the obligatory comic-con post (that’s mostly about the guild panel)

I didn't see enough of Comic-Con to give a comprehensive report. What I
experienced was a miserably hot and insanely crowded main vendor floor
that was more difficult to navigate than I ever remember it being
before – especially on Friday.  My highlights were visiting with the
friends I could get within 100 feet of and replacing my my Green
Lantern T-shirt. My regrets were not getting to go to any panels, not
being able to introduce Ryan to my friends who we couldn't get anywhere
near, and not having the time to do the usual exploring that always
results in discovering wonderful new books and artists, (hopefully,
I'll be able to spend lots of time at the small press booths I love so
much in October at Long Beach Comicon.)

What I can do, though, is talk a bit more about The Guild panel, which is what I remember most clearly, anway.

I almost skipped Comic-Con entirely this year. Without any new books (the release of Memories of the Future has been pushed back three times because I was working on Leverage and The Guild, and went to Seattle for a D&D session with Acquisitions, Inc.) and without a lot of stock on hand, it just didn't make sense to try and get booth space, invest in a pass and a hotel, and spend four days down there that I really needed to spend up here writing and publishing.

When Felicia asked me to come to The Guild panel on Friday, though, it was pretty easy to commit to one day of Nerd Promery, especially since I was going to be in Escondido the night before.

Incidentally, knowing that you have to get up at 7am the following day and plan to spend all of it getting your geek on gives +10 to all saves vs. Yeah, I Think I Will Have Another Beer. (Well, at least it does for me. I saw a few people at Comic-con who clearly rolled poorly the night before.)

So Friday morning, I met up with the cast of The Guild, and secretly rode to Comic-Con in a limobus that had been provided by Xbox. Did I mention that the limo had multi-colored pulsating lights, lasers, numerous video screens and a stripper pole? For those of you keeping score at home, a stripper pole is not as sexy as you'd think at 9 in the morning. Unless, I guess, it's the end of the previous night for you and your buddies.

There was a discussion about the stripper pole, and we all wondered if there were strippers who specialized in on-the-road dancing, and if so, did they log their experience by hours or miles? These are the things we wonder about, up here in the rarefied air of Xbox-provided-stripper-pole-limobus riding.

When we got to the convention center, they drove us into this loading dock that was down a ramp and through some security that wasn't nearly as tight as I was expecting. When we got out of the stripper-pole bus (as it came to be called) I felt like I was in a rock band. A few moments later, when all of us were walking down the hallway toward the elevator that would grant us access to the convention hall, I felt like I was a rock star – and I wasn't even in an awesome costume!

Fun fact: I was the only member of our entire party who not only thought the crates marked FREEMAN were hilarious, but stopped to take a picture of them that isn't nearly as awesome as I thought it would be. Oh well, I couldn't find a crowbar, anyway.

We went into the green room, where all of us tried – and failed – to keep our cool when the likes of Keith David, Dominic Monaghan, John Cho, Amanda Fucking Palmer, and Neil Gaiman walked in.

I could tell you stories, but what happens in the green room stays in the green room, except for this picture that I captioned Best. Tweetup. Ever. and posted with the explicit permission of all involved.

After a 20 minute wait, we headed down the hall to the stage entrance. I walked a little bit behind the rest of the cast, so I could plausibly claim that I was just there watching my friends. Yes, I'm crafty like that, so you'd better watch yourself, if you know what's good for you.

We listened through the door while they played the music video — which is hilarious and perfect and must be seen by everyone in the world or I'll unleash the Doomsday Device* — and then the cast walked in, to thunderous applause. It was pretty awesome to hear them get such a wonderful reception, from what I'd soon find out was a standing-room-only crowd. I heard the familiar theme music a moment later, and I knew that the screening of season three's first episode had begun.

I pressed my ear to the door, and listened. As the reveal of me and the rest of my guild grew closer, my heart began to pound. I'm not going to lie to you, Marge, for the first time in years, the
terrifying knot of nerves that usually sits in my chest before I go
onstage wasn't just cut, it was obliterated by excitement.

I heard my voice, and the audience gasped — they gasped! Then, there was a moment of silence, followed by a roar of cheering and applause.

Kim Evey (who most people know as the producer of The Guild, but I know as my friend and former ACME castmate) took the podium and said, in a sad voice, "We really wanted Wil Wheaton to be here today . . ." in a happy voice she continued, ". . . so he is!"

I walked into the room, did my best not to trip over anything, tried not to be intimidated by the size of the audience and their enthusiasm, and took my seat on the panel.

