So here we go. I’m going to talk about everything before, during, and after the Con. It’s all about the overall experience right? Feel free to fast forward to what you think are the good parts.
I lived in San Diego for 18 years of my life, but I never went to comic con. Many factors played into this:
1) I didn’t have a good grasp on my nerd identity and pride
2) I didn’t drive until I moved
3) It really wasn’t as big back then
I went to SF’s WonderCon in 2006 with my fellow Bindlestiff Nerds and I had a great time. To be in a huge room with fellow geeks was very empowering. Then I started to open up to the idea of going to Comic-Con in SD. Last year was the perfect time because I’d be in town for Shea’s wedding with a bunch of folks also planning on going. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get my hands on a pass and that weekend was so crazy that I had to choose between sleep and Comic-Con. Being the driver, I chose the latter.
So I was determined to attend next year. Unfortunately, passes sold out quick (four months prior-quick). I still wanted to go, but it wouldn’t be guaranteed. Being caught up with the more important things in life, I kind of just forgot about it. I figured I would still at least go back home right?
Then thanks to my best-nerd-friend Jessica and her cousins, I scored a four-day professional pass. Yes, I am hella professional. In case you were wondering, my name was Samantha George for the weekend.
Jessica and I caravaned to San Diego Wednesday afternoon. We stayed at my sister’s place where other convention goers were staying at. Yes, we were at a nerd house. That made the experience even more awesome.
DAY ONE (Thursday, 7/23)
After getting like an hour of sleep, I was ready for a fun-filled day with my nerd community! When we walked in, I felt this overwhelming rush. A feeling I had not felt since I got off that plane in Manila two years ago for expo. Just a giant space of constant movement, bright colors, and a distinct smell that can only come from continuous use of soda and fast food while playing hours of a MMORPG. There were many dope panels going on that day (most notably the Tim Burton one and of course, Twilight), but I didn’t want to spend my entire day standing in lines. Not on my very first day. So I took pictures of just about everything. And walked. Everywhere. There was way too much to take in for one day. I was hella overwhelmed. Every once in a while, I would have to catch my breath after getting through a mob searching for free items to put in their goodie bags. Me and Jess tackled the commercialized half of the Con with all the big name corporations. Got some free stuff. Watched the Star Wars: The Old Republic video game trailer on the big screen at the Star Wars Pavillion. Hella different than seeing it on my computer screen. The best thing my eyes have ever had the honor to look at…up to that point at least. Got out of there by 4 pm due to a sore back and pulsating feet. Overall: What a way to lose my Comic-Con virginity. ‘Nuff said.
DAY TWO (Friday, 7/24)
This was STAR WARS DAY @ Comic-Con. So I was super excited. Also, the only panel that I planning to attend (The Big Bang Theory) was that day. But several things contributed to a bad first half. Late start. Forgot my camera. Unable to get in due to our late start. And my sister had to take a cab ride back to Mira Mesa within the first 10 min of our arrival. Since we arrived late, the line for the Big Bang Theory panel was hella long and not realistic for me to stand in. But I was at Comic-Con. On Star Wars Day. I wasn’t going to let all that bring down my Day 2. So I was on my own. I scouted the comic book and collectible (toys!) dealers on the opposite side of the corporations in order to prep for the Sunday deals. But I got a relatively cheap Qui-Gon mighty mugg to make me feel better about the day. But God made up for the earlier shortcomings when I was chillin out by the G4 booth. I was on my phone when I see hella security walking by. I look up and see the cast of Big Bang Theory! Not a word left my mouth. I was just in total shock. Then a couple minutes later, I see Elijah Wood from a few feet away. Oh, and earlier I saw Seth Green by the Star Wars pavilion taking pictures with his fellow fanboys. But with a busy evening ahead, I needed to leave and prepare for activities ahead. Overall: Started off on the low but ended up on a real big high. Too bad I didn’t have my camera though, hella Star Wars related cosplay. Oh and Perry Shen (from Better Luck Tomorrow fame) was selling this and I got Lane from Gilmore Girls to sign it:
Wouldn’t it be interesting to use this in an Asian American Studies class?
DAY THREE (Saturday, 7/25)
This was my ‘long’ day at Comic-Con. My sister and all of her friends wanted to be at the ‘Lost’ panel since I hear it’s kind of a big deal (people started waiting in line the night before). Our day started off by waking up at around 6:30 am & leaving by 7:30/ 8 am. Our friends Pat & Mel had done this the previous two days…I really don’t know how. After loading up on coffee, we got to SD Convention Center bright and early. They immediately got in line while Pat accompanied me to the Hasbro table so I could finally buy some ‘collectables’ (TOOOOOOYYYYYSSSS!). They let some of us in before fully opening up the floor to the public. It was nice. Walking around freely. Not having to stop every three steps. Being able to see booths clearly since compared to the rest of the world, I’m really not that tall (the Western World sucks!). The items I coveted:
The two SDCC 2009 Exclusive Might Muggs:
25th Anniversary Soundwave Special Edition
12″ Baroness Figure
I was pretty happy with this take. I’m a Mighty Mugg collector, so those two were a given. I’m a Transformer fan (pre-Michael Bay, as explained in a previous entry) and I heard this was one of the hotter items available, so it was worth it. I battled over getting the Baroness while in line because I wondered if it were worth it. But my boyhood crush and basis for my attraction to dark haired/ thick glasses wearing women won me over. THEN I peaked at ebay to see how much these figures were going for and I wished I had invested more money. It makes me contemplate making a small living off of buying and selling collectables from Comic Con. If all else fails of course. After I horded my treasure, I found a relatively quiet spot upstairs and rested. I took time to fully breath and take in the experience. And to just enjoy the moment, which is something I have difficulty doing.
