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San Diego Comic-Con 2012 Report – Part 1

Ah Comic-Con. Site of one of the largest nerd migration sites in the world and certainly the largest that I know of in North America. Simultaneously awesome and dreadful to behold.

San Diego Comic Con - LogoUnder normal circumstances, for an extremely large convention with a lot of things I likely want to go see, I try to purchase a ticket. Between the change in how next year’s tickets could be purchased at last year’s con and the crashing servers as everyone in the known universe attempted to register for tickets when they went on sale online, I didn’t actually get a general four day pass. Instead, I managed to make it onto the volunteer list. Since stuffing bags, making sure the freebie tables were full of the appropriate stuff and holding up “the end of the line for Room 5AB is here” signs for a three hour shift in order to get a complimentary pass isn’t that bad, I can’t say I was initially upset by that turn of events. I was even more thrilled when I found out one of my friends was accepted as a volunteer too.

I have to say that my volunteering experience was something of a mixed bag. On the one hand, I liked most of the people I worked with on my volunteer shift and the work asked of me wasn’t that hard (even on Friday when I was laced into my steampunk gear and folding big bags for three hours). On the other hand, the pre-convention shifts were not scheduled or run the same way as those during the convention. Getting new shifts involved an hour long wait the day before, the way one scheduled free days if one worked one of the pre-con shifts changed from day to day, every time I asked a question about anything it seemed I would get three different answers from three different people, they changed how many free days one got for working Comic-Con preview night without notifying the volunteers, and to top it all off, the staff had managed to lose all proof that two shifts had worked the pre-con set up.

I understand that many people would think of these irritants as minor and volunteer anyway, but as I was one of the people who worked one of those lost set up shifts, it was annoying having to re-explain what had happened every time I wanted to claim one of the free days I was owed. The miscommunication regarding the preview night actually worked to my benefit (resulting in an extra free day), but I can’t help but wish that there was some way of magically sending a message clarifying such things to the volunteers involved all at once… Oh wait. Email exists. So do database search functions. SIGH.

CrowdsSo, on to better and more amusing things, because none of that mess actually “wrecked” Comic-Con for me.

Now there might be some of you going, “It can’t possibly be as crowded as everyone says it is.” That is correct. It isn’t as crowded as everyone says it is. It is in fact quite a bit worse. I am not a large person, but navigating through the interior crush of people requires some skill in dodging and a certain knack for reading the moving gaps between people. In the television and movie studio areas of the exhibitor’s floor, that actually becomes extremely difficult. Then it’s time to test out any strategies you have for navigating powerful ocean currents or swimming in some kind of viscous goo.

Once on the exhibition floor, one is assured of being distracted within thirty seconds as someone in a neat costume goes by, an interesting book catches the eye, something cool and free is handed out, or there’s some shiny artwork hanging somewhere and you have to take a closer look at.

Aperture ScienceEvery Comic-Con seems to have its cosplay theme and this year was all about Avatar: The Legend of Korra, Adventure Time, and the Marvel Avengers (yes, I do need to differentiate between the comic books and the inimitable duo of Steed and Peel because I am a nerd). Subgroups were whichever of the Adventure Time characters wears the white bunny or kitty hood (I’ve never seen the show), Korra (the blue outfit is easy to spot) and for the Avengers, Hawkeye and Loki were the most recognizable because there were so many ladies cosplaying them. It says something about how many decently characterized action adventure heroines there are (and how badly these mainstream studios are understanding who their audiences are). Actually regarding Loki, it does make sense that he would be so embraced by fangirls because the scriptwriters conveniently forgot his character motivation and any fangirl knows what to do when that happens: make something up that sounds good.

Anyway, because it would take far too long for me to explain in detail everything that happened in the exhibitor hall (and I missed a lot of it) I ended up writing a list of things seen at the convention. Part two of this Comic-Con report will detail out the panels that I attended (and took copious notes on).

Things I saw/did at Comic-Con

CrowdsThe crush of humanity. Always inconveniently located between where I was and where I wanted to go.

An item of clothing made from convention bags. Actually, there weren’t as many this time around as there had been years previous, but that might have been because the most coveted freebie big bags featured The Hobbit or Pacific Rim or Arrow.

Ensemble cosplayers.

Frustratingly long line. I didn’t even think about attempting the lines for Ballroom 20 and Hall H because waiting in line all day (and possibly all night) held no interest for me where there were other things on hand.

