ComicCon-ing: Why We Go to Conventions

Doing all my post-Star Wars Celebration write-ups and the podcast, I took the time to think about why do we go to cons.  They can be expensive, frustrating, and exhausting experiences.  Yet, we keep going and going.

Yet, we keep going and going.

Yes, we are collectors.  We love collecting autographs.  I know collecting signatures doesn’t make sense to some people, but I usually counter that argument by asking the person what they collect and point out why THAT is absurd.  (When you really think about it, collecting is an absurd practice). We love meeting the celebrities and crew members of films.  We want to show our appreciation for them. Both of our collections are extensive.  But this isn’t the reason why we go to cons.

Yes, we like to fill our house with geek art and objects. I love our Batman in New Orleans prints.  I love all the Zelda pieces my wife buys because she loves them. Our goal is to make one of our rooms, the Nola Nerd Couple Lounge. But this isn’t the reason why we go to cons.

We love collecting comic books.  We collect all Star Wars comics.  We love going to panels at cons where comic book creators are speaking and then searching out their books for them to sign.  One of my most prized pieces is the issue of Iron Fist that marks the first appearance of Misty Knight.  Misty’s creator, Tony Isabella, signed our copy.  It is framed and hanging in our Nola Nerd Couple Lounge right next to our Stan Lee signed comic.  But this isn’t the reason why we go to cons.

When we drove back from the con we, along with Mrs. Nola Nerd Couple’s sister, debriefed each other on our day.  The part where we got the most excited was when we were talking about talking with people in lines.

The real reason we go to cons is that we love being around individuals who love the same things as us.  It’s the fandoms that make cons enjoyable.

I waited for two and half hours for Hayden Christensen. While meeting him was fantastic, it also was a blur.  However, the guy from the UK in front of me had, not surprisingly, the same interests as me.  We talked about cons.  We spoke about music. I didn’t feel like I waited for two hours. Mrs. Nola Nerd Couple had the same stories about people she met in line. She told me more about the guy she was in line with for Tiya Sircar, then she did about Mr. Sircar. Waiting for Phil Noto, the person in front of me chatted about comics books. Mrs. Nola Nerd Couple joined an online group of autograph collectors and did a meet up with them on Friday and had a great time.

If you check other write-ups and podcasts of Star Wars Celebration, you will notice that meeting other fans is the usually the number one reason why people do this.  Being with other fans is where the real lasting memories are made.

In my very first blog about a con, I entitled it Nerds of the World Unite. That was my first con. I was just glib with the title. Now, I understand how correct I was in my title. We go to cons to feel united with other people like us.  We do this the same way people go to football games, political rallies, or book clubs.

We go to be with our tribe.

 

Star Wars-ing: Ahsoka Lives!

I think a lot of Star Wars fans of the Clone Wars have the same response to Ahsoka Tano that I did. I hated her at first.  She was a typical teenager. Anakin gave her the perfect nickname in “Snips.”

Then I became invested in the show.  My feelings for Ahsoka changed.  First, it was “ok…I don’t mind an Ahsoka episode.”  Then I couldn’t wait for them. The way she exits the show makes her the Jedi (I know she left the Order but she never wavered; it was the Order that did) I admire the most.  In fact, when Mrs. Nola Nerd Couple asked who was my favorite character, I didn’t hesitate when I said Ahsoka. Unfortunately, she was asking what lanyard I wanted from Amazon, and she was unforgivably not an option. I went with Rey instead.

Meeting Ashley Eckstein was fantastic.  She is one of the last people we needed for our Clone Wars Poster.  Ms. Eckstein was even surprised we never met her before when she saw the names already on the poster.  She talked to each of us and even noticed that Mrs. Nola Nerd Couple’s sister was wearing one of her jumpers.

The next day at the Rebels Panel, showrunner Dave Filoni was wearing an Ahsoka Lives? shirt. Now, the Saturday of Celebration was the Ahsoka Lives Day!  He is completely aware of the fandom and realized that there was going to be a huge meetup that day.  In other words, he was basically trolling fans.

After that panel, almost everyone that cosplayed as Ahsoka or who wore any clothing with her on it, gathered at the main steps to the second floor of the convention center to take a group picture.  Ashley was there, and so was Dave with a new shirt that changed the “?” to a “!”  (Click on the pictures to make them larger).

Later in the day, I attended the Marvel panel.  There was an extremely unscientific poll about who should their next comic focus on. Of course, it was Ahsoka.

BECAUSE AHSOKA LIVES!

Star Wars-ing: Amazing Cosplay at Star Wars Celebration

One of our favorite pastimes at Star Wars Celebration is seeing people cosplay.  From the thrown together ones to the extremely detailed, they are all done with love of a true fan at heart.  We love the mash-ups and the by the book accurate.

Here are the pictures we took at Celebration of people dressed up as some incarnation of a Star Wars character or idea.  If any of these cosplayers are you, shoot us an email at nolanerdcouple@gmail.com, and we will send you the unedited picture! Click on the image to make them larger.

