Blog 5 – New Challenges and Comic-Con Picspam

As I mentioned in my latest Semi-Scholarly Linkspam post, I’m doubling up on my official blog posts so I have them completed by the end of summer. This week’s official blog post is about what new ideas, challenges, or issues I have encountered in the research process. To be quite honest, nothing I’ve read or did recently has really been new to me. I could talk about being retweeted by Orlando Jones and the power of networking over social media, but that isn’t exactly remarkable – networking is the reason why social media exists, so of course my network of friends, professionals, and fans came together to bring more subjects to my research.

Instead, I want to get out on my soap box again, and talk about sexism, particularly at conventions like San Diego Comic Con. In all my research about gender and geek culture, the fact that there’s sexism at fan conventions is not news to me. I know about the overwhelming number of white dudes on the panels, the “token” panels about women in comics or movies or television, the dudebros in line for Hall H (remember, it’s the “brohive“) who make racist and sexist jokes, or the cosplayers who are groped and sexually harassed as if they weren’t people but objects to be ogled (and there was much ogling at Comic-Con this year).

However, as I did my linkspam on Comic-Con and gender, the reality of sexism at conventions became more visceral to me. Again, I didn’t personally experience it because I was in a T-shirt and jeans, went to the more empowering panels, had a guy who’s six feet tall and 250 pounds following me around (my friend Dave), and am generally kind of oblivious the the things around me. But it happens. And it’s not good.

As Amber put it in their review of the 2013 Comic-Con:

I am not naïve enough to think that nerd culture is immune to the same systems of oppression that are perpetuated in our larger society.  That is not my issue with this.  My issue is that the women on this panel who, by definition portrayed strong female characters who more than held their own on-screen with their male co-stars, were silenced for speaking their truths.  What really gets my goat is that an entitled herd of douchebros, who would almost certainly give their left nut for a chance to STEP ONE FOOT on the sets of Battlestar Galactica or The Walking Dead, co-opted the space for their own narrow-ass perspective of what’s “appropriate” for Comic-Con, and in doing so, RUINED others’ experiences.

While I didn’t see it, I have no doubt things like this happened all over Comic Con 2014. Next year, when I do make the pilgrimage to Hall H, I’ll probably see more of this kind of behavior, and hopefully I’ll have the guts to say something about it.

Now, enough with with the soapbox! I promised a few people I’d upload my Comic-Con pictures, and here they are!

Thursday morning, we waited two hours in line for the chance to get autographs from the Cast of Community. I really wanted to get Joel McHale and Jim Rash’s autographs, because while I had met them, I didn’t bring the piece of fan art I’ve been having everybody sign.

My beloved REI chair among my other convention paraphernalia, ready to camp out for an autograph!

My beloved REI chair among my other convention paraphernalia, ready to camp out for an autograph!

We didn’t win the lottery for autographs (only 45 people are allowed per signing), but we did see some familiar faces in line with us!

Castiel and the Eleventh Doctor were behind us in line

Castiel and the Eleventh Doctor were behind us in line

The 24  panel was first, and someone asked who would win in a fight: Kiefer Sutherland or his equally badass father, who is currently menacing Katniss Everdeen in the Hunger Games movies as President Snow.

Kiefer Sutherland at the 24 panel

Kiefer Sutherland at the 24 panel

A friend of mine is a huge Reign fan, and I’d be watching if I had the time, because the cast was wonderfully charming. Regarding shipping married couples, Adelaide Kane, who plays Mary, Queen of Scots, said “that ship has sailed.” Tobey Regbo, who plays Mary’s husband, Francis II of France, told the audience he looked up his character and discovered Francis had undescended testicles.

The cast of Reign being charming

The cast of Reign being charming

The big excitement of the Reign panel was seeing Megan Follows, who plays Queen Catherine Medici on the show. Back in the 1990’s, Megan played Anne of Green Gables in the Canadian TV movies of the same name. My grandmother bought me the Anne books for Christmas when I was six (the same year she bought all my other cousins Barbie dolls – should have realized how different I was back then), and they were my favorites all through childhood. Megan gave a shout out to Anne/Gilbert shippers, which thrilled me to no end because it was basically my first ship.

Megan Follows of Reign and Hero of my Childhood

Megan Follows of Reign and Hero of my Childhood

Ballroom 20, where I was camped out for the day, was crazy full – you can blame my Communies for that, I’m sure! However, it’s not half as bad as Hall H could be.

