What is Comic Con? I’m asked that question with surprising regularity and, truth be told, about two years ago I didn’t know either. I’d heard of it, thought it no more than some sort of weird comic book gathering for emotionally stunted adolescents but how wrong I was.In the simplest terms, Comic Con is a four-day pop-culture convention located in San Diego, California, at the convention center. If it is currently found in the world of entertainment, you will find it at Comic Con (hereafter referred to as “the Con” – the biggest of all comic conventions). Film, television, books, games & computer games, toys, figures, posters, t-shirts, and memorabilia all lurk in one form or another at the Con. The convention floor is 600,000+ square feet of attractions, booths, vendors, and artwork combined with a cacophony of noise, music, chatter, and energy. The entire San Diego Convention Center covers a scant 2.6 million square feet and the Con uses almost every inch to cater to the 130,000 annual visitors. It is truly something to behold.
When I said the Con caters to film (read: Hollywood), I mean exclusive previews along with the stars themselves brushing elbows with the crowds. When I say television, I mean series premiers and once more, the stars making themselves available to the mayhem of the Con faithful. In the couple of years I’ve attended, I’ve personally seen Kevin Bacon, Simon Pegg, Vin Diesel, Emmy Rossum, Katie Sackhoff, Joss Whedon, James Spader, Jim Caviesal, Brent Spiner, Karl Urban, Chris Hardwick, Minka Kelly, Giancarlo Esposito, and dozens of others. I’ve seen the entire cast of The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, Revolution, Bones, Shameless, Person of Interest, Almost Human, to name one or two.
When I say seen, I don’t mean a glancing blur across a room, I mean within 20 feet; sometimes personally meeting these stars. And for those who say, “Bah, they are just people and nothing special.” Okay, I would agree with the whole they are “people” bit but there is no doubt meeting someone in-person who I’ve seen and admired their work on television or film for years is an enjoyable experience. Sometimes it enhances their image (much like Vin Diesel, what a fabulous guy) and sometimes is detracts (talk at length to George RR Martin fans for an insider opinion).
The Con is a festival of sights, sounds and shenanigans, an armful of experiences and emotions, with surprises lurking around each aisle and panel. Tickets sell out months in advance, as do hotels and air fares. One does not simply turn up to the Con and expect to get in. At the conclusion, you are exhausted, entertained, and left with indelible memories of yet another Con.