The Nola Nerd Couple Podcast Episode 12: Star Wars Celebration Review

Star Wars Celebration Orlando has come and gone.  We had some amazing experiences and frustrating ones as well.  We talk about all the things we love and the things we didn’t like at Celebration.  Luckily, the bad things didn’t ruin it for us (even though I’m not sure that was the case for everyone).  We also do a lengthy preview of Comicpalooza, talk about a May the Fourth event at Dat Dog, and give our take on how to tackle Jazz Fest.

Of course, we took tons of photos at Celebration, plus we still have some blogs to write about Celebration.  These pics will mostly be of the exhibition and autograph halls in addition to other sights that we saw in our four days at Star Wars Celebration Orlando.  Click pictures to make them larger adn to read captions.  If any of the photos are of you, let us know and we can send you an unedited copy.

Star Wars-ing: The Galaxy Stage At Star Wars Celebration Is Most Impressive

Along with the Celebration Stage, this is one of the main stages for the event.  Most panels will be hosted by David W. Collins.  Wristbands are required for all Galaxy and Celebration Stage panels.  This stage is in Valencia ABC on the 4th floor.

Thursday

40 years of Star Wars – The marquee event at Celebration will feature Kathleen Kenedy and some of the saga’s biggest stars.  You will have to get their early to be in the main room, but there are overflow rooms.  11am-12:30pm

Dave Filoni: Animated Origins and Unexpected Fates – What is amazing about this generation of Star Wars creators are that they are fans first.  They have an encyclopedic knowledge of the saga. Dave Filoni is one of those creators and will discuss some of the characters that have populated animated Star Wars saga. 1:30-2:30pm

The Music of Rogue One: Analysis with David Collins – This panel will discuss how the music of Rogue One works with John Williams’ scores for other films in the saga. If you love the music that scores our favorite films, this is a must-attend panel. 3:30-4:30pm

Star Wars 365: Fact & Fiction – An informative panel that will give us some facts about the saga and bright to light some falsehoods.  5:30-6:30pm

Friday

Star Wars: The Last Jedi –  You can join Kathleen Kennedy and Rian Johnson as they discuss the next film in the saga! 11am-12:30pm

The Making of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – Want to know what went into making the lastest adventure in Star Wars? Join the creative team for Rogue One for an insider’s look. 1:30-2:30pm

The Heroines of Star Wars – Dave Filoni, Carrie Beck, Ashley Eckstein, and Tiya Sicar discuss the strong women characters in the stories of Star Wars 3:30-4:30pm

Mark Hamill’s Tribute to Carrie Fisher –  This will be streamed from the Celebration Stage. I’m not expecting a dry eye nor a lack of smiles in this tribute from one friend to another. 5:30-6:30pm

Special Celebration Screening: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Star Wars: A New Hope – Watch two great movies with a bunch of people who love Star Wars as much as you do.  Or even more. 7:30-12:30am

Saturday

Star Wars Rebels Season Four Sneak Peek – Fans of Rebels will enjoy this look at the future of the series. 11am-12:30pm

The Galaxywide Premiere of Star Wars Battlefront II – People who attend this panel will get the first look at the upcoming sequel to the popular game. 2:30-3:30pm

Star Wars and Disney Parks: A Galaxy in the Making – A look back at Star Wars rides and events at the Disney parks with a look ahead to new Star Wars themed lands. 4:30-5:30pm

Special Celebration Screening: Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, and The Force Awakens – Star Wars fanatics watching 3 movies from the saga…should be interesting! 6pm-1am

Sunday

Rebel Reunion! –  Panelists include Denis Lawson, Angus MacInnes, Garrick Hagon, Mike Quin, and Tim Rose will discuss their roles in the rebellion and the saga. 11am-12pm

Hamill Himself – Streamed  from the Celebration Stage. Does this one really need a description? 1-2pm

Celebration Orlando Closing Ceremony – A look back at #SWCO 4-5pm

Star Wars-ing: Fan Panel Stage at Celebration Promises Excitement for Those that Crave It!

Let’s face it: Star Wars fandom is second to none.  It has grown to the point where Lucasfilm could just rely on all of the hundreds of blogs (including this one) and podcasts out there for getting the word out and it would almost be as good as multimillion dollar ad campaigns. The fan base is rabid and vocal.  Thankfully, it has grown more inclusive over the years so that voices that haven’t been heard now also can share their love of Star Wars.

At Celebration this no more evident than at the Fan Stage.  The Fan Stage is at Stage W308 on the 3rd floor.  We will try to attend as many of these as we can.

Thursday

We Are a Legion The Star Wars Costuming Clubs’ Leadership Panel:  Cosplaying Star Wars goes well beyond the 501st and Rebel Legion.  There are the the Mandalorian Mercs, The Dark Empire, and the Saber Guild.  This is a great way for fans new to cosplaying to learn about the different groups they can join.  12:30-1:30pm.