After an hour or two of that, I met my sister up at the Blacklava table. I dropped off my stuff there with your friendly, neighborhood Asian American t-shirt designer. Then I walked around to catch up on lost picture-taking moments. As I passed by the G4 booth, I noticed they were doing their live show with their Attack of the Show hosts, most importantly the other woman at Comic-Con I would propose to (the other being Kristen Bell), Olivia Munn. After a quick costume change, she came out in her Wonder Woman outfit. Hella. Awesome. But as much as I wanted to stand there with the other nerds and gawk at Olivia Munn, I was there to make moves. I would watch the show later that night and found out she wore costumes of various female heroines (my favorite was Emma Frost, holler). I grabbed a bunch of freebies (including posters and a Transformers seat cushion that I now use for driving). Oh and I saw the cast from ‘Lost’ at G4 because again, apparently it’s a big deal. My sister and I stayed until 7 P.M., so we were there for the entire day. Overall: Wow, that was exhausting. It took a lot of energy to be there for all 10 hours, but it was very much worth it. I got to see and experience just about everything (minus panels of course). Probably the best and most crowded day of Comic-Con.
DAY FOUR (Sunday, 7/26)
FINALLY! I know. It’s been a hell of a trip so far (I haven’t even mentioned all the evening activities I indulged in, aww yeah!). But here’s the final day. Got a late start because my body wouldn’t allow me to get up until I got more than five hours of sleep. Finally rolled out with Jon-Erik at around 1 P.M. We only had four hours at the Con to find deals. I was able to catch some good prices for some books, a couple of supplemental reading for Marvel’s Civil War Series & the last two books for Star Wars’ Clone War series. There were some people dressed up, but the crowd was mostly families and collectors raiding the smaller dealers. Oh, and we spotted Seth Green amongst the masses looking for deals. You can tell when one has the respect of the nerds when they don’t bother you when you’re shopping. The corporations were getting rid of leftover giveaways. Hasbro gave me a really awesome bag for my troubles (this is sarcasm…they gave me a big ass trash bag for one small mighty mugg). When they announced the last 30 min of Comic-Con, myself and Jon-Erik tried to start a nerd riot which massively failed. Once we got everything we wanted, we bailed before the official closing. That put an end to the first Comic-Con of my life.
If you made it through all that, bravo. If you just skipped to this, very smart. This is something all nerds should experience. Let’s not argue about petty things like whether one is a nerd, geek, dweeb, whatever. Let’s all go to Comic-Con and have fun! At first, it was very overwhelming. If you’ve been to WonderCon, it kinda prepares you but not really. According to the always reliable Wikipedia, it attracted almost 140,000 people (which is funny because the cut off was 125,000 passes) this year. There are questions of whether it’s becoming too mainstream. Some argue that nerds are becoming mainstream and dare I say it, ‘cool’? (I will discuss this idea in a future entry, trust) I can’t speak from the perspective of a Comic-Con vet. They’ll have a better opinion. For myself, there was a lot of commercialization that took a little bit away from the experience. But corporations have been taking advantage of nerds for decades, using up our willingness to spend all our money on our corporate-owned obsessions. So I was not surprised. I loved the environment. For us nerds, we’ve felt so isolated, so alone in the world. At Comic-Con, we are reminded that we’re in very good company. And most importantly, there is always someone nerdier than ourselves. The folks in cosplay were the best (I saw kids dressed up as Star Wars characters…yes I want my kids to do the same!) and I will post up all the pictures I was able to take. Though seeing celebrities amongst us commoners was awesome, I was sad that I missed Denzel Washington, Johnny Depp, and Kristen Bell (sigh). That is my goal for the next Con I go to. I loved it all, the good, the bad, the ugly, and even the smelly (ok not so much that). There’s talk of Comic-Con leaving San Diego and I hope that’s not true. This seems to be where 50% of our tax revenue stream comes from. I look forward to my 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc. Comic-Con. I look forward to taking my kids there and raising them to be as nerdy, but not as socially awkward as their dad.
And now…the top 3 inside jokes of the weekend:
1) Nerds smell bad. Like really bad. A smell only junk food and produce. But as I told Jessica: “I think you got the extra powerful dosage because you’re an attractive girl, that made nerds sweat just a little bit more.” Seeing people’s reactions to the smell was funny…unless you were caught in the jetstream.
2) There were hella people dressed up as our favorite superheroes long after their superpowers ran out. What do I mean? Let’s see…I saw a chubby Snake Eyes, a fat Batman, someone dressed up as Cammy with thighs as big as the dude who dressed up as Balrog, and zero-pack Spartans. Characters in their mid-life crisis or the people who chose the right suit but not the body type? Either way, it’s funny. Oh and out of all the Baroness’, only one was sort of attractive. How disappointing.
3) My sister and John realizing that Soundwave sounds like he’s in church. Don’t believe us? You be the judge:
…and the Holy Spirit! Sorry if you’re offended, we thought it was hilarious.
Ok, that’s it. Long live the CON!
P.S.: For you ‘Twlilight” fans. I personally think this is hilarious for many, many reasons. But as we found this clip, one of our friends was offended and said: “Hey! Those were supposed to be exclusive clips that only people who waited hours and hours in line got the luxury of seeing!” Well, too bad for the internet. I’m Team “That one Asian dude who’s her friend but never gets any love”.