Comic-Con Goddess No More
By Tina LoSasso!
TODAY'S FEATURE IS BLOG #3923 -
San Diego Comic-Con (Friday, July 19, 5:30 AM) -- Husband rolls car to a stop in front of the Hilton. I hop out and join the throng of humanity flowing around the sleepy Hall H line. We run/walk way, way back, past the Symphony (I marvel that San Diego has a Summer Pops series I've never heard about), behind the boats, to settle on the rocks in front of the fishing pier. We compare our spot to last year, to people we know who were here yesterday, to folks we've heard about. Mostly, we bemoan our fate: How will we ever get in?
Flash Forward 8 hours: 1:35 pm. We are poised at the top of the next chute of people ready to be loaded into Hall H. We're 20 people from the Promised Land when we get the word: The Fire Marshall has closed The Walking Dead panel. No one else will be admitted. We are screwed. So close, yet so far.
We watched all morning as those lucky few before us were herded by the dozen across the walkway into the door. We pushed our noses up against the rope line and hoped and prayed as the last flight to Elysium departed. And so it was that the one thing, the one panel, program, experience I prized most at this year's Comic-Con slipped away. Spirits low, I bade farewell to my line buddies, grabbed my pack and walked away.
After 13 years, my Comic-Con line mojo was gone.
Maybe it was the antibiotic I'm taking that killed it. It's the same stuff they give you if you're exposed to anthrax. (Did I mention I was battling pneumonia? The Friday before, I went to the doctor. I explained that I had to get better for Comic-Con. He scrunched up his face at me. "Great, he's going to tell me I can't go," I thought. This being San Diego mere days before Comic-Con, he said he wished he could get tickets!)
My Comic-Con line mojo is pretty much my only super-power (unless you consider baking real NY-style cheesecake a super-power). Until this Con, I could pick anything on the schedule and make it in. No more.
Irony of ironies, I couldn't even get into the Playback room that evening to see the panel I'd missed.
So, for me, the question becomes, what the heck do you have to do these days to get into Hall H? Or, for that matter, Ballroom 20, 6BCF, or any of the other large rooms at Comic-Con?
And, is it worth it? This is a question I'll be answering at some point in the next few weeks when pre-registration opens for 2014.
On the positive side, I managed to get into everything else that I wanted to see. And, even though I waited in vain, I had a wonderful time with my line buddies outside Hall H. We had a great time talking about the shows we love, what we read, and what we enjoy at Comic-Con.
In fact, for me, and for many, this is the best part of Comic-Con -- hanging with people who love what you love. And, not just the stuff you love, it's cool to see people light up when they talk about what they read, watch and play. Or, to have an intelligent discussion with someone about the difference between reading a comic book series and a graphic novel. Or, to watch people talking about who their favorite Doctor is and why.
This is why they started Comic-Con, so people would have a place to talk and share about the things that earn them a Geek label in the real-world. The challenge with Comic-Con today is that the Geeks have inherited the earth. There are just too many people at this thing and crowds do something to people. Granted, this isn't a Metallica concert (usually) so the crowd is pretty tame but pumped to get where they want to be. The traffic in parts of the Exhibit hall (even on Preview night) was atrocious. After the Exhibit hall closes, the sidewalk in front of the Convention Center is covered in wall to wall people all moving in the opposite direction. It makes you wonder, is this what people see right before they're trampled to death - or World War Z breaks out?
The negatives for SDCC this year:
1.) The wait to get into the big rooms has gotten out of control (but enough on that, I'm still trying to get over it).
2.) The crowds - not just on the Exhibit floor or trying to walk outside the Convention Center, the crowds are crazy getting back and forth from the Marriot or simply trying to cross the street.
3.) Security staff (it's Comic-Con, so I have to bitch about security!) taking up residence at the front of the big room stages so that the folks who waited for hours to get those seats can't get a decent picture or see much of the panel because their big heads are in the way.
4.) Photographers doing basically the same thing as #3.
5.) More food options - but they are so expensive and the lines are so long, that it's not worth it.
6.) With so much going on during Comic-Con, why are more and more studios creating venues outside Comic-Con - yet not opening them on Wednesday when no one has anything to do until about 5:50? (Except for those folks lining up for special edition merch.) Speaking of which...
7.) Lines on the Exhibit floor have gotten out of hand. On Preview Night we hit the worse crush of people (due to a toy offering) since Warner Bros stopped giving the bags out at their booth.
Here's what was great:
1.) Meeting so many people who love stuff I love.
2.) Great line buddies every day. (a big improvement over recent years!)
3.) Amazing cosplayers - I even saw a hot-looking Sub-Mariner. (I've seen Sub-Mariners before, but they've all been, frankly, gross.)
4.) X-Files 20th Anniversary Tribute Panel - just hearing opening notes of the theme song and writers talking about episodes like the later-banned "Home". Great, now you can't sleep tonight too!
5.) The "Rope a Dope" short we saw at Ric Meyers Superhero Kung Fu Extravaganza - haven't laughed this hard since, ok I watched Sharknado with my stepson...
6.) The Haven panel gave hugs to pretty much everyone who asked a question. Adam Copeland (Edge from WWE) had men bear hugging him.
7.) Ronnie who ran the Hall H line the day I didn't get in (Friday). Despite the bad experience, Ronnie was a marvel. The President should tap him for the next round of Mid-East Peace Talks.
8.) Seeing people buying comics in the Exhibit Hall on Sunday.
9.) My "I feel like a little kid again" moment: seeing Chuck McCann at Cartoon Voices on Saturday. In addition to being a noted voice actor, Chuck was a staple of children's programming in the NYC area where I grew up. What a joy to see him.
Do I want to go next year? Will we even get tickets? If we get tickets, will I be able to get into anything I want to see? I don't know. Maybe I can pay some kid to camp out for me. (That's a new business concept for enterprising young people in San Diego.)
Comic-Con has become a crap shoot; more so when you've lost your line mojo. It seems the longer you've been going to Comic-Con, the less you want to go again. And, as I learned at last year's Talk Back, that's just fine with SDCC President John Rogers who prefers that new people come to the event even if it's at the expense of long-time members.
What do you think? Was it worth it? Did you have fun? Or are you still about something or someone at the Con?
Don't give a crap about my experience because you've never gotten tickets?
Yes... The Hall H Line Began There...
But the Hall H Line Seemed to Continue Forever... Especially On Friday Morning!
Plus a Panel on Person of Interest...
...And One on Under the Dome!
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