Comic-Con nightlife, as told by Kit Harington, Felicia Day and more

July 21, 2013 | 4:43 p.m.

"Game of Thrones" actor Kit Harington attends Entertainment Weekly's Comic-Con party at Float at Hard Rock Hotel San Diego on July 20, 2013. ( Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

"Perception" actress Rachael Leigh Cook and her husband, Daniel Gillies, of "The Vampire Diaries" and "The Originals." (Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

"The Vampire Diaries" cast members Ian Somerhalder, Kat Graham, Paul Wesley and Candice Accola. (John Shearer/Invision for Entertainment Weekly/AP Images)

"Once Upon a Time" star Emilie de Ravin. (Alexandra Wyman/Invision for Entertainment Weekly/AP Images)

Topher Grace, left, Brittany Snow, center and Tyler Hoechlin at the Entertainment Weekly party. (John Shearer/Invision for Entertainment Weekly/AP Images)

"The Walking Dead" actress Danai Gurira and Isaiah Washington. (John Shearer/Invision for Entertainment Weekly/AP Images)

Actresses Anna Camp, left, and Brittany Snow. (Jordan Strauss/Invision for Entertainment Weekly/AP Images)

"Once Upon a Time" stars Ginnifer Goodwin and Josh Dallas. ( John Shearer/Invision for Entertainment Weekly/AP Images)

With San Diego’s Comic-Con International expanding nearly every year, the annual pop culture convention has also accommodated the flourishing nightlife.

“I understand that San Diego Comic-Con is like the Detroit Auto Show,” said “Banshee” actress Lily Simmons. “Sure, other places can have an auto show, but it’s not the Detroit Auto Show. “

While the city’s boisterous Gaslamp Quarter bustled with convention-goers and other Saturday night patrons, Hollywood took on its fair share of lavish events.

“It’s just kind of insane,” said “Game of Thrones” actress Esme Bianco. “I think there’s a scale of everything that’s kind of amazing to me. A couple people have warned me that it’s big. Everyone’s right!”

FULL COVERAGE: San Diego Comic-Con 2013

Bianco, who played the upward-climbing courtesan Ros on the HBO series, said she party-hopped quite a bit over the weekend, starting off with Focus Features’ “The World’s End” party Thursday and stopping by Entertainment Weekly’s Saturday bash at the Hard Rock Hotel’s Float Rooftop bars.

The party scene is among the few occasions in Hollywood when the talent lets down their guard and turn into fans themselves. Bianco said that “Shaun of the Dead” is one of her favorite movies and that the highlight of the party circuit for her was getting to meet Simon Pegg and Nick Frost at their party for “The World’s End.”

For her costar Kit Harington, who said he’d been to a few parties over the weekend, the festivities let him interact with people and network.

“I enjoy them. It’s a really good place to meet people,” said the actor, who plays Night’s Watchman Jon Snow. “Sometimes you get stuck in this little bubble of being in your hotel room and only with your own cast. It’s the one time you get to meet other people from other shows who you really admire. I met ['Breaking Bad' actor] Bryan Cranston today, and it blew my mind.”

Charles Michael Davis, one of the stars of “The Vampire Diaries” spin-off “The Originals,” said the nightlife allows him to “let it loose.”

“In the interviews and things, you can be a little reserved and keep somewhat to ourselves, but when you come out and see someone you haven’t seen since New York or since back in L.A., for me I just start jumping on couches,”  he said, laughing.  “I go all Tom Cruise — nothing against Tom Cruise — I don’t do that during the day, but I let my inner Tom Cruise out at night!”

Brad Bell, star of Jane Espenson’s new CW comedy “Husbands,” a sitcom that takes on the issue of same-sex marriage, said this weekend marked his seventh Comic-Con.

“It seems to get bigger every year. Every year it’s more and more people and it’s bigger and tighter. The exhibits are bigger too,” Bell rasped. He said he lost his voice the night before at Zachary Levi’s Nerd HQ party, which took place under the bleachers of Petco Park. He also stopped by Ubisoft’s Friday night “Assassin’s Creed” party, which was set on a pirate ship. After the Entertainment Weekly party, he and costar Sean Hemeon planned to go to an exclusive “Bates Motel” bash. (Stars Vera Farmiga,  Aaron Paul, Bob Odenkirk, Anna Gunn, Giancarlo Esposito and Nestor Carbonell were also spotted at the party.)

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The Vampire Diaries

“The Vampire Diaries” cast members Ian Somerhalder, Kat Graham, Paul Wesley and Candice Accola. (John Shearer/Invision for Entertainment Weekly/AP Images)

Bell said the convention’s party scene has become important.

“I don’t think it’s selling out. The parties are for a different crowd,” he said. “I think that Comic-Con is for the public and the fans of the people in genre, popular culture and the arts, and I think that the parties are for the industry people that come and get together to do all that because everyone knows each other here anyway.”

Nolan Gould, who plays young Luke Dunphy on ABC’s Emmy-winning “Modern Family,” the parties were a chance for him to meet actors he admired and partake in activities that aren’t as readily available in Los Angeles.

