Thursday, July 29, 2010

Notes on Comic Con 2010

2010 was my first year attending the San Diego Comic Con. I, of course, have been an ardent follower of Comic Con news for many years. In the last decade, it's become the mid-year source for news and trendsetting in all aspects of the entertainment industry.

Despite this, I'd been reluctant to go. I'm not much for crowds, and SDCC is nothing if not one giant crowd (with an estimated 140,000 attendees this year). Also, being on the ground level at the Con, you're not going to get the eagle-eye overview that, say, G4's coverage provides in the comfort of your own home. But during this past year I've been working a cool job that qualified me and a guest (that would be Helby) for free admission, which is a roughly $200 value. I couldn't pass it up. Plus, with fancy technology like "the internet" and a "digital video recorder," I could still get caught up on all the news I missed.

Here's what I learned from my first year at Comic Con...

1. Take the train!

I've made the drive from Los Angeles to San Diego many times since moving to California. It's about two hours. But apparently during the Con, the freeways between the two cities become one giant L.A. rush hour. Not fun, and it certainly ruins any plans you'd been making for your first day. If you're an L.A. resident (and, statistically, most SDCC attendees these days are from L.A.), I'm going to give you the advice that no one gave me: take the train. You'll arrive quicker, with less stress, and on a reliable schedule.

Despite giving ourselves nearly four hours, Helby and I didn't make it in time to check in and get our badges on our first night, which meant all we could do was go out to dinner and hang out in the Douche District (aka Gaslamp Quarter). Next year, I'm taking the train.

(We ate at Kansas City BBQ, where the piano scene in Top Gun was shot)

2. Call off from work and go on day one.

Comic Con traditionally opens on a Thursday, and has a "preview night" the day before. To get the most for your time and money, plan on attending those days. We didn't go until Friday and, having gotten shut out of Friday night's activities due to our late arrival, only had Saturday and Sunday to attend panels and other events. And really, Sunday's activities are few and low-key. The big thing to do on Sunday is explore the main floor and try to get discounts from merchants. The big press releases, the big preview clips, the big interviews, the big autograph signings... those are all happening before Sunday. Go early.

3. Get a full-access shuttle pass.

Honestly, I don't know what the alternatives are. All I know is, as part of our package deal with the hotel, we had full access to the shuttle system for the duration of the Con. We could go to and from the convention center as often as we wanted, as well as hopping buses to friends' hotels. We didn't have to worry about buying a new pass every day, or being restricted to only one shuttle line. That kind of freedom keeps stress to a minimum while you're there.

4. Nerd stereotypes are NOT exaggerated.

These guys both exist.

Comic Con is primarily for geeks. Geeks and nerds are not the same thing, but there's a lot of overlap. And when you happen upon that perfect nerd archetype, it's hilarious how accurate the stereotypical representations are.

5. There's not as much skin on display as you might be expecting.

...Or at least not as much as I was expecting. Which is pretty disappointing. Yes, there is some of this -

- but not as much as the media would have you believe. I should've known better. Of course they're going to zero in on the few dozen people dressed like that and put those front and center on highlight reels and photo spreads. But "a few dozen" is less than 1% of the total number of attendees.

That being said, the more modest costumes can still be plenty hot. And there are lots of those.

6. Geeks are not to be effed with.

Considering there are booths that sell swords and chain maces, you might want to think twice about fighting for a seat.

Fans react to Hall H Comic-Con stabbing w/ costumes the next ... on Twitpic
7. If you think you might like it, then just go.

As I said, I'm not a crowd person. I also hate hotels. And now that I'm thinking about it, I'm not really a fan of public transportation either. But if you're into comic books, movies, TV shows, video games, collectibles, art, toys, costumes, or culture in general, you're going to have a good time at the Con. I'm glad my reluctance didn't win out. San Diego Comic Con is an experience well worth having.

And now, the slide show...

Or click here for the album.


  1. I know this wasn't really the takeaway, but how do you hate hotels?

    Also, did you wear your awesome Dharma Initiative t-shirt?

  2. Hotels are a lie. Everything about them is false. They're dark, dirty, lonesome suicide dens disguised as hospitable getaways. If you're staying in a hotel, you're somewhere that you don't belong and nobody wants you there. They prevent you from having an authentic experience. I could go on.

    I spared Helen the embarrassment of being seen with a guy wearing a Dharma Initiative shirt. But I'm very glad I own it.

  3. Is the chick in the Leia bikini and the chick in the Silk Spectre costume the same person?

  4. I noticed that at the last minute. I didn't realize it at first, because I only took one of the pictures.


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