Milestone Media’s Grand Return at SDCC 2015 is Extremely Important – Here’s Why

I don’t work 9+ hours a day/5 days a week solely for the press badge that I get every year at SDCC, but it does feel like something of a reward for all of the hours spent when I get to witness real-life milestones in the comic book world. Such was the case this past weekend at the final press breakfast for DC Comics, where legends such as Jim Lee, Grant Morrison, and Dan DiDio spoke on the coming events in DC’s post-Convergence world. Morrison’s wide-range storytelling is being held together as a web of worlds inside of his brilliant noggin, and I cannot wait to read some of the new titles, especially Titan Hunt.

But the real highlight of the breakfast (with love for DC and the amazing bacon strips that the hotel staff served, respectively) was the amazing return of Milestone Media, the trailblazers of the 90’s that were responsible for the creation of Static Shock, Icon, and Hardware. Milestone stood for diversity and representation throughout the 90’s, and their return brings promise of diversity not only in their heroes, but their creators as well. The company’s focus on stories told from the perspective of LGBT heroes, heroes of color, and superheroines makes them a valuable imprint for DC, in a time where the demand for diversity from fans like you and I has been amplified to a point where it can no longer be ignored.

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I was so ecstatic to speak with Milestone co-founder Derek T. Dingle, who spared the time to share insight on what the company is looking for in new creators, and their goals for the future.

Fast-forward to 4PM that day, when the hilarious and talented Orlando Jones took the stage in Room 9 to introduce the founders of Milestone once more. The panel, open to the public this time, took fans through the history of Milestone Media, detailing the tragic story that led to the company’s revival. Original co-founder Dwayne McDuffie, whose career spanned such a good deal of my younger years (from Static Shock, to Justice League Unlimited, to Teen Titans and so much more), passed away in 2011 at the young age of 49. The devastation of this loss left a company in limbo until McDuffie’s memorial service (attended by company heads Dingle, Reginald Hudlin and Denys Cowan), when a fan approached the co-founders and explained how much Milestone meant to them as a person of color.

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Static Figurine shown at SDCC 2015

The realization hit them like a brick wall: Milestone could not just disappear. It was needed, important, and as relevant as it had been back in the 90’s. With that in mind, Milestone began building their foundations in silence, and four years later, their grand return is one of the most highly anticipated “milestones” in modern comics.

As relevant as it was before, Milestone is, in my opinion, especially needed now. In an amplified society like ours, where the subjects of diversity, bigotry and acceptance are a constant talking point, Milestone stands firm for people that still find themselves underrepresented, disrespected or made mockery of in modern-day comics.

Milestone serves to show fans that everyone can be a hero, regardless of race, gender, sexual preference, or identity. But, what’s almost more important, is Milestone’s style of honesty: the stories of their heroes reflected the real world around us, and along with supervillains, many of Milestone’s flagship title leads struggled with actual problems that real people face on a daily basis. Milestone flies us away into fantasy, but does not create a world where the issues that surrounded us are overlooked for the sake of anyone else’s comfort.

For their part, the company is opening it’s doors to new IPs “down the road” and reviving beloved characters as well as introducing a wide range of new heroes for people from all walks of life to adore and identify with. The honest, iconic, human stories of Milestone’s past once again have a home, and yes — the figurines are already on their way. Overall, I absolutely cannot wait to see what becomes of Milestone Media over the next few, likely explosive years.

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SDCC 2015: Catrina’s Handy-Dandy Last Minute Survival Guide

As some of you may know, I’ll be returning to SDCC this year with Moviepilot. For many of my coworkers at the office, this will be their first year at the show (and we’re doing some amazing work, including but not limited to creating amazing things in the EW suite) so, I decided to create a document with some of the best lessons I’ve learned at SDCC over the past few years. I added parties, places to find free wi-fi, local eats, and other helpful ideas, so I thought sharing it here wouldn’t hurt, either! While you can get complete lists on informative and awesome websites that cover SDCC year-round, this list is composed of my personal picks and ideas for your experience during the show. Here’s the document I sent around (with a few edits) – hope it helps!

Food

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  • There is a Ralph’s located within walking distance (roughly 10mins walking) from the convention center on the corner of 1st and G street. (MAP) Ralph’s always has huge sales and specials going on during the show, so if you need to stock up on snacks or grab what will likely be the least expensive water bottle at the con (outside of swag water), make some time and do a run here.
  •  This blog post (by The Nerdy Girlie) is pretty much my favorite round-up of the most amazing restaurants that you can find in the Gaslamp district – do yourself a favor and try to hit one of these, because San Diego has some of the best food this side of the US. The Burger Lounge and the Old Spaghetti Factory are MUSTS for you foodies!
  • Keep your eyes peeled throughout the Gaslamp district for pop-up spots from studios. SyFy has taken over the Hard Rock’s outer cafe area for their show The Expanse (details), but there are free spots, such as cereal lounges and snack shops that pop up during the show as well.
  • Adult Swim and Scream Queens will both have branded Ice Cream trucks, dishing out free ice cream throughout the Gaslamp district. If you see one, make sure you grab a cone – it’ll be worth it!
  • SDCC attracts a wonderful assortment of food trucks, and they’re usually parked near the back of the gigantic offsite lot. The giant, open space on the image below shows you where the offsite lot is in relation to Petco (east), right off of Park Blvd.

