Here’s Kelson, with his experiences at the first day of Comic Con International in San Diego!
Whew! Every year I go to Comic-Con, I forget just how crowded it really gets. It
seemed busy when I arrived at 11:00, but as I joked to someone at the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund booth, you could still
see the floor, so it couldn’t be that bad yet! Actually, from what they
said, preview night was much more crowded this year.
There were a lot of familiar sights from last year — the giant Batman made out of
Legos, the oddly organic Sci-Fi Channel booth — and a lot of new sights. A pirate
ship towered above the floor atop an artificial island, part of a Pirates of the
There were a few people in costumes, but they weren’t out in force yet. Many of them were standbys like Indiana Jones, pirates, and Jedi — and lots of anime characters. So far nothing has jumped out as the popular costume of the year, unlike the years that seemed to have the entire Jedi Order in attendence.
Something that always surprises me is how, with so many thousands of people spread out across a gigantic hall and dozens of programming rooms, if someone you know is there, you’re practically guaranteed to run into them. I ran into groups of people from two local comic stores at different parts of the day. They weren’t at booths, they were exploring the hall too.
I barely scratched the surface of the main floor, mostly exploring the small press area and the exhibitor tables nearby. The crowds grew heavier as the afternoon wore on, and by the time I left, this morning really did seem light.
The two big panels I attended — Paramount and Lost — were very different in the general audience feeling. With Paramount, they were previewing so many different movies that there was a heightened feeling of anticipation in the room, almost like a concert. With Lost, it started out similarly, but slackened in the middle, as it became clear that (no big surprise) we weren’t going to get much in the way of answers, and it settled into waiting for the clip they had said they were going to show at the end.
Sadly, crowd control at the big panels was seriously lacking. It helps that they no longer clear the room between each panel, but they haven’t been keeping track of the lines very well. Half an hour before the Paramount panel, the line for Hall H wasn’t starting at the door and running along the outside wall as it was supposed to. It had doubled back, run along the wall in the other direction, and worked its way back inside the lobby. Amazingly, the staff didn’t realize that it was the line and were directing people outside! Ballroom 20 for the Lost panel was even worse. Instead of running down the hall, it went straight out, curