It's hard to believe these past four days happened. There's still a slight haze around me. I'm going to try to write down everything I can remember from the events starting mid-Wednesday and try to do them justice. Here we go!
Things did not go as planned at first. In fact, I was having a downright miserable time.
Wednesday, July 23
By Wednesday afternoon I had everything packed and all the costumes finished. My roommate and I needed to get into town with enough time to pick up my badge (Sheena could get hers directly from her boss the next morning as she was working his booth) and the Preview Night was set to end at 9pm. It was a 1 1/2 hour drive to San Diego from Orange County and Sheena said she'd leave work around 3-4ish so I was expecting her to get home around 5 which was perfect. By 7 she still hadn't arrived and she wasn't answering her phone so I, frantic, put all my stuff in the car and left without her. She could catch up in her own car. I wouldn't be able to check into the hotel without her but at least I could still pick up my badge... IF I hurried.
Managed to get into town at around 8:30, found a parking place nearby, and got to the convention center at 8:45. I thought I'd made it... but no cigar. Apparently badge pickup closed at 8:30! I had just wasted $10 in parking fees and it was going to be a nice, sweaty, miserable wait in a three-hour line the next morning. I was not happy. That wasn't all.
I still had to get costumes to two different people that night, my gas tank was on empty and I had no idea where the nearest gas station was, and I was falling asleep at the wheel because I'd been getting about 3 hours of sleep the past few nights working on costumes. I really felt like crying. Soon, however, I found a security guard walking the street and asked him where I could find a gas station. He gave me directions and I found it fairly easily. I called Brooke (yanocchi) and found out she was staying in a hotel that was nearly walking distance from ours. After arriving at her place and giving her her Agatha costume I called the other girl who'd commissioned a Toph costume from me and asked her if I could give her her costume the next morning which she said was fine. Things were finally calming down!
Brooke let me hang out with her, Paola (irrel), Paola's sister Lauren, and two of their friends while I waited for Sheena to call me. They shared their Chinese food (I was starving!) and we chatted for a while.
Sheena finally arrived around 11-ish and we checked in and unloaded our stuff. We were at the Town and Country Resort and it was beautiful! Not the Marriot but still a very nice hotel and the fact that we were staying in it for free made it that much more awesome. I still had to sew some snaps onto the Toph costume so I didn't finally get to bed until around one in the morning but at least I was able to get more than 3 hours of sleep. I was having a hard time sleeping anyway, as I was so excited.
Thursday, July 24
We got up at 7 and I immediately went to work making myself purple. Sheena received a text that morning from her boss saying she had to be there by 9. We would be cutting it close but it should have been no problem. Haha. We finally left around 9:30 and, after picking up fastfood breakfast, we managed to get to the convention center at 10:30. Sheena reported to her boss and then came out to stand with me in line, as she felt it was her fault that I didn't get to pick up my badge the previous night (which it pretty much was but I didn't push the matter because she felt badly).
We'd been in line two minutes when a guy with a red ELITE shirt came up to me and said that I would have to come with him to security to get my sword checked out and peace-tied. I left Sheena to keep our place in line and went with the guy into the convention center to the security booth. The security people were all really nice and complimented my costume a lot while one of them put a numbered tag and a zip tie on my sword so it couldn't be drawn. I was totally cool with that and had even been expecting it. They didn't want any crazies running around with weapons in a building stuffed to overflowing with people.
My sword was all set and the ELITE guy asked me to follow him, but instead of taking me back outside he started leading me to the escalators that went up to the Sailes Pavillion where badge pickup was. He said I could go right in and not have to wait in that ridiculous line. I thanked him profusely and called Sheena to tell her she could go ahead and leave the line and that I would meet up with her later.
Next up was to meet with Brooke and go find the Foglios' booth so we could show off our awesome costume-ness and meet the phenominal minds that bring us our tri-weekly crack in the form of Girl Genius.
At that point I was shaking and giddy and way too excited for my own good. I'd been looking forward to this moment since I started my costume in May. We easily found the booth and rounded the corner to find the Foglios and a couple other people chatting casually to some customers. As we walked up every eye in the immediate area was on us. Almost in unison the Foglios went, "Oh... my... God!"
