El Goes to Comic Con! (and gives away some of the books she got.)

A few weeks ago, I attended San Diego Comic Con for… oh, the eleventh year? Something like that. In some ways, I feel like a stereotypical old lady, shakin’ my cane and reminiscing about “back in the old days”. SDCC has evolved pretty drastically since I started attending, for better or worse, but that means every year is a new adventure! And this year I was joined for two days by JL’s very own DMac, who went on many Book Related AdventuresTM with me!

Here’s a broad overview of What I Did At Comic Con. More is to come, including some pretty damn cool surprises.

(And oh, by the way, I’m giving away some SDCC swag at the end. Y’know, if you’re into that sort of thing. AKA FREE BOOKS.)

Panels & People

The best part about going to Comic Con is seeing my friends! In the past, we’ve had people from all over the world fly in for SDCC, making this our annual reunion. (But, alas, the economy sucks and many of us are broke, so.) Still, this year I got to attend some really awesome panels hosted by some really awesome people, and meet up with some friends who I don’t get to see often!

First up was a fantastic panel on Embracing the Romantic! hosted by my friend Carrie S from Smart Bitches, Trashy Books! The panelists were Rebecca Zanetti , Anna Todd , Christina Lauren, Jessica Cluess, and Stephanie Perkins. A really excellent discussion.

I also attended several queer-focused panels, including Moonlight and Magic: Black LGBTQ Contributions to Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Comics, and Genre, which introduced me to the amazing Cartoonists of Color Database! There was also the LGBTQ Geek Year in Review, which had my friend Amelia Vaughn (Marketing Director for Riptide Publishing) on the panel.

… and that was just Day One! Overall, I was very impressed with the amount of book-related and queer-focused panels at Comic Con.

And then, of course, there were the people!

The loveliest of human beings, Gail Carriger, sipped tea and chatted with me about her new release.

And after much searching, I did manage to find an elusive C.B. Lee, who managed to sell out of ALL of her books– how freakin’ cool is that? Queer teenage superheroes are apparently in high demand at a comic convention. Who knew? (Okay, we all knew. Someone gimme a Not Your Sidekick movie now, please and thank you.)

Cosplays

By far one of my favorite part about SDCC are the amazing cosplays (costume roleplay). People spend months or years building elaborate, stunning works of costume art– there was a man walking around in a 15-foot tall Iron Man Hulk-buster replica that was literally too big to fit down the Exhibition Hall aisles.

But my favorite cosplays are the ones that people clearly put a lot of love into:

From what I overheard (they were being interviewed by SyFy Channel), these two are actually married! *hearteyes forever*

This stunning cosplay of Nefertiti from Moana stole my breath.

Some of y’all may be too young to know what this is… okay, kidding. I hope. This family dressed as Mary Poppins characters was legit delightful, and they stayed in character the whole time we were snapping our pics!

Crowds

Comic Con is possibly the biggest comic convention on earth? If it’s not, I don’t want to know… I’ll have nightmares about the crowds for months to come! SDCC says it has roughly 140,000 attendees… but I’ve heard that when you factor in exhibitors, professionals, security, staff, guests, etc, that number swells to almost a quarter million.

Yeah.

This ain’t your local comic con.

This was… pretty much any time you tried to walk outside the convention center. I think I took this picture at about 6 PM on Friday. It took me half an hour to get across the road.

The Expo Hall is massive (SO MASSIVE) and often pretty crowded too. (Thankfully, it was a lot quieter down by the book booths. Which, uh, are not what’s pictured here.)

So. Many. People.

One of the biggest crowd-draws was the Warner Bros. booth, which hosted daily autograph signings with some big name celebrities for anyone lucky enough to get an autograph wristband. I snapped this picture when the booth was temporarily empty, but normally I couldn’t get within 100 feet without getting crushed.

Books!

“But what about the books, El? THE BOOKS? Tell us about the most important part!”

Okay, look. I just went to Book Expo America and BookCon in June, so talking about books at SDCC seems like a pale comparison. But the difference is that at SDCC? Everyone is SO EXCITED and SO GEEKY! People were more excited to talk about the new Squirrel Girl novelization, or to ooh and ahh over the fabulous 80s vintage-inspired covers of Neil Gaiman books, than to scrabble frantically for the hot new YA releases.

(Which is not to say that there was not frantic scrabbling for the hot new YA releases.)

As you might have seen (*cough*giveaway*cough*) I got my hands on a signed ARC of Leigh Bardugo’s Wonder Woman: Warbringer, along with some pretty cool swag. I also got to meet the incredibly talented and charming Andy Weir– best known for writing that book where Matt Damon gets stranded on Mars— who was signing copies of his upcoming release, Artemis.

But by far, the best part about the books at SDCC was the people running the publisher booths. Many of them were people that I’d seen at cons before, and who remembered me (hopefully fondly?). All of them were more than happy to talk about books.

And to give out books.

SO MANY BOOKS.

I was really careful about what I took home (since I moved to another state literally 6 days after getting home from SDCC), but I definitely walked away with, oh, a few dozen books?

Which, hey.

Let’s give some away. Because goodness knows I don’t need all of these books.

Kristin Cashore is known for her fantastic YA fantasy (and a bit of queer rep as well!), but her new release is a contemporary with a winding mystery, a chance at love, and the same brilliant writing that Kristin’s fans will love!

I first read Akata Witch when it came out several years ago, and was amazed by the gorgeous and evokative world that Nnedi creates. Mythology and magic come to life in this book about an American-born teen in Nigeria whose albino skin makes her an outcast– until she discovers that she has magic powers! (There’s a sequel too: Akata Warrior.)

Okay, I’m cheating a bit. I actually got this copy of Shadowhouse Fall at BEA earlier this summer, but I figured now’s a good time to give it away. And bonus: it’s signed by Daniel José Older!  This sequel to Shadowshaper is at the top of everyone’s TBR lists, it seems, and combines magical prose and stunning characters to create a book you won’t be able to put down.

So how to win? I’d love to give one person all three of these amazing YA novels! And it’s pretty simple… all you have to do is follow @justlovereviews on twitter, and retweet our giveaway tweet!

Legal blah blah: must be 18 or older, U.S. only (sorry! Shipping books internationally is so expensive! But international readers can and should totally enter our Wonder Woman: Warbringer giveaway!!) Contest ends 8/18 at 11:59 PM EST.

And keep following us here and on twitter… there are a LOT more books to be given away in the next few months!

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