ComicCon Countdown

Monday, July 25, 2011

Comic Con 2011 - The Aftermath

If you have ever been to Comic Con in San Diego, you will understand the series of emotions you go through after the event has finished its run.

Part of you is glad it is over. After all you have just shared the San Diego Convention Center with over a hundred thousand people for however many days you attended. Walking through parts of the main floor is like walking through a Japanese subway on a busy weekday morning. People are going in all directions....left, right, with you against you, and people just standing around. You are overwhelmed by the visual overstimulation of the senses. You see some of the most incredible costumes this side of a movie studio. Trailers of the newest video games are showing on giant screens all over the place. Dance parties are taking place right next to the booth where your favorite TV show is being peviewed. There are some of most incredible artists doodling masterpieces as you stand there watching in amazement. Icons of their industry are being mobbed right in front of you, and you have no clue who they are. There are vendors hawking collectibles of every type you could imagine, and many you never could have thought of. This thing we call Comic Con is an assualt, but the most pleasurable assualt you will ever experience

By the way, the scene just described all occured in just five minutes. Imagine experiencing that for 5, 6, or 9 straight hours. It is exhausting and you are practically a zombie as you walk out each day. Here is the catch. Even though you are tired and would love to get some rest, you don't want to miss anything and there is only so much time, so keep going. If you have passes for multiple days, or have a 4 day pass, you are ever so tired by the end.

So you ask, why would you do this over and over again? Why would you put yourself through this torture day after day. The answer is simple, but that will have to wait for another day

It Can't Be Over!!!

Aw Man, it is over.  Well, I'll get some sleep and get talk about how great this weekend was. 

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Waiting Day

If you have not been to Comic Con, you should know that waiting is part of the convention. There are lines for everything from panels to badge pickup. Today though, I did a lot of waiting.

First of all, I wanted to purchase tickets for Comic Con 2012. I got to the line to purchase tickets at 7:00 on Thursday, but I was not even close to buying tickets. On Friday, I got to the line at 4:45....Yes 4:45 in the morning. I was surprised because there looked to be a large number of people who camped out all night to get tickets. The line serpentined for 4 blocks or so, and I was pretty worried. About 5:30, the line started to move and by 6:00, I was in the room where we all those who would be purchasing tickets were put. From there it was a 2 hour wait till ticket sales commenced.

I will say that one of the best things about Comic Con is the people, and I got to know a number of people quite well during the waiting period. We all shared stories about Comic Con and about our love for the convention. So, though I waited about 5 hours before I actually bought my tickets, sharing that time with my fellow conventioneers was pretty special. At around 9:45 I was at a terminal and I was able to get my two four day passes with preview night. I was stoked. Now, on to the convention.

I really wanted to see the Big Bang Theory panel, and got in line a little before 11:00 for a 12:30 panel. Bad idea. I did not even come close to getting in. Honestly, the line was probably the longest line I have ever been in, and it took me till 2:30 to get into Hall 20. It was well worth it though since I was able to see the Eureka and Warehouse 13 panels which were both great panels.

I then hit the main floor with my wife and we hit as many booths that we could find giving Freebees. Again a lot of waiting, but I was pretty much used to it by now.

Well, three days down and two to go. So much still to see and so much to do.

I wonder what I'll see tomorrow.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Comic Con 2011

Here it is. Comic Con 2011.  To try to avoid the crowds at the Convention Center, I sent a few friends to the alternate site at The Town & Country Hotel in Mission Valley....Bad idea.  Not only was the traffic a nightmare, but it took over an hour and a half to get your badge once you got in.

I left for work and bailed on getting to the Town and Country when I saw the lines just getting off the freeway.  I went straight to the San Diego Convention Center and I literally walked up and got my badge.  I heard later it took people over 2 1/2 hours to get their badge from that location. 

So, I get my badge and then they had me the famous Comic Con Swag Bag.  You have all seen them.  They are big and come in all sorts of themes.  I happened to get Vampire Diaries.  Not my favorite, but when I asked for another kind, I was told in no uncertain terms....NO!!!

So just past where you got your bags was the worlds busiest barter center.  If you did not like your badge, which you could not tell till after you got out of line, you then had to trade your way over to the bag you wanted.  Vampire Diaries was not real popular and nobody wanted to trade.  I wanted to get either the Lego Harry Potter or Big Bang Theory, but it was going to take some effort.

After a while I was able to get this person to take my Vampire Diaries bag and got a Thunder Cats bag...great, I knew someone who wanted that bag.  I found her but she already traded for it.  I kept at it and found someone willing to give up a Big Bang Theory for Thunder Cats....Bang...Deal!!!

