Stan Lee sang to me: 10 loopy Comedian-Con moments I am going to always remember



It isn’t San Diego Comedian-Con until you are surrounded by Star Wars cosplayers.

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I have been attending San Diego Comedian-Con for over 20 years — as an creator, former Lucasfilm worker and hard-core comics fan — and yearly appears crazier than the final. Sadly, I will not be attending this yr, so I am feeling a bit nostalgic recalling a few of the wackiest issues which have occurred to me on the conference. Prepared? Right here we go… 

1. Stan Lee and Mark Hamill singing me Completely happy Birthday


Stan Lee on one of many many comedian e-book conference panels selling his World of Heroes YouTube channel.

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My birthday falls in July, so I’ve spent lots of them at SDCC. One time, a waiter dressed like Batman introduced me a birthday cake and one other time I used a lightsaber duplicate to hit a pinata formed like Darth Vader on a good friend’s houseboat. However certainly one of my favourite birthday reminiscences from Comedian-Con includes Star Wars actor Mark Hamill and the late, nice Marvel superhero comics creator Stan Lee.

In 2012, Lee was briefly my boss once I created and hosted an internet sequence known as Geek DIY for his YouTube community World of Heroes.

Throughout our World of Heroes press tour, I used to be on a Comedian-Con panel in one of many largest conference rooms, Corridor H, with Lee, Mark Hamill and some others who had reveals on Lee’s community. I used to be anxious to be speaking in entrance of a room filled with comedian e-book followers and thrilled to be respiration the identical air as Lee and Hamill.

As destiny would have it, it was my 40th birthday that day, and once I informed Lee he gave me an enormous hug and urged me to not be nervous. We took the stage and sat down. Then Lee winked at me and informed the gang to sing Completely happy Birthday to me. Each Lee and Hamill led the viewers in a really particular pleased birthday sing-a-long, which nonetheless cannot be beat as certainly one of my finest SDCC reminiscences ever. 

2. Assembly the actual Loki accidentally 

At Comedian-Con, it isn’t unusual to see cosplayers trying like such lifeless ringers for Tony Stark, Marvel Girl, Shazam or Thor you do a double take and assume they’re the very characters you have seen on display screen. 

In 2013, I discovered myself enthralled with a cosplayer dressed as Loki. Everybody was simply beginning to catch Avengers fever with Marvel superhero motion pictures like Iron Man, Thor and Captain America. Thor: The Darkish World was about to come back out, and followers had been buzzing with pleasure at Comedian-Con. 

I used to be within the secret labyrinth of hallways contained in the San Diego Conference Middle attempting my finest to get to a panel. Typically, if you already know the proper safety folks, they’re going to allow you to take a shortcut by means of these halls, which are sometimes utilized by celebrities avoiding crowded hallways filled with followers jostling for autographs or coveted selfies. 

As I used to be speeding behind the stage, I virtually ran proper into a formidable cosplayer dressed as Loki — the Asgardian god of mischief and adopted half-brother of Thor. The cosplayer not solely had the proper Loki costume, he might have been the dual of Tom Hiddleston, who portrayed him within the motion pictures. He even had the actor’s British accent down completely.

I stated, “Wow, your Loki cosplay is killer!”

He responded, “Thanks. That is very type of you to say.” Then he walked off towards Corridor H with just a few folks round him, hurrying him away. 

After my panel, I discovered Hiddleston had stormed the Corridor H stage dressed like Loki as a shock for followers. It was throughout Marvel’s panel to advertise Thor: The Darkish World.

Seems I did not praise a random Loki cosplayer. I complimented Hiddleston himself! Loki in all probability would have discovered that amusing.

3. Chewbacca actor Peter Mayhew saying hello to my Chewbacca puppet


Actor Peter Mayhew poses with my Chewbacca sock puppet from my Star Wars Craft E-book.

Bonnie Burton

Once I labored at Lucasfilm as a senior editor for, I at all times felt honored when my path crossed with that of late Chewbacca actor Peter Mayhew. Each time he visited Lucasfilm headquarters or attended one of many many comedian e-book conventions I went to, Mayhew at all times stated hiya and gave me certainly one of his well-known Wookiee hugs.

Once I was doing the primary e-book signing for my Star Wars Craft E-book at SDCC in 2011, I used to be tremendous nervous about assembly followers as an creator. Mayhew stopped by to say hiya and pose for a photograph holding my Chewbacca sock puppet. His go to to my signing gave me the a lot wanted confidence enhance I wanted to talk with fellow followers who wished my signature.

