Neil DeGrasse Tyson and The Starship Smackdown…

Neil DeGrasse Tyson and The Starship Smackdown…

So in a week filled with overnight lines and shoulder-to-shoulder crowds, Comic Con was crammed with hundreds of panels and booths. The one I had the most fun at though, was the one that closed out my weekend. Starting at 3:30 on Sunday afternoon, in a room of around a thousand people, I saw a panel of Sci-Fi geeks who seemed like they were truly enjoying themselves. The group, moderated by Mark Altman (Free Enterprise) has been doing this panel since 2002, and it seemed pretty unanimous that this was the best version to date. The whole idea is to nominate a bracket full of famous Sci-Fi Starships, and argue out who would win each matchup in the bracket.

Altman’s panel included the lovely Madison Dylan in her full-out Star Trek Geek glory, dressed as an ‘Orion slave girl’, and playing Altman’s ‘Vanna White’ as she worked the board. Among the panelists Thor and X-Men: First Class writer Ashley E. Miller, Rob Burnett who just finished an extensive documentary for the ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation 25th Aniversary Blu Rays‘, Star Wars Comic Book writer and artisit Chris Gossett, Clone Wars writer Steve Melching, former Millennium writer Kay Reindl, and Geek Magazine executive editor Jeff Bond. Mr. Bond, who has, what I’m sure his wife would call “an excessive amount” of Starship models, worked with Geek Magazine to create a poster of all the ships built to scale. The poster, which will be available in the upcoming 2nd issue of Geek (on Newsstands in August), was distributed to the audience as a guide.

Neil DeGrasse Tyson

Once it got started, it quickly turned into a comedy routine as the panelists tore apart the ships almost as quickly as each other. The level of comfort between them was obvious, and made for a good viewing experience. And I’m not just saying that because I was seated next to Nikki Griffin, who was in the midst of a rather convincing ‘Emma Frost’ Cosplay.

Neil DeGrasse Tyson

Here is some lucky son’abitch posing with Madison and Nikki…

The headline stealing real event of the day though came near the end of the panel (which by that point had run more than 30 minutes over) when renowned astrophysicist  Neil DeGrasse Tyson emerged from the audience to comment.

Neil DeGrasse Tyson

Tyson as he is know to most of the internet…

 

This was not planned, and the spontaneity of the whole thing left even the most veteran panelists star struck…

It’s funny, as I was sat there, watching the girls on either side of me (Nikki Griffin and my friend Anna in her Sookie Stackhouse Cosplay) totally Geek out over Dr. Tyson’s appearance, I think it was still a little lost on me just how special a moment I had witnessed. Rob Burnett popped such a nerd boner I thought he was gonna flip the table. And now, in the few days since, while collecting my thoughts (and traveling) this story has blown up all over the place. I think the Hollywood Reporter put it best though:

“For all of its overblown, over-inflated, hyper-stimulated mania, sometimes the San Diego Comic-Con can deliver a moment of glorious inspiration, one that reminds us why we love the things we love and how that love knits us together. And that Kirk’s Enterprise is just friggin’ cool.”

And with influence from Trekkies like Altman, Madison Dylan, Jeff Bond, Rob Burnett, and Dr. Tyson – it’s not surprising that they out voiced Star Wars loyalist Steve Melching to end with the original ‘Enterprise’ won out the whole bracket this year.

This is one of Jeff Bond’s models featured on the poster…