Before I start with my experience at Comic-Con, I have to clear up something that seems to be all over the internet regarding this convention. Countless people have made comments about how Comic-Con has lost its way. It’s no longer about the comics and only about movies and celebrities. Due to this, these people want absolutely nothing to do with the convention.
This is my 21st San Diego Comic-Con and although it has gotten larger each year, this statement regarding Comic-Con not caring about comic books is not true. I don’t know if these people making these comments have been to the convention, or if they are just making blind assumptions, but the truth is that Comic-Con is so large now that it has whatever you’re looking for. It is not neglecting comic books in any way. Are you into collecting original art? Meeting your favorite comic book creator? Obtaining that new Batman Statue? Submitting your comic book portfolio to your favorite comic book company in hopes of landing that penciling job? Everything is there and available to you. Don’t blindly assume that because there are several movie companies with booths and panels that there is nothing else available. Now with that, on to the real review…
TRANSFORMATION OF GASLAMP
This year Comic-Con has done something I’ve never seen in a convention. It has taken a huge section of downtown and transformed it to cater to the comic culture crowd. All of the restaurants, shops and night clubs were catering to the crowd. You could leave the convention and go out at night to any of the clubs and they were transformer into geek/ nerd culture. Everyone that is into that kind of thing was with their own people. Restaurants went as far as to be renamed and themed to a certain show such as Defiance, while others had the staff dress up in costumes and their menu items transformed into comic book themed food and drinks. One bar was serving several drinks that were based off the Avengers. A Green Hulk drink, Red, White and Blue Captain America drink and so on. The convention truly expanded outside the convention center into the Gaslamp Quarter. This was exiting for so many reasons, but by far the best reason was that no matter where you turned, there was someone just feet away into the same things you’re into.
LINES AND WAIT TIMES
Coming from several conventions early this year and at the end of last year, I can easily recall the three hour lines for Comikaze and how disorganized they were. No signs to tell you where to go and no staff members outside to give you information. Anime Conji in San Diego was the same way. A long wait to get your attendee badge and staff unwilling or unknowledgeable to help. Not even an event guide. How long was the wait for the tens of thousands of attendees to get their badge at Comic-Con? About five to fifteen minutes. Yes, that’s right. The longest attendees had to wait was fifteen minutes, (this does not count waiting earlier in line prior to registration opening). Not three hours. What about staff to direct you on where to go? There were staff every 10 feet in front of the convention telling everyone where to go. As for the lines for Hall H, (where all the large panels were held). There were people camping out overnight. That is their choice, though. That is Comic-Con to them. Seeing their favorite celebrity is worth the wait. Other then that, the lines at the movie booths were very long as well as those wanting their Starbucks fix or to grab cash from the ATM.
THE COSPLAY SCENE AT COMIC-CON
Well, this is Cosplay Media. So, how was the cosplay scene? Were there a ton of people dressed up? Compared to something such as Anime Expo, there aren’t as many cosplayers. The cosplayers at the convention were not easy to find, like you would at an anime convention. Cosplay Media was there from Wednesday until Sunday and it seemed that the only two days that had a lot of cosplayers was Thursday and Saturday. It didn’t seem like there were that many cosplay gatherings besides the annual ones such as Harleypalooza, Star Wars/ 501st, DC Comics and a few others.
The exhibit hall was very packed as usual. Due to this, I tend not to take photos. It’s already a mission to get from point A to point B in there without getting stuck. Start taking photos of someone in costume and suddenly everyone else will take the opportunity to take a photo and next thing you know, a huge crowd has formed, completely blocking the area off from anyone getting in or out.
What was great this year was that they put everything in it’s own designated area. The movie booths were near each other, the game booths were all in one area, artists, comic books, figures. They were all pretty much set up in their own separate areas.
THE FINAL VERDICT
This was hands down the best convention experience I’ve had all year. Don’t let people tell you that this convention lost its way. If you’re into geek/ nerd culture, you’ll find it at Comic-Con. I went to this convention to cover it as a photographer and was able to see anything related to what I love. Oh, is that Chris Sanders who made Lilo and Stitch selling art books? Why yes it is. ….and look, over there….the Playstation 4 and Xbox one hands on demos. ….and look at that, that hard cover collection of Kick Ass for $15 on sale! …oh man!!! The biggest point I can’t stress enough is that this convention caters to the nerd/ geek culture and its range is so large that it can transform a huge section of San Diego for five days. If you can obtain a ticket, even if just for a day, you should go to Comic-Con. If you haven’t been in a while, then you should give it another shot. Three years ago it felt like the comic scene at the convention was dying out, but thanks to the popularity of comic books again, there is nothing to worry about. At Comic-Con they’re in great abundance and getting the attention they deserve.