4. Star Wars Revenge of the Sith film title reveal

In 2004, I used to be backstage when Lucasfilm made an enormous announcement — the title of its subsequent Star Wars movie, Revenge of the Sith. Again then web spoilers weren’t a factor; and social media hadn’t taken over our lives. So it was nonetheless an enormous deal when a film title — particularly for one thing as huge as Star Wars — was revealed.

Again in 2004, Saturdays at Comedian-Con had been known as “Star Wars Saturdays” and everybody in Corridor H anticipated surprises. Followers in Corridor H that day had been handled to video montages of behind-the-scenes moments throughout filming with actors Ewan McGregor enjoying Obi-Wan Kenobi and Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker. 

Lastly, after the final montage video, the film’s title was revealed to the world and the gang went wild. Over 6,00zero followers screamed the title of the film time and again.

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When the home lights got here up, the panel’s host wore a black T-shirt with the film’s new title in purple. The second he stated the limited-edition T-shirt was on sale on the Star Wars retailer on the present ground, folks jumped from their chairs and ran for the doorways to get theirs. 

I ended up volunteering on the retailer to verify the excited mob of Star Wars followers did not find yourself trampling anybody within the course of. It was each terrifying and thrilling.

5. Partying with Adam Savage


For those who ever get together with Adam Savage be sure to get a selfie.

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Nowadays, celebrity-infested events are widespread, however within the mid-2000s it was fairly uncommon to see TV and film stars mingle with followers at SDCC social capabilities. 

One among my favourite events was thrown yearly by MythBusters co-host Adam Savage. I had labored with Savage when he was at ILM and I used to be at Lucasfilm. We grew to become quick associates, and when he grew to become a MythBusters megastar, he would invite his friends to his resort room for a small, pleasant gathering through the years. 

At these non-public events, I’d meet fellow geeks, but additionally the unique forged of Thriller Science Theater 3000, Star Trek actors, beloved voice actors, distinguished scientists and in style comedians. 

However quickly his intimate gatherings began to get greater and he could not accommodate all of the friends in his resort room. He moved his get together to a barely greater resort room, then later to a convention room, then to a restaurant and ultimately a nightclub. 

The final time I attended certainly one of Savage’s Comedian-Con events, it was in a packed nightclub the place all his previous cosplay costumes had been on show. I used to be in a VIP space surrounded by followers and some celebrities like director Guillermo del Toro. Savage’s events are a great way to see your favourite geeky celebs in a single place, if you may get in. 

Professional tip: For those who actually wish to see celebs in get together mode, hold round exterior the Laborious Rock Lodge on Saturday nights for the Leisure Weekly get together. It is often the most popular ticket for many celebs who wish to let free with out the paparazzi harassing them. The yr I attended the get together, I sat at one of many outside hearth pits subsequent to The X-Information star Gillian Anderson and Sherlock co-creator and actor Mark Gatiss. 

6. Slave Leia photoshoot brings Comedian-Con to a standstill


That is solely a small part of the big gathering of Slave Leia cosplayers at Comedian-Con.

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Yearly, on the Lucasfilm space on the conference ground, cosplayers will collect to take an epic group shot. Often it is Stormtroopers or all of the Jedi Masters posing en masse for followers to snap photographs. 

However in 2009, there gave the impression to be a file variety of Slave Leia cosplayers. Not simply ladies however males donning the attractive costume made well-known by Carrie Fisher in Return of the Jedi. 

Virtually 100 Slave Leias gathered to pose with a large Jabba the Hutt statue proudly standing contained in the Lucasfilm space. When that many Slave Leia cosplayers present up in a single small space for a photograph op, you’ll be able to think about what number of followers refused to budge. Not solely had been no followers shifting, extra of them had been speeding to the spot to see if they might get the very best angle for a photograph.

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This created an enormous downside for Comedian-Con’s safety group and hearth marshals. An unlimited crowd of people that ought to have been shifting like regular, had been now standing utterly nonetheless and all of the exits had been being blocked by followers attempting to get by means of this terrifying wall of human flesh.

The photograph op solely lasted a couple of minutes earlier than safety broke it up. So although many people snapped just a few photographs, it was unimaginable to get the total shot of all of the Leias directly. Now if you wish to get photographs of huge meet-ups between Marvel superheroes, Star Wars Stormtroopers and every part in between, Comedian-Con now makes it a rule to have these cosplayer photograph ops occur exterior the constructing. 

7.  A fan will get stabbed within the eye

Not every part at Comedian-Con is enjoyable. When traces develop longer and the celeb panels are tougher to realize entrance to, followers can discover themselves in harmful conditions. 

