Stories From the Convention Floor

If you are at all familiar with my articles here on iFanboy, you should know by this point that I go to A LOT of conventions. As in ten plus a year a lot. And with all of this traveling to giant geek gatherings, I have collected a rather hefty aresnal of "let me tell you about this one time at a convention!!" stories. I assume that as with all major gatherings of people with similar interests, funny or interesting stories are something one always comes away with. However, the awkwardness and just plain "WTF" moments are thoroughly increased when you throw a lot of socially challenged, quirky people all together in one place for a weekend, with lots of fanservice and lack of sleep. So, it's story time! Stories from the convention floor story time, that is.


Myself, Ben Templesmith, and the lovely Beckah


Creator Powered Prank Calls

There is no better way to wrap up a full day of exhausting nerdery, spending too much money on toys you don't need, and chasing down cosplayers for their photograph than DRINKING. Shunning the sleep you need in favor of a liquid diet is one of my favourite night time convention activities, and thus I oftentimes find myself in rather interesting and noteworthy situations with my colourful choice of friends.

One of these aforementioned friends is Australian baby eater and connoisseur of all things tentacley, the talented Mr. Ben Templesmith (artist and creator of comics such as Wormwood, 30 Days of Night, Fell, etc). We initially bonded over the squid tattoo on my inner arm, and since then he has appointed me his photographic lap dog so I can document all of his misadventures. With several conventions under our collective belts together, we have naturally become quite fast friends, and I find myself in drunken silly moments with him more than I care to admit.

The scene: in a hotel bar after a convention in Chicago. I had just come from another party where there was much awkward dancing, but as I was still nursing a hangover from the night before I was unprepared to handle such things. Flanking my sides were new convention friends, and we all found our way to the same locale as Ben Templesmith. He was already peering at the bottom of his beer glass, and was acting more bizarre than usual. As I situated myself on the tall stool and allowed myself to be lulled into a false sense of security with his foreign accent, I was surprised when suddenly he was very excitedly conversing with our friend Derek about calling Derek's father. At this point, it was about one in the morning, but we had all consumed enough booze to drown out any semblance of common sense, so to all of us this seemed like the best idea in the world.

Let Ben Templesmith call Derek's father at one in the morning? Why yes, how could this EVER be a bad idea?

So Derek, without any hesitation, picked up his iPhone and called his family's home.

"Hi dad, it's me. Oh, did I wake you? Sorry, I just wanted to tell you that I'm here with one of my personal heroes, Ben Templesmith, and he wants to tell you why I should not move away from Chicago."

Ben, unprepared for this turn of events (instructing parents, really?) but still rolling with the punches, snatched the phone from Derek and began to speak.

"Why yes, hello Mr. Derek's Dad, how are you tonight? Did we wake you? I'm sorry about that. But yes, Derek shouldn't move! If he does, he should go somewhere like San Francisco or Seattle, but not to Atlanta, because it is hot. And it sucks. And…"

Suddenly he looked at the phone, handed it back to Derek and muttered something about not being sure if "Mr. Derek's Dad" had hung up or not.
Shortly following this incident, he got a hold of my phone and made a call to one of my friends who is a super fan of Ben's. I had absolutely no recollection of what was said on the voicemail until just recently, but it went something like this:

"Hello. I'm Australian. I drive on the wrong side of the road. Watch out, no one is safe."

The moral of this story is that if you find yourself in a bar with Ben Templesmith, keep your phone in your pocket and away from his paint stained fingers.

The end.


This is how Swine Flu made me feel.


The Hot Tub

How many people can say "I caught Swine Flu at an anime convention"?

Not many, I would imagine. However, I am one of the "lucky" few who has ever uttered these words. The culprit for this illness, that basically made me useless as a human being for months, was a HOT TUB.

However, it wasn't just any hot tub. It was a CONVENTION hot tub.

If I would have been in my right mind, I would never have set foot (nor whole body) into this horrible cesspool of nerd funk. It was like a giant, bubbling, frothy potion of dead skin, crud from bodies that had gone days without bathing, and AXE body spray, marinated to a delicious peak with all manner of illnesses. However, I was apparently not thinking clearly when I broke the crust atop the water and jumped in.

The convention itself was a smaller one, held in the hotel, so nearly every convention goer had lowered his/her/its body into this teeming whirlpool of grossness at least once in the course of the weekend. Therefore, it was a delicious soup of everything foul, and many people found themselves sick after the con. I had not given it much consideration, as I avoid hot tubs in general (too many awkward hot tub parties in high school, I think), but this particular night I was flushed and fuzzy headed from too much alcohol. I had been assisting in the judging of adult cosplay, and someone had thrown a condom off the stage at me, so I was feeling as if things couldn't really get worse for me that night. My equally drunk friend proposed the idea first: let's get in the hot tub! In our wobbly state, this seemed like a wonderful idea, and before we knew it we were lolling around in a little piece of every convention goer.

At first, we didn't notice IT: the swirling, frothing STUFF that was sitting atop the water. But as the high temperatures began to sober us up, I posed the question gingerly, like someone testing cold water with the tip of their toe:

"Uhhh, guys? What is… what is THIS?"

As I said "this", I cautiously poked at the film floating upon the water, my stomach turning over like I had just gone down a steep hill on a roller coaster.

