The doors for the Saturday program at Hall H don’t open until 9:30 a.m., but fans began lining up Friday evening for a program that features famous faces and footage from upcoming films. And, for the fans who camped out the longest, it was about a certain boy wizard.
“I’m here for the ‘Harry Potter‘ panel, and it’s going to be my birthday in an hour,” said Nicole Donner, who could have used the 24 candles to try to stay warm in the damp San Diego night.
I had gone by the Eisner Awards on Friday night at the Bayfront Hyatt Hotel (where it was great to catch up with Gerard Way, Mark Evanier, Mike Richardson and Grant Morrison), and on the moonlight hike back toward the center Gaslamp Quarter, my wife, Tracy, and I stopped to chat with Donner and dozens of other fans spending the night in the dew to secure a seat in the 6,500-seat venue.
Near the front of the line we met Donnie Downs, a 24-year-old in from Phoenix who had brought an inflatable pool raft to provide a bit of cushion. He was in line to see “Potter” stars.
I told Downs that I’m the moderator for that panel and five others on Saturday. Of course, his first question was whether the Big Three stars of Hogwarts are coming. I told him that I was a bit in the dark about the final lineup of the panel, but reminded him that Warner Bros says no stars are coming and that it might be best not to get his hopes up. Of course, I’m saying this to guy who is sleeping on the ground with his head next to a stack of Domino’s Pizza boxes.
“They’re coming; it’s not official, but unofficially they are,” he said. Then he shrugged as if to say that even without the celebrity moment he would be happy with the tribal night.
“I have a $300 room on the 24th floor of the Hilton, I can see this spot from my room,” Downs said. “Funny, huh?”
We said goodnight to everyone, and I promised Donner I’d wish her a happy birthday from the stage. She looked so excited, so thankful, that I actually got a bit misty. It had been a long and great night but, really, that’s the moment I’ll remember. You never know where you’ll find the magic at Comic-Con.
— Geoff Boucher
Photo: Outside Hall H at 3 a.m. Credit: Nicole Donner
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