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I Have Survived My First Trip to San Diego Comic Con!

I have survived my first trip to San Diego Comic Con!

Let me start by saying that my goal is to blog each day this week about something associated with my trip to SDCC.

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My first blog this week will focus on the convention and the city itself.

My first time there, I spoke with a ton of people (both first-timers and veterans) about the con and the craziness that just overtakes the beautiful city of San Diego each year around this time. And one thing is for sure: most people believe that the city is too small to contain all that is SDCC. Do I agree with them? I’m not sure. It might just be the amount of people.

If you’ve never been, I can’t explain to you just how crowded the convention floor and streets surrounding the convention can get. The panel rooms and halls were not THAT bad, but the floor and streets were stupid. This may be the lack of space or it may be the simple fact that they allow too many people to attend the convention, but I’m guessing fire codes might have been broken. Funny enough though, as I sat against a completely empty wall, in a completely empty hallway, waiting for my wife to come out of the restroom, a security guard told me that according to the Fire Marshall, I was not allowed to sit or stand there. Why he wasn’t saving people from the camping, selfie-stick wielding, diaper-changing, costume-donning people in the middle of the show-floor aisles, I’ll never know.

Am I bitter about the crowds? I guess. It’s really hard to do anything on the show floor without being in the way. People have been hounding me for my pictures from the con. Well, I didn’t take any. And to the people selfish enough to block aisles for minutes at a time to get that seventh photo of the twelfth Harley Quinn you’ve seen that day…shame on you. People are trying to walk. Some dude got mad at me as I accidentally bumped his arm while he was taking a selfie of himself in front of some hats; to that guy, I say, get over it…you will come across another wall of hats at Macy’s or Lids.

However, the general news about the convention is not all that bad…hold on, wait a minute…I almost forgot to mention the group of people walking their bicycles down the crowded streets outside the con. WHAT!? Seriously, WHAT is wrong with you?! Anyway, I really enjoyed the panels, and the opportunity to listen to and learn from amazing speakers. I myself was on three educational panels that were very well-received (a later in the week post), but the entertainment panels were great. My wife got to see a drop-in panel with Bill Murray! She loved the Conan moderated Hunger Games panel. I got to see the Drunk History panel and many others on Friday. That experience was really neat, and the crowds around the panels I went to were fine. My wife didn’t even have an issue getting into Hall H. The panels and star-power of SDCC squashes all the other cons in the country, even New York, like, by a lot! And some of the panels were a bit away from the actual convention center which really worked to open things up…maybe that’s where San Diego might get a bit small? I’m not sure, but opening the convention up to more buildings and areas is a great idea to lessen congestion.

I also really dig the city and surrounding area of San Diego. Thursday, I pretty much stayed local at the convention, but after we were quickly done with the show floor on Friday, we headed to a café and made a plan to head over to La Jolla to explore the beach and surrounding area. We ended up having dinner at a place on one of the cliffs of La Jolla overlooking the ocean as the sun set. The view, food, and people were amazing! We did a lot of the same on Saturday. I do not understand the people that come from out of town and do nothing but explore the convention. Denver, OK, I guess (although if you have a car…wow!). Seattle, a little less OK. But places like San Diego, New York, Chicago? Do yourself a favor and explore the cities in which you travel to for conventions, if you have time. At least get away and sample some local cuisine. Anyway, thank you, San Diego for being beautiful and awe-inspiring.

My last comment has to do with the title. While this Comic Con has been going on for quite some time, this convention does not have much to do with comics much anymore, and you can’t justify the comic movie trailers that get released there because most people that go to those panels and see those movies do not even read comics…which is cool, but you get it; many people just want to catch a glimpse of Ben Affleck. I’ve heard that every year, comics have been getting pushed out, and some vendors have even stopped attending because people are not going to the convention to buy comics anymore. While this is sad, I understand that it’s just not what this convention is about anymore, but if you are into comics, there are plenty of cool stores and conventions to get your fix.

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Would I go back? Yeah, but I doubt I’d even go near the show floor next time. I would spend my time and energies presenting, attending panels, and networking for comics in the classroom. If you are looking for it, there are people there to engage in those conversations, but you have to go to the right panels.

I hope you check back each day this week to see what new angle I’ve taken on the trip. There will be book reviews, and educational panel reviews.

Happy reading!

Safe summer travels…

Eric

@comics_teacher
mr.kallenborn@gmail.com