Con Adventures

As you can tell from the past two posts, I was super busy at Comic Con. There were a lot of things there I wanted to participate in, and as a result I was running around – literally – doing awesome things for three days. This included five photo ops with different celebrities (yes, I pay ridiculous amounts of money to stand next to certain celebrities for a few seconds).

But first, another “op” I had at this con was to make history. Yes, very geeky history.

On Friday night, September 25, 2015, Salt Lake Comic Con made an official attempt to break the world record of the largest gathering of comic book characters.

Before the con, I heard about this, and I thought, “well, I have a Jean Grey costume lying around. I guess I could wear that.” So I did.

At 6:00 PM on Friday, all the comic book characters at con gathered on one end of the vendors’ floor. They filtered us through, checking all our costumes to make sure they were actually comic book characters, and to count us. Then they ushered us into a big hall to wait while they checked through everyone else.

After about 20 minutes, everyone was in the hall. Then they delivered the news…we were about 100 people short of the record. They announced over the PA system that anyone dressed as a comic book character who wasn’t in the entrance hall should get there asap. And we waited.

During the waiting, they had dance contests between all the Spidermans and Deadpools, as well as who knows how many other characters. Then Manu Bennett showed up dressed appropriately as Deathstroke. And that’s when epicness started going down.

Just about the time that standing around waiting was making me want to chop my feet off (keep in mind this is after two full days of standing and walking around the con), they quieted the dance party and brought the Guiness World Record official to the stage. He timed us for five minutes that no one was allowed to leave the room without penalities…

…And then announced: the previous record was held in China at 1,530 comic book characters. The NEW record was now held in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA at 1,784. BAM.

Look for me in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Another great adventure I had did not involve so much standing around…more like the most exercise I’d gotten in a week.

On Saturday morning at 10:00 AM started Chris Evans’ panel. In order to be in on the panel, you had to win a lottery ticket. Come Friday night, I had not won a ticket.

But there were some people who won tickets who did not want to attend the panel…so my sister snagged two tickets from one of them. She offered one to me, but being the Hufflepuff that I am, I let my other sister take it because I know she is a bigger Captain America fan than I am.

I then spent Saturday morning from 6:30 AM – 9:15 AM debating on whether I should get into the standby line for Chris’s panel. I was already exhausted and standing in that line sounds like seven kinds of torture. Finally I resigned myself to a Chris-Evansless fate. Until my sister called at 9:15.

She had secured an additional ticket for the panel. I don’t know how she works this magic, and I’m not going to ask questions. All I knew is that I had 45 minutes to get to downtown Salt Lake and into the building before the panel started, and all the while they were letting the standby line fill up all the extra spots in the room.

It was like one of those movie scenes. You know the ones.

I called up my friends whom I was planning on carpooling with that morning. Like destiny, she had just left her house. She swung by mine only a few minutes later to find me waiting on the curb. And we left.

With only a few seconds delay due to traffic, our commute to downtown only took about fifteen minutes. It was now nearly 9:40. At the stop light outside the Salt Palace where the convention is held, I leapt from the vehicle and sprinted towards the building. The standby line was wrapping around the building – or maybe it was just the line to get into the con in general – either way, as soon as I entered the grounds, I was battling heroically through thousands of people to get to a door.

Luckily, I have been to many overcrowded events. I am a master of weaving through crowds and talking huge strides to get past the herds. (The key is to use the gap between two directions of traffic.)

Once inside the building, I had to dance through crowds around the kiosks where we had to scan in for the day. I blatantly cut in front of people in line, and I’m not even ashamed. The volunteer monitoring the scan-ins asked if I was supposed to be in the Chris Evans panel (either by extreme intuition, or because she’d noticed how many people I’d cut off on my way to the front). When I answered yes, she gave me directions for the shortest way through the building.

I flew past weapons check (yes, it’s a thing) and down the stairs. On the main floor, swarms of people were milling around aimlessly. I twirled like a tornado around them to the door to get into Chris’s panel. There was a group of confused and disappointed girls arguing with the volunteer manning the door to let them in. I held up my QR code over their heads and he scanned it – I was in.

Then I had a glorious hour to listen to Chris, as well as Anthony Mackie and Hayley Atwell who crashed the panel. Then Chris had to go to a photo op – and so did I.

My photo op was with Sean Astin at 11:30. But I had another photo op with Chris and Hayley at 12:30. Which meant that I needed get through the photo op line  and the photo for Sean as fast as possible to get right back in line for Chris and Hayley before that line got too long. Luckily, I had a friend staking out a spot for us in line for Sean.

I sprinted full out along the hall from Chris’s panel to the vendor floor. The photo ops took place in the absolute farthest corner of the vendor floor. The moment I entered the floor, I was pressed upon by people.

This is probably a good time to mention that I was dressed as Molly Hooper from Sherlock, who always wears a button up shirt, a cardigan, and a labcoat. And here I was sprinting around the building.

My practice from that morning of getting through swirling hoardes of people came in really handy at that point. I had to navigate through the thin walkways between vendor booths while tens of thousands of people moseyed around eyeing merchandise. I leapt over small children and dodged around trains on dresses and capes. And I made it over to the photo op line.

But just as the line for Sean was starting to form, I realized something truly terrible. Something unutterable. Something life-shattering.

I had taken my photo op with James and Oliver Phelps on Thursday, and I had brought the photo back for them to sign on Saturday. And I had left that very expensive, very precious photo on the floor of the Chris Evans panel.

I left my friend in line for Sean and sprinted back across the vendor floor towards the ballroom where the panels were held. Anthony Mackie’s panel was just getting started at this point, and it had as tight of security as Chris’s had been.

Skirting around towers of POP! Vinyls and leap-frogging over droids, I made it back into the hall outside the panel. I approached the volunteer.

“I left something extremely important on the floor after I left’s Chris’s panel. Please let me go get it!”

“Do you know exactly where you were sitting?”

“Yes.”

“And you’re the only one going in?”

“Yes.”

“And you’ll come right back out?”

“Yes.”

He opened the door just a crack.

I darted in the door. The room was dark with spotlights on Anthony. The audience was rolling with laughter. How I wanted to stay…but that photo with those British boys was my life in that moment.

I found the section I had been sitting in, but people had taken my vacated seat, so it was hard to tell exactly where I had been sitting. I prowled up and down the aisle like a hungry tiger, until I spotted the plastic folder containing my photo on the ground.

“I’m really sorry, but that’s my photo on the ground in front of you!” I tapped the girl sitting in my seat on the shoulder.

“I’m so glad you came back for it!” she said, “that would’ve been really tragic!”

Yes, it would’ve been.

Photo in hand, I vacated the room once again and began my sprint back to the hall for the photo ops.

I cut off people in wheelchairs. I’m not proud of it, but it happened.

But I made it. And furthermore, I made it into my line for the Chris and Hayley photo, and for the Anthony Mackie photo later. It took a series of miracles and some pretty incredible friends to get me through, but Saturday was one of the most epic days of my life…so far.

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