Perhaps like a number of attendees,every year, at the start of the San Diego Comic Con, I always wonder if it’s worth all the song and dance, all the jumping through hoops, all the nervousness as to whether you’ll land a badge or not, whether you’ll get good accommodations and whether you’ll get to the panels you want to attend.
It’s really a big, but highly anticipated production for many to get there.
As Boromir (Sean Bean) would say in The Fellowship of the Ring, “One does not simply walk into Mordor.” One also does not go on line at their leisure to click buy for a Comic Con badge. To get this year’s badge, you had to get a unique member ID from the website, wait two hours with the rest of the world in a cyberspace “holding room,” and then you randomly get funneled into a line for badges. While waiting in that queue, you must hope there are badges left when it’s finally you’re turn.
Then you’ve got to figure out a place to stay. If you do get that place to stay, you may end up not sleeping there if you are determined to get a spot in Hall H.
Hall H is the biggest room at Comic Con and it is home to the panels for Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, the Marvel Studios movies, and the Warner movies. It is where you get to see the Avengers assemble and where you get to see the elves, hobbits, dwarves, wizards and humans from Tolkien’s world.
This year, to get into Hall H for the Batman vs. Superman announcement, The Hobbit panel, The Avengers panel, etc. you had to line up at dinner the night before. A lot of people brought their sleeping bags, folding chairs, inflatable mattresses, foam pads, pillows and blankets so they could sleep. And yes you could hear snoring.
To its credit, San Diego is blessed with lovely weather the whole year round. Sleeping outside the Convention Center area, with clean air and the summer breeze from the water can be rather pleasant. There are no mosquitoes and it is fairly safe.
While it is not always easy, nothing worth anything never really is. The convention just has this incredible vibe and energy—there is nothing like it. While there are disappointments (not getting in a panel, not getting a ticket to a signing, lacking sleep) but there are far more rewards and surprises.
You could get a smile from Benedict Cumberbatch. Norman Reedus would shoot your selfie with him. You could walk down the street and thank Frank Miller for making the books you treasured as a fan. Misha Collins could bring you coffee in the Hall H line. Andy Serkis and Lee Pace could find you lining up in the wee hours and drop in to say hi.
There are hundreds of panels, costumes, fans, geeks, nerds, and creators everywhere you look for four and a half days.
It’s always a little sad seeing the convention center empty out on Sunday night. But I know in my head, as early as that moment, plans are already being made for next year’s con.