This is a convention made for you!
That’s what my coworkers told me after informing me that I would be receiving a 4-day Professional pass and a ride down to San Diego Comic-Con 2015 in exchange for helping out with the one panel our company would be holding there. I had never been to Comic-Con. The expenses and difficulty involved in scoring a pass, hotel room, and parking spot had always deterred me; but at long last the gates were open and the angels were singing!
Of course, all the terrible things they say about Comic-Con are true. I spent hours waiting in lines and mincing around in tightly packed crowds every day, and I spent most of my nights wandering the carnival-like streets with puking coeds, and I spent the early hours of the mornings sleeping in the corner of some acquaintances’ hotel room. And I loved every second of it all.
I was like the proverbial kid in a candy store, running (figuratively, of course, as taking full-sized steps is impossible in such a mob) from booth to booth in the exhibit hall, full of wonder and excitement. They were right. This was a convention made for me.
The superheroes, the Walking Dead, the Sherlock, the Hunger Games, the Lord of the Rings, the Star Trek, and the Star Wars - oh, the Star Wars! My strategy was to not have a strategy. I didn’t set my heart on any particular panel or experience or exclusive item, and so I avoided much potential frustration and disappointment.
Everything I ended up doing was spontaneous and satisfying.
Somehow I still managed to pack in a full Comic-Con experience, even without having a plan or managing my time. I filled my bag with as many freebies as I could carry, I posed with as many prop replicas as they’d let me, I cosplayed, I attended a couple panels, I hit the playback room to watch all the panels I couldn’t attend, I had random celebrity encounters, and I only showered once! I won’t say that I did everything perfectly for my first Comic-Con, but everything I did was perfect.
The big question, though, was it worth it?
Because I got a sweet hook up…yes. If I had to pay for the passes and deal with the hotel lottery craziness on my own…I’m not so sure. The freebies weren’t mind-blowing and cost a lot of
waiting in line time to get. I bought things, but nothing I couldn’t have found later for less than the cost of the hotel room. And you’ll almost always be able to find somewhere to watch the panels after the fact. I suppose the real value of going through the trouble to be at Comic-Con is the ability to geek out at everything you’re seeing with a crowd of like-minded strangers who are suddenly crammed closer into your personal space than that fluffy neighbor on your last economy class flight. Sure, you may be privy to temporarily exclusive announcements and merchandise, but what you really come away with are memories and friends.