Comic-Con has come and gone. Throughout the weekend, over 150,000 people descended on downtown San Diego. From cosplayers to comic fans, twihards to RPG societies, and even stuff for kids, Comic-Con is arguably the biggest pop culture event in the world.
This year, Comic-Con started off in tragedy. A woman who was lining up days early for the Twilight: Breaking Dawn panel died after being struck by a car, as she attempted to get her place in line. So before I delve into the weekend, I first want to ask that whoever reads this wrap up, take time to say a prayer for those who lost a mother, grandmother, sister, daughter, or friend.
Comic-Con officially began on Thursday July 12, 2012. All weekend, fans were able to explore the massive, yet not spacious enough, exhibition floor, looking at incredible set pieces, purchasing collectibles, and mingling with artists and sometimes celebrities. On top of all this, you have the panels that take place throughout the day. From the most popular TV shows and movies going on in Hall H and Ballroom 20 (where you better show up around 6am or earlier to assure yourself entrance), to the different comic publishers panels, and also workshops, gaming, anime, and short films, and even spiritual themed panels, there is certainly something for everyone. Utilizing not just the convention center, but nearby hotels like the adjacent Marriott and Hilton, it becomes an overwhelming weekend. You definitely need a vacation from this “fun” filled vacation. And let’s not forget the happenings outside, where companies and studios try to get your attention with different events, from private screenings, to gaming areas, to barbeques. It is truly a busy event.
First off, it is impossible to see everything you want to see. You either don’t make it in, two things you want to see are happening at the same time, or you are just too tired to make the walk from one side to the other. One thing is for certain, even if you go prepared for it, it’s still overwhelming.
Of course, there are those that only go for one thing, so they don’t feel as overwhelmed. For instance, Hall H. Maybe the most popular room at Comic-Con. Here, people camp out for things such as Twilight, Big Bang Theory, Walking Dead, Hobbit, and Iron Man 3, just to name a few. It seems like every year, this Hall gets worse and worse. You basically pay to get a hotel room, but not to sleep in your hotel. Some fans camped out; others arrive as early as 2am. I arrived on Saturday morning at 6:30am to find a line that wrapped around behind the convention center to the marina. I thought I would never get in! But as 10am rolled around, and they started condensing the line to how it should be, I was surprised that I was still one of the 6,500 people that made it into Hall H. For those left outside, they can only pray that after each event, people actually clear out so that they get a chance to go in. Of course, this was the day that both WB/Legendary pictures and Marvel Studios were doing their presentations, back to back and late in the day. Basically, good luck getting in. And once in, you can spend your whole day in there without having to clear out after every panel. So if movies and television shows are your thing, Hall H is the place for you… just don’t expect to see anything else.
Outside of Hall H, the next popular room is Ballroom 20. Like Hall H, Ballroom 20 features some of the more popular television shows. It doesn’t hold quite as many people as Hall H, but it is still a huge room. Here, panels like the Firefly 10th anniversary, True Blood, Psyche, Dexter, and more take place. Again, depending what you want to see, be prepared to spend most of your day in here.
The rest of the programming makes things a little easier to get to, as long as you can navigate through the sea of people. Although I love getting away to beautiful San Diego, one can only wonder, should they actually move to Los Angeles? A bigger venue, with access to Staples Center, Nokia Theatre, and the whole LA Live area; for the amount of people that attend, they can probably house them better. Hopefully, San Diego can expand the convention center in order to help ease the mayhem.
One thing is for sure, Comic-Con is an easy target for Christian protestors. There is no doubt that many of the attendees have made the Con, the characters, the celebrities, an idol in their lives. And so, I wasn’t surprised to see people with signs in an attempt to spread the good news. Who knows, they may have even been able to reach someone through it. I do like what the Christian Comics Art Society does. They have a booth, and hand out free materials, and also have a listing of Christian artists that are at the con themselves. It’s a more subtle and gentle approach. Not that there is anything wrong with the “protestors,” although I did have an issue with the gentlemen with the bullhorn, who seemed more as an instigator than anything else. He continued to shout to people “Heaven or Hell” and other things as well. I applaud the effort to spread the good news, but the method didn’t seem like the right way to do things. I truly don’t believe that Christ’s mission was to offend people. As Christians, we need to have discernment in finding a way to communicate God’s message, and not just push the agenda because we have the right to. Because, isn’t the point to bring people to God, not drive them away?
So another year here and another year gone. If you’ve never been to Comic-Con, and are a fan of comics and pop culture, I urge you to try to make the journey at least once in your life.
Until next year San Diego!