Through a series of fortunate events, I found myself at the San Diego Comic Con, and I learned very quickly, that the hype was real. Considered to be one of the largest, if not THE largest convention in the world, SDCC 2016, despite not having any huge reveals, was still the largest, most exciting convention I have ever been to. And, there is no doubt in my mind, that if you have the opportunity to go, I would tell you to GO, with the fury of a hundred suns, GO!
If this is your first time reading one of my reviews(?) about conventions, my disclaimer for this particular one is that I may be more biased than I usually am. Though I normally attend conventions as press, I try to give people an idea of what a convention is like from the regular con-goer’s perspective. Because that’s how I usually roll. This time, I did a little more rocking than rolling. But here is what you need to know.
If this if your first convention, you might feel overwhelmed. San Diego Comic-Con is more like a convention of long lines, big name companies, and huge celebrities. People from all over the world were lined up for everything. Some even slept in those lines to make sure they got to see their favorite movie or TV star. There were massive lines for panels, huge queues for the awesome merchandise and exclusives, and long waits for Mrs. Field’s cookies. Which is not a joke. Every five feet was a Mrs. Field’s kiosk, where the weary traveler could get a chocolate chip pick me up. People love those cookies.
The show floor itself was a who’s who of vendors and studios, where the big comic book properties towered over you like tall things in a crowded place. It’s because of Marvel, DC, Warner Bros., and the rest, that SDCC is the one stop shop for all things geek. But it also meant that every row was a sea of bodies rubbing up against each other. If that’s not your thing, you might want to just stay outside.
You might think, “Why would this guy tell me to stay outside, where nothing is happening?” Au contraire! A lot of the downtown, Gaslamp disctrict, of San Diego, turned into another geek paradise, as the Nerdist, and the Nerd Machine, and Cartoon Network, and…and…so many other outlets just showered you in your favorite fandom. The convention can’t be contained in one “small” convention center, as it poured out your favorite things onto the streets. The library, the kid’s museum, and even the baseball stadium, all became homes to smaller events that people who couldn’t get into SDCC, got to attend. And they’re really good! There were panels at Nerd HQ, demos and games, at Nerdist’s Camp Conival, and so much more to do. It’s not hyperbole. Crowds of people were able to still have a good time outside of SDCC proper, with plenty of swag (not the Bieber kind), and cool events to experience.
Then there were the panels inside SDCC. I only went to a few, and worked on another few, and the ones I attended were fantastic. So many people came out to support their favorite people, from all walks of life. There were web series stars sharing their stories, players of Dungeons and Dragons hyping the fans, and those in the media who wanted to share their knowledge and wisdom on how they built their brand. Just a touch of self promotion, but I am a podcaster, and I guess…writer…and now I feel more empowered and excited to make what I create even better than what it’s already been.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Hall H. The infamous room where the big leagues go to show off that new trailer or spill secrets on their upcoming movies and projects. I had the privilege to attend the Fantastic Beasts panel, JK Rowlings new movie set in the Harry Potter universe. Eddie Redmayne and moderator, Conan O’Brien, gave out wands to the entire audience, brought out the cast of the film, and showed off a new trailer. I can finally say that I experienced the spectacle that is, Hall H.
For me, as I mentioned earlier, the hype was real. But the one thing I want to share before I tell you all to get your tickets and fly out to San Diego next year, is that I was able to experience that actual “Press” life. I got to sit and participate in round table interviews with the cast of Arrow. Stephen Amell, David Ramsey, Willa Holland, Emily Bett Rickards, Echo Kellum, and an executive producer, who’s name I have sadly forgotten, sat with myself and a group of other press, to not only answer our questions but have a nice, pleasant, yet all too brief conversation with us, the fans (but technically the media). All I know from that experience, are that these people were kind, funny, and painfully good looking. I mean. Wow. All of them. Just…talented and really attractive in person.
Finally, I need to talk about the night life. If you think San Diego Comic Con stops when they shut the doors, you are absolutely right, if you’re one of those sane people. But for those night owls, like myself, the city comes alive after they kick you out of the show floor. With restaurants, bars, and clubs, the party kept going, into the wee hours of the night. And if you’re lucky, you can find yourself around all those celebrities I was talking about earlier, as you hear about and maybe even try to sneak into, the big studio parties. Sadly, when I bumped into Willa Holland and Emily Bett Rickards, they forgot to invite me to their parties.
Everything I love about conventions were amplified at San Diego. The people, the panels, the cosplay (which I didn’t even get to touch on. Spoilers: they were awesome), and the new friends. It’s more than an event, it’s an experience, and one that I’m sad is over.
So, have I convinced you to go to San Diego Comic Con? Did you end up attending the convention this year? What were your highlights of the show? What did I miss out on? Looking forward to hearing your stories.
I’m going to wrap this up by giving some shout outs to those who made San Diego Comic Con amazing and most importantly, possible. Jeff Burns, host of Super Geeked Up, and the man who got myself and my podcast cohost Josh Hawkes into the convention in the first place. This man knows how to host a panel, and a game show. To Josh Hawkes for being the brother in Con and Pod, that I needed. No convention is truly experienced without that man on your team. To Shelley Rossell, the cohost and friend who keeps you grounded, keeps you focused, and shows you that a big heart can come from a small package. To indie comic book writer Gabe Smith & artist extraordinaire Sara Veron of Human Comics and Bacon and Sausage, for hanging out with us, letting us bunk at their booth, and for sharing some awesome stories. To Neal Adams for putting up with our shenanigans. To Kody Frederick of Fan-o-Rama, the Futurama fan film, for being an awesome guest on our podcast, and just being the coolest dude throughout the con. To Maria Elena Duron, for listening to and tolerating a rambling guy (me), and still happily providing brilliant advice to someone still trying to find themselves in the “industry”. If I missed anyone, know that it is not because you didn’t make an impact on me during this fantastic convention, but because I have only 64 Kb of RAM, and as a result my brain acts more like a brick of information, rather a sponge. Please feel free to berate me for forgetting, in the comments below.