By the time you see this comic, the conclusion to my five part series of SDCC predictions, the con will technically be over. I will likely be more cognizant and in good health than my illustrated adventures would suggest, but only just barely. I had a revelation about San Diego Comic-Con this year. In the years, months and weeks leading up to the show I posted some rather negative thoughts about the SDCC exhibitor experience. It’s too big, too poorly organized, too expensive, too not focused on comics… etc, etc. These things are all still true, but most of them are true (in some way) of most North American conventions. I finally realized that there are two contributing factors that make SDCC seem like such a monster by comparison. They are A) The 2 extra days and B) the 100,000 extra people.
Let me explain. Regarding A), most comic conventions are 3 days long, Friday through Sunday. Anime conventions are usually 4 days, but you can easily skip the first day as most anime kids are in school on Thursday. You can also skip the next day as well as the two following days, because most anime conventions are macabre pits of despair and torment. San Diego, on the other hand, is 5 days. 5 ACTUAL days. The show starts properly on Wednesday and there are 10’s of thousands of people there on Wednesday ready to go go go! That means you really need to be there on Tuesday to set up, if not first thing Wednesday morning. Even then, you still might be flying in on Tuesday and either way you’ve committed almost a solid week to this show. This is all compounded by the fact that due to its size and scope, one day at SDCC feels like 4 at any other show. By the time you crawl out of the airplane and back into your own bed, you’ve lost the mental, and emotional equivalent of at least a year. When you break it down, no 1 day of SDCC is that draining or even unpleasant at all. It’s the week that you lose that makes it feel that way.
Concerning B), there is no other comic type convention in the world where 100,000+ people attend the show (ie are walking around on the show floor), and an ADDITIONAL 100,000ish people are just IN SAN DIEGO for some reason. I mean people that don’t have show floor badges, but are still in town for parties, panels, offsite events and shmoozing. This means any time you try to pop outside for a quick lunch, you are immediately sucked up in a veritable sharknado of human beings. A humnado, if you will. The noise and congestion and chaos created by all of these additional bodies makes the streets outside of the convention extremely unwelcoming and tumultuous, especially if you aren’t a huge fan of crowds.
Add to both of these factors that the hotel lottery for SDCC is a fucking nightmare, and the airlines jack up their prices for all San Diego flights for that week and you’ve got a really fantastic, amazing, extremely special event that ends up feeling like a life-sucking, anarchistic struggle for survival. It really isn’t that, though. It’s the former. It’s quite the spectacle and something of a Mecca for geeks, nerds, fans and fun-havers. I’m going to strive to remind myself how lucky I am to get to do things like San Diego Comic-Con for MY ACTUAL JOB, and complain less about the minor inconveniences. I’m also going to stop suggesting people, fans and exhibitors alike, stay away from the show at all cost. It’s a worthy pilgrimage. Even if you only make it once, you should probably make it.
My friend Lar said (repeating something he’d heard during the con), “SDCC is like mowing your front lawn. If you enjoy it, you’re weird, but if you don’t do it for awhile people start to worry about you.” That’s incredibly right, but I am going to try and be more like the weird guy that enjoys it, instead of the guy I am now who probably wishes he could ignore it and make it go away. That said, please don’t hold me to any of this come late June next year.
When this week is over, would anyone be interested in a poster/print of all 5 days on one page?
COMMENTERS: What event/time of year do you both love and dread?