Meet the 501st Legion They may represent the Dark Side of the force in their costumes, but their charity work is all good.  This panel will explain how to join and the mission of the Legion. 2-3pm

Star Wars Authentics Autographs This is the company handling the autograph hall of Celebration.  They are part of TOPPS so they have tons of experience in autograph collecting.  This panel will examine the issues facing collectors (forgeries, in particular) and how Star Wars Authentics plans on dealing with these issues. This would be an interesting panel for us since we are avid autograph collectors. 3:30-4:30pm

Meet the Mandalorian Mercs Like the 501st, these cosplayers look good and help people out.  If you love the style of the Mandalorians, and who doesn’t, then this is the panel for you. 5-6pm

Collider Jedi Council The crew from Collider Jedi Council will discuss canon and everything else Star Wars.  They will also take questions from the audience. 6:30-7:30

Droid Building 101 This panel is hosted by the R2-D2 Builders Club. They will talk about their history and the challenges and rewards of building droids. They will discuss materials and tools needed as well and allow you to pick their brains. 8-9pm

Friday

Rendezvous Point: The Military of Star Wars This panel will look at how military thinking affects the plot of Star Wars. 10:30-11:30 am

Saber Guild: Anatomy of a Fight Scene This panel will look saber fights and compare them to famous sword battles.  Also, since the Saber Guild is a cosplay and performance organization, they will explain their mission and how you can get involved. 12-1pm

Ladies of the Legion: A Woman’s Guide to Costuming While some of the most iconic and greatest heroes of the galaxy are women, they are simply more male characters in the movies.  Just a simple fact, not a judgment.  This does bring challenges for women cosplayers.  This panel will discuss those challenges and discuss the groups available for female cosplayers. 1:30-2:30pm

Star Wars Movie Trivia Schmoedown: Witwer vs Napzok vs Campea  Appernetly, Sam Witwer (voice of Darth Maul) and Freddie Prinze Jr (voice of Kanaan) faced Ken Napzok and John Campea of Collider in a Star Wars Trivia contest.  At this contest, Mr. Witwer proved he is second to none in his knowledge of the franchise. He will attempt to prove this was no fluke when he takes on Mr. CAmpea and Mr. Napzok at Celebration. 3-4pm

Extreme Droid Building When I first read this, I thought it would have the builders blindfolded or hanging upside down while building their droids. Actually, it’s about builders who droids pushed the envelope with their creativity and functionality. 4:30-5:30pm

Fantasy Flight Games: Star Wars Tabletop Games The Game company will give a preview of their great games that they offer such as Destiny and X-Wing. Mrs. Nola Nerd Couple’s sisters both play these games with their significant others.  We have bought X-Wing but have yet to play it.  But we will. Maybe going to this panel will make us finally do it…that and summer. 6-7pm

The Life & Times of Han Solo  Fans look at the life of the human half of our favorite smuggling team in the galaxy. 7:30-8:30 pm

Saturday

Down and Dirty Mandalorian Armor Another opportunity for fans to learn how to make Mandalorian cosplay and about the Mandalorian Mercs.  What makes this panel different, is that they will develop costumes for two lucky audience members. 10:30-11:30am

501st Legion: Costuming in a Galaxy Far, Far Away This panel will dig deep into the building one’s own costume and props. 12-1pm

Prop Building on a Galactic Scale This is one of those panels that make my jaw drop.  People, much craftier than us, build these life-size replicas of props from the movies.  These builders will share their stories. 1:30-2:30 pm

Of Mice and Medical: The Other Droids of Star Wars This panel will be a lesson on the droids used in Star Wars.  3-4pm

These are Not the Writers You are Looking For: Bloggers Discuss Writing About Star Wars You get to meet your favorite (well some of your favorite bloggers since we aren’t a part of this panel hehe) bloggers of Star Wars content.  4:30-5:30pm

The Rebel Legion Costuming Community: Rebellions are Built on Hope The Rebel Legion cosplay as the good guys and raise money for various charities. Of course, they work closely with the other costuming communities because it’s about making the galaxy a better place.  They will give you insights into what kind of costumes fit’s their guidelines and how you can join. 6-7pm

Whose Line is it, Alderaan? Looking to laugh? This is the panel for you with Star Wars inspired improv. 7:30-8:30pm

Sunday

501st Legion: Bad Guys Who Do Good  This panel focuses on the charitable works for the 501st, which is extensive. 10:30-11:30 am

The Making of The Star Wars remake! – a fan film Here the stories behind the fan film remake.  12-1pm

The Galactic Academy: Judge Us By Our Size, Do Not! The Galactic Academy is a costuming community for children.  This will tell more about the organization. 1:30-2:30pm

Women in A Galaxy Far, Far Away Star Wars has always made a point to create female heroes.  However, like in Revenge of the Sith, it sometimes forgets that they are there.  This roundtable discussion discusses the contributions the female characters of Star Wars and also look at how the saga can become even more inclusive. This is one panel I would like love to attend if I can. 3-4pm

Star Wars-ing: Hayden Christensen Will Be at Celebration

Star Wars Authentics, the company handling the autographs for Star Wars Celebration announced this afternoon that Hayden Christensen will be making a rare convention appearance!  He will only be appearing at the con on Friday.  He is doing a signing and is doing two photo ops.  The first one will be by himself.  The other, which will be one of the most popular photo ops, will be with Ian McDiarmid.  Get your autograph tickets now!!!!