Photos and Story by Brent E. Beltrán
The third full day of San Diego Comic-Con International started off the same as the first three, with me walking from my neighborhood of Barrio Logan. It’s only 1.2 miles from my apartment to the Convention Center but after trekking all over Comic-Con for a few days it can feel light years away.
I’m not really one to map out my day at Comic-Con. Usually when I do something comes up (usually long lines) and I stray from the plan. On Saturday, I had three plans: get an autograph of former UFC lightweight champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, take tons of photos of cosplayers all dressed up showing off their costumes and walk a bit on 5th Ave. to check out what’s going on outside the Convention Center.
For some strange reason I ended up doing all of that. And I got to hang out a bit with my buddy Tri Huynh, his girlfriend Kelly Smith and her son Ty. Perhaps it was the Universes smiling on me.
For the third day in a row I arrived at Comic-Con to the images of religious fanatics shouting at us nerdy sinners. Most attendees just ignore them. But later in the day I noticed one costumed person, dressed all in black, took matters into his own hands and decided to stand next to a bible thumper with a sign that read:
TURN To The DARK SIDE
Vadar [sic] 3:16.
Once at the Convention Center I started taking pics of as many cosplayers as possible. There was a frozen Han Solo rocking Chuck Taylors; a cool Chewbaca with t-shirt and shades standing out front; vacationing Joker, Penguin, Riddler and Batman wearing Hawaiian shirts and sunglasses; Rosie the Riveter flexing her muscles; and a fat, ugly man dressed as Slave Leia among so many more.
Rampage Jackson was having an autograph signing session at the Spike TV booth at 3:30pm and my wife Olympia, boy Dino and myself are big mixed martial arts fans.
Rampage is a former UFC light heavyweight champion who defeated legendary fan favorite Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell to win the belt. He subsequently defeated another legend, Dan Henderson, to unify the UFC and Pride Fighting Championship belts.
We got in line a half hour before the signing began. There were only about 60 or so people ahead of us. When we got to the front Olympia had Rampage sign Dino’s Napout t-shirt that also has signatures from other MMA fighters including: the twin Nogueira brothers, Jake Shields, KJ Noons, Jorge Masvidal and Gilbert Melendez.
After he signed the shirt he gave Dino a high five. Then it was my turn. I took a picture with him with our fists raised and he proceeded to sign a Rampage Jackson Street Soldier preview book for me. Well worth the wait.
With our task accomplished we walked around the Exhibition Hall a little. Everywhere I walked there was something cool to take a picture of: Thor and The Black Widow; a WWII Captain America; a sugar skulled Joker; a mind blowing, cross universe meet-up of Cylons, Clone Troopers and droids; a female Boba Fett and a crying Superman holding a dead (blowup doll) Supergirl, reminiscent of a cover from the 1980’s DC miniseries Crisis on Infinite Earths.
Tired from walking we decided to go look for a place to sit down and relax a bit. We found a spot and chilled for a few minutes. While there my wife’s cousin, Luis Singh, found us and hung out. He’s a huge Star Wars fan that grew up in Tijuana but lives in LA.
While nursing our sore legs and feet I got a text from my buddy Tri. He and his girlfriend and her preteen son decided to cruise over to Comic-Con. Since they didn’t have badges they wanted to roam the areas around the Convention Center to people watch and check out the free stuff that was happening.
I decided to meet up with them and roam a little as well. I took some photos of Dracula’s crypt; Black Cat and Catwoman together; Batman being photobombed by Tri; and a group of scary folks plugging Downtown’s Haunted Hotel. There was also a dog riding a remote controlled motorcycle and a hypnotist doing his thing amongst the masses of people in the Gaslamp.
After about an hour or so I needed to get back to my family inside the Convention Center. Olympia’s iPhone battery was dying and I had the external battery pack. If either of our iPhones lost their battery life there would be no way to find each other. I bid Tri, Kelly and Ty adieu and went back to The Con.
Family found I proceeded to take more pics. There was Khaleesi and her flying dragon from Game of Thrones; a headless, and horseless, horseman from the upcoming TV series Sleepy Hollow; and Batman villain Bain.
Wanting to check out the annual Zombiewalk we headed back outside to the packed streets of the Gaslamp. Along the way I snapped shots of Green Arrow and Black Canary, a dead on Michonne from The Walking Dead and an awesome Red Skull pointing his pistol straight at me.
While on 5th Ave. we came across a crowd that was gathered around the most amazing dragon I have ever seen. Actually, I’ve never seen a dragon before but if I had this would definitely be the best one. It was incredibly lifelike and pretty badass.
Unfortunately, we got there late and missed the Zombiewalk. Though we did see a few strays after the herd dispersed. Including the amazing trio of zombie heroes Captain America, Spider-Man and Wolverine.
Tired, sore, hungry and with all three of my plans accomplished we decided to call it a day and caught a cab back to our barrio. Only to do it all again on Sunday.