I was feeling pretty good about myself. I hadn't done anything stupid, I kept my hands where people couldn't see that they were trembling, I hadn't crapped my pants … and that's when I saw that Joss Whedon was sitting in the front row. About ten feet from me.

Let's take a look inside Wil's head, shall we:

Me: OMG OMG OMG

Brain: What?

Me: JOSS WHEDON IS RIGHT THERE! HE CAME TO THE PANEL AND HE'S RIGHT THERE!

Brain: Okay, just be cool.

Me: OKAY I'M BEING COOL.

Brain: No, you're staring.

Me: What?

Brain: You're staring. Stop staring.

Me: Shit. Okay. I'm not staring now. [pause] HOLY CRAP DID YOU SEE THAT JOSS WHEDON IS RIGHT THERE IN THE FRONT ROW?!

Brain: Yes, you mentioned that. Also, you're staring again.

Eventually, I broke out of the loop, which in WhetonIX looks like: (if near.joss=1, do {stare.like.idiot} fi;), and I enjoyed the rest of the panel. As I said in my post a few days ago, "I've known, written, and performed with a lot of these guys for
years, and I'm not surprised in the least that everyone loves them so
much. It rules to see so many people in the world (millions per
episode, I guess) finding out for themselves what I've known for years.Season 3 is going to kick thirteen different kinds of ass, and I'm thrilled to be a small part of part of it."

When the panel was over, we walked back to the green room and convinced each other that, yes, it was all real and they really did like us. The cast went to do all their booth-related duties, and I went out to explore Comic-con as just a civilian with my son for the first time in years.

Overall, though, I enjoyed myself. When we got home, I told Anne about the panel. "It was so weird to
feel like all these people were excited and happy when they saw me
in The Guild," I said. "I'd gotten to used to people automatically deciding that
I was lame and they hated me because of a character I played when I was
14, I didn't really know how to react to them, well, liking me."

"How did you react?"

"I was happy, and I may have done a little dance."

"You danced?"

"Okay, I jumped. Once. I had to maintain my composure, you know."

"Obviously."

"But it's weird, you know? On the one hand, it felt good — heh. 'I feel weird, but also good!' Um, that's …"

"Wesley when he's drunk. I know."

"How d—"

"I live with you. I pick things up."

*Not really. Oh, it needs to be seen, but I'm saving my Doomsday Device for something else. Besides, it's more fun to actually threaten to use the Doomsday Device than it is to actually use it.

101 thoughts on “the obligatory comic-con post (that’s mostly about the guild panel)”

  1. I was just thrilled good ol’ Mr. Wheaton happened upon my booth this year, as it has, in a round-about way, led me to start following/reading my way through WWdN: In Exile. Only bad thing…my girlfriend wasn’t there at that moment and she was seriously bummed out she missed him. Thanks for coming by, Wil!

  2. My inner fangirl is squealing over that picture. You, Felicia Day, Neil Gaiman, and AFP!! Awesome! Thanks for sharing that.
    And thanks for sharing your Comic Con story. For those of us who can’t get away to be there, it’s great to hear all the little behind-the-scenes stories. What an amazing feeling it must have been to get that kind of reception, and I wish I had been there to see it.
    And speaking of Neil Gaiman and AFP, one of my favorite perfume oil companies, Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab (http://www.blackphoenixalchemylab.com) has been working with them to raise money for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund by putting out scents inspired by the characters in Gaiman’s works. Soon they’ll be releasing a line of scents corresponding to AFP’s new book, “Who Killed Amanda Palmer?” I mean, who wouldn’t want scents called, “Cupcake Splatter Pattern Analysis” and “Unfortunate Shopping Cart Incident.” I know that perfume oils sound like more of a “female thing,” but they have many masculine/unisex scents, too, and it’s just fun to check out for the creativity.