Twenty Minutes later I was out of there with my bag.  I then headed to the floor.

Honestly, I did not think it would be as crowded as it was, and this was just Preview Night, but the energy was high and happiness reigned.  I took a few pictures, but tonight was about buying Steampunk garb.  Before I new it the intercom stated it was 15 minutes till closing and to make our way to the exits.  I could not believe it had been 3 hours, but time flies when you are having fun.

It is late and I have to get up early.  So till tomorrow.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Thank You Harry Potter

Well, here we are.  Then end of an era.  The last Harry Potter film will be released tonight at midnight.

If you are a true fan, you already know the fate of our young wizard since you finished reading the books years ago.  Though there was some closure reading “Deathly Hallows” back in 2007, the films were still being made, and we were years away from the end of life at Hogwarts; so the fantasy continued.  Fast forward to today, July 14, 2011, and the reality that it is almost over has now settled in.  The second part of “Deathly Hallows” is upon us.  The last of the Harry Potter films is here.

Now, I am relatively new to the world created by J.K. Rowling.  Sure, I went and saw the films, but I was not a devoted fan.  Not like my brother who would dress up and go to the book store at midnight every time a book was released. No, that was not me.  Though my wife and kids read the books, I was not interested.  I don’t know if it was a macho thing, or if I thought that I was too old, I did not allow myself to enter the Leaky Cauldron on my way into the wizarding world. 

Then back in 2008, I began travelling for a job I just started.  On my first trip, and I came upon “The Sorcerer’s Stone” at the airport in San Diego.  Since I found reading help pass the time, I bought the book, and that was it, I was hooked.  Every time you opened the book and read a few pages, you were whisked away to this world of Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley.  You entered a world of wizards and witches, of broomsticks and potions, of magic mirrors and giant three headed dogs. 

I could now see what all the excitement was about, and I wanted more. I felt bad having missed out on all the magic all these years, but one benefit of waiting so long to read the books was that I did not have to wait for the next book to be released.  They were all written; I just had to read them.

As I stated, I was traveling for work back then, and you all know, every airport has a book store.  As I finished one book, I would hit a bookstore at the next airport.  I bought one book in Dallas, another in Atlanta; I was living the life of a wizard at forty thousand feet. 

All the rest of the books were purchased all over the US.  Only once did I run into a problem finding the “next” book.  I generally walked into the first bookstore I came upon at the airport and bought the next book.  In this case, I wanted to purchase “Order of the Phoenix”.  I was in Chicago of all places.  That airport is huge, but as I went into the first bookstore, no luck.  I calmly searched for the next bookstore, but again no book.  Unfortunately, I did not have that long of a lay over and I was now getting desperate.  As I last left Harry, he has come upon “He who shall not be named” and Cedric Digory had just been killed.  I needed to know what happened next!  Fortunate for me, the fourth store I visited had the book and found it to be my favorite book.  A funny thing is my sister manages a book store, but yet I only bought one book from her.  Oh well.

Now, in reading Harry Potter, I have laughed, I have cried, I have been startled, and I have been sad.  Now I find myself a bit melancholy.  At some point this weekend, I will go see “Deathly Hallows”.  Of course, I know how the movie will end, but I don’t know how I will react to that end.  I guess I will feel like one does when the say bye to a friend they will not see for a long time.  That empty feeling….that sense of loss.  My head tells me I should not feel this way; I am a grown man for heaven’s sake. But I admit it, I will miss Harry. 

Ever hopeful, I look forward to more books in the future.  The rumor is J.K Rowling is considering it.  For now, I will look back this thing we call Harry Potter and know that whenever I want, I can open a book or watch the DVD, and experience the joy all over again.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

What to wear??? What to Wear???

Are you going to Comic Con for the first time and not sure what to wear?  I am sure you have seen all the pictures online of the great costumes and may feel a bit intimidated.  Storm Troopers in full regalia, elaborate costumes made to look like characters from Final Fantasy, Fallout, World of Warcraft, Halo, or replica outfits from comic books.  Cosplay, or Costume Play is a big part of Comic Con, and though some attendees take their costumes very seriously, you don’t need to get that serious to have fun. 

Yes, some people do spend quite a bit of time and money on their attire, but you don’t have to spend boatload of money on a costume to get in on the action.  Since Comic Con is made up of so many different interests, finding something to wear should be snap.

First of all, what are your interests?  Are you into comic books?  Do you like video games? Are movies your thing?  You may be into anime, or perhaps it may be TV shows that interest you?  Whatever the case, pick something and then go with it.

It may be as simple as a button or a pin.  If you have a t-shirt, wear that.  This idea is to express yourself and have fun with it, but don’t feel like you have to.  If drawing attention to yourself is not your thing, don’t worry; just come as you are, its all about having fun.

