The Comic Con Experience

There were a lot of people this year! Since its beginnings in 1970, Comic-Con International: San Diego has grown into the world-wide phenomena of over 130,000 comics, movie, and science fiction fans, geeks, and nerds descending on the San Diego Convention Center for a multi-day event featuring dealers, programs, panels, film screenings, and more.

In the last few years, the event has spilled over into the parks, districts and stadium outside the Convention Center and related events around the greater San Diego area.

Tickets are nearly impossible to get these days. I got ours from a friend of a friend of a friend that works at IDW Publishing. And it was 24 hour notice, on standby, if no one else wanted them.

The lines were long for the good stuff – really long… people would campout the day before in a line to see their favorite event. Some friends of my daughter camped-out 25 hours before the event they wanted to see to be one of the first 100 in to get third-row center seats. Perfectly sane people would loose their ability to talk, get hysterical or even faint when they finally saw their heroes.

And the costumes! Amazing how elaborate they could be. It was obvious that some folks had spent a great deal of thought, time, and their finances into their costumes. For true cosplayers, the more obscure the character the better! We were in one of those long line next to a family from Ohio all dressed in elaborate costumes of obscure characters – dad’s costume was of a background character that appeared in a single issue of a comic… the weird thing – he said that 15 people recognized his character (mostly comic book insiders like writers and artists).

But despite the crowds, it was a relatively peaceful, joyful experience. I’m old school – I was there to see original comic book and cartoon art, artist and writers. My 12 year-old and her friend were there for the anime related program, panels, and film. Many others were there for science fiction programs, panels, film. An amazing experience. A global cultural phenomenon.