Ballroom 20 craziness

Ballroom 20 craziness

After a panel for Under the Dome and for a new CBS show called Scorpion (we were able to see the world premiere of the pilot episode), it was finally time for Community!!

The Community cast from way far back

The Community cast from way far back

 

Gillian Jacobs, Jim Rash and Dan Harmon on the big screen

Gillian Jacobs, Jim Rash and Dan Harmon on the big screen

 

Gillian Jacobs and Jim Rash wait for Joel McHale to answer a question - possibly about hair care products.

Gillian Jacobs and Jim Rash wait for Joel McHale to answer a question – possibly about hair care products.

Dan Harmon telling us that we no longer have to watch Community from illegal Chinese streaming sites!

Dan Harmon telling us that we no longer have to watch Community from illegal Chinese streaming sites! It’s legal now with Yahoo Screens!

Gillian Jacobs and Jim Rash, probably listening to Dan Harmon shoot his mouth off

Gillian Jacobs and Jim Rash, probably listening to Dan Harmon shoot his mouth off

Jim Rash, Dan Harmon and Chris McKenna

Jim Rash, Dan Harmon and Chris McKenna

Chris McKenna was brought on for season 5 as co-showrunner with Dan so that someone could reign Dan in whenever he becomes the infamous alcoholic slave driver he’s known to be in the writer’s room. Chris promised me an interview and never emailed me back. Andy Bobrow, the writer/producer who I interviewed and got me on set, has left the show for FOX’s The Last Man on Earth, a sitcom where Will Forte of SNL is, literally, the last man on Earth. I wish him well, and may hit him up for the chance to meet Will someday.

Friday was Orphan Black day, but first my friend Lara and I went to Room 6A to wait for the OB panel. We sat through panels for Outlander, a new show from Starz that premieres Saturday, Bates Motel, and Vikings.

Outlander may be the Next Big Thing

Outlander may be the Next Big Thing

Ronald D. Moore, on the right, showed up in a kilt. On his left is Diana Gabaldon, the writer of the Outlander series. I have issues/mixed feelings about her.

Ronald D. Moore, on the right, showed up in a kilt. On his left is Diana Gabaldon, the writer of the Outlander series. I have issues/mixed feelings about her.

I’ve done my rant about Diana Gabaldon, author of the Outlander books, here, but suffice it to say, she doesn’t like fan fiction. She really, really, really, really doesn’t like fan fiction. She once compared it to rape, which is really icky for multiple reasons. I’ll probably still watch out of a mix of curiosity and loyalty to Ronald D. Moore, who made Battlestar Galactica the best post-9/11 sci fi show out there, and has my all-time favorite musical TV moment (SPOILERS FOR BSG. IF YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED BSG, GO WATCH IT NOW. IT’S ON NETFLIX. YOU WILL BE HOOKED. TOTALLY FRAKKEN’ HOOKED). Apologies for the digression.

We next had the Bates Motel panel, which was fun because a couple people from Lost are now on it. It’s a prequel to Hitchcock’s Psycho, though, and a little too creepy – even for me. They had fun, though with lots of spoofs and inside jokes (they had a brilliant Arrested Development-style fake opener, but I can’t find any video of it!.)

Vera Farmiga, Freddie Highmore, and Exec Producer Carlton Cuse of Bates Motel

Vera Farmiga, Freddie Highmore, and Exec Producer Carlton Cuse of Bates Motel

After that came the Vikings panel, and the guy who’s in charge was a real history buff and wrote every episode himself with every little detail considered. Katheryn Winnick, who plays badass Lagertha, held her own on a panel of guys and revealed she has a black bent in tae kwon do. Alexander Ludwig, who plays Bjorn, was so excited to see the season 3 footage that he jumped into the audience so he could watch it. Travis Fimmel, who plays main character Ragnor Lothbrok, was quite reticent and shy, mubling his answers. I didn’t mind; that left more time for Katheryn to be awesome.

The Vikings cast were so much fun.

The Vikings cast were so much fun.

Finally, it was time for the Orphan Black panel and Lara and I were ready.

Geeking out before the Orphan Black panel

Geeking out before the Orphan Black panel

We even met some awesome cosplayers, which was really exciting. I decided next year I’m dying my hair brown and coming in a clone costume. If you didn’t know, Orphan Black is about a young woman who discovers she’s just one of many clones, all played by the superb Tatiana Maslany (CURSE YOU, EMMY VOTERS, FOR NOT NOMINATING HER THIS YEAR!).

Lara and an amazing Helena cosplayer, complete with bloody handkerchief!