If you are looking to dress up, then the sky’s the limit.  It may just be as simple as a little eye makeup, or a hat.  I have a cool grey top hat that looks very Steampunk.  Add some goggles, a vest or a pair of boots and you have a whole outfit.  The cool thing about Steampunk is that you can take old clothing and make something very cool out of it. 

Want to dress up but on a budget, there are a myriad of websites with instructions on how to make the costume of your choice.  I looked up the Endor Commando costume from Return of the Jedi and it was pretty simple to make.  Take some camouflage, make a utility belt and you just have to make the hat.  It was pretty easy. 

Of course, there are also a number of sites where you can get ready made costumes.  I know someone who owns a number of Star Wars Stormtrooper costumes that cost from $500 to $1000 apiece.  What is cool is when you see a number of these Stormtroopers congregate.  I have to admit it looks impressive as they walk by en masse.

Just go out and have fun with it.  Want to be Superman, Wolverine, an elf or a character from Harry Potter, then by all means this is the place to do it.  Just one thing, you will be photographed and photographed often, so be ready to pose.  More on this later…

Saturday, June 4, 2011

These are My People

I have been to a number of Comic Cons over the years, but I generally only went for a day.  Why just a day?  Being a dad, or being busy working in IT, that was part of it.  I think mostly having to justify the money for myself and the kids.  I told myself one day was fine, I did not need more than that…..right!!! I of course was lying to myself.

So, when the Con was in town, I would pick a day, round up the kids and head over to the Convention Center.  I always bought tickets the day of, and went in to the show.  I saw as much as I could with the kids in tow, but I always wanted more.  I would see the videos of the panels on G4 or the on the Internet, and secretly wanted to attend some of them.  How could I though; waiting in a line for maybe hours for a panel was a lot to ask of my boys, so I just skipped them, regretting it every time,

Then it happened; Comic Con was sold out.  I could no longer just show up and get tickets.  I tried to tell myself it didn’t matter.   I had other things to do, and it would save us money.  One of my brothers was more into it that I was, and he still kept going though.  He would buy his passes way ahead of time and never had to worry about being left out.

After a few years of not attending, seeing Comic Con come and go made me sad.  I would read about it in the newspaper and on the net, and I longed for it.  But, why was I so drawn to it?  I tried to tell myself I did not need it and that I needed to “Grow Up”.  My brother still went and he would take one of my sons Rick to Comic Con.  Rick would always come back with stories of the Con and how much fun he had.  I would be happy for him, but it would kill me inside.

So, after a few years, I decided I could not wait any longer, The Con was in town and I would get in one way or another.  My brother, who lost a leg in an accident years earlier, attended in a wheelchair.  He said that I could get in to The Con by being his attendant and pushing him around.  I jumped at the chance and I attended the last day that year, on Sunday. 

It cannot tell you the euphoria I felt being at the show again.  I drank it tall in.  The costumes, the artists, the video games, the movies, the giveaways, it was great!!!  I was so happy and alive.  I tried to understand my emotions, but could not explain it.  What was it about Comic Con that made me feel this way? 

I then looked around got my answer.  Take away the vendors, take away the glitz, take away the studios, take away the booths and what did you have? People.    I looked into the faces of everyone around me. They were young and old, men and women, students and professionals.  Many were in costume but everyone has a look, they were all bonded by something I can’t explain.  All I knew was that being there was like being home again. And then I finally got it. I was happy because ”These are My People”

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Less then 52 Days Away!!!

I have a four day pass to Comic Con and that includes "Preview Night" and I can't wait.  Being from San Diego, I wanted to set up a place all fans of "The Con" could get together and chat.

First of all, I can't believe how big this event has become.  I remember going to Comic Con as a kid and I remember it being a bunch of guys selling comic books at the Community Concourse.  Now, it is the biggest event in San Diego, for that matter So Cal, other than maybe the Academy awards.

Currently, I am thinking of dressing up at least a few days.  I am thinking maybe a Harry Potter costume one day, and a Star Wars costume another.  This is only if my wife decides to let me dress up...I like my chances.

So, in total I have three 4-Day Passes for two of my sons and I.  I also have a Friday and Saturday pass for my wife who attended her first Comic Con last year (now a converted Fangirl).  Of course I took some vacation days from work so I could attend all the panels and spend as much time at The Con as possible. 

I am hoping there are other fans out there who share my enthusiasm for Comic Con and want to talk about it.  If you are from out of town and need some info, stay tuned.  I have the inside scoop on everything you need to know about San Diego.

I think this is a good start, C-U L8tr.