People started gathering around and snapping pictures and Phil and Kaja were nearly speechless. Kaja commented that they'd never seen a Maxim before and that made me very proud. It's good to have a well-done costume but sometimes it's cosplaying as a character that no one's ever seen cosplayed before that makes it so freaking cool! After some spluttering and fawning on both sides there was much merriment and pictures and sharing of stories.
It was a bit annoying to be interrupted every few minutes by people wanting pictures of me but soon I noticed that there were twice as many people hanging around the booth as there had been when we first arrived. I even asked a few of the people who took pictures if they were familiar with Girl Genius and most of the them said 'no'. After plugging the comic and even mentioning that they could read it online for free I watched a few of them actually buy a book or two and walk away flipping through the pages. The Foglios were positively thrilled and I was thrilled that they were thrilled. It was one big thrill party!
I was introduced to the two other people that were at the Foglios' booth; Alice Bentley, an incredibly sweet lady who reads and answers the Studio Foglio email, and Greg Ketter, a publisher and the owner of DreamHaven Books.
The panels this year weren't as exciting as the ones last year but there were still a few that were worth seeing. In between panels I went back to visit the Foglios a few times to chat and each time I seemed to bring with me a little parade of people to their booth. Even outside of the exhibit hall I was constantly getting stopped for a picture. Most people didn't seem to know who I was cosplaying as, they just liked my costume. However, this gave me constant opportunities to plug Girl Genius and send people to booth 1331 and the GG website.
Kaja was taking pictures of every steampunk costume she saw and was handing out "Gaslamp Fantasy Costume Appreciation" awards. I know she took quite a few pictures of me and she asked me if she could put them up on the website, to which I answered "PLZ DO!" So expect to see myself along with all the other amazing steampunk costumes we saw at Comic Con up on the GG website very soon.
I ended up really bonding with Kaja; like when you meet someone that you can just talk to endlessly and you never run out of things to say. We talked about boyfriends and high school and being a geek and even about puppeteering which I found out she has some experience with. She's a big Kermit the Frog fan! We also discussed Disney movies after I mentioned I was cosplaying as Princess Kida the next day. Kaja winced at the mention of Atlantis and despite liking the movie she said that it kind of stole Girl Genius's thunder as it was just starting out the same time Atlantis was released and she and Phil were afraid people would accuse them of copying Disney with the steampunk theme. I doubt anyone did and I reassured her that I'd never connected the two except, of course, for the aforementioned steampunk theme.
We also somehow got on the subject of Danny Elfman's music and from there to Meet the Robinsons which I found out Kaja is a HUGE fan of!! I got very excited about that! KAJA WINS SO HARD!! XD
Soon I found myself being invited into the Foglios' booth to sit down and relax, leave my stuff if I wanted to walk around without carrying everything with me, or just hang out. I certainly didn't want to get in the way or become annoying but I kept being reassured that my presence was definitely a blessing rather than a curse. I also began to notice that people whom I'd talked to out in the lobby, in panels, the hallways, and even on the trolley to the convention center were showing up at the booth and buying stuff. Over the four days I was personally responsible for probably a couple hundred dollars-worth of sales.
I was interviewed several times, once by Fox News, and in each one I made sure to mention Girl Genius and the website. Fox News even took a picture of me with the Foglios so keep an eye open for said picture! Any photos or videos that I find from the Con with myself and/or the Foglios in them will be posted here.
Here for your enjoyment are pictures of Brooke as Agatha (with the wig, vest, corset, and modified pants that I did for her) and myself:
Friday, July 25
Friday was my Kida day. Instead of getting stares of "OMG, what the hell is THAT?!" I got stares of "OMG, I'd hit that!" It was fun. ^_^
I showed up at the Foglios' booth again, though I didn't seem to attract the same horde that I had the day before. Nonetheless, they let me leave my backpack there (made sure to bring my winged trilobite GG backpack, hehe) I ran around that day a lot more, attended more panels, and hung out with Brooke and Sheena as much as I could. I took two pictures while waiting in line for a "The Hobbit" panel:
Yay, Disney Princesses!
