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Attendee of the Week: Ray Hom

Every week from now until San Diego Comic-Con, we’re celebrating you: our readers! So let’s meet this week’s Attendee of the Week:

Ray Hom

Where are you traveling from?

I hail from the Bay Area, in San Francisco. Actually, I live just outside of S.F. in Daly City for the past decade, but grew up in the Bay Area all my life.

How many years have you been attending?

Since 2013, so this will be the seventh year I’ll be attending.

What was your favorite panel and why?

I don’t think I’ve attended enough panels… In 2013, I naively lined up for Hall H with my buddy, Bo, at about 11AM. After about a couple hours have passed, he felt we were wasting our time, and should explore other parts of the Con. I was stubborn, but eventually I gave up an hour later, figuring that we probably won’t get in for a long time. I’ve learned to have more fun and patience spending time seeking exclusives collectibles and celebrity meet and greets. That being said, this may be an odd choice, but my favorite moment was when I saw Kevin Smith speaking in Hall H in 2017, promoting the BBC Dirk Gently series. I’ve bumped into Jay outdoors of the Con, and met the Comic Book Men, even attended a lot of Kevin Smith shows, but he still eludes me from feeling complete until I meet him one day up-close & personal.

What is your favorite exhibitor or artist booth and why?

Sideshow Collectibles is my favorite. It’s in the middle of the Exhibition Hall, and I always save it for last after circling around the hall looking at everything I feel I needed to see. I love their high quality figures, and I own a few myself. The miniature details of the figures and sets give a sense of awe. Side note, I also visit artist Genevieve Tsai at her booth, and Eric Ignacio at VIZ’s booth. It’s always fun and inspiring to visit friends who are creating work at the Con, which makes the experience more immersive.

What’s your favorite item you’ve ever taken home from the convention (swag, exclusive, merch, etc.)?

Because I’m a nostalgic type of collector, I grabbed a replica set of fake books (it’s hollow on the inside to hide your secrets, whatever those may be) and a pair of broken glasses, based on my favorite Twilight Zone episode “Time Enough At Last”, at the Entertainment Earth booth.

What was your favorite autograph session and why?

The first time I attended Comic Con, I was an already established Game of Thrones fan through the HBO show, and just had started reading the books. I noticed that George R.R. Martin was doing a signing based on a lottery system. Again, with my friend Bo, we lined up, but not being hopeful, because I didn’t get to see everything I wanted at the Con (again, naïve). Optimistically, I’ll just give it a try. I didn’t get picked, but Bo did! Bo felt I was a bigger fan than he was, at the time, and he decided to share his winning ticket to me. I am eternally indebted to Bo.

As I lined up to meet George, the teenager in front of me was carrying a set of A Song of Ice & Fire books, anxiously mumbling to himself,”Oh my god, oh my god! There he is, there he is!” over and over, which made me nervous too. But, when it was my turn, I just thanked George for writing the series and generically vowed how I’m a fan that will read all his books. As he signed a copy of A Game of Thrones for me, I snapped a billion selfies with him. I’ve had better autograph meet and greets throughout my Comic-Con experiences, but this felt the most natural to me. A follow up to this story, the following year (2014), I noticed that George was making a signing appearance at the Avatar Comics booth. It was Preview Night at the Con, and I just decided to head on over to see if I can meet him again. And, the funny thing was, he was all by himself, at the booth. He looked bored. I was surprised, as I walked up to the booth and casually chatted with him a bit about his comic Skin Trade and the discontinued Doorways. I didn’t experience any social anxiety, and even felt more natural this time. It was like saying “Hi” to an old friend. This experience sealed my forthcoming confidence with signings at convention booths. And, I couldn’t leave George alone (again) without taking a few billion more selfies with him.

What is your favorite con snack?

I’m sure all Con attendees know what I’m talking about when you step outdoors of the event, and you smell the tasty aroma of those hot dogs at the nearby cart stands, and you can’t resist. Yeah, can’t resist those hot dogs.

Tell us about your most memorable celebrity encounter?

Hmmm… when I met Guillermo Del Toro at a signing for Trollhunters. He complimented my David Choe (famous artist who did work for Facebook, and became an instant millionaire, who I’ve gotten the pleasure to meet, as well) shirt for having great taste in the weird. After I posted the selfie of me with Guillermo on Instagram, I had tagged David Choe about this experience. David liked my photo, and I felt I had bridge two famous people who have never met!

What is (or was) your favorite offsite and why?

I’ve sat on the Iron Throne, after four hours of lining up in the hot sun, three times in my Comic-Con life. The GOT exhibit wasn’t there last year, but if they ever come back again, I would seize the Iron Throne and rule Westeros time and time again. Well, unless, they have an experience where I can ride a dragon, then I would fanboy that.

What is your favorite restaurant in downtown San Diego?

I’m not sure if this is still within the downtown area, but I enjoy going to Little Italy for some pasta and pizza. One particular place I enjoy is Filippi’s Pizza Groto for their large personal-sized pizzas. I often go there, every time I visit San Diego, in general.

What is your favorite Comic-Con memory/moment?

In 2018, I was first in line for the Legion series signing at the FOX booth. It was great to have met the entire cast, including Audrey Plaza. I called her by her character name from the series, “Lenny”, then she shot that signature weird glance she does with the piercing eyes. It made me giggle, and thanked her for her time. But, the kicker was when I exited the booth, FX stopped me for an interview. I flubbed my words, but a few of my friends saw me from afar, yelled my name, and snapped a pic of me in mid-excitement. And, in which, without being too suggestive in my description here, a pic that will probably ruin me, if I ever pursue a political career. I was also interviewed by Showtime back at the Con in 2014, about my thoughts about the Penny Dreadful series. I have not tracked down if both interviews have aired, tho, but the experiences were great opportunities in themselves that can happen randomly at the Con.

Do you have any advice on how for a first time attendee?

Don’t jump into the event expecting that you can do everything. It’s virtually impossible. When preparing for the convention, schedule everything you want to do, in addition, alternative events or places to visit, in case you don’t have time to do one thing. You’re not going to get your hands on every exclusive you want, and you’re not going to attend every meet and greet session. Also, be a roaming free spirit and explore stuff that happens outside of the convention center, like Petco Park and the Gaslamp district. There’s enough events out there to satisfy your nerdy tastes. This way, you avoid unnecessary disappointment, and maximize your experience. Who knows, maybe you’ll randomly bump into a celebrity and get interviewed for an entertainment news reel.

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