also heard James Marsters from Buffy, Angel, Torchwood and others; Sean Astin, who you might know best as Samwise Gamgee from The Lord of the Rings films; and finally, Firefly and Serenity stars Alan Tudyk and Nathan Fillion.

The Firefly panel was by far the most crowded--standing room only. For a show that ran only one season, over ten years ago, it was pretty surprising it has such an enormous cult following. I think part of what keeps the show alive is these two guys. They continue to do lots of convention appearances and are completely hilarious together. Tudyk does lots of voice work for animated films, so at times he answered questions as King Candy from Wreck It Ralph or as the Duke of Weseleton from Frozen.

One of the funniest things they did was give out signed gifts to anyone brave enough to come to the microphone and ask questions. And those gifts? Random items from Alan Tudyk's bag--old mugs, t-shirts, script pages, a pack of gum. If there's any lesson to be learned, it's that fans absolutely adore starts who are approachable and willing to be a bit silly.

Have you ever attended a Comic Con? What questions would you have asked any of the stars I saw?


  1. Aren't they just total cuties :P

  2. I'd love to go to a comic-con. I'm not a comic book reader either, but the gadgets are just so interesting.

    1. The amount of shopping one could do was pretty overwhelming. We especially liked "artist alley," where you could purchase directly from artists. I was wishing I wrote fantasy, because there were two artists in particular I'd LOVE to have design a cover for me.

  3. Fun! I'm a bit of a geek in real life, too, and would have loved to see Matt and Karen! Amy is one of my favorite companions because she's so well developed as a character.
    Thanks for sharing the pictures! :)

    1. We got the cheap seats for this panel, so it was a bit weird to know whether to look at them directly or the jumbotron (more close up, but feels like watching them on TV rather than really live.)

      We do get quite a bit more backstory with Amy than most other companions, which is pretty great. I also love the relationship she has with Rory. It's hard to pick a favorite companion--I'm pretty partial to Martha Jones myself. I also really liked Doctor 9 a lot.

  4. I would attend a convention just for Firefly. What an experience. And all those costumes…wow!

    1. Hearing Alan and Nathan chat about Firefly, I was getting the itch to rewatch the whole series (plus Serenity). IThese sorts of conventions happen in cities all over the country, though the "talent" who make appearances varies from place to place. We were particularly lucky to have the Dr. Who stars (separate tickets to see them).

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