Later I came back to the booth and I found poor Kaja fiddling with her camera trying to make it work. Eventually she concluded that the batteries had died. I asked her what kind of batteries she needed and when she told me AA's, I reached into my bag and gave her a pair. I don't go anywhere with my camera without having a ton of extra batteries along just in case. In return she immediately went over to their box of pins and gave me the Jägermonster sigil one!
I've been talking so much about Kaja and how awesome she is. I think it's time to give Phil some love. He's the kind of guy who doesn't say much but when he does he'll have you rolling on the floor, clutching your sides in mirth. He's also incredibly generous. In fact...
I'd heard about people carrying around sketchbooks and getting the various artistic exhibitors to do little sketches for them of their characters. Feeling brave I asked Phil to do a sketch for me. He asked me which character I wanted and I simply said that I wanted something a Maxim fangirl would love. He said, "Hmmmmmm" and got this very devious look on his face. I didn't peek while he was working but Kaja kept going "Oh my" and "Wow" every time she looked at it. He handed it back to me and I nearly squeed with glee.
It's th- I ju-... dsgflsdritaywp8trahsrlgZS;LS8eiT>H
*ded of teh Jäger sexiness that was DRAWN BY PHIL JUST FOR MEEEEEEEE*
Later, Sheena and I were in line for the Introduction to Webcomics panel that Phil was speaking at and he passed us in the hallway on his way in. When he spotted us he stopped and came to talk to me. "Oh hey, Gen, when you get the chance, stop by the booth again. I've got a couple of VIP tickets and a backstage pass to the Masquerade. They're yours if you want them." I must have looked like an idiot because I suddenly lost the ability to speak and started sputtering and blubbering.
For those who aren't familiar with Comic Con, attending the costume Masquerade usually requires finding a place in line three or four hours before the actual event JUST to get into the ballroom usually ending up with seats that are 20 or so rows back from the stage. They even have a couple other rooms set up with a projector to screen the Masquerade live for those who didn't make it in.
I.never.miss.the.Masquerade. And now, my
The webcomics panel was AWESOME and HILARIOUS. When Phil started mentioning numbers (i.e. book sales, visits to the GG website, etc...) the other panelists were all like *OMG SO JEALOUS*. They started hording him with questions about how he was so successful and very soon they were all gathered around him like kids at storytime. It was HYSTERICAL! I wish I'd snapped a picture of it. XD
Of course after the panel I went straight to the booth and actually managed to beat Phil there. While I waited for him Greg and I started talking and he asked me what I was planning on doing for dinner that night. When I said that I didn't really have any plans he offered to buy me dinner and said that he, the Foglios, Alice and a friend of theirs, Howard Tayler (another webcomic artist) were all going to dinner and that I was welcome to come along. Inside I was squeeing and bouncing around and dying from teh awesomeness but managed to stay outwardly composed. I asked if I could bring Sheena along as she and I were kind of a package deal for the week. It was her first con and I really didn't want to leave her by herself. Greg said that was fine and dandy.
At 7 o'clock I grabbed Sheena from the Arcana booth and she and I raced for the trolley station. Greg told me that we'd all meet up in the lobby of the Horton Grand on Island Ave between 3rd and 4th. The trolley was SO INCREDIBLY SLOW because of all the people leaving the convention at once. I was very lucky I'd decided to dress as Kida that day as all I had to do was wash the little tattoo off my face, take off my wig, and change into some normal clothes. If I'd been Maxim I would have had to shower to get all my purpleness off and put on more makeup which would have taken forever! We got back on the trolley to go back downtown and all the while I was squirming in my seat, threatening to kill the conductor with my bare hands if he didn't go faster. I even got a call from Greg asking me if we were still coming. At that point I was panicking, hoping they didn't just leave without us.
We FINALLY made it to the Horton at around 8:30 and I was more happy than anyone could have possibly imagined that the Foglios, Alice, Greg, and Howard were all right there in the lobby waiting for us. After I apologized profusely and cursed the slower-than-molasses trolleys (and everyone insisted that it was no trouble at all) we struck out onto the streets of San Diego, looking for a good place to rustle up some grub. Everywhere we looked was packed so we had to go a little ways before we finally found a place that didn't look quite as insanely busy as the others. It was a sushi place called "Sushi Itto". Everyone agreed that it sounded good and we went right on over to ask about the wait. They said it would be 15 minutes (though it ended up being around 25) so we stuck around and waited to get called.
While we were waiting there was this massive roar of voices comic down the street. Eventually this huge horde of bikers came peddling through the traffic, cutting it off and making a scene. It was entertaining to watch all the pissed off drivers, though that had to suck. One even pulled out into the intersection, nearly hit a biker, and got into an amusing swear-fest with him. The horde seemed to go on forever! They were peddling quite fast and it went on for nearly ten minutes before we finally saw the last bikers ride by.
We finally got called into the restaurant and sat down to some DELICIOUS sushi! I got a rainbow roll and tried octopus for the first time. It was actually quite good and the little tentacle suckers didn't bother me one bit. I think Kaja was trying not to look at my plate as she's not a big fan of anything that comes from the water. She had some sort of chicken noodle dish that she said was fantastic. And apparently Phil loves sushi. He also ordered sake and made some interesting faces while consuming it, lol.
Eventually everyone decided that it was time to head back and go to bed. I didn't even notice the waiter arrive with the bill but I looked over at Phil and saw him signing the receipt for the entire table! PHIL FOGLIO BOUGHT ME DINNER.
I think I'm going to send the Foglios a thank-you card or something. Yeah.
Saturday, July 26
It felt really good to be back in my Maxim costume. I think I preferred the 'omgwtf' stares to the 'omghawt' stares.
I also found it rather amusing (as did the Foglios) that every baby and small child thought I was the funniest thing they'd ever seen. I would growl and bare my fangs and claws but all they would do is giggle and reach out to grab something. There was this one baby who even tried to grab my teeth! Although, I think his big brother was funnier. He had found the squeezy wrench that was on display at the booth and was trying to "fix" my arm with it. After a bit I took off my glove, held up my arm and shouted "Look! Hy iz finally fixed!"
I even got to meet Tara and Chris, the Agatha and Gil couple with their little girl that you can see in the cosplay section of the GG website. Their two-year-old, Evelyn, is so adorable but she was a little shy around me. Eventually she warmed up enough to talk to me and she thought my teeth were so fascinating. I took them out and she'd go "wooooow". Then I'd put them back in and she'd say "YAY!", then "Do badibadib(toddler jibberish) again!"
Around mid-morning Sheena and I got hungry so we went out into the lobby to buy some pretzels. On our way to the pretzel stand a guy came up to us and asked us if he could get a picture with us. He had a friend with him who was wielding a camera. Sheena was staring at him funny and the guy laughed a little bit. I guess I looked confused because the guy looked at me and then back at Sheena. She apologized for me and explained that I didn't seem to know who he was. I said, "What do you mean? Who are you?" He said, "Oh, I'm nobody." I said, "Oh, okay" and his friend took our picture. As he walked away Sheena tugged my arm and said frantically, "Genevieve, that was the guy from Princess Bride!!!" I was like, "What?! I would have recognized him if he were from Princess Bride. Besides, he's way too young. He would have been a kid when-.... OMG THAT WAS THE KID! THAT WAS FRED SAVAGE!!"
We went running back to him and when I squinted at his face telling Sheena "are you sure?" he laughed. We got into a conversation and when he asked me about my costume I told him about Girl Genius and that he should go check out the Foglios' booth. He said he'd definitely go visit it later. Sheena and I forgot about the pretzels and went back to our respective booths to tell everyone what just happened, LOL.
At lunchtime Alice and Greg had gone off to hand out sandwiches to all the other webcomic booths nearby, then came back and offered me one. I was about to go off and find Sheena so we could buy our own food when Phil told me, "Gen, get in this booth and have a sandwich! The least we can do is feed you while you're out there drawing people and promoting our comic." At that point I couldn't refuse. The Foglios even started answering peoples' questions about me and my costume for me while I was incapacitated. While I was eating people would come by wanting a picture and Kaja would tell them, "Don't bother our Jäger while he's eating!"
Later that afternoon Sheena and I were sitting in the hall upstairs waiting for a panel. I had taken off some of my costume as I was hot and tired, when suddenly a guy came up to us with a camera in front of his face and snapped a picture. I looked at the camera with a very not-amused face, but when he lowered his camera everyone in the immediate vicinity gasped. IT WAS SETH GREEN! He gave us just enough time to realize it was him before he laughed and turned to sprint down the hallway.
That night Sheena and I got nearly front-row seats at the Masquerade. There were some amazing costumes but the performances weren't quite as good as they were last year. Still, I got plenty of pictures and of course Phil and Kaja were the Masters of Ceremony as they always are so I got a few videos of them doing their thing. For some reason LJ isn't letting me embed videos so I'll just post the links to them.
There were many amazing costumes but the performances weren't nearly as impressive as they were last year. Still, it was awesome to watch from our nearly front-row seats.
We didn't reach intermission until around 11 o'clock so Sheena and I had to leave before the winners were announced. We just couldn't risk missing the last trolley back to our hotel.
I was very sad to think that this was the last day of Comic Con.
I ran around as much as I could and saw everything I wanted to see, but made sure to frequent the Foglios' booth to show off my bad purple self.
As the exhibit hall was getting ready to close Phil asked me, "So Gen, which of these books do you already have?" I told him I didn't have any of them because I was a poor Disney cast member. He said, "Well then, you're getting them all!" As I stood there gibbering he proceeded to collect one of every Girl Genius volume, one of both Buck Godot volumes, one of both What's New books, and the Myth Adventures! book. He signed every single one, Kaja signed all the Girl Genius volumes, and even the lady who'd done the coloring for Buck Godot just happened to be visiting the booth at that very moment and offered to sign those.
In the first Girl Genius volume Phil also wrote me a little note and drew another Maxim sketch for me.
Yeah, there's definitely going to be a thank-you card for the Foglios!
When the exhibit hall closed we said our thank-yous, goodbyes, gave hugs, and when Sheena came to find me we left the convention center to pack and go home.
I'm the luckiest Girl Genius fan in the world! This has been the most incredible week. I made some awesome friends, saw amazing things, and had a fantastic experience.
As the cherry on top I decided to leave this portion for last. I promised a bunch of people that I would ask the Foglios some questions about Da Boyz and Jägers in general. Here they are along with other little tidbits of information that I learned: (WARNING!! Below are answers to questions we have pondered for a very long time! No spoilers, but people may still experience siezures from teh awesome!)
1) The Foglios aren't quite sure what Maxim's shiny black mechanical arm thingy is. They tell people that it's important to the future plot just to throw them off the question when in reality they never really gave it a purpose or even decided what it was. Phil just drew it and thought it looked cool.
2) The origin of Maxim: One day Phil thought it would be funny to draw a sketch of a "Bishounen Jäger" for Kaja as a joke. She loved it so much that she insisted they make him a regular character in the comic. No, seriously. (After learning this I doubled over in laughter.)
3) They have been tossing around the idea of writing a mini comic about Maxim getting a new hat!
4) When someone becomes a Jäger the only thing that changes about them is their appearance. They still have human genetics so when a Jäger reproduces, his offspring will be 100% human.
5) Ages! The generals are somewhere between 600-700 years old, Dimo is about 300, and Oggie and Maxim are around 250-300. Maxim is the youngest of the three. Phil has the exact ages written down somewhere but he couldn't remember off the top of his head.
6) The Foglios never decided if Oggie had kids before or after becoming a Jäger.
7) Only the very best & strongest soldiers were chosen to become Jagers.
8) Out of every 10 people who were given the Jagerdraught, 7-8 of them died and usually one or two of the survivors went crazy or had such outrageous effects that they begged for death. Woah! @_@
9) The comic is only about one third of the way through the story that the Foglios have planned out.
I hope you all had fun reading this. I'm tired and hungry so I'm going to go post this in a couple other places and then go eat something.
ETA: I forgot to post the picture of me with the Foglios so now I did. It's near the end. Just scroll up a bit.
ETA #2: I also forgot to post the scan of the first page of the book Phil drew a little sketch in. Lookit!