Comic-Con 2011 – Highlights and Low-Lights

I had a blast at Comic-Con this year. However, the five-day nerd-athon did not go without a hitch. I had some incredible adventures, and some unbelievable failures I am not too proud of.

This year’s Comic-Con was a record breaker, especially for this humble blogger who tried to do too much with only one pair of feet and two pairs of shoes per day. But, I am proud to say I did it all; press conferences, Hall H press pit, Exhibition Floor, party, star sightings, etc.
Instead of boring you with the details of my five-day ordeal dodging geeks, smells and crancky security gurards, this Comic-Con recap is gong to be a simple Highlights and Low-lights, sort of a live-and-learn-for-next-time, though some of these incidents may never happen again.

After a week off for recovery, here are my personal Highlights and Low-Lights of this year’s EPIC San Diego Comic-Con International.


1. Preview Night was supposed to be my only day to cruise the exhibit floor. Instead, I was contacted last minute by a Disney rep who in a matter of 3 emails set up an interview with the Director of Disney Toy Stores.  John Balen is a cool, young guy who was geeking out telling me about the 9 inch characters they had designed in conjunction with Pixar artists just for the Con — and I was too!


John Balen, Disney Toy Store Director. Comic-Con 2011. S. Valle

2. Thursday morning I got to sit in the 3rd row and center in Hall H the entire day thanks to my daughter and her friend, Bailee, who slept outside in line since 8 am on Wednesday — they were numbers 100 and 101 in line. They were in line for the Twilight cast, but I hung around for…

3. Justin Timberlake. I was so close I could have reached out and touched him! But didn’t because my  press pass is invaluable, it puts me in the pit with glam photogs with nifty cameras — and me with my Sony point and shoot.


J.T. at Comic-Con 2011/ Photo by S. Valle

4. Thursday evening I met up with my editor-in-chief from The Wrap, Sharon Waxman. We had dinner and she spent the night at my  house where we talked about all things Hollywood, kids, college, just everything!


Suzette and Editor-in-chief of The Sharon Waxman.

5. Friday I saw Steven Spielberg bring up a guy on stage who was going to ask a question, but since he was wearing a very clever shirt that said, “If possible, I’d like to meet Steven Spielberg and shake his hand and say thank you,” Spielberg asked him to go up with him, and Peter Jackson took photos of them. I peed my pants for that guy. I got chills watching that spontaneous moment, and again I was in the press pit when all this happened … so close!


Spielberg and lucky fan at Comic-Con 2011. Photo S. Valle

6. Friday afternoon I was in a small press conference with Colin Farrel.  And, my subsequent post at The made it to Cool.


You know who this is. Comic-Con 2011. Photo S.Valle

7. Saturday, my husband, daughter and I ran all over the Gaslamp trying to win tickets to the premier of “Cowboys and Aliens,” and we did! A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.!


The hubs and his winning tickets!

8. I finagled my way to both sit on the bleachers and do the red carpet, and went into the movie. Yeah, security didn’t get me. But Karma did. I’ll explain in the Low-Lights.

9. Jon Favreau autographed my son’s badge. We talked and he was very nice. He knows how to throw a party too. Pictures you ask? Nope. Karma again.


Signed by Jon Favreau after Cowboys premier in San Diego. Photo by S. Valle


After-party for Cowboys and Aliens Premier in San Diego. S. Valle


10. I had no idea who Jim Lee was until I went on assignment for the La Jolla Patch to his panel. He is cool and DC Comics is lucky to have him.


DC Comics Co-Publisher, Jim Lee. Comic-Con 2011. Photo S. Valle

Did you know Lee lives in La Jolla, went to Princeton, and studied medicine??


1. No parking. Walking, pedicabs, $25 car stalls, $45 parking lots, and lines, lines, lines, lines, ad infinitum!

2. I left Hall H after seeing Spielberg never to return on Friday.  The line was endless and I sat, and sat, and never made it in to see Andrew Garfield, but my daughter did. Lucky her.


Spiderman, Andrew Garfield, at Comic-Con 2011. B. Valle

3. Stood in line an hour and 45 minutes for Ballroom 20 to get a glimpse of Bradley Cooper only to have them shut the door eight people away from me.

4. Colin Farrel had to leave after only 10 minutes in the press conference. But, he walked past me as you can see in the video. (He smelled good!)

5. As I arrived on the red carpet for Cowboys and Aliens I asked a slender, cute girl in a yellow dress walking in front of me to take my picture.


She cheerfully obliged, then turned around and walked up on the stage for E! News. I should have taken the photo with her. Kristina Guerrero, thanks, you’re a trooper.


Kristina Guerrero of E! News at Cowboys premier in San Diego. B. Valle

6. After the movie premier, director Jon Favreau organized a party for all 2,000 people there. Awesome. However, they had collected all of our cameras so I don’t have any pics except for my bad Blackberry ones.



7. My son, who was my date for the red carpet, had his Droid with a great camera. I need to learn to use it.

8. Why?

9. Because after the movie, Jon Favreau walked out into the crowd and started signing autographs and posed for very few photos. An FML moment followed.

10. I failed as a photog because Favreau posed not once, but twice with my son, and I couldn’t get the dang Droid camera to work!! Instead, I have his back as he turned away after singing the badge. F.A.I.L.


Alex behind Jon Favreau at the Cowboys premier in San Diego. Photo by (bad) photographer S. Valle.

There you have it folks! Another year, another Con. Somehow things are just never quite what they seem. But to me, these trials and tribulations only make whatever perks come my way seem that much sweeter.  Just don’t ask my feet about all of this, they’re on strike at the moment and inflicting some pain in retaliation for the abuse I put them through … and it is worth it!

Hope to see you next year, and in the meantime may the force be with you!


  1. […] Last year’s Con will be hard to top.  It included the huge movie premier of “Cowboys and Aliens” with Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig. […]

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