SDCC ’11: The Ultimate Con(fusion)

Anyone that loves comic conventions wants to go to San Diego Comic Con. It is the largest West Coast convention, and at one point the largest convention in the United States. It has held steady at roughly 130,000 attendees since 2010, and to be among that number most geeks see this as a stroke of amazing fortune. In 2011, Jeanette managed to get a hold of tickets for my friends and I, albeit for only one day, but the experience was an amazing overload generated from geekgasms and an overzealous joy. The next year was still filled with moments of calamity, but it set the stage for a 3 peat of successful con planning. This post will cover some of our general successes and follies from our first year.

SDCC 2011: Went Hard and Went Home

2011 was thanks in no small part to Jeanette’s perseverance, after roughly 4 hours of trying to get through the traffic jam of a system, 4 badges were in our hands. During that year, a little movie was doing some promotion, and we were lucky enough to score some free passes. We also had the brilliant idea to drive to San Diego Thursday night, in order to arrive Friday morning for the screening. When we arrived in the morning, the line was long, but it grew ten times the size while we waited for the theater to open. While in line, we were treated to some swag, visited by a friendly G4 correspondent, and were finally seated and greeted with 3D glasses. Chris Evans was actually at the screening as well and he came by to every theater to do a little pitch. Fighting through fatigue and a few tears (“Steve? Steve…?” How can you not shed a few) we emerged exhausted physically and emotionally.

Lesson Learned: Search for free events occurring in San Diego. There are a ton, you just have to plan ahead.

We took a little down time to rest up. We’d done some homework and found an “Epic Meal Time” event hosted at the House of Blues. The plan was to libate, sate and eventually rest up to go to our first Hall H experience the next morning. As luck would have it, the event was also hosted by Dice. One tweet later, and we had a free beer. That free beer was not enough and we decided to up the stakes. Long story short, our “Epic Meal Time” led to a night of epic failure and we suffered into the wee hours of the morning and missed our Hall H chance that year. (No pictures, just the fuzzy memories: here’s what we kind of remember.)

Lesson Learned: Social media activity can yield perks during the con weekend. Also, be well aware of your stamina; curb your enthusiasm before it gets the best of you.

With our strength drained, we decided to attend the con at our leisure, which was actually not so bad. Don’t get me wrong, I would have much preferred to spend my day basking in the glory of Hall H, but being forced to learn the ramifications of decisions was a worthy price to pay.

Walking the floor was an excellent experience and it was definitely great to see how much value the studios put into their booths. On top of that we saw some great innovative cosplays, and a couple of notable figures: LeAnna Vamp and DJ Mike Relm. It was easy to get tired, with the heat and general fatigue, so we decided to wait in a random line (It was for Ballroom 20, the second biggest panel room). We met a nice line goer and were able to get some camaraderie that the queues are known for. In the end, we didn’t end up in the panel, but we did get to wait in a line, and had a good laugh about the experience. That one day was not nearly enough, and even though we weren’t able to secure an on site badge purchase for the next year (that was the last year for on site purchases, I believe), we knew that we needed to return. And so, with a little luck a few months later, we managed to secure the coveted 4-Day plus preview night badges for Comic-Con 2012.

TL; DR: With some planning, luck and stamina, 1 Day at Comic Con can be awesome.

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