  3. Wow, my good buddy Wil, I have to hand it to you – for those of us who are stuck on the dreaded East Coast, you sure do paint a pretty awesome picture of ComicCon. With your descriptive narrative, I actually felt like I was there, complete with the geeking out over Joss Whedon sitting in the front row of your panel. Holy crap! Did I just say YOUR panel? As in a panel for a show that features Wil Wheaton™? *Geek senses overloading*
    Glad you had a good time, Wil, and again, congratulations on landing such a sweet gig on The Guild! First of all, because it’s an awesome show, and second of all (!) YOU’LL BE IN IT! That is so frakking awesome! I cannot wait for the next season to come out it’s so not even funny. This is such a huge pile of awesome with a topping of win! Well, buddy, all I can say at this point is keep doing what you’re doing, because it seems to be working out fantastically for you (and us!). =)

  4. Hahaha! You’re still hating on the East Coast, huh, Wil? I promise, no line stepping (or name calling) on this debate with you anymore, but can I just say that I actually let out a hearty laugh (at 7:25 AM EST) when I read your reply to Alicia? You with your imaginary crying infant and uncomfortable seat amuses me to no end. Sorry!
    Alicia and I are from adjoining States, she’s in New Jersey, I’m in Pennsylvania. After chatting on Twitter, we figured out that when we were pre-teens, we may have crossed paths at some point. My Bio-Dad lived on the same block as her grandparents, both of us knew several of the same people and frequented Max Meyers playground and this little corner store named Bennett’s. Alicia’s good people, I’m glad that I had a chance to get to know her better through the awesomeness that is WWdN and Twitter. She’s also much more well behaved than me. Huge shock. lol
    But I’m making an effort, really, I swear! I realized how futile it was to convince you to take a 5 hour flight in an uncomfortable position sitting next to a hypothetical crying baby, haven’t I?
    OK, so it needs some work…but by golly, I swear to you I’ll continue trying to curb the urge to bust your balls, Wil! You know, seeing as now you’ve become my good buddy ever since my friend called me up the other day to inform me that they had announced my “buddy” Wil Wheaton™’s birthday on the radio. I still look forward to long talks, screenings of Gladiator films and visits to Turkish prisons with you and Jonathan Frakes after that revelation. I don’t even want to get into the flight plan details on that! The next thing we know, it’ll be a 257 hour flight in the luggage section with a 187 crying babies.
    OK fine. I overstepped. But just a little…

  5. Will you also promise not to wash your hand like you did with Brent Spiner all those years ago? (Wil, if she tells you that, she’s lying and is totally going to wash her hand, anyway!) LOL, sorry, I just couldn’t resist the urge to poke fun at you for that.
    How’s your foot doing? Have you seen a doctor about it yet? I’ve been sending out some super-powered monkey…whoops, my bad – Monkee mojo your way since the other day. Hope it’s working! And for Pete’s sakes, wear some shoes the next time you’re playing a gig! Your toes will thank you.

  6. What a very sweet thing of you to say about me! :-) Just for the record, Wil, Danyiel’s good people too (although I’m sure you know that already.) I’m glad we got to know each other better, too! :-) ((hugs)) Wah, big love-fest!! See, you don’t want to miss this, Wil. Come out to the East Coast and be loved…
    -Alicia

  7. Picture…Will Wheaton…Neil Gaiman…!! Be still my geeky heart!
    I’ve read a few blod about this year’s ComicCon which had made me determined to go next year…even if I have to walk from New York to CA!! I know it’s a long time away, but i was wondering if there was any chance you would have a booth there next year. I would very much like to exchange shiny gold rocks for the partial collection of you, Wil Wheaton (I already have Just a Geek) and meet you in person (as well as all the other awesome peoples there) and SDCC will probably be my only chance to go to a con out west. That stepping disc from the east coast to the west would really come in handy to go to the other great cons out there…but alas, I digress.
    Thanks for the post. Sounded like a whole lot of fun times!!

  8. LOL Just to clear it up – it was about, wow, 18 years ago, maybe? I was at a con, Brent was speaking, & I had a card to give to him. He allowed me to go up to the front & give it to him, & he shook my hand. I swore I’d never wash that hand again! :-O I did eventually wash it… the operative word there being “eventually”, LOL. Wil, I’ll wash my hands *before* we shake, but I can’t promise anything about afterwards… ;-)
    Tried to go to a doctor last night, but long story short, either they weren’t open, didn’t have an x-ray machine, or didn’t take my insurance. Healthcare sucks!! Trying again tonight. Have you seen the photos I posted on Twitter? Oh, thanks for the Monkee mojo! :-) I wore shoes *during* the gig. It was afterwards, while loading out, that I took them off, ‘cuz my feet hurt. Little did I know I’d hurt one of them much worse 5 minutes after removing the shoes! :-O I’ll update you on Twitter later tonight. Wish me luck!
    -Alicia

  9. Best Obligatory Comic-con Post That’s Mostly About The Guild Panel, EVAH.
    A trio of things.
    Thing the first: I guess that comment on air travel rules out an appearance at PAX-E? Anyhoo, it’s now an ambition of mine to attend a West Coast con. SDCC seems too…. too, so if that ambition includes pointing at Wil and stammering like a loon, what’s my best bet?
    Thing 2: I can’t find for the life of me when The Guild season 3 starts (yes, I googled it). Anyone?
    Thing the third, being the last of these few things: Do I have to hand in my geek card if I ask, Amanda who?

