The Fans Speak! Comic-Con Reactions From the Floor

Cos-players and fans pick the best panels and films, and explain what the deal is with all the Free Hugs.

by | July 28, 2009 | Comments

RT hit the Convention Center floor at Comic-Con to poll fans and costumed Con-goers on the best sights and panel presentations of the week. We found that everyone — teens and adults, boys and girls, cos-players and even the wizards of Hogwarts — had come to Comic-Con 2009 for very different reasons, ranging from video games to Twilight to a Japanese doll collecting phenomenon. Below, meet a sampling of this year’s attendees and learn which fantasy properties were the biggest hits, which panels were worth waiting hours in line for, and what exactly is up with the “Free Hugs” and “Mini Skirt Army” movements.


Name: Bridget Fitch
Age: 16
City: San Diego, CA

Why she’s here: To attend the ball-jointed doll panel and meet-up.

Favorite panel: The ball-jointed doll panel, where collectors gather to meet and show off their customizable dolls (a hobby super popular in Asia).

Since you assemble and design your own ball-jointed dolls, how much did this one cost to put together?

“About $200.”


Name: Joan and Richard Belcinski
City: San Jose, CA
Favorite panel: True Blood

Number of costumes they brought for the Con: Four, one set for each day (Including Sith, rebel, and Jedi outfits)

Was it worth the wait to line up for Hall H?

“Yes! We stood for two hours in line in our full Battlestar wools — I was Starbuck and he was Colonel Tigh.”


Name: Angel Perez

Age: 18

City: San Diego, CA

Favorite Panel: Magic the Gathering

Personal Cause: Supporting the “Mini-Skirt Army.”

“I just want an army of women in mini-skirts for miles and miles, as far as the eye can see. Across the mountaintops. Across the whole United States — even Mexico, and Canada maybe.”

When did this campaign start?

"What time is it? About two hours, 36 minutes ago."

And how many votes of support (gauged in thumbs up from passers-by) have you gotten so far?

"Two hundred and forty four so far."

You’ve been playing Magic for seven years; what’s the strongest card in your deck?

"I would say… I run a burn deck, so Ball Lightning or Lightning Bolt."


Name: Matt Hicks, Darius Clemons

Age: 19 and 18

City: San Diego

Favorite Panel: Hadn’t gone to any yet; spent all of their time shopping on the floor.
Best Swag: All the 48-hour trials for Xbox Live.

“You’ve got video games, comics, novels, books; it’s all good stuff. We’re here more for games; all the new games coming out for the Xbox.”


Name: Corey Ahlgren (AKA Junkyard Dog)

Age: 20

City: El Cajon, CA

Favorite Panel: Gears of War

"My costume is based on a comic book character that I made last year called The Junkyard Dog, who is an average teenager whose hobby is to collect junk and assemble it into a suit. When he finished and actually put on the suit, it inexplicably gave him super powers and he uses that to fight crime."

What kind of super powers does he have?

"Basically, the ability to fight like a top-skilled warrior. He can’t fly, he can’t do any superhuman stuff but he’s incredibly skilled with his pole-arm and his shield. His pole-arm is suddenly able to be not only a blade weapon, but also a cannon."

When did you make your costume?

"I finished about two weeks ago. It was a year-long project; most of the tme was taken to actually gather all these materials off the street. As I was biking to and from college, I [found the parts]."


Name: Jeremy Lediaev

City: Fresno, CA

Favorite Panel: Iron Man 2

"I thought it was really good. They’re bringing in a lot of new characters — War Machine, Whiplash. They showed pretty good footage; Robert Downey Jr. was there and he put on a good show for the audience, interacting with everyone. Iron Man 2 was probably the most exciting panel. Some other ones were interesting and funny, like the Extract panel which was pretty good. The 2012 panel –I don’t think the acting on that’s going to be very good, but on Iron Man 2 the acting and special effects look good."

How would you compare the fan reaction to the first Iron Man footage to that of this year’s sequel?

"I would say there was a bigger reaction to the first Iron Man than there was to the sequel. I guess you can’t really expect a bigger reaction, though."


Name: Oliva

Age: 40

City: San Diego, CA

Favorite Panel: A tie between Avatar and LOST

Best Costume Spotted: Xena, Warrior Princess “because she had the body for it, with no body fat.”

"I know Sigourney Weaver’s a class act, Zoe Saldana’s also a class act, and James Cameron’s one of the smartest and most imaginative men in the world, so I knew Avatar was going to be an awesome panel.
For the LOST panel, they did a lot of skits and the night before, when we were camping out, we met Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse because we were first in line [for Hall H]. They came to shake our hands and take pictures. It was really awesome, a great experience.

You were first in line for the LOST panel? What time did you line up?

"Oh yeah. The moment we got out of Hall H Friday afternoon, we went right to the line."


Name: Briseida Marmolejo

City: San Diego, CA

Favorite Panel: A tie between Alice and Wonderland and The Twilight Saga: New Moon

"Alice in Wonderland was really awesome. We only got to see a trailer though, but it still was awesome. The 3D glasses were really cool, they didn’t hurt your eyes and they were like sunglasses. And we got a big surprise when Johnny Depp showed up!"

What did you think of the New Moon footage that was shown?

"I wasn’t a really big fan of the first scene, because they tried a little too hard. Jacob was catching up to Bella when she fell, and why did he have to get on his motorcycle? He could have run over to her. And why did he have to take off his shirt? He made a huge display of it! But I loved the second scene; my favorite part was when Alice and Bella were in Italy getting to Edward. I didn’t think they would show that because it’s so late in the movie. I got a little mad that they cut it off at the end, but it was still really cool to see the Italy scene."


Name: Summer

Age: 16

City: Escondido, CA

Favorite Panel: None. She came to Comic-Con for three days and didn’t see a single panel!

Personal Cause: Free hugs.

“I was going to go see the Mythbusters panel, but I decided just to chill and hang out with my friends."

Have you championed the cause of Free Hugs in the past, or is this your first time? And why do you do it at all?

“This is my first time. I do it because everybody needs hugs. You can get free hugs, and also give out free hugs. Hugs spread love, and love is awesome.”


Catch up on our full coverage of Comic-Con International 2009 for make our Comic-Con Costume Gallery and more!

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