A lot has been written lately about how inaccessible San Diego Comic-Con has become to the average fan. Between the ridiculous ticket situation and $700 per night hotel rooms, I am inclined to agree. The cost and logistics involved in attending SDCC put it out of reach for most who aren’t industry insiders or friends of industry insiders.
I was able to attend the event for the first time this year, only because I am a member of the latter group. Friends in weird places. Or something. Badges were secured at the last minute, along with a hotel room and parking at the Manchester Grand Hyatt, all gratis. My girlfriend and I left Los Angeles on Thursday morning and a mere two and a half hours later, we were smack dab in the middle of Nerdville, USA.
When we first pulled into town, I was blown away by how much SDCC is embraced by the city of San Diego. Obviously, it brings in hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue for the local economy each year, but residents and businesses really get into it. The valets at our hotel were all wearing Batman t-shirts and the front desk folks were decked out in Captain America apparel. Buses, trains and entire buildings were wrapped with giant advertisements for movies and TV shows. Restaurant employees, cab drivers and security guards all seemed genuinely happy to have us there.
Yes, it gets crowded. 130,000+ people invaded downtown San Diego this year. And yes, it’s a giant marketing opportunity for movie studios, publishers and toy manufacturers. That’s okay. These are the people who make the things we love.
A little patience goes a long way at Comic-Con. Two of my friends were almost trampled to death by rabid Game Of Thrones fans when the cast walked onto the convention center floor. Although my previous statement is a slight exaggeration of the truth, that is the only negative thing I heard about all weekend.
Spoiler alert: I had a great time! Everyone was smiling. People were excited to be there and generally polite. Whenever I did accidentally bump into someone, or got bumped into, the exchange of apologies was cordial and enthusiastic.
Having fun at Comic-Con doesn’t require waiting in line for three days to get into Hall H or getting up at the crack of dawn to try and snag every single exclusive item from every single booth. I bought a couple of cool toys and some awesome t-shirts, ate really good food at local restaurants, hung out with friends and even got to meet a few artists and celebrities.
A lot of creativity and hard work goes into this event every year and seeing it all come together will absolutely blow your mind. San Diego Comic-Con made me feel like a kid again. If you are unable to enjoy yourself in this environment, you are either lost or you’re trying way too hard.