In 2010, I spent a variety of time in Corridor H, masking panels for and different geeky information shops. I took fairly just a few breaks to depart the enormous room, in contrast to the extra hardcore followers who refused to depart their seats.

Followers who determined to remain the total day contained in the room discovered themselves in the midst of a criminal offense scene when one fan determined to stab one other fan within the eye with a pen over a seat. This room seats over 6,00zero folks, and often there are twice that many individuals ready in line to get in. So tensions are likely to run excessive. 

The attacked man recovered, however the pen stabber was arrested for assault. In true Comedian-Con style, the following day just a few cosplayers determined to decorate up as a fan stabbed within the eye. There is no such factor as “too quickly” when Comedian-Con gallows humor is worried. 

8. Getting a hug from George R.R. Martin


George R.R. Martin offers the very best hugs.

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Recreation of Thrones first aired on HBO in 2011, and creator George R.R. Martin was simply beginning to turn into a family title again in 2012. I used to be attending a personal get together held by Massive Bang Concept co-creator Invoice Prady at Comedian-Con that yr and was delighted to study Martin could be there. 

I beloved Martin’s books lengthy earlier than the TV sequence got here out, however I used to be additionally such a diehard fan that I ended up writing a scathing letter to the editor of The New York Occasions when a TV critic accused Recreation of Thrones of getting romance so ladies would tune in. 

When Martin’s publicist discovered I used to be on the get together, he came visiting and stated Martin wished to thank me for writing that letter — which was fairly wonderful contemplating I did not have the braveness to say hiya alone. 

Martin informed me he appreciated me standing up for feminine followers of the present and gave me an Iron Islands copper coin that includes the picture of Balon Greyjoy. I additionally bought one heck of a hug. 

9. Bringing down the home in Geek Ladies panels


Right here I’m sitting subsequent to geek woman goddess Adrianne Curry dressed as Leeloo from The Fifth Component on one of many many geek woman panels at Comedian-Con.

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Feminine followers of Star Wars, Star Trek, Physician Who and so many different properties are continuously having to show their geekdom. In 2012, ladies at Comedian-Con had been routinely accused of being “Faux Geek Ladies” and, in response, Comedian-Con featured fairly just a few panels specializing in feminine fandom to remind the blokes we weren’t going wherever. 

I used to be honored to be on just a few of those panels alongside feminine actors, writers, administrators, comedian e-book creators and celebs. In certainly one of my favourite reminiscences, I sat subsequent to America’s Subsequent High Mannequin winner and avid cosplayer Adrianne Curry, who was dressed as Leeloo from the film The Fifth Component. 

Curry talked at size about her love and data of all issues Star Wars, video video games and sci-fi basically. It was refreshing to see a lady, who additionally occurred to be a actuality TV star, stand as much as harassment and wave her geek satisfaction flag for all to see. 

Again then, geek women had been handled like a novelty as an alternative of the norm. So these sorts of panels had been an effective way to remind everybody that feminine followers knew their stuff. We weren’t displaying off our fandom to impress the blokes, we had been celebrating our geeky obsessions as equals.  

10. Jane Wiedlin and Milo Ventimiglia turn into honorary Stormtroopers


That is Us actor Milo Ventimiglia will get inducted into the 501st Legion at Comedian-Con.

Bonnie Burton/CNET

Once you see celebs geek out over the identical stuff you do, there is a sense of solidarity that may’t be matched. At Comedian-Con, it is enjoyable to see A-list actors freak out over the newest Star Wars Lego set, or get tongue-tied round their favourite comedian e-book artist. 

Go-Go’s band member Jane Wiedlin proudly holds up her 501st Legion plaque. 

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Through the years at Comedian-Con, I helped the official Star Wars Stormtrooper cosplayer group the 501st Legion with just a few of honorary inductions for celebrities. These are at all times meant to be a shock for the celeb nominated by the group, and might be difficult to drag off at Comedian-Con.

Often, celebrities are ambushed at Comedian-Con by a bunch of Stormtroopers who current them with a 501st Legion plaque and badge. It is an enormous honor for any Star Wars fan, and the celeb in query is at all times delightfully shocked by the impromptu ceremony. 

In 2009, I used to be at Comedian-Con to assist current Go-Go’s band member Jane Wiedlin and That is Us actor Milo Ventimiglia with their honorary inductions into the 501st Legion. The ceremonies occurred on completely different days in the course of the conference however nonetheless managed to shock Wiedlin and Ventimiglia, who had been each gobsmacked.

Whereas not everybody might be honored by Stormtroopers, it is a enjoyable reminder that even the celebs you admire essentially the most love geeky motion pictures or TV reveals as a lot as you do. 


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