What is it that’s so freaking special anyways?
Why won’t this guy shut up about it? (LOL, good luck)
Read on and I’ll share some of what I feel are the most magical elements about this convention. The things that helped propel it to national recognition and an event worth an expensive cross country trip to attend!
IT’S THE LARGEST COMIC BOOK AND TOY STORE IN THE WORLD.
For four days, merchants from across the country fly their goods in and set up shop at Comic-Con. There are rows upon rows of vendors, who in turn have set up rack after rack after rack of golden, silver and bronze age comics. There’s also table after table of longboxes. And shelf upon shelf of TPBs and Novels. There’s specialty comics, foreign comics, independent comics, exclusive comics, graded comics and above all, hard to find comics. Plus these guys all have come to MOVE merchandise, so if you wait til Sunday, people slash the hell out of their prices! You’re guaranteed to get a good deal!
Plus there’s millions of action figures, statues, accessories, toys, trading cards, dolls, you name it. And it’s certainly not just new stuff! There’s vendors from all over the world selling things that you’ll NEVER find in stores. Even if you COULD find some of this stuff in stores, some of it hasn’t been released yet! Some of it is exclusive and will NEVER be released! Just like comics, these are the most collectible of the collectibles. Old and hard to find stuff. Rare items. Not so rare items. Stuff that’s marked down to nothing, stuff that carries price tags that will blow you away. Enough racks and shelves of Toys to fill your local Toys R Us five times over.
But it doesn’t stop there. Posters, paintings, Tshirts, board games, you name it. If it’s collectible and related to comics or pop culture in any way shape or form, there’s a ton of it there. I mean, the first thing I found on preview night (that wasn’t a Hollywood studio booth) was this tshirt stand. I couldn’t believe it. It had more tshirts than any store I’d ever been in in my life (Even those Cape Cod tourist traps that are nothing but), and they were all geek related. I wandered around it and inside of it, just amazed at how many tshirts there were. And you know what? There were three or four more stands just like it waiting to be discovered later on.
I’m serious. For four days, this place is the flea market of your dreams.
By now, I think that everyone knows that Comic-Con is one of the biggest Cosplay events in the world. It’s widely known that all kinds of people dress up in superhero costumes, or Star Wars outfits, or Anime getups, or whatever else you can imagine.
What people can’t imagine is the scope of this thing.
Honestly, I think that probably 1 out of every 10 people have some sort of costume. It’s just a guesstimate, but if its right, that would mean over 10,000 people in costume. Which, I guess, is probably about right? I don’t know. I wish someone could point me to the stats.
I do know what the experience was like though. Seriously, by the end of the fourth day, a fully grown adult could walk by you in a Zelda costume – I mean, full out elf get up, sword, everything – and you wouldn’t even turn your head.
On Day One I remember heading up to the convention center with my buddy Jay and saying “Oh! Look Stormtroopers!!” as I saw my first costumed attendees. I hurriedly snapped some long distance photos. By day four, I recall thinking “Stormtrooper. Great, buddy, why don’t you try and differentiate yourself next time?” Suffice it to say I had seen enough Stormtroopers to make me a little jaded.
There are good costumes, Bad costumes, Superhero costumes that look like movie worn authentics, and crappy ones that seem like they came out of a drug store costume box. It’s not just limited to Superheroes, of course, there’s anime, movie stuff, original “Who are you supposed to be” type costumes, all kinds of people in Steampunk getups. I mean it’s crazy. You’re pretty much guaranteed to see Indiana Jones, the Ghostbusters, every single Star Wars characters (plus I saw TWO real life R2D2s), Na’avis, Harry Potter Wizards, the Big Lebowski, the list goes on and on.
It’s TONS of fun. Like being in a Disneyland for adult movie geeks.
SEEING THE CELEBRITIES IN PERSON, MAYBE EVEN MEETING THEM.
Comic-Con has a full slate of TV, Movie and Comic Book panels running all day each day of the convention. It gives you many many opportunities to see the stars, directors, writers, artists and any other type of creative individual you can imagine within the TV, Movie, Comic Book or Video Game industry. As I said in the “Three Things I Hate” column, these are powerful experiences if you’re a big fan.
In the first panel I saw with Tim Burton in 2009 (he was on two, Disney’s for “Alice and Wonderland”, and then “9”, which he was producing), he brought out Johnny Depp for like 30 seconds to end the “show”. All Depp did was walk out, waive to the crowd, grab the mike and say “Tim Burton everyone!!”, but that was all the crowd needed. The place went nuts. Shrieking girls (the Twilight crowd was in the house), everyone on their feet, cameras flashing like mad, it was crazy! 30 seconds, and I walked around all day and told people, I saw Johnny Depp earlier. Called people at home over it.
Now that’s a testament to the star power of Johnny Depp more than anything. But it illustrates the type of experience you can have at Comic-Con.
In addition to the panel settings (which can actually be kind of dry, depending on the celebrities), you also get an opportunity to get autographs from a wide variety of people, from comic book talent, and novelists, to movie and tv stars. I got to chat with Battlestar Galactica alums Edward James Olmos and Michael Hogan, and shake hands with Leonard Nemoy. I got my picture taken with Bent Spiner. It was one of my favorite elements of the con, and now that I KNOW how fun it is, I’m going to definitely be working more of them into my plans.
So that’s it. There’s more to love than that, especially getting to meet so many other fans from all walks of life… but those are the three biggies. And I’m gearing up to experience it again this week!!
Keep checking back in and I’ll keep you all posted the very best that I can!