Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Comic-Con 2009 - Preview Night

As promised, heres the first of five posts about Comic-Con. I almost titled this "How Twilight ruined Comic-Con" but I instead went with the generic and figured Id just interweave bits and pieces here and there and hopefully youll get how sparkly vampires ruined it, or at least altered it for the worse. So yeah...


I basically take one vacation a year, and its not even a real vacation, its more like an extended weekend, but its to go to Comic-Con. My excitement starts mid-June when the first bits and pieces of information are released, it increases once July hits and the information starts piling up, and it continues to build right up until Preview Night when Comic-Con unofficially officially starts.
At 11:45am on Wednesday, as I clocked out of work, my excitement had built to an easy 11. I picked up some last minute necessities - like granola bars - and then rushed home, loaded my backpack, and practically sat on the edge of my bed watching the clock slooowly tick off one minute after another on its way to the magic hour of 3pm when we were going to leave.
Once we left the house we made a scheduled stop at Target, then had to go back home to get a forgotten item, then to Jack In the Box for food, then back to Target again. Slight delay, but now we were set and the fun was about to begin.

Or not.

Its about 3:30pm when we arrive at the Convention Center, and upon stepping out of the car my excitement was very quickly replaced by shock, fear, dread, and an overall "Youre f'n kidding me!" feeling.
There, sitting on the grass, are about 100 people. In some sort of a... a line. My "uh-oh" detector gets a ping, but I ignore it for the moment and start to walk towards the Convention Center and see - to my horror - tents, sleeping bags, air mattresses, and people lined up on the side of the building in a makeshift city. The "uh-oh" meter? Off the charts.
Something isnt right and so I go up to one of the Elite security guards who was standing nearby and I asked him what the people on the grass were doing and he looks at them, then at me, and says "I have no idea what theyre doing, but the people over there (pointing to the "city") are in line for Twilight." As soon as he finished that sentence, he was informed by people getting in the grass line that it too was for Twilight. My jaw almost hit the floor.
Let me remind you that its 3:30 in the afternoon on Wednesday, and the Twilight panel wasnt until Thursday at 2 in the afternoon. At this point, these people are in line an entire day before what they want to see is even happening. And I would find out later that the "city" had actually been there since Tuesday. TWO DAYS EARLY!

And that is why Twilight ruined Comic-Con.

Yeah, I know, you dont know how that ruined anything, so Ill explain further. Once the doors open for a panel room at Comic-Con you can sit there until the last panel ends and the doors close. That can literally be all day. And some rooms - specifically Hall H - people do exactly that. And thats one of the reasons backpacks full of water and snacks are essential. So even though Hall H holds roughly 7000 people and youre more than likely to get in, getting good seats for your group is top priority, otherwise youre going to be way in the back of the room looking at dots on the stage.
Last year, we got tickets to see an advanced screening of Tropic Thunder, so we decided to leave Comic-Con early that Friday to go home, shower and change, and then catch the movie later that night. On our way to the car we walked past Hall H and saw that there were maybe five people in line for Saturdays panels. This was about 7pm and people were pointing and taking pictures cuz everyone thought they were nuts to get in line that early for the next days panels.
After the movie ended we drove past Hall H and decided to just hop in line and sleep there. This was about 4am, we were about 75th in line, and the doors opened at 10. We thought we were hardcore cuz we were sleeping outside for 6 hours.
Now take that information and apply it to what my mind was trying to grasp at 3:30pm this year: there are already two lines comprising a couple hundred people, one is basically a city, and were still 19 hours from the doors opening for Hall H. Now you can see why the fear and shock showed up.
"What are we going to do? Do we go home and come back in the morning as planned? Do we skip Preview Night and hop in line? Do we forget about Hall H altogether? WHAT DO WE DO?!"
I didnt actually verbalize that right then, but I kept thinking it over and over as me, Mary, and Steve walked to get out passes. While we walked, I called Justin and let him know about the dumb vampire fans, and we hastily came up with a plan: me, Mary, and Steve would try to enjoy Preview Night and then Justin would meet us outside at 8pm and wed all get in line. For the next day. At 10am.

Real men dont sparkle, dammit!

So the three of us head upstairs, get out badges and go to get in line for the exhibit floor which opens at 6... but its full. So we go to get in another line, but its full too. We finally get into the third line, but were pretty deep in it. Not a huge deal, just means well get onto the floor 10 minutes after everyone else. Last year Mary and I got into the first line, and that was at about 5pm. Things change.
Having some time to kill, I get a bright idea to go walk outside and check on the Hall H line. What could be the harm in taking a quick walk? I get there, see that about 50 people had joined it and I called and gave Justin an update. So far so good. Im walking back and I try to get into the door I exited and, despite having my badge already, Im told I have to get into the huge line of people that have yet to get theirs. Umm... no.
I decide to cut the line and a minute later Im in the building. I go up the escalator to get back to Mary and Steve and if I make a right Im right there with them, but no, Im directed to go left and get in another line for people that are getting badges. Umm... no again.
I walk directly to the front of the line and then walk right in the door. I make my way to the other side and again tried to get to Mary and Steve. All thats separating us is one of those rope things but its being guarded by, well, a guard who well call "Bob." He tells me that I cant pass the rope and that Id have to "go around that way" even though I can see my people and point them out to "Bob." He says sorry and directs me to "that way" again and so like a good boy, I go around.
After my five minute walk I end up LITERALLY on the other side of the rope. No joke! Instead of looking at "Bob" face to face, Im now right behind him. Ridiculous.
Now theres another guard for me to speak to and I tell him that my people are right around the corner in line and he says "ok, but this is an exit only" and if I go past him I cant come back. I say ok, and I go around the corner and theres yet another guard who stops me and he wants to know what Im doing and I say Im trying to get back in line and he says "Did I give you a password?" I never saw this guy when I left, so the was no password to be given, and I look at him, kinda frustrated, and I say "Were you supposed to?" and he just shakes his head and tells me to go ahead and I finally get back in line with my people.
My quick jaunt turned into a ridiculous trip, but at least it gave me something to write about.

To be totally honest, I dont really remember much of what we did inside. We walked the floor, saw some cool stuff, but other than that its a blank to me. Hmm...

Its now 7:50 and we head outside to go meet up with Justin and hop in line. Once were in - about 400 deep - Justin and I went home to shower and change and get supplies and then we went back and Mary and Steve went.
Once all of us were together again, it was roughly 11pm and we had to try and get some sleep cuz Comic-Con: Day 1 was right around the corner.

Til next time...

-- DBW --

Im back

Hello my friends we meet again, its been awhile, where should we begin.....

The pretty much sums it up, havent really posted in a while, for various reasons I havent really felt much like doing so, and I will make no promises that Ill do better in the future. Ill try, but... well... Ill try.
Over the next couple days I plan on blogging about my Comic-Con adventures. One post per Comic-Con day, five posts in all. Thats the plan anyway. Anyone willing to take bets on if thats what actually happens?
I shall leave you now and get back to writing about Preview Night or, in comic book terms, Comic-Con: Day Zero.

By the way, a "No-Prize" to anyone that knows where my opening line comes from.

See ya in a few...

-- DBW --