Going to postpone our Ms. Marvel coverage one more week, so I can talk about one of the more enjoyable convention experiences around, Gallifrey One in Los Angeles, the nation’s largest annual DOCTOR WHO convention.
I can’t think of a better way to kick off my 2013 convention season then by spending the weekend at Gallifrey, which consistently offers the friendliest and most enthusiastic population, of both guests and attendees. It’d be natural to assume that most fans at a convention want to be there, but Gallifrey fans seem to go above and beyond, just generally a pleasure to be around. And that enthusiasm seems to spread to the guests as well, who relate and connect with the fans in a manner you simply don’t see at a show like Comic-Con any more.
The Eighth Doctor’s TARDIS console, lovingly restored.
An example: actor Sylvester McCoy, who starred as the Seventh Doctor in DOCTOR WHO (and was most recently seen as Radagast in THE HOBBIT) was the headlining guest at the show, pretty much the biggest star in the house. As he was leaving one of his marathon autograph sessions, he was being led away by his handler to a restricted-access section, to get him to the next place he needed to be. As he leaves, his eyes meet with a family heading down the corridor: a mom and dad, and a boy and girl, maybe aged 8 and 6. The boy is definitely a fan, as he’s dressed like Matt Smith, bowtie, sonic screwdriver and all. McCoy waves off his handler, and heads over to the family, introduces himself to the parents (who, of course, know exactly who he is). McCoy drops to one knee and shakes hands with the boy, they pose for a quick photo, and then McCoy was on his way. Such a sweet moment, and a classy gesture by McCoy. And at Gallifrey, not an uncommon one.
Sylvester McCoy signs for the fans.
Sure, there were occasional glitches, which can happen with a smaller show. But it doesn’t have that mercenary feel you can get from a Creation convention, or the increasingly common “we’re too big to bother worrying about fans when we have Hollywood people to take care of” vibe that comes off of Comic-Con. It also offers much more of a personal touch for fans, which is admirable. For example, I was enlisted along with fellow DOCTOR WHO writer Josh Fialkov for a kind of “mini-panel,” in which a dozen or so fans sign up for an hourlong discussion about anything they’d like. It was one of the more fun things I’ve ever done at a convention.
My co-writer and I sign copies of PRISONERS OF TIME and STAR TREK/DOCTOR WHO for the Whovians.
I also signed a lot of copies of STAR TREK/DOCTOR WHO and PRISONERS OF TIME #1, at the IDW booth, which was very gratifying. IDW sold out entirely of all their copies of the Volume 1 and Volume 2 TREK/WHO trades, as well as stacks and stacks of the individual issues. Even better were the fans who brought their well-read copies to the show to get signed, including more than a few from Great Britain. As a matter of fact, I was only scheduled to be at the show for Saturday, but once I saw the crowds and realized that folks had been bringing their comics to get signed all the way from England, it seemed like the least I could do was make the 15-minute drive over to the show on Sunday and make sure anyone who had comics to get signed didn’t go home unhappy.
One of the more intimidating-looking Daleks at the show.
Most conventions are woefully short on robot dogs.
What a great Robot.
Nice of the First Doctor to stop by.
The Snowman from this year’s Christmas Special is pretty creepy in person.
My comic attracts the right kind of crowd.
People who bring their own comics from home are the best.
Gallifrey caps the attendance early to make certain that it keeps this kind of small, intimate feel, and while I was skeptical of this move earlier in the year, I understand why now. If you’re a Doctor Who fan who can make the trip to L.A. next year, do yourself a favor and get your tickets for the 2014 show now while you still can.
See you next year.
If you need Scott Tipton, he’s busy building his Lego TARDIS.