One of my friends focused his drunken gaze upon the THING I was poking, and I could see the horror dawn upon his face as we all began to realize exactly what we had gotten ourselves into. Suddenly visions of us turning into some sort of convention zombies were flashing across my mind: would we wake up the next morning craving Pocky and mountain dew? Would our thirst never be quenched? What if we suddenly had an urge to wear fox tails?!

Faster than I had ever moved before, I ejected myself from the hot tub, my eyes flashing like a wild animal. I grabbed the nearest courtesy towel and began to scrub myself vigorously, in a desperate attempt to rip my top two layers of skin off. I couldn't let the funk get in!

My friends followed suit, and then there was a mad dash back to our hotel room, all of us cramming through the doorway at once, clamoring for the shower, shoving like children. But since we were adults, we decided the best course of action was to all shower together, and thus I found myself (Still in my swimsuit, of course! Don't get any ideas.) in the shower with my two friends, all three of us lathering ourselves up in a panic, trying to get rid of the nerd funk we could feel clinging to our epidermis.

However, despite all of these emergency actions, I was not spared, as the next week I was mercilessly afflicted with an illness so terrible I did not leave my bed for weeks. The convention plague had gotten INSIDE OF ME, and while I did not find myself craving Japanese snacks more than usual, I was coughing up my lungs and finding myself unable to stand.

After weeks of this horrible torture, I still was not fully well, but San Diego Comic-Con was upon me. So I came, I saw, I drank. I probably brought Swine Flu to San Diego, but it was worth it in the end. Even if I did return home to an abscessed lung because I am incapable of taking care of myself.

But I will always blame that damn hot tub.



Clever Girl

One thing that has always haunted me from my childhood is velociraptors. My father, thinking he was hysterical, used to do the "clacka clacka" sound of their claws on the kitchen floor in Jurassic Park outside of my bedroom door late at night. I was completely convinced that there were dinosaurs roaming the house, opening doors and waiting to rip out my internal organs and feast mercilessly.

As I aged, this terror turned into a fascination, but I still think I would probably lose control of my bowels if I were faced with the Jurassic Park version of a raptor (I will spare you my dinosaur nerdiness, readers). That's why when I WAS confronted with a raptor, at a CONVENTION, I was quite unsure how to react.

Here is the scenario: I was standing at the booth of a good friend of mine, conversing with him and minding my own business, when suddenly something made me look to my right. A shock of terror shot into my gut like an icy hand, for there, peering around the corner at me, was a velociraptor. I shook myself, reminding me there was no logical way a dinosaur could be THERE, on the convention floor, staring at me fixedly. Maintaining "eye contact" with the creature, I reached out for my friend Derrick, grabbing his forearm and interrupting him mid-sentence.
"You should… probably see this."

Raising his eyebrows at me, Derrick leaned over the edge of his booth and followed my gaze. His dark eyes widened and he said: "Holy. Shit."
No sooner had he uttered these words then the velociraptor shot around the corner and into the aisle way I was standing in. I relaxed when I saw that it was merely a man wearing a dinosaur head, but I was still just as perplexed when he began to DANCE. His disjointed movements were like some bizarre version of the "Thriller" dance, as he held his puny little arms into his belly in a sad attempt at dinosaur claws. He kept up this strange, jerky movement that passed as dancing for a good fifteen seconds, until the boys in the booth decided they needed to slay this abomination. So they began to throw merch at him: DVDs, t-shirts, anything they could get their hands on that would cause damage to the beast.
It fell, but alas it continued to twitch, curled up into the fetal position. With a final (mental) battle cry, Derrick threw one last object at the man-isaur… and it was still.

Until it grabbed some merch, leapt up, faux punched someone, and ran away, never to be seen again.


Considering that I take my camera with me everywhere, there is footage of two out of three of the aforementioned events.

Ben Templesmith prank calling Derek's father: here

The Velociraptor Incident: here



With San Diego Comic Con approaching and convention season in full swing, I am doing a series of convention related articles leading up to this mecca of geekiness. If you have any particular things you would like me to talk about, or any interesting/weird/cool stories and/or photographs of your convention experiences, please email them to me at


Molly McIsaac points her camera at everything and enjoys fictional characters with green hair. You can stalk her to your heart's content on Twitter.


All photographs in this article are taken by Molly McIsaac.


  1. Con Confessions… I like it!

    Great stories too. The dinosaur-man is quite terrifying. Did they ever catch him?

  2. Oh my GOD that is some hysterical stuff. PLEASE tell me this will become a regular feature?

    I wish I had con stories like that. Hopefully this week I will at least gain one. 😀 

  3. Goddamit these stories are making me nostalgic for my college days, good job.

  4. I would never ever go near a convention Hot Tub ever. Like ever. Like, not in a million years for all the omnibuses in the world (okay maybe that’s a stretch).

    Anyway, top notch stories! 


  5. The best part of San Diego is the end of the day hot tub session. Good for the achey legs.

    Of course, the hotel hot tub is not full of con-goers.

  6. Hotel hot tubs just scare the hell out of me. Who knows what’s going to crawl/infest/bite you.

  7. @DAN: Hotels just plain creep me out. I haven’t set foot in one since well…. since I found out about UV lights early in high school. On a personal level I make arrangements that are much more acceptable prior to trips. If I don’t have a relative or a friend in that city, I’m plum outta luck (which is rare).

  8. @molly your articles are awesome and well written, but the more I learn about large con’s the less I want to go:(