If you ever get the chance to attend Comic-Con International in San Diego, you should probably do the complete opposite of what I did. Namely, give yourself some time to travel and eat food. Other than that, my Comic-Con experience this year was probably the best time I’ve had at a convention in a long time! Big thanks to Marissa, Mike, and Dariane of Racebending for inviting me to the Super Asian America panel (more on that later!) and allowing me to come back to SDCC in the first place!

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It says “4-Day,” but it was more like “1.5-Day.”
While Comic-Con started on Wednesday this year, I didn’t get to San Diego until Saturday. If I’m not working a booth or on a panel, my main objective at any convention, really, is to catch up with old friends I haven’t seen in a while or meet in-person those friends and creators who I only know digitally. One of those people is Jamie Broadnax of Black Girl Nerds. When I heard she was attending this year, we decided to combine our forces and host a meet-up on Saturday night, where we basically took over the lobby bar of the Grand Hyatt.

Earlier in the day, though, I made my official return to SDCC by visiting former colleagues and collaborators at their booths, checking out the newest action figures, and hitting up some (non-Hall H) panels.

The main one I intended on seeing, I nearly missed. Fortunately, my man Mega Ran texted me that there were still open seats in the Milestone 2.0 panel, so I was able to make it just in time.

I won’t go into detail about what was discussed. All of that info — such as Milestone’s return to the DC Universe, the live action Static Shock series, and more — has been well documented elsewhere on the internet. Instead, I’m here to post all of the selfies I took after the panel!

After that, I headed back down to the show floor to chat with folks in Artists’ Alley and peruse the exclusives being offered at the Hasbro booth. After purchasing an Equestria Girls Sci-Twi (for my kid), I hung around the Diamond booth until it was time for the next panel.

The other panel I was anticipating on Saturday was the We Are All Heroes panel hosted by the Cashmere Agency and featuring an illustrious roster of talent that included Jamie, Tyler James Williams (The Walking Dead), rapper MURS, Katrina Law (Arrow), Fruitvale Station director Ryan Coogler, and Latino-Review founder Kelvin Chavez.

It was a really fascinating discussion that embraced just how diverse pop culture fandom really is. Jamie and Kelvin talked about how they came to nerdom and were inspired to create their respective websites. MURS and Ryan talked about how their upbringing informed their art while Katrina and Tyler discussed what it was like being actors of color in Hollywood.

The crowd also had a ton of energy which the panelists definitely fed off of. The Boondocks creator Aaron McGruder just happened to be in the audience as well, and received a shout-out from the moderator and panel. But enough about that, on to the selfies!

Immediately following the panel, we all gathered at the lobby of the Grand Hyatt for drinks and conversation with the extended BGN and NOC families.

In the beginning, the staff seemed a little taken aback by all of the folks turning up for the meetup. Not sure why, since there were already hundreds of folks in the bar by the time we got there. Eventually, readers, followers, and fellow creators all came out in full force. It was such a great time, maybe we should do it again next year? Let us know what you think in the comments.

After a couple hours of sleep, I was back at it first thing Sunday morning. With some time to kill before my own panel, I wanted to meet as many of the people I missed the day before. Sadly, there were still a ton of folks that I didn’t get to see. There’s always next year — or New York Comic-Con — I suppose.

I did manage to catch Jim Lee and Dan Didio’s annual DC publishers panel just as Reggie Hudlin and Denys Cowan were brought on stage to talk more about Milestone’s place in the DCU.

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After that, I hit up a couple of additional panels, including a great one about using comics in an educational setting — which had Marjorie Liu as a panelist — and 2015 geek year-in-review panel featuring Marc Bernardin.

Also, since it was Sunday, I did most of my shopping and Small Press mingling. After locating some more MLP merch for my daughter, I decided to pick up some stuff for myself, including tees from Giant Robot and Martin Hsu before it was time to meet up with the Racebending crew — Marissa, Michael, and Dariane — as well as with a few fellow panelists: stuntman Ilram Choi (Amazing Spider-Man), voice actor Sumalee Montano (Beware the Batman) and Rufio himself, Dante Basco (Avatar: The Last Airbender).

Then it was time to head over to Room 29 — where we were meeting the rest of the panel, writers Greg Pak (Action Comics) and Amy Chu (Poison Ivy) and actor Chloe Bennet (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) and the first thing I notice was this line forming outside the room.

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Maybe we should be in Hall H next year? Kidding. Not really.
Which, honestly, confused me a little since I was getting texts and tweets from people that the room was packed. How could the room be packed if they weren’t letting anyone in? When I entered I realized that the line outside wasn’t people waiting to get in, it was for people who were being turned away.

Humbled by all the people who showed up -- or were turned away -- from our panel.
Humbled by all the people who showed up — or were turned away — from our panel.

For a play-by-play of what was said during the panel, head over to our pals at Racialicious for the tweets. Hopefully, Racebending will have video up soon. In the meantime, they have a pretty comprehensive and definitive Storify of all the posts generated by the internet during and after the panel.

It can’t be said enough how grateful I am that they were able to bring together such a powerful panel. Not only was it filled with so many people I admire, if twitter is any indication, it was received as one of the best and most inspiring panels of the entire convention.

https://twitter.com/alwaysinhere/status/620363194851180544

https://twitter.com/alwaysinhere/status/620359417880424448

https://twitter.com/alwaysinhere/status/620360863707328512

That last one is the most surreal for me. That’s a lot of arms and camera phones being pointed in our direction. And while most of that is due to the presence of people like Chloe and Dante, it’s just a humbling experience to be a part of. The aftermath was so hectic, I neglected to take my name card off the table, which was one of the mementos I had intended to get signed by everyone and bring back from the Con. Ah well.

Before I go, I’ll leave you with one last round of selfies. Until next year, San Diego.

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