Day One at Comicon International at San Diego!

So the first day of this mother of all conventions finally arrived. Not only would this be our first real day attending San Diego Comicon, but this was also a momentous day in which the Two Gay Geeks would actually be represented at a panel! On top of that there was plenty of LGBTQ Representation, an opportunity to meet Star Trek royalty, as well as meeting a previous guest on the show for the first time. Shall we begin?

We made our way down to the Library where part of this Comicon was occurring. It is where the panel we were invited to attend was taking place, but since we were early we checked in to the auditorium only to see Richard and Wendy Pini, the creators of Elfquest actually giving a panel of their own.

The Pinis covered some of the beginnings of this enormously popular comic book series as well as how it affected their relationship and the different hats they were forced to wear while producing this comic series (Wendy serving as both artist and wife to Richard, while he was not only her husband, but also the publisher.). She even told a humorous anecdote about sometimes wanting to just slap her publisher, but wanted very much to talk to her husband. They also shared why they have denied any movie rights for Elfquest to the major studios, mostly because those studio executives just don’t get the stories.

After the Pinis were done it was time it was time for Heroes at the Mic, the panel that brought us out of TG2 Studios down to San Diego!

Due to size constraints, it was decided that Keith would represent the podcast by being on stage with the other panelists, while I sat in the audience and “heckled” the event. During the course of the panel some of the questions brought up were why we started a podcast, what was the main focus of the podcast, how we managed to get an audience, and what was some of the “impressive” and memorable guests we’ve had on the show.

One little amusing moment actually came when the different shows were being introduced, which included the Horrible Imaginings Podcast and Krypton Radio among them, when the Two Gay Geeks Podcast was mentioned the cheers from the audience was surprisingly loud and enthusiastic… Who knew we had that level of popularity???

After the panel was over we met up with fellow podcaster Joe Hogan of Geektitude and chatted for a time before heading back to the Convention Center. Once there Keith had a brief encounter with Gumby and Pokey that he simply could not ignore!

After taking some pictures we then made our way the Pro Lounge where the Professional Guests (which we were) could rest and visit with others while decompressing from the madness of the convention itself. It was interesting as we met several people with fascinating projects of their own, so we are hoping that this will spawn some future interview opportunities!

Once that was done we made our way down to the Exhibitor’s Hall once more because we wanted to find the booth that Miguel Rodriguez of Horrible Imaginings was at (which we did), and we then had the most amazing surprise… We found a table that was manned by none other than Nichelle Nichols of Star Trek!!! We both took the opportunity to speak with her for a few minutes, and she was every bit as warm and gracious as she has always been with her fans. After chatting with her for a bit we were able to get an autographed photo of her, and she then allowed us both to take a picture with her!

That was one of those special moments that we will always remember. If there was nothing else that happened at this convention, the opportunity to meet and talk with Nichelle made the entire event worthwhile.

However, another surprise was lurking around the corner as I had the enormous pleasure of speaking to a comic book artist who is a legend, and his name is Mike Grell. I was determined to talk to him because it was his artwork that suckered me in to comics, specifically his work for both Superboy & the Legion of Superheroes, as well as Green Lantern/Green Arrow. Those titles hold a very special place in my heart, and when I told him about his work he asked me about the very first cover of Legion that I saw and I was able to describe it to him. Barely 5 seconds of description and he smiled as he clearly remembered the cover as if he had drawn it yesterday! We reminisced about some of his artwork, and he even shared his discomfort regarding insects and how that played in to his work on a very special Legion anniversary issue. He then autographed a very special piece of artwork that was a cover for a special tabloid issue for Legion of Superheroes. Again, a very magical moment.

After that was done we attended the LGBTQ Geek Year In Review. While there was a lot ground that was covered, the gist of this was to discuss some of the significant moments in movies and television that are of a “queer” nature. Some of those titles included Handsmaid’s Tale, Sense8, American Gods, Wonder Woman, and Supergirl. It was not all positive as there was some disagreement among the panelists, including their thoughts on Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. While one panelist found it to be very positive, another felt it didn’t do enough, and that if fundamentalists are going to get upset, then let them do so with a film that is unapologetically gay in its message.

After that was retreated to another room where we then attended the “It Gets Geekier: Why Queer Representation Matters” panel that was hosted by Bryan Pittard of Flame On! Podcast. This was a roundtable of comic creators as they talked about the importance of LGBTQ+ characters, why they matter, and their experiences with media representation in general.

We finished up the evening with a Robotech panel hosted by Kevin McKeever from Harmony Gold, and that panel will be covered in a follow-up article.

Basically it was a truly enjoyable day, but still hard to believe that this was only Day One. We still have two more full days of the convention. What will those days bring us? Just stay tuned and we’ll share with it you as it happens!
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