Every year in late July, hoards of passionate fans flock to San Diego for the annual Comic Con International convention. San Diego is transformed, with storm troopers walking the streets and huge movie ads covering the surrounding hotels. It’s insanity.
For the past three summers, I’ve been lucky enough to be able to attend Comic Con, and every year has been crazier than the next. I saw the first footage ever shown of James Cameron’s Avatar, Harrison Ford brought out onto the stage in handcuffs, and Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson sharing the same stage in front of a room packed with over 6000 people. This year was no exception, and having just returned from a weekend of nerdy craziness, I thought I’d share some of the highlights of this years con and give you all a taste of what the Comic Con experience is like. Read out my day-by-day recap after the jump.
Day 1: Every day at Comic-Con there are dozens of panels, ranging from lower-profile panels by small publishers to high budget media frenzies about films and TV shows like The Avengers or Lost. The panels take place in over a dozen different rooms, but the two biggest are Hall H and ballroom twenty. On Thursday, the first day of the con, I camped out in Ballroom 20 for the day. The rooms aren’t cleared out between panels, so if you stay in for long enough eventually you get some fantastic seats. After two years at the con, I’m an expert seat-hopper. Thursday started out slow, with panels for USA shows like Psych, Covert Affairs and the premiere of a couple of pilots. But the day ended with Game of Thrones and Dexter, two of my favorite TV shows, and the crowd went nuts for the stars. Special preview trailers were shown and Mos Def even showed up at the Dexter panel (he’s a guest star this coming season). The day ended with a special Comic-Con pre-screening of Captain America.
Day 2: Camping out is an experience unique to Comic-Con. It’s not every day that you see a few hundred people sleeping outside of a convention center downtown, but during Comic-Con it’s not an unlikely sight. Crazy Twilight fans even camped out for a solid 2 days to get the front seats of Hall H. But even I’m not that crazy. My first year at Comic Con my friend and I camped out for the Lost: Final Season panel, and were visited by several stars and the Executive Producers. It’s an awesome experience, and we were eager to do it again. So we spent the night under the tents Thursday night outside of Hall H. At 10am on Friday we were ushered into the monstrous room, big enough to seat 6500 people. It’s crazy to walk into a room that massive. Thanks to my great place in line, I scored 3rd row seats, and by the second panel I was in the front row 5 feet away from panel. Friday was a big day panel wise, with Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson showing up for The Adventures of Tin Tin, and Paramount, Dreamworks, and Sony bringing their biggest films to the stage. Highlights of the day were definitely the Total Recall remake: A whole lot less Arnold and an awesome cast including Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad!). But the highlight of the day was definitely The Amazing Spiderman panel. Andrew Garfield, the star of the refreshed franchise, showed up in a Spiderman halloween costume and the studio showed off some intense footage. Definitely something to look forward to for comic book movie fans.
Day 3: If you attend Comic-Con and don’t dedicate at least 5 hours to walk the show floor, you’re missing out. The crowned jewel of Comic Con is the Exhibit hall, with over 7000 booths and action happening everywhere you turn. There are hundreds of artists, vendors, and video game and movie studios, all in one room. It’s a geek’s dream. Throughout the day there are giveaways and signings at certain booths, and you walk away with more free stuff than you can handle. Luckily Warner Bros. gives out massive tote bags to fit all your swag. The past two comic-con’s I’ve left a fan of several comic books/graphic novels I hadn’t heard of before. It’s insane and a ton of fun to explore. After experiencing all the exhibit hall could offer, I ended my Comic-Con with a couple of pilot screenings, and as if the whole weekend wasn’t nerdy enough, the Mythbusters panel.
Check out some of the photos I took during my weekend in San Diego:
Game of Thrones cast
The cast of Dexter
The cast of Dexter w/ Mos Def
The line to get into Hall H
Brian Cranston for Total Recall
Andrew Garfield (the new Spiderman)
A dude in a Deadmau5 costume