Dispatches From Denver Comic Con Day 2: Talking weird mating rituals with The Oatmeal and Bruce Campbell!!!
Denver Comic Con has been around for 3 years and each year seems to get bigger and better. Guests change, vendors change, and policies even change. However, one constant is that Saturday has always been the definitive date of the convention. It’s usually when the biggest panels occur, the cosplayers are at their fullest numbers, and so on. Today was no exception. This was the day that the Con was in full effect.
We began our morning with donning once again our Dharma Initiative jumpsuits (LOST) which we usually wear traditionally on Sunday because it’s a super easy to wear costume being that it’s just a jumpsuit. This year since we kinda got lazy on doing the whole cosplay thing but still wanted to participate. So rather than do anything requiring makeup, wigs or anything, we just did the jumpsuits. 1 minute and we were ready and out the door. Simple and Fast. No biggie.
After dropping our “puppy child” Faraday off we arrived to the convention center a lot smoother than yesterday with no delay in schedule or car issues. I was pleased. Our first panel today was with Matthew Inman better known as the illustrator/writer for the vastly popular website The Oatmeal. His Panel was entitled “Love, Boners and Stuff”. The Panel began with the history of The Oatmeal with Inman’s history of designing for clients and how a dentist wanted his dog “Mr Scrimbles” to pop up on every page with factoids to which he’ll just make Mr. Scrimbles say things like “kill me”. Of course once he did a webcomic on Tesla, the site went super-viral and became the site as we know it today. He discussed his humor being most effective when it’s relatable and then treated us all to an educational and hilarious lesson on the bizarre and scary mating habits of the Red Velvet Mite, The Angler Fish, Bat Bugs, Flatworms, Honeybees, Mallard Ducks, and his favorite; the mantis shrimp all complete with his trademark webcomics. The Q&A portion revealed some of his inspiration such as Gary Larson and how the name The Oatmeal began as a Quake II gamer tag “Quaker Oatmeal Man” which became his online identity despite the fact that he doesn’t like eating oatmeal. After today’s events he informed the room that he would be participating in an after-party at 7:00 at the Dinosaur Hotel, which was a short drive away, where he’d be joined by a paleontologist from the Morrison Natural History Museum. Sadly, the timing didn’t work for us as we were booked til 6:00 and just couldn’t work it into our schedule. I really hope it was a fun event.
Originally, we planned to leave the Main Events Room to attend the Batman TV show reunion panel. We didn’t anticipate the popularity of the panel and ended up in a 3rd overflow queue. At this point we doubted that we would get in. The panel room was officially filled and cut off right as we were at the entry to the room. Having learned yesterday that the main event panels were telecast in the queue area next door, Stacey and I headed into that room to watch the telecast. At this point the line had cleared and attendees wanting to join the next scheduled panel of video game guests were already lining up. We were surprised to see that only ourselves and a woman cosplaying as Wonder Woman were the only people that seemed to know about this “back-up” plan. It was nice to watch the panel with just us three and then some curious gamers. Julie Newmar celebrated her 80th Birthday today and for an 80 year old, she still looks ravishing for her age. Obviously, playing up her character, she was escorted by 2 young men to her chair and fittingly wore a pair of cat ears during the panel and played up the cougar persona. Burt Ward was introduced next and he was extremely quiet during the panel save for some really incredible stories including one about how he did his own stunts because his stuntman didn’t look like him, or how his “Robin side-car motorcycle” was accidentally launched off of a pier while he was still in the seat or how he had beaten out 1100 actors to be Robin. Adam West of course was as expected…Funny, cheesy and Uncut Adam West-ness. He talked about the show’s legacy and trademark campiness by saying “You guys now days have your Dark Knight but I was the Bright Night!!”. He did also oblige a request to say “Quick Robin! To The Batmobile!”. Overall, it seemed like a fantastically funny panel and I was glad to see a telecast of it.
We had a little time to kill after, so we explored the convention floor and got to see some of today’s amazing cosplay including an Iron Giant, Chewbacca and even a Velociraptor Jesus. I haven’t quite scored much swag this year compared to previous years probably due to basically camping in lines to panels the past 2 days, but I did score a great Oatmeal bumper sticker. We also partook in the “Batman TV show” Gif booth, but I have to comb through several pages of gifs to find ours, but it’ll probably be a very long and tedious process.
