SDCC 2013 Wrapup- Part 6: the Exhibit Floor, Costumes, and Starship Smackdown

Breaking Bad cosplay, SDCC 2013
Breaking Bad cosplay, SDCC 2013
Doing some business with Heisenberg (and yes, the “rock candy” was delicious)

I left Hall H a bit dispirited to say the least, but trudged forward determined to make the most of my final day at ComicCon. After meeting up with Todd VanDerWerff to record about the convention for the Televerse, I headed to the exhibit floor, hoping to snag a few gifts for my friends less fortunate in their badge inquiries. The exhibit floor is an amazing sight to behold and usually, Sunday’s the day to go. This year, though, the crush of people continued throughout the weekend and Sunday was just as crazy as every other day. After snagging one gift, I fled the floor, despite its many lovely sights and sounds. I’m usually good with crowds, but less so when I can’t move and keep getting shoved (a side effect of my massive Con backpack). I did manage to walk the floor briefly on Wednesday, and below are some of the various displays that’d gone up. What some of these companies put together are downright incredible and they certainly make the floor a must-see, if you can handle it.

After the disappointment of Hall H this morning and then of the ridiculously crowded floor, I wandered over to Starship Smackdown, spotting some great costumes along the way (see below). I was ready for the Con to be over and started pondering if I should ditch the panel entirely to make sure I got my swag before the offsite fulfillment room closed. It’d been great last year, though, so I stayed for the first few minutes at least and thank goodness I did- Starship Smackdown was one of the most exhilarating, joyful experiences of the entire convention and it almost singlehandedly saved my Sunday, and by extension, my Con. I would’ve left San Diego with a bad taste in my mouth. Instead, as I walked out at 5pm, I was getting dusty, revitalized and wishing I could have just a few more hours to walk the floor or wander into a panel. I have a feeling this is what the Buffy the Vampire Slayer singalong is like for many people- at the same time, in another room, there’s a screening of “Once More, With Feeling” that Con-goers Rocky Horror (that can be a verb, right?), singing along, interacting, and having a blast. And that sounds fun. But give me Starship Smackdown any day.

The Walking Dead, SDCC 2013
The Walking Dead prison pen, to get the full season 3 experience

The premise is simple- 7 spaceshipologists (some celebrity, some not) are given a bracket of 16 starships and they debate which one wins. Not which is the superior military vessel, not which is cooler, but which one wins. Through whichever criteria they prefer (for example, one spaceshipologist seemed most interested in which had the hotter crew or the higher likelihood of fun). This year, in a change from previous Smackdowns, the ships were chosen ahead of time on the panel’s Facebook page, saving time and allowing for more debate. The first round is straightforward, one starship vs. another. In the second round, things get more interesting, as captains are randomly assigned to each of the remaining starships. Then we have another round of eliminations, leaving us with a four-way battle royale for the win. First of all, the ships submitted by the panel’s fans were great- particular favorites were the ISS Enterprise (from the “Mirror, Mirror” episode of Star Trek), the TARDIS (which launched a several minute long debate over whether it was actually a starship or a time machine), the NSEA Protector from Galaxy Quest (specifically the classic television show, not the film), and the Jefferson Starship, a ship so powerful it can manufacture entire civilizations out of a mere collection of organized sound waves.

The specifics of the discussion are irrelevant; this panel boils down to about 90 minutes of improv comedy and extreme geekery, arguing the minutiae of science fiction not to be a pain, but because we can. It’s the perfect panel to end the Con because it’s true nerdom at its best- all opinions welcome, so long as you can back ‘em up, preferably by making us laugh. In the end, it came down to the ISS Enterprise as captained by Cap’n Crunch (there was some debate as to whether this was Evil Cap’n Cruch or whether merely the ship was from the Mirror universe) vs. Serenity as captained by Benjamin “Hawkeye” Pierce, with Serenity scraping out the win (I’d’ve given it to the Borg cube, captained by Captain Bartholomew Quint, but that’s me). At one point, the spaceshipologists started debating scifi scoring and Bear McCreary (composer for Battlestar Galactica, The Walking Dead, and the upcoming Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., among others) ran up from the crowd to correct a particular point and offer his expertise. Because this is the kind of thing that happens at Starship Smackdown (last year, Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson showed up to cast his vote for Cosmos and Dr. Sagan’s Spaceship of the Imagination). It was an amazing way to end my San Diego Comic Con International 2013 and, while I would never want this to turn into a panel with a line, one that anyone is excluded from, it would be great to see a few fewer empty seats next year.

After heading out of the convention center with a heavy heart, picking up my swag, and heading to a goodbye dinner with some friends, ComicCon 2013 was officially over. I had a completely different experience this year than last year. Some things were better, some were worse, and some couldn’t possibly compare, but it was still a blast and I can’t wait to go back next year.

Kate Kulzick

Black Sails display, SDCC 2013
The second of the two Black Sails pirate ships (the other being in the bay)
Once Upon a Time, SDCC 2013
One Upon a Time also had a pirate ship
Adult Swim, SDCC 2013
Adult Swim was giving away mini back rubs and time in a soundproof room. Yes, please!
Despicable Me exhibit, SDCC 2013
I wanna say this was an area to buy smartphone cases?
SDCC 2013, Boba Fett
Boba Fett, hanging out on top of some bookshelves
The Hobbit display, SDCC 2013
Weta’s Gollum sculpture
Hobbit display, SDCC 2013
Weta knows their stuff, display-wise
SDCC 2013
Nikelodeon brought it with their display this year, too
SDCC 2013
I’m not even sure what this is for, but it sure looks cool
Power Rangers, SDCC 2013
Power Rangers hit the con en masse this year
SDCC 2013
Yes kid, Iron Man is that cool
SDCC 2013
Again, not sure what this is, but I’m more interested now than I was before seeing it
Shogun Warriors, SDCC 2013
Shogun Warriors caught some eyes with their display
SDCC 2013
Yes, this is a puppet interviewing two giant robot creators. Only at SDCC.
Alice in Wonderland cosplay, SDCC 2013
Alice has twice the Hatters to deal with
Classic Trek cosplay, SDCC 2013
A specific one-episode character from Classic Trek. That’s how you SDCC Cosplay
SDCC 2013 cosplay
There are all sorts of costumes at the Con, including full body suits
Orphan Black cosplay, SDCC 2013
Don’t mess with Helena- she’ll tail ya!
South Park cosplay, SDCC 2013
They killed Kenny! You bastards!
Monty Python cosplay, SDCC 2013
Zut has been very naughty- I’m pretty sure she needs a spanking.
Robin cosplay, SDCC 2013
Top this, Cute Overload! The birth of geekery.
Sharknado cosplay, SDCC 2013
It had to happen- Sharknado cosplay
Star Wars cosplay, SDCC 2013
Family cosplay. It warms the heart.
Cosplay SDCC 2013
There is some pretty amazing work on display, throughout the Con. Damn.
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