Comic-Con Royalty, Part One: The Queen

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Today I was able to meet up with, seriatim, three artists who in different ways exemplify what Comic-Con is about. They are not the richest or most famous people at Comic-Con, but they are its royalty. If there is a soul within the heaving mass of hype and advertising that Comic-Con has become, they are it.

Royal Number One is Felicia Day. Day is a creature of that hybrid medium the Web serial — she stars in (and created) The Guild, and had major roles in Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog and The Legend of Neil. Her unique combination of scorching prettiness, sharp intelligence and tender vulnerability have made her a cult icon with 1,800,000 Twitter followers. As an actress with a hardcore gaming habit and a double-degree in math and violin from the University of Texas, her nerd credibility is unimpeachable.

(PHOTOS: Comic-Con 2011)

In person she’s almost impossibly elfin — you really have to look at the tips of her ears to convince yourself she’s fully human. Her face would be almost too perfect if it weren’t graciously offset with a teensy girlish overbite. We had breakfast — she sipped tea, because her voice was shot from talking for two days straight. "I was responsible and left the party at one last night," she moaned. "All my friends stayed till four. And all I did was lay in bed staring at the ceiling." She floated the possibility that, in the future, she would have a day-clone who would do work, and a night-clone who would go to parties. This seemed like a reasonable idea to me.

She’s here to promote a couple of different projects. Season five of The Guild starts Tuesday. She’s also working on a Web series based on the game Dragon Age that’s due out this fall. That took training. "I worked out like three four hours a day," she says. "I started training with the stunt guys. And then I realized how very fit athletes are." She takes it all very seriously. More than anybody else, she’s driving the medium of Web video toward the mainstream. "I want to show that this medium can get beyond what it’s been perceived as, as kind of an amateur thing, and show that it can be worwhile for advertisers to invest in."

(MORE: Comic-Con Royalty, Part Three: The Jester)

It’s a weird thing, being the goddess of Comic-Con. People waited for hours to get into the Guild panel. "I feel like I should go give out rations," she says. "Crackers and water. I feel bad – I felt bad when I saw somebody outside sleeping on the sidewalk waiting for Chuck. I was just dancing with Zach! He’s not worth it! I mean, he’s worth it, but don’t sleep on the floor for him! Or me. Or anybody I know."

It’s hard for celebrities to enjoy Comic-Con the way mortals do. "I did walk around a little bit," she says. "People are pretty chill. I’m not like a regular celebrity where people are like, whoah! People are more like, what’s up? It’s more like they’re waving at a neighbor." Once in a blue moon she even sees somebody who’s cosplaying as her. "It’s great. People tell me they became a red-head because of me. I’m spreading diversity in hair color throughout the fan world!"

Next up: Joss Whedon

MORE: Comic-Con Royalty, Part Two: The King