Our next panel was entitled “Double Doctors” featuring Peter Davidson and Sylvester McCoy whom played the 5th and 7th Incarnations of the Doctor respectively. Sylvester McCoy immediately won me over with his silly demeanor such as rocking an awesome mustache straw and making funny faces while people began asking questions. Being more familiar with his recent role of Radagast the Brown from The Hobbit, I just saw that fun animal loving wizard onstage. Last year’s Doctor Who Panel with Colin Baker was an absolute delight and encouraged me to begin watching the show. Now a year later, I am a lot more familiar with the Doctor Who universe and was able to follow the panel a lot better. Both actors agreed that they felt “The Master” was their favorite villain to deal with but had a childish bickering over which Doctor’s version of the Tardis was biggest on the inside. Davidson was asked about how it felt to be the father-in-law of another version of the Doctor (David Tennant) and answered that it was weird because he himself was The Doctor and his daughter married “…the Doctor”. The panel once again proved that a Doctor Who Panel at Denver Comic Con was simply not to be missed.
Upon leaving the panel, we saw that many fans were already lining up for Bruce Campbell, so instead of the original plan of coming back in 30 or so minutes was scrapped and we immediately got into the line. A hour 15 or so minutes until it was time for the groovy one’s official panel but we stayed entertained by watching the telecast of the Gargoyles 20th anniversary reunion with the cast including Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis (best known for playing Cmdr. Riker and Deana Troi on Star Trek). Despite seeing “Riker and Troi” fight like siblings, I was really focused on the upcoming panel. I really became a Bruce Campbell fan after watching Army of Darkness in a friend’s dorm room. Simply 2 or so years later I hosted a movie night to watch it at my apartment and one of the attendees would later become my wife. We always see that as sort of the start of our friendship which led to a relationship, so at our wedding, we decided that rather than use a photo of ourselves for our guests to sign and then hate how we look in 10 or so years later, we decided to have everyone sign a poster of Army of Darkness. So there’s just some cosmic connection to Bruce Campbell in our life, so I was super-thrilled to attend his panel. The panel began with Campbell coming out in a western look to proclaim that a new sheriff is in town. He quickly addressed the fact that there were 2 chairs on the stage and said that he would hold auditions for one of the fans to be his moderator for the panel. He picked a man, a woman and a guy dressed in a duck dynasty outfit. The fan that could enact the opening monologue by Michael Westin the best would land the coveted spot. The first person hit a snag mid-way and the second stumbled. The man dressed as a member of Duck Dynasty began by nervously stuttering and then the tone shifted into the character of Michael Westin as the wig and beard came off to reveal an unannounced and surprise appearance by Michael Westin himself, Jeffery Donovan sending the crowd into a wild cheer. Donovan began as the panel’s moderator and then started walking through the crowd to conduct a Q&A. Midway through they switched spots with Campbell having fans ask Donovan questions. Fans that complimented Campbell or his legacy were paid a dollar each. I almost got to ask Bruce Campbell a question but the girl in a Tardis dress next to me was picked instead, but I did get to see one of my icons up close so I wasn’t sad and since I have a planned meet and greet tomorrow morning I could quickly ask him tomorrow instead. The panel was filled with Campbell and Donovan ripping on each other and Campbell playing up his ham persona ranging from a fake make-out session with a female fan that asked him what he was planning for his upcoming birthday then remarking afterwards that he “just got what he wanted” to fashion tips in which he addressed his pocket handkerchief by saying “You gotta poof the poof! If it’s nice and square, you’re a square! I’m a poof!” The final question was a woman asking “Who was that one hot lady that was in Brisco County Jr?” only to reveal that a second surprise guest appearance this time in the form of Gates McFadden (best known as Dr. Beverly Crusher in Star Trek). Overall this was hands down, the absolute best panel I’ve ever seen. I’m convinced that nobody can own and perform a panel in the way that Bruce Campbell can. I’m a huge fan of his personality and love that he can show up to a panel and engage with fans for 60 minutes without any boundaries or structure and make it the best hour of the entire convention. I am thrilled that I was able to attend this panel and I really hope to see more Bruce Campbell in the future.
Fittingly, the Bruce Campbell panel was a perfect end to the day. I do regret that we weren’t able to attend the Oatmeal after-party, but it basically began as we were leaving the convention center and there’d be no way we’d be able to arrive on time. We did however get to hang out with one of our good friends afterwards that came up for the event, so that was a lot of fun. Tomorrow should start out awesome with our meet and greet with Bruce Campbell, but the rest of the day is more or less a free-for-all to close out an incredible weekend.