 

Wi-Fi

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  • KFC will have different Colonel Sanders Statues throughout the Gaslamp district that will connect you to free wi-fi. Look for these creepy statues:

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  • If you see that a booth is “powered by” a mobile company in the vendor hall, there’s a good chance that the sponsor is providing free wi-fi. The Vendor hall is the #1 place where you’ll lose signal!
  • The Nintendo Lounge at the Marriott that sits to the right of the convention center always has free wi-fi.
  • Most hotel lobbies offer free wi-fi as well. <3

 

Getting Around

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  • Please make sure to call your Uber 15 minutes in advance, and be ready for surge pricing. The gaslamp district is small, which makes traffic extremely slow, and Uber is usually backed up with the several thousands of attendees at the show.
  • History Channel’s VIKINGS is taking comic-con by storm with a LONGBOAT RIDE that will carry riders to different stops throughout the gaslamp district. All riders get a complimentary drinking horn, which you can bring to local bars for drink discounts!
  • Also, look out for free promo cars and bike cabbies! Adult Swim, FX, and Comedy Central (whose Old Timey cars are promoting “Another Period”) will be offering free rides all weekend. They’ll take you around the district if you need to get somewhere fast (usually in a cool, themed car – or carts that look like the Iron Throne), but no cars can drive you to the front of the convention center (that’s reserved for shuttles). You can physically flag these cars down. Be aggressive!
  • If old timey cars aren’t good enough for you, Comedy Central is also providing free rides via BUTLERS who will pamper you like a rich southerner during your ride while promoting Another Period.
  • With bike carts, it’s proper etiquette to give your ‘driver’ a few bucks as a tip after the free ride. Only SOME of the bike carts are free, and those usually stop being free at 6pm when the convention closes. Prepare for your evening events accordingly!

 

Parties & Offsites!

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Here is a complete, detailed list is everything happening offsite at the show this weekend (via Outside Comic-Con). Highlights below!

 

Wednesday

JINX party: https://www.facebook.com/events/503671249780120/

Game of Bloggers party: https://crazy4comiccon.wordpress.com/game-of-bloggers-meet-up/

Elijah Wood is back for another DJ set and it’s only $10! http://shrsl.com/?~954g

Thursday

Geeks Go Glam! 

Tickets here!

THE party to be at for fangirls at SDCC!

BOOM! Studios is having an open party where fans, creators and producers get to drink together and hang out, Thursday at 9PM at the Hilton Bayfront Bar.

Fashionably Nerdy is going to have some SICK gift bags:

https://www.facebook.com/events/1456205701340473/

Comic-Con Beer Bust!

from 6-9PM at YardHouse’s Keg Room (1023 4th Avenue)

http://www.starburnsindustries.com/2015/06/one-plus-hub-event-comiccon-beer-bust-in-san-diego-ca/

Beer, Booze, neat sponsors and a good place to rub elbows.

CBLDF Welcome Party

$10.00

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/cbldf-welcome-party-san-diego-comic-con-2015-tickets-17505476351

If you’re looking to meet some big comic book industry names, grab a ticket for $10 and enjoy the party!

 

Friday

 

Things To Keep Your Body And Tech Alive

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  • Always carry water! You may be by the ocean, but it is insanely hot during Comic-Con.
  • Get a portable phone charger before the con! You will drain loads of battery at this convention no matter what you do. ;)
  • All hotels have lobby bathrooms so you’re never far from them if you’re offsite. In most cases, running next door to the Marriott is a much better option than waiting for con center bathrooms.
  • The offsite park (next to Petco Park) is a great place to catch free food and lounges where you can cool off for a bit and watch the same movie trailer play a few times.

I hope this guide was helpful – have fun and stay safe at the show!

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SDCC 2015: Where to Find Me!

In less than 48 hours, many of us will be on our way to the biggest geek event of the year: San Diego Comic-Con. I’m delighted to count myself among the masses of press that will be covering the show – alongside the incredible team at Moviepilot, I’ll be on the ground, bringing you a new look at the culture behind Comic-Con along with some incredible exclusives. But, outside of work, there’s one major thing I’d love to be able to accomplish: meeting new and old friends at the show! Here’s a quick rundown of the public events that you can find me at during the show, outside of the hurried hallway hugs that so many of us end up having.

Wednesday

Game of Bloggers

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9p-12a at the patio & bar of the Dragon’s Den (315 10th Avenue)
Cost: Free

On top of checking out preview night, I’m ecstatic to be part of Crazy 4 Comic-Con‘s Game of Bloggers party, where I’ll be representing Moviepilot! Come meet some of the coolest people in media, geek culture and more at this free event.

Thursday

HerUniverse Fashion Show

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6-8PM, Grand Manchester Hyatt Ballroom

I’m so excited to cover this year’s HerUniverse fashion show, and I can’t wait to see what my wallet will be aching from when Ashley’s newest pieces hit the runway. If you’re there, drop me a message so that we can meet up afterward!

Boom! Comics Party

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9PM-Close, Hilton Bayfront Odysea Bar, OPEN TO ALL

While most of the evening events I’ll be attending this year are invite-only and secret, this awesome party from BOOM is open to all! BOOM threw one of my favorite events last year, and I can’t wait to see what they have in store for fans in 2015.

Friday

Fashionably Nerdy Cocktail Hour

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5-6PM, Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego, Grand Lobby Bar – More Details

With more sponsors than you can shake a cute Star Wars bangle at, Geek Chic TV‘s event is one that you just cannot miss. Join the brilliant minds behind this awesome and fast-growing new channel focused on the fashion behind geek culture, and marvel at the inevitable sea of cute outfits!

Outside of these, I’ll be attending several lovely parties thrown by some of the top names in entertainment, as well as visiting offsites such as Adult Swim on the Green, The Walking Dead Escape, Nerd HQ and much more! If you’re looking to meet up, please follow me on twitter or check out my facebook page for updates from the convention! What do you have planned for Comic-Con? Let me know below in the comments!

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