By: Gerry Alexander
So after 165,000 people, 8 Slave Leias, 4 War Machines, 2 TV Panels and a stabbing, news on The Avengers and Thor, I am finally at home recovering and not seeing gaily dressed cosplayers wherever I look. Yes, my first Comic Con has been and gone, and I am a better person for it.For those not in the know, the San Diego Comic Con began in a hotel basement organised by Sheldon Dorf in San Diego just over 41 years ago. Across the last four decades, it has grown into the largest, if not the most important pop culture event in the world.
There may be more bandes dessines and comic books at Angloueme in France, there may be more cosplayers at the Anime Expo in Japan, but for the sheer scale of impact across the entire media spectrum there is nothing that compares with San Diego. It is four and a bit days of programming beginning at 0930 in the morning and ending outside the Convention Centre sometime after 0300.
The big news that came out of the Con concerns the two big movies, one scheduled for this year, Scott Pilgrim Versus The World, (see the internet for the relevant trailers), and The Avengers, due for a summer 2012 release which finally united the entire cast along with geek guru Joss Whedon onstage in the gigantic Hall H.
Admittedly I couldn’t be fagged with waiting for 4 hours to get in to the hall but within an hour of the announcements being made (Jeremy Renner of “The Hurt Locker” being cast as Hawkeye/Clint Barton and Mark Ruffalo being cast as Bruce Banner/The Hulk - taking over from Edward Norton in the role) the level of nerd excitement had managed to hit Level Orange in the Geek Rating Advisory System. Both look awesome, both are generating an unwholesome amount of interest in their release dates and goings on. You can check out more about them online elsewhere on these interwebs: Scott Pilgrim has its own website and the Avengers news is covered in depth at Ain’t It Cool News and other locations.
I was unashamedly there for the comics. And apparently the queueing. One thing that every veteran con attendee told me: don’t mind the queues, and wear comfortable shoes.
This is advice I chose to follow and as a result was spared pain in my extremeties and actually got to meet and chat with a bunch of interesting folks. Whilst we queued. Sometimes for hours. The only time I decided to cut my losses and run was for the Saturday morning “Chuck” panel. Although the doors opened at 0930, with the panel beginning at 10:00 by 10:45 I would hit my wall and decided that I was going to find something more entertaining to do. Inadvertently this led to the best “Blimey, what happened there?” moment of the Con for me.
Cutting out of the line I decided to have a quick ciggie in the smoking section and sidled up to a couple of folks already lit. Approaching them I asked the gentleman for a light, which he was kind enough to provide. It was only when I saw his Con badge that I saw his name - John Dimaggio - better known to most Futurama fans as Bender the Robot.
On the inside I nerdgasmed quietly. But back to the beginning - although I wasn’t able to attend the preview night on Wednesday I arrived fresh and eager on Thursday morning, to be blown away by the 50 metre Scott Pilgrim poster and the Klingon subway signs that the municaplity had put up for the con. Making my way into the main Exhibition Hall with my new chums I saw the largest concentration of geeks, nerds, poindexters and fantasists that I would ever laid eyes on.
I snapped a couple of photos of the main floor later in the week - when you look at these, remember THIS IS ONLY HALF OF THE ROOM. In four days I picked up a number of back issues which add to my collection, queued for a couple of hours to get a sketch from the Master Milo Manara , wandered around Artists Alley getting sketches from those artists kind enough to draw and met and hung on the every word of several pop culture icons.And saw more people in costume than I thought was possible.
It’s only with a couple of days recovery and with consultation to the copious notes kept during that Con that I’m able to report anything other than it was great! But for those that are interested here’s the bitesize versions of what happened in those heady days of July 2010. If you want more informatiion or expansion, let me know and I’ll regale you with further tales of queueing and sitting, wandering and pitching. Having arrived at San Diego on the Wednesday night I went straight into it on Thursday morning - here’s the unedited stream-of-consciousness notes and details. (to be continued)