Faraday Cage GuyAwesome costume from a TV show/comic/book/movie I’ve never heard of. Or in my case, a performer who plays with Tesla coils in a Faraday suit.

Free books. The number of checks I have after this one is a matter of mild embarrassment and delighted glee. Fortunately, I also like to share the bounty.

Person who needs a shower. In this case it was one of the Society of Creative Anachronisms people who came down to the exhibitor hall in full armor that he’d been sweating in after beating some of his fellows with mildly padded weaponry. I wished there were some ninjas to drop from the ceiling and attack him with soap and water.

Walking in any direction and getting distracted. “I have to get to that panel li… ooh SHINY!”

Sitting through a panel you aren’t interested in, in order to see one that has more appeal. Some are better at that than others. Like those camping Hall H and Ballroom 20.

Paul and StormCool people in line. My favorites were the lines for book signings because we all had a love of books in common at the very least, but everyone was really nice about saving my spot (within reason). The best one was the line for John Scalzi as he signed Old Man’s War. Paul and Storm sang the George R. R. Martin song while we waited. No really.

Timekeeper desperately trying to stop a panel Alas this happened during a panel I wished would end. I’m glad someone else in the room agreed with me.

WaldoFind Waldo and/or Carmen Sandiego. I found Waldo waiting at the crosswalk and Carmen was on the trolley but I didn’t have a warrant.

A moment of “in any other venue that cosplayer would have been arrested for indecent exposure.”

“Oh god, MAKE ME UNSEE IT.” There is always something.

Stormtroopers.

Ghostbusters.

The Scarf. Just ask anyone who enjoys Doctor Who. The fourth Doctor’s 20 foot long multi-striped scarf is one the more recognizable costume icons in science fiction. There is always someone wearing one at Comic-Con. I pride myself on being a little more subtle and practical. I wore my seal of Rassilon sweater instead.

Knitted Jayne Hat. Lots of them. Since they are easy to make and don’t take umpteen different colors of yarn or a ton of patience (it’s a weekend project), they have proliferated like little woolly bunnies. Which is good because the convention center’s air conditioning was turned to the “Antarctic Winter” setting in some places.

Steampunk[insert technology here]-punk. Because creative themed costuming is cool.

Panel with no women and/or minorities on it. There will be more on this later when I go through all the panels I went to. And this year I went to a lot of panels.

Gifts for other people. Well, I tend to go to Comic-Con with a substantial shopping list. That and my parents won’t let me in their house without Terry Moore’s latest graphic novel.

Yarn BombYarn bombed walkway light. Because every day should have a little bit of yarn covered whimsy to it.

Long conversation with someone in authority in order to get something for free. My volunteering mishaps count but any time something said “ARC copy: not for sale” it was worth a shot.

“Is that what you look like?” Happens especially when meeting authors, artists and audio podcasters.

Adorable kid in costume. Kids are truly the best cosplayers, no matter how awful the costume would be on anyone else.

My next installment will cover the panels, where there was singing, trivia, a look at what geekdom was and where it should be going, and lots of dirty jokes.

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4 Comments

  1. Avatar MG says:

    As veteran of SDCC since ’05, I have to agree with this article. The volunteering was kinda….. murky for me. I elected to volunteered on the day of preview night because I want to get an assignment for the next day but unfortunately, I run into an issue with the security whom blocked me from doing my job. Fortunately, the people at volunteer desk were understandable about it and the people whom I worked with was so chill. I chose to get same assignment with them the next day because they’re good people.

    I really agree with you that it can get very cold at SDCC but I believe that it is to prevent from people sweating and stinking up the place. I have experience at other cons. Honestly, I’m truly relived about this.

    In my own personal opinion, I think that this is the greatest SDCC since ’08. I got to hang out with really cool people and got to hit up neat panels and having fun times whole time without any stress.

    Best cosplay at SDCC is that 8 year old girl in Weeping Angel costume. That is truly epic costume, that’s for sure.

    I don’t think I’ll ever stop going to SDCC because it’s the only con that I’m truly excited about compared to other cons.

    • Avatar Fellshot says:

      I did see that cosplay! There was also the baby dressed as the Hulk while his/her parents had dressed up as Hawkeye and the Black Widow. Too much cute! 😀

      I never had any problem with security. Had some nice conversations with a few of them actually.

  2. This magical wonderland of which you speak sounds incredibly confusing and great. One of these days…

  3. […] San Diego Comic-Con 2012 Report – Part Two Monday, July 30, 2012 To read the first article in this series on Comic-Con 2012, click here. […]

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