The Movie Waffler Post Comic-Con | The Movie Waffler

Post Comic-Con

TMW's Andy Comer was present at this year's San Diego Comic-Con. Here are his thoughts.

The granddaddy of all conventions, San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC), has come and gone all too fast and, as usual, it was an amazing week, filled with thousands of nerds getting their fill of everything they love. In case someone is just stumbling upon this and has no clue what SDCC is, it is the international comic convention that is held each year in San Diego. And each year, more and more people fill its halls seeking thousands of collectibles, hundreds of diverse panels, celebrities, cosplayers and the ability to let their geek flag fly proudly with thousands of other nerds not all too different from themselves. It is the Mecca equivalent of pop culture. As I mentioned before con, everyone comes for different reasons but, universally, I think the reason we all go back year after year is for the memories and the friends we make along the way. Yes, I know that sounds corny but as corny as that sounds, it is absolutely true! And this year was no different for me: I met people from England, Australia and Ireland. I made friends from California, New York, Texas and, ironically, Iowa (my home state). I purchased my yearly Predator collectible from the Neca booth, snagged the SDCC Godzilla Mondo print, and ended up coming home with twice as many tee-shirts in my bag (half of which were completely free). I took over 400 pictures and saw footage for films that have yet to be released to the public. I slept two hours on the grass outside the infamous Hall H and at 2am, while I tried to sleep, I tweeted in music requests to the Nerd HQ party at Petco Park across the street. I ran into Brian Posehn, three different times, got a quick picture with Matt Mira and, after keeping an eye out for her for four days, I finally ran into the lovely Raychul Moore before she had to head out to a photo shoot. 
Needless to say, my favorite week of the year was just that, and I cannot wait for next year! In fact, my buddy and I refuse to take any time off planning for next year; we have some great cosplays that we hope to have done by next July and with many other friends interested in joining, I’m sure next year will be even greater than this year. Actually, this year was so awesome that when I got home it didn’t feel right being there. I felt really out of place because everything was moving too slow. It’s weird, I didn’t feel it until I woke up in my own bed but because I didn’t have to quickly get ready to catch the bus down to the convention center I almost felt lost. SDCC “experts” call this the con hangover, and it hit me hard this year; hell, I wanted to have this article done a week ago, but because of work and helping my family with stuff I just couldn’t find the time to even unpack! Yeah, my suitcase is still on my floor with some stuff in it and I have been home just over a week!
The best thing about being back, though, is reliving the week in the stories I retell with each person who asks, “How was comic-con?” I always start off with, “Awesome!” Then, I spend the next hour going into details of Hall H, the cosplays, the crowds and the adrenalin. It is truly intoxicating and I’m sure it’s obvious that I love SDCC more than I probably should. To some that don’t follow SDCC, it sometimes seems like they don’t actually believe what I am telling them, and I understand of course, it sounds too good to be true because sometimes it truly is. Ultimately, though, I don’t have to make anything up because real life always ends up being crazier than anything I could make up. 
It’s especially with the celebrity encounters that most people either get starry-eyed and ask if they can join me the following year or they just don’t believe it and ask why there would be so many celebrities at a comic book convention, and its simple: Hollywood is taking over. No one can deny that, especially, with the way it’s commandeered Hall H, the largest hall of the entire center. And even at that the hall holds a mere 6,500 attendees (only 5% of the total attendance at the con over the week) and it always fills to capacity, with a line of at least 2,000 more outside, hoping to get in some time to catch a glimpse of their favorite celebrities talking about their favorite shows or films. Hall H is pure anarchy and everyone at con knows the stories of what people have to go through to get into the hall. There is even a saying, a sort of spin of the famous Lord of the Rings quote, “One does not simply walk into Hall H.” And the reason for this is because of Hollywood’s presence in the form of hit TV shows, future hit films, and big name stars that thrill and entertain. Even the event staff goes crazy for Hall H, as you make the final stretch to the doors where they check your badges, the staff are on both sides of you cheering you on and high-fiving you, like you had just ran a marathon or you just won the lottery, because in a way you sort of did.
Now, Hollywood isn’t just in Hall H; it’s everywhere. There are smaller panels for other shows and smaller films, and the exhibition floor is full of studio booths promoting their films. They have action figures, books, tee-shirts, cups, and anything else you could want to show your friends at home you are a bigger fan of that certain movie than them. Some may think the “Hollywood invasion” isn’t that great because what was once a place for comic book fans to come and meet others who collect comics has become more diverse, but SDCC is still that place. They still have people selling and buying comics on the exhibition floor. Yes, there are more people attending that may not collect, but they are there, and because they are there, they help keep the cons going. And who knows? While they are there with some downtime between events, they could stroll by a random booth and find some comic that they fall in love with. Bam, just like that--there is another comic book fan. 
Sorry, I kind of went off on the Hollywood vs Comic Book tangent, but it is something I’ve had many conversations about since I began attending SDCC. I truly believe that Hollywood’s ever-growing presence is a good thing. But who knows? Maybe I am just biased because I love film so much. What do you guys think? Do you think that they should make comic-only and Hollywood-only conventions separate? Wow, just typing that actually made me feel really weird, it’s like a civil rights question. No, I don’t think they should split up the cons, but how do you feel about it? Let me know and let’s talk about it and maybe we can come to some sort of understanding. 

Well, I’m pretty sure I have emphasized my love for SDCC enough for one article, and I will leave those of you who think it is too ungodly expensive for you to attend. Yes, my friends and I have spent on average about $1,500 for our yearly trip and it is worth every penny. If you have any desire to even try it out one year, go for it; start saving now, and maybe next year I will meet you in a line. Or a few years down the road we will be entertaining each other with grand stories of the celebrity you met the night before. All you have to do is save, and win the game of getting badges and hotels, but besides those things, it’s all a great bit of fun!

Andy Comer