The self-proclaimed fan of “Lost,” “Breaking Bad” and “The Walking Dead” said he took part in the annual zombie walk, an apocalyptic obstacle course created for fans to run away from treacherous zombies. The race took place on Friday at nearby Petco Park and Gould said that he “died on the last obstacle too, like seriously.”

But in addition to attending lavish parties, he’s been having fun doing what many convention-goers do.

“I’ve just been walking the floor, going to booths and collecting swag,” Gould said.

Anna Camp and Michael McMillian, who play the formerly bible-toting Newlins on HBO’s True Blood,” stepped out for the Entertainment Weekly party together.

“It’s crazy because you’ll be getting out of a car and you’ll just see people walking, doing their thing. Then all of a sudden they all have things with their face on them. And then you’re like, how did you get that and how did you know I was here and what is going on? It’s like ninja fans! They’re intense and they’re ready to get you to sign stuff.”

The longtime friends skipped their own show’s bash at Side Bar to attend EW’s fete.

“This is actually my first night [at the parties] — it is party on every single block,” Camp said. “There’s parties at every hotel, people at restaurants are having parties. It’s like everybody has this festive, crazy, fun, awesome vibe about them, and San Diego is being so warm and welcoming, and it’s awesome.”

And after a long day of work, which included appearing on the “True Blood” panel Saturday, Camp was ready to crash.

“I’m tired!” she said. “I might end up in the pool!”

The same night, HBO and IMDb joined forces for the “True Blood”-themed cocktail party held at Sidebar. The already goth-like bar was transformed into a real-life Fangtasia, the vampire watering hole from the series.

People danced to Top 40 and house music under a ceiling adorned with hanging birdcages and against the backdrop of dark damask wallpaper. Servers wearing “True Blood” T-shirts passed trays of sliders, mini cupcakes with blood-red icing, sesame-crusted pigs in a blanket and hush puppies with dipping syrup. The open bar served up cocktails titled Screaming Ginger, Faerie Blood and the Stake House Special.
However, the cushy area of the back room reserved for VIPs was sparsely populated. Ryan Kwanten, who plays the sex-driven Jason Stackhouse in the series, was among the few cast members who attended the event. His costars Rutina Wesley, Nelsan Ellis, Joe Manganiello, Sam Trammell  and Robert Kazinsky were spotted on the red carpet for the EW party.

A few blocks away, at Jolt N Joe’s, the bar’s entire upstairs area was dedicated to multimedia company Geek & Sundry’s cosplay prom. The shindig was better suited for the crowd on the convention floor than celebrities or industry people: It was intentionally geared toward the fans who have helped Comic-Con grow. All weekend, the dive served as the company’s fan headquarters.

“The nighttime version of Comic-Con is very Hollywood, but at the same time it’s Hollywood taking its shoes off,” said Geek & Sundry co-founder Felicia Day. “It’s where everybody from our shows get to see each other for the first time other than an awards show. It definitely has a vibe of everybody relaxing and meeting people in the industry but in a really informal way. I love it.”

Day, who easily fits into both Hollywood and genre tribes, also bounced back and forth among parties Saturday night.

“It’s a little bit too jet-set-y for my normal world,” she said after giving out honors at the cosplay prom, then hitting the red carpet at the EW event, calling the star-studded gathering the “crown jewel” of all the parties taking place during the convention.

About 800 people attended the prom, and cosplay guru Linda Le, a.k.a Vampy, served as the competition’s judge. Someone in a glow-in-the-dark Optimus Prime outfit won prom king. The cosplayer fittingly did the robot to celebrate. People dressed as Princess Zelda and Link also took home top honors. 

Costumes gradually gave way to plain clothes as the night progressed, and the party went on until 2 a.m. Partygoers partook in a recorded-memories photo booth and danced along to jams including “Ice, Ice Baby” and “What a Feeling.”
The DJ played several one-hit wonders and niche hits such as “Let’s Go to the Mall” from “How I Met Your Mother.” When the “Star Wars” theme played, everyone got excited, but few danced to it.
A man wearing an adult-size pink bunny suit roamed the party, his face splattered with fake blood.  A Spider-Man mingled with Ryu from “Street Fighter,” and several revelers still wore their badge lanyards from the convention.
A resounding boo was unleashed when last call was announced. For many this appeared to be the star-studded event they came to San Diego for, and they just weren’t ready for it to end.
– Nardine Saad | @NardineSaad | Google+


5. “Man of Steel” No. 1, Special Collector’s Edition, 1986 After DC’s “Crisis on Infinite Earths,” writer and artist John Byrne relaunched Superman for the modern age, beginning with his 1986 limited series “The Man of Steel.” Byrne chronicled Superman’s origin with some changes from the hero’s previous iteration: Kal-El, the sole survivor of Krypton, is rocketed to Earth as a fetus in a “birthing matrix” and officially “born” an American. He gains powers gradually, ultimately becoming the Man of Steel. Byrne’s cover marked the beginning of a new era for Superman. (DC Entertainment)Comic -Con parties toast Action Comics No. 1, Superman and a pirate ship?

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