  10. Of course people were exited to see you! Silly Wil. You have to remember that the folks who said nasty things back in the day may have been vocal but the most noise often comes from a small minority.

  11. That’s a pretty damn cool shift to go through. Congratulations. :) You totally deserve it, dude.
    It was awesome to see you at Stone, and no worries about not being able to wade through the exhibit hall to find me. Friday was nuts, and I had to play Hunt The Client for a good part of the day. But I blogged about it, and you might enjoy the pictures.
    Oh! I finally played Rock Band for the first time, and thought of you. Now it must be mine.

  12. *giggles* Freeman crates, heehee…
    *bangs head on desk* Why. Did. I. Not. Go. To. Comic-Con? Love the picture you posted, everyone in that photo is a part of my Geek Pantheon. OMG!!! Joss Whedon was at your panel!!!
    Yeah, the people nearest to me seem to pick up my geek quotes just by proximity default too.

  13. Is not staring like an idiot an announced bugfix for WhetonX? Really, it’s ok if it’s never fixed, it just means you’re human. I think it is funny to us “civilians” that celebrities get awestruck too.

  14. Thanks for the awesome recap, Wil! I was at my very first Comic-Con, and wish I’d gotten to see you live. I agree, it was a zoo — especially the exhibits floor when FOX was screwing with people on the autograph signing. But I’ve pre-registered for next year already!

  15. Thanks for the update.
    Love the geekout over Joss. I’d do the same. I need a “Joss is my master t-shirt.”
    I was on two flights today. Laughing children only – on the return. Not a crying baby in earshot anywhere. Yay.

  16. Oh bugger…I can never remember which ID I’m supposed to sign in with to comment on your page. I’m the Galaxy Quest comment, just wanted to make myself known as an actual human versus whatever it said I was signed in as…

  17. I filed that in the tracker about ten years ago, but it’s been unaddressed while we work on the beer and gaming trees.

  18. Am I really the first to recognize the Awesomeness of Anne you slipped in at the end?
    Isn’t it awesome to have someone who is able to speak in your own personal inner language?

  19. shouldn’t the loop be more like
    while(near_john) {
    stare.like.idiot();
    }
    ofcourse, I write in C++, but if .. do != loop. Its just a conditional. Just saying :)
    It’s kewl that you write code though (whatever lang that was)

  20. Wil. I’m really looking forward to your Memories of the Future book. I hope you will be attending the Phoenix Comicon in May, so I can exchange some shiny gold rocks for a copy. For me that alone will be worth suffering the 10 hour plane trip.
    Julian

  21. Hi Wil, just a few bullet-points (some of which may induce flashbacks):
    * Your post prompted me to start watching The Guild, after stupidly NOT watching it, ever. Like all clever projects, it makes me hate myself a little for not having thought of something so clever myself. Good stuff.
    * It is possible to dislike “Wesley Crusher” and like “Wil Wheaton”. Even in the dark depths of season 1, I was able to disconnect my ill feelings toward Wesley (and toward any other TV or cinema character made in the “precocious kid” template) from my opinion of you, who I thought to be a talented actor.
    * Your stint on G4′s “Arena”, with Travis Oates, brought you back onto my radar. However negative the experience may have been for you, the fact is that you guys entertained me greatly; so, thank you.
    * Although I live in L.A., I listen to BBC Radio Five Live in the morning. So it was a bit surreal to hear the BBC’s Jane Garvey throw it to Political Analyst Wil Wheaton during the 2004 US elections! I loved it, but WTF?! :P
    – Gregg

  22. I came to this post through whedonesque, loving all things whedon as i do, anyway I was surprised to read that people hated you or wesley! I grew up watching your films and TNG and I thought you were great, I think its always hard for a young actor to gain approval from adult audiences no matter how good they are, but having been a huge fan of Stand By Me as a kid, (and as an adult) I was very excited to see you in star trek when I started watching it some years later, in fact I think you were possibly one the reasons I started watching it (although so many reasons to continue).
    I too was once in the same room as Joss, although this time I was in the audience watching him, it was so exciting! In fact I feel a bit excited even posting on this blog. Yes I am a loser *sigh*. Its strange to me (non-star) that you could be star struck when you are a. a star yourself and b. have met/worked with so many stars before!

