The word that best describes what Dayan and I initially felt as we walked onto the floor of our first comic con was “overwhelmed”! The large convention building was packed with vendor booths, a large gaming area, a celebrity section and a photo op area. There were people everywhere, many in fantastic costumes. Dayan was actually in costume as well, as the 11th Doctor, sporting a fez and bow tie.
Being newbies, we immediately sought out the show volunteers, easily identified by their lime green shirts! Dayan and I purchased VIP tickets for this event, which included photo ops and autographs with David Tennant and Matt Smith and first access to discussion panels. However, we didn’t know what to do with all of our tickets and where to meet at the appropriate times. I’m grateful for the kind people in green! With their help we figured out schedules and put together a time line for the day.
After an early lunch, which turned out to be our only opportunity to eat until late that evening, we hit the convention floor in earnest. First lesson learned: grab food to eat while standing in lines. There was so much to see, so many amazing people to gawk at, that I’m surprised our necks didn’t hurt from all of our head turning. We found a replica of the TARDIS from Doctor Who to step into, talented artists selling beautiful artwork, authors of fantasy fiction, metalwork, and shops full of merchandise dedicated to specific shows. Dayan bought a Doctor Who case for his iPhone.
Music boomed overhead, with theme songs from various movies playing frequently. And little dramas and scenes were enacted as people in character bumped into each other. Some of my favorite cosplays included a Mad Hatter and White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland, the Joker, and Wolverine. Every sci-fi and fantasy movie was represented and it wasn’t unusual at all to see Cinderella walking alongside Darth Vader and the 10th Doctor.
We only had an hour and a half to walk the floor. I know we didn’t see everything and unfortunately we didn’t make it back to booths that we wanted to inspect closer, such as a Scottish shortbread and wares shop. There wasn’t time. Second lesson learned: you need more than one day at a comic con. We did, however, get a great overview of what’s available from vendors. And walking down the celebrity row, we got our first peek at Matt Smith and Billie Piper. Also signing autographs were actors William Shatner and Lou Ferrigno. We ended up at the photo op area, where our first scheduled event was about to take place.
The photo op allowed each of us to have our picture taken with Matt Smith, the 11th Doctor, and David Tennant, the 10th Doctor. We were excited…giddy might be a better word! This was the moment Dayan had been looking forward to, meeting his two favorite Doctors. Hundreds of other people were looking forward to the same experience. I have to admire the actors who handle these situations with such grace and good humor, as person after person steps before them for an autograph or squeezes in for a photo. I never saw their smiles waver.
The process ran efficiently too, with the line moving smoothly and quickly through a tent where Tennant and Smith waited with the photography team. I watched, delighted, as Dayan stepped between the two Doctors for his photo. Matt reacted with glee that Dayan was dressed as his character, while David playfully swatted at Matt, in acknowledgement. The result was a perfect picture of the three of them. I’m so happy about that photo.
Dayan exited the tent and it was my turn. I stood between these two amazing actors, an arm around each one, their arms around me, and just before the shutter clicked, I quietly said “Two of my favorite guys…” They laughed and David immediately quipped, “Two of your favorites? How about your top two favorite guys?” I laughed too and changed my remark to “Okay, my top two favorite guys…” said as I walked toward the exit. The photographer called me back, saying a bit tersely that we were talking during the photo and she wanted to retake it. “When I say ‘Ready’, stop talking,”she said. Which made us laugh harder, but I found myself back between these two fun guys, and this time, we stopped talking when the photographer said “Ready”.
I thought I looked goofy in the photo, caught mid sentence, but what a fun moment. Dayan later said that while he got the great photo, I got the great story! Fortunately, I ended up with two photos, with the latter one, shared at the end of the blog post, being a better pic!
Dayan and I headed to our next event, autographs by Matt Smith, while the photo op concluded. We discovered that standing, or sitting, while in line, is a great opportunity for meeting fellow geeks and convention attendees. They are a friendly bunch, with stories to share.
As we stood before Matt, 8x10s in hand to be signed, Dayan experienced another great moment. Volunteers write down your name and attach it to your choice of photos to be autographed. Dayan has an unusual name. Most people pronounce it wrong. Dayan and I waited to see how Matt would pronounce it. Matt peeled off the name sticker and as he held his sharpie ready, said, “Let’s see, this is Dayan”. He looked up at my astonished grandson. He had pronounced the name perfectly. As Dayan gave a little cheer, I informed Matt that what he had just done was rare. As Matt signed a photo for Dayan, I told him that he was Dayan’s favorite Doctor. Matt replied with a smile, “And he’s my favorite fan.”
What a happy teen Dayan was in that moment. As Matt signed my photo he looked up and grinned. “We just did a photo shoot together,” he said. We laughed again about having to do two takes.
Next on our schedule was a Q&A forum with Matt Smith, immediately followed by one with David Tennant and Billie Piper, who played Rose in Doctor Who. It was wonderful to sit down for a couple of hours! This gigantic ballroom was packed out, standing room only by the time they closed the doors. I was grateful for our VIP passes, which put us up near the stage.
What a wonderful two hours of listening to Matt, and then David and Billie, as they answered questions and told stories. We laughed. We cheered and clapped. We teared up. This opportunity allowed us to see more deeply into the hearts of these three beautiful people. Each one related so well to the audience. And David and Billie have a lovely friendship, their fondness and respect for each other evident in their interactions. I felt like I got to know Matt and David and Billie, beyond being actors who have played some of my favorite characters. I learned who they are and what they enjoy and how they view life.
Our fun day was drawing to a close. Our last event was an autograph session with David Tennant. I estimate there were four hundred or more people waiting in line as David took his place at the table. Because of the group we were assigned to, Dayan and I were near the end of the line. We stood for an hour and a half before it was our turn, and to speed the process up, David wasn’t personalizing the photos, just signing them. And yet, tired as he must have been, he still took time to speak to each person who stood before him.
I told him how much I appreciate him and that Dayan and I have Scottish ancestry. “I’m grateful that you, as a Scotsman, so beautifully share your gifts with the world,” I said. The look on his face was priceless. He reached his hand out to me and said thank you. I turned to walk away and suddenly realized that I was still clutching my photo. In my fan girl moment, I forgot to hand him my photo to sign. He was laughing as I turn back around and said he wondered what I was doing. He signed with a flourish as we also talked about our funny photo shoot earlier in the day. In a full Scottish brogue he handed me my autographed picture and said with a smile “You go and behave yourself!” I was the one now having a very happy moment.
What a great day. We were very tired, and hungry, and full of chatter as we left the comic con, which had closed as we waited in line for autographs. We created wonderful memories today, in the further Adventures of Dayan and Yaya. I cherish that my grandson and I had the opportunity to experience comic con and the meeting of the Doctors, together.
I feel like I got the hang of comic con. I know now how it flows and what to do, and I know what to expect. That’s good, because I have other grandchildren and great nephews and nieces who, in a few years when they are a bit older, will enjoy visiting a comic con and meeting their favorite actors. And Dayan and I will do this again. Even after he starts college, we agree that it would be fun to meet in cities such as New York or even London or Edinburgh to attend comic cons together. I can’t wait. I hope the Doctors will be there.