2012’s Comic-Con has come and gone and having attended previous cons I was caught between relief in not having to navigate the throng of surging and ebbing fans surrounding the San Diego Convention Center and being anguished and envious that I wasn’t there amongst my people to enjoy the highs and lows and crazy fun of all SDCC has to offer.
To be clear, SDCC is an intense experience. At some point during that weekend either when you’re entering your third hour of baking in the sun while waiting to get into Hall H or just after you’ve claimed a prime seat for a panel and the son of some Amazon plops right down in front of you to obscure your view of the panel you think: Yeah, this is gonna be my last year. I’m not built for this anymore.
I mean seriously, my last experience at the Con resulted in a migraine going off in my brain at precisely the moment I pulled my rental car out of San Diego on Sunday afternoon. That hellish journey home should’ve firmly put a button on that and any future contemplation of attending Comic Con again.
And yet the following year, I was ready to roll back to San Diego to do it all over again. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend due to other reasons, but my desire and fervor were still alive and kicking. I was actually sick that I couldn’t go and even contemplated just going to San Diego to hang out with friends I knew would be there (and if I happened to steal find/borrow badges to get in then all the better!).
Why would I put myself through all that again? Why would I encourage you and everyone I know to put SDCC on their To Do list as something they have to suffer through at least once when we can all now comfortably view all the relevant movie/show news via the myriad of online outlets that now cover the convention?
Because SDCC is definitely one of those events where ‘You just have to be there’ applies. Nothing beats actually being onsite to physically feel the fervor rippling through the crowds and as much entertainment info as you can get from surfing the internet during those four days, the Con is more than just about the news and previews of your favorite movies, comic books, video games and television shows. It’s the little things, the random moments that often aren’t recorded that really make the Con a worthwhile experience.
Case in point, the things I most fondly remember aren’t about the panels or the celebrities directly but moments around them like:
- The sheer anticipation of Tom Welling’s first Comic Con appearance permeating everywhere. I mean even the people at the hotels were talking about it in awe. And when seasoned and (and surly) coffee baristas and hotel staff are in awe about something at Comic Con you know it’s a big deal. And if the anticipation of Welling appearing wasn’t amazing enough, the electricity in the room when he actually appeared in the room tipped things into a whole new level. Think like the footage of all those screaming Beatles and Michael Jackson fans and you’ll get a close approximation. To say it was bananas was an understatement and honestly it really was one of those moments when you really like being able to say ‘I was there!’
- Sitting in on The Penguins of Madagascar panel where a roomful of cranky, sleepy kids nearly fell off their parents’ laps to jerk their heads up when out of nowhere they heard the voices of Skipper, Rico, and Kowalski coming from the general direction of the stage. Their confusion at there not being penguins visible anywhere, just four random white dudes, was quickly dispelled when storyboards for the episode of the script they were reading from- complete with drawings of the titular birds- was finally displayed. Utter cuteness.
- Witnessing the hilarity (and kindness) while cruising the floor of a rather hulking man costumed as either the Punisher or a demon Cowboy (was hard to tell) step aside and practically tip his hat saying ‘Zombie’s first’ to a woman pushing her zombie costumed toddler in a stroller.
- Riding the shuttle bus after an exhausting day and watching in admiration and amusement as an eight year old Episode IV Princess Leia, complete with white flowing gown and hair done in the two side honeybuns, hard core sprint for the shuttle bus (proud huffing and puffing Dad in tow) so they could get to that night’s Star Wars ball. When she gleefully exclaimed ‘We made it!’ as she and her dad plopped into their seats, the small crowd on the bus-including me- cheered along with them.
No online entertainment news website can give you these moments to laugh about years later. You really do have to dive into the madness to put yourself into the position to stumble upon those fantastic moments for yourself. Yes, it can be daunting and overwhelming and stinky and hot and a lot of other unpleasant things, but I firmly believe that after surviving the gauntlet of SDCC (and a few months of recovery) you’ll look back on the whole experience if not with fondness then with awe and pride in having done it- and at least a few cool stories that you know you wouldn’t be able to regale and entertain with if you hadn’t been there.
To get the latest news on everything!
Comics, comics, and more comics
To show off my awesome costume
To meet celebrities!