  23. Congrats man. I did a (brief) happy dance myself in my sitting room when I saw the xbox interview with Felicia Day. I’m delighted that you got such a good reception from the comic-con crowd. I must admit though I’ve got an image of you giving Sally Fields’ Oscar acceptance “you like me, you really like me” :)
    Seriously though, I enjoy reading that even someone like you has ‘OMG’ moments. It’s that kind of candour that makes this blog so interesting.

  24. Dear Wil
    Now that Comic-con is over, you and all the rest of us archaic gamers can start looking forward to the matter at hand, namely PAX. I admit that I passed right by your booth last September in my zeal to play DnD for more than 20 hours. I hope that doesn’t give you the impression that I am not a fan– quite the contrary, you’re an inspiration to the artistic geek– but dude, DnD.
    I heard/read that on Thursday, the night before PAX officially kicked off, there were a few, shall we say pre-game festivities somewhere in Seattle. It so happens that my kickass crew flies in on Thursday, and will be in the neighborhood.
    May I trade you Medieval Times wipeout stories for a chance to meet a man who has actually worked with Ms Felicia Day?
    cheers, Sir
    -Paul

  25. Still am, Mr Wheaton, at the Chicago castle. Best show in the company, according to the corporate fat cats. I am the Red and Yellow knight today.
    whups, still figuring out this accursed format.
    (not a blogger)

  26. Wow, that is so awesome! I LOVE Medieval Times, and went there for countless birthdays when I was in my teens.
    Normally, I’d tell a fellow performer to break a leg before a show, but that seems like it would actually be a *bad* idea in your case, so I’ll just tell you to have a good show.

  27. Why thank you, Wil. You might have seen my former head knight performing in California– he was a knight starting in the mid 80s I think.
    Yeah, ixnay on the eg-breaking-lay. Strangely enough, we seem to hit each other with weapons more often than we eat shit off the horses
    But seriously, what’s the low-down on extracurricular activities in Seattle? I still plan on rolling dice till I can’t read them anymore, but it might be nice to grab a pint at the end, perhaps wash the taste of Tru-Blood and jerky out of my mouth

  28. I’m coming in on Friday, and I have a full schedule the whole time I’m in town, so there aren’t any extracurricular activities planned.
    You should totally come to my panel, though. There’s going to be D&D storytelling.

  29. Loved the guild post. I’ve been lurking here for a couple years now being entertained when I should be doing something productive. So thank you for that. I was able to watch pretty much the entire panel on youtube today (minus the guild videos) and it was great. The crowd reaction to you was priceless. Good times.

  30. Sorry for being OT… but does anyone know where I can find a Radio Free Burrito archive? I found #13 from Halloween and it was great – I’d love to hear the rest. I’ve searched high and low but sorry if I missed some obvious archive. Thanks!

  31. “I’d gotten to used to people automatically deciding that I was lame and they hated me because of a character I played when I was 14, I didn’t really know how to react to them, well, liking me.”
    ==I picked up on that comment too. I remember Rob Reiner’s comments when talking about casting for That Movie “at 14 you can’t go far beyond a kid’s natural character”. I think you captured, and still do, some of what all us followers of your blog have, in that optimistic enchantment at the technological and amazing capacity of our fellow beings to awe us.
    Kindest Regards,
    Tim.

  32. I’ve been reading your blog for… yikes, I guess it really has been seven years now, and always hoped I’d run into you or see you on a panel at E3 or Comic-con, or some other geek convention or event that I seem to regularly find myself at under the thin excuse that it’s really just work (video games) related. But this year I’m going to make an extra effort to finally see you at PAX and hopefully pick up your latest book. Looking forward to it!

  33. FYI I linked to this post in my own journal.
    Also, BWAHAHAHA “Joss is here!” “OMG” I’m sure I would faint or giggle myself hysterical if ever faced with Joss. If I didn’t do something wildly (physically) inappropriate first. Of course, faced with you, I might just do the same. Thanks for your blog, it’s awesome.

  34. Wil, as one who did not miss an episode of TNG I can say that you were neither lame nor hated. If anything you were maybe a little more authentic as a boy in the whole “boy genius” role. This might have made the young male geek demographic slightly uncomfortable. Now that those same people are not so young…
    BTW, It is cool to see people who both are really good at what they do and obviously love doing it. Keep it up.
    -Gordan

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