Lara and an amazing Helena cosplayer, complete with bloody handkerchief!

Cosima is a very beloved character, and this is a brilliant cosplay of her!

Cosima is a very beloved character, and this is a brilliant cosplay of her!

Allison Hendrix is the alcoholic soccer mom clone who does brilliant comic relief. I might cosplay as her next year.

Allison Hendrix is the alcoholic soccer mom clone who does brilliant comic relief. I might cosplay as her next year.

Finally it was time for the panel to begin!

The panel about to begin. Hashtags ready, everyone!

The panel about to begin. Hashtags ready, everyone!

The cast came out, which I videotaped. Unfortunately the clips are too big to upload to WordPress, so you’ll just have to imagine how exciting it was.

Tatiana was delighted by the outpouring of love she received from the fans.

Tatiana was delighted by the outpouring of love she received from the fans.

You can tell Tatiana and Jordan are besties.

You can tell Tatiana and Jordan are besties.

There are many more amazing characters in this show, but half of them are played by Tatiana.

There are many more amazing characters in this show, but half of them are played by Tatiana.

Jordan was very funny, but he also turned serious when a fan thanked the show for portraying the bisexual Cosima as more than just her sexuality.

Jordan was very funny, but he also turned serious when a fan thanked the show for portraying the bisexual Cosima as more than just her sexuality.

In every interview I’ve read about Jordan Gavaris, who plays Sarah (the main clone)’s adopted gay brother Felix, someone mentions how big of a Joss Whedon fan he is. I waited forty minutes on my knees to ask who his favorite Whedonverse character is, but the line was too long and I didn’t get the chance. Next year, I’m totally doing it.

Dalton Ross was the moderator for the panel, and he was kind enough to retweet my survey after I told him what a great job he did!

Dalton Ross was the moderator for the panel, and he was kind enough to retweet my survey after I told him what a great job he did!

Saturday I pretty much slept until the afternoon. I slept through a panel in Ballroom 20 I wanted to see (it’s the “fan favorites” panel, and Jordan, Retta from Parks and Recreation, Tom Mison of Sleepy Hollow, and Aisha Tyler of Archer were there). It could have been a second chance to ask Jordan my question, but I was completely out of it until Dave and I needed to leave for the San Diego Symphony’s performance of the 2009 Star Trek movie.

 

Among the Capitol Guards at the Mockingjay booth.

Among the Capitol Guards at the Mockingjay booth.

We had a few minutes to visit the Exhibition Hall, known as “The Floor,” and I geeked out over the Mockingjay booth. You can see a little bit of Johanna’s dress behind the right Capitol guard – I am in love with that dress from the Mockingjay trailer. Peeta was also there, and they were standing next to President Snow in some sort of hologram background. Yes, I loved The Hunger Games, and Dave and I agreed that Jennifer Lawrence is a national treasure.

The San Diego Symphony begins the score to 2009's Star Trek.

The San Diego Symphony begins the score to 2009’s Star Trek.

Seeing Star Trek outside with a crowd of geeks in their Federation uniforms was pretty darn cool. John Cho, who played Sulu in the reboot, introduced the film, and Michael Giacchino introduced the symphony. If I don’t make a religious pilgrimage to Hall H during the Saturday night of next year’s Comic-Con, Dave and I will go see whatever movie the symphony is doing.

Sunday was our relaxing shopping day. We decided not to brave the craziness of the Supernatural panel, even though I have friends who are devoted Winchester fans, and instead walked the Floor. I was able to see the original Gonzo puppet from Muppets in Space (you have no idea how huge of a Muppet fan I am), and met a few familiar friends while I was there:

This is a pivotal moment in my life.

This is a pivotal moment in my life.

We saw some cute cosplayers, and visited the Outlander booth, where I got a bunch of people faking Scottish accents to wish my brother happy birthday. It was a big sister win.

No clue who these people are. This was too cute to walk by and not take a picture.

No clue who these people are. This was too cute to walk by and not take a picture.

Outlander had a whole castle built to promote the show.

Outlander had a whole castle built to promote the show.

I have a few other pictures I took, but they either have me in them and I look terrible, or they really don’t fit the narrative of what I did at Comic Con.

That was my big weekend! The whole time I was stressing over my data collection and almost freaking out about only getting three responses. Dave and I brainstormed how to use some of his APA (American Psychological Association) contacts to get me more subjects (he’s doing his dissertation in social psychology right now), but we didn’t need to implement them because Lara came to the rescue with her Haven fans saving the day.

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