Surrender 94: Wizard World Comic Con St Louis Part IIĀ 

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. 

 

 
 Photos with the W emblem are from the Wizard World Facebook page. They captured better photos of what was happening in St Louis than I was able to! 

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. 

 In line for our photo op

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. 

 Lithographs that we received as part of our VIP packages.  

 And comic books too! 

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. 

  

  
  
  
  
  

Surrender 93: Wizard World Comic Con St Louis Part I

I’m going to do something I’ve not done before, in my blogging. I’m posting an introductory piece with a couple of pictures tonight. Tomorrow when I’m fresh after a good night’s sleep, I’ll post a follow up with more stories, pictures and highlights from my first ever Comic Con. 

  
I shared previously how my 16 year old grandson Dayan and I set the intention to attend a comic con, after he was unable to go three years ago. He found out about the event late and tickets were sold out. Because we are Whovians, fans of the BBC show Doctor Who, we were interested in seeing cast members from that particular show. 

Shortly after we released the outcome of that desire, I saw that the 10th Doctor, played by David Tennant, was going to be at the St Louis Wizard World Comic Con. Billie Piper, who played the 10th Doctor’s companion Rose, was also scheduled to appear. We were excited! St Louis was close enough to be very doable. 

  
And then, incredibly, Matt Smith, the 11th Doctor from Doctor Who, joined the line up. This was so amazing because Matt is the Doctor Dayan wanted to see three years ago. While I’m particularly fond of the 10th Doctor, I like Matt’s portrayal of the character too. Our excitement was boundless. 

  
We left Joplin at 6:30 this morning and drove four hours to get to St Louis. I’m very grateful that Greg drove us to the convention center and dropped us off, giving up his Saturday to chauffeur us.  

It was with high anticipation that Dayan and I walked into our first comic con. I’ll share about our experiences tomorrow.  We are headed back to Joplin with an ETA of 1:00 am. It’s been a long day, and Dayan is already asleep in the back seat. Oh, but the day was worth the time and the money to get here. What memories we created today! 

  

Journey 315: Roadtrip to St Louis

Some days are so full of amazing journeys that I have to choose between them when I write my blog post. Yesterday was one of those days. My son was promoted to sergeant in his police department, there was a surprise that confirmed how amazing the journey is, and I concluded my day by attending a demonstration of the beautiful and passionate flamenco dance at MSSU. I chose yesterday to share about my son and his journey, as I have watched that one unfold for years. It was a proud moment for him and for his dad and me. The surprise from yesterday is part of a journey that has unfolded over a couple of years, and that will ultimately  conclude next April. I’ll share that story today!

 

A little over two years ago, my grandson Dayan, then 14 years old, called me early on a Saturday with a request. “Can you drive me to St Louis?” That city is 4 hours and 19 minutes away. Dayan had just found out that morning that Matt Smith, the 11th Doctor from Doctor Who, and Karen Gillan, who played his traveling companion Amy Pond, were at the Wizard World Comic Con in St Louis. He so wanted the opportunity to meet those amazing actors/characters from one of his favorite shows. 

As a Yaya, I practice saying “Yes!” as often as I can. I knew how much seeing The Doctor and Amy in person  would mean to my grandson. Greg was willing to drive us to St Louis. Sadly, we discovered that the tickets needed for the event were sold out. There was no point in making the trip. However, I told Dayan that if there was another opportunity in the future to attend a comic con that featured The Doctor, I’d do my best to get him there. 
 

Two years passed. Last fall, I began watching Doctor Who, beginning with the first series in New Who, as it’s called, to distinguish it from Classic Who. Christopher Eccleston was the 9th Doctor and Billie Piper his companion Rose. I had only watched five episodes before Dayan suggested that we watch the series together. A tradition was born that is still continuing. Once a week, during the school year, I pick up Chinese food and Dayan after school and we watch a couple of episodes of Doctor Who. During this past summer we worked in some binge watching. By the time the 9th Doctor regenerated into the 10th, at the end of the first season, I was a fan of the show. A HUGE fan. 

With the transition from Nine to Ten, David Tennant assumed the role of The Doctor. I love this Scottish born actor. He brought his own charm and infectious joy to the role, a playful Timelord who explored the universe with Rose, still portrayed by Billie Piper, meeting challenges and saving worlds with no weapon save a sonic screwdriver. Although Tennant stayed in the role of The Doctor for four years, Piper only played Rose for one of those. The story of The Doctor and Rose is filled with whimsy and fun, adventure and love, and at the end of their time together, angst. Say “Doctor and Rose” to most Whovians and they will say “awwwww” with a sad look on their faces. 

 

I renewed my determination to take Dayan to a comic con, especially if the 10th Doctor was present. I now wanted to see The Doctor too. We put that intention out there. A couple of months ago, scrolling through my Facebook news feed, I was stopped by an anouncement through the David Tennant fan page. Tennant was coming to Wizard World Comic Con…in St Louis! Next April. I was excited. Dayan was excited. By the next day, it was announced that Billie Piper would be joining him. We were beyond excited! 

It’s not easy to get tickets to a VIP event at comic con. The tickets sell out quickly because of limited availability. And tickets aren’t cheap. It’s the rule of scarcity. I told Dayan I would do my best to secure each of us a VIP pass, which gains entrance to comic con plus allows the holder to sit in on panel discussions, meet the actors, and get autographs and have photos taken with both. He understood. We agreed that if we were meant to go, all would unfold perfectly. If we weren’t, it wouldn’t, and we accepted that.

 

I asked for God’s guidance…to smooth the way if this was going to happen. Make me aware. Nudge me when I needed to be nudged. And then I let go of the outcome. The VIP tickets were supposed to go on sale at the end of October and then that was changed to November 15, according to the website. I have been blessed with a multitude of closings, with more scheduled. I felt that financially, this was very doable. I was ready. I was watching, without stressing about it or feeling anxious. If the event came to mind, I immediately said, “Up to You” and let it go. 

Yesterday I kept getting these nudges that the tickets were about to go on sale. But it was the 10th, not the 15th. I checked the site and Facebook. Not available yet. I went to my son’s ceremony. Back home, while waiting for him to complete his shift so Greg and I could take him and Megan to dinner, I strongly felt I needed to get on Facebook. The first post that I saw in my news feed was from the David Tennant page, announcing VIP tickets for St Louis had just gone on sale. That moment. A very short time later, I sent Dayan a text with a picture of two VIP tickets, and the words, “And then there’s this to look forward to…we are going to COMIC CON!” His response was priceless. And filled my heart with joy. Only today did I realize that they put the tickets for David TENnant, the 10th Doctor, on sale on the 10th. Had I not checked until the 15th, I believe they would have been sold out. 

I am grateful. I’m grateful that I get to do this for Dayan and with Dayan. Attending a comic con will be a first experience that we can share. We are both excited to meet Tennant and Piper, The Doctor, for goodness sake, and Rose. And I am grateful for this amazing journey that continues to teach me about trust, about being open to everything and attached to nothing, and that nothing in my life is too insignificant to God. There’s no mistaking the presence and guidance of the Divine in the unfolding of events. How can I not walk in complete trust and surrender? 

We have a few months before the road trip. And that’s okay. Dayan and I will enjoy the anticipation and my grandson reminded me today that it is common to attend comic con in costume! I need the time to plan. But come April, it’s St Louis here we come! It will be a blast!