Favorite unexpected surprise ie – something really cool you just kind of fell into by being in the right place at the right time.
— 👩🏻💻steph (@epic_skyline) May 29, 2017
The best moments at Comic-Con are always the ones you didn’t plan for. My first day ever at the convention, we had dinner at maryjane’s at The Hard Rock and upon leaving, my friend grabbed my arm and started not-very-quietly whispering, “That’s David Hasselhoff, that’s David Hasselhoff.” Sure enough, he walked past us — and definitely heard her, as he smirked, nodded, and said, “Hello, ladies.”
And that was the moment I knew I was going to love San Diego Comic-Con. It wasn’t anything we could have planned for, but how do you not get excited about that?!
But this isn’t about that story, as awesome as it is.
No, in 2012, a little show called you may have heard of had a reunion at the convention: Firefly. The line was something like 10,000 people long after Ballroom 20 filled up, which in 2012, was unheard of. And, look, I’ll be honest with you: I don’t really care about Firefly. Yes, blasphemy, I know, but in the long lexicon of Joss Whedon’s amazing career, it just doesn’t rank that high for me personally. But I did care about Community and Breaking Bad, and I was willing to line up at stupid o’clock if it meant I wasn’t fighting all the Browncoats for a spot, and I somehow wound up about tenth in line (Fun fact: James, one of those very Browncoats who I did not know at the time, sat directly in front of me in Ballroom 20 that day, which we didn’t realize until about 2014).
I was there by myself, so I made friends with the people in line around me and passed the time, but around 2AM or so, I decided I was going to try to get some sleep, even if no one else around me seemed interested in doing the same. As it was explained to me after, about five minutes after I was out, Joss Whedon comes by and starts taking photos with those in the line. Joss tells the boys who I had just made friends with, “I have a great idea – let’s just take a photo with her and you can show it to her when she wakes up.” But anytime Joss Whedon is involved, there’s probably a crowd of people, which is how I woke up, blind because I wasn’t wearing my glasses, to some blurry face about four inches from mine, going, “Guys, you RUINED IT! SHE’S AWAKE!” while about 75 people laughed and camera flashes were going off.
We all had a good laugh after, and all weekend, I kept meeting people who had that same photo from different angles, which was both surreal and hysterical. It was absolutely nothing I could have planned for, and it’s probably more that I was “asleep at the right moment” than in the right place at the right time (story of my life?), but only at Comic-Con would you be woken up by a photobombing Joss Whedon at 2:30 in the morning. And that’s what makes Comic-Con so awesome.
Way back in 2008, I was wandering the convention floor on my own one afternoon. The memory I have is being near one of the double-decker booths, I believe Warner Brothers, and someone saying, “Get in line here.” What do you do when someone at Comic-Con tells you to get in line? You get in line! After a moment, I look up top and there is Neil Patrick Harris, and it turns out we are in line to climb the stairs to the 2nd level and do a photo with him. Just 30 or so people were allowed in this line. As a reminder, in July 2008, How I Met Your Mother was getting epic, and Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog had been released just weeks earlier. You bet I was excited! NPH was at the booth to promote Harold and Kumar 2, hence the unicorn behind us. I also had never been on the 2nd floor of the convention, and the view was fantastic. (R.I.P. SciFi Booth!)
My last little story is to point out that sometimes it’s the smallest of traditions that give me that happy Comic-Con feeling: The firefighters at the station near Petco Park regularly paint the fire hydrant that is is out front of their building. In 2013, we stumbled across them as they were painting the hydrant into a Minion. Now, whenever I am near that hydrant, I check to see what character it is and if it’s changed. Last I looked, it was Deadpool. It’s just a little remnant of Comic-Con year-round in downtown San Diego.
… In other news, you also aren’t ever going to be able to convince me that Moonshine Flats isn’t FLYNN’S and the Sempra Energy building isn’t Godzilla.
What has been a favorite Comic-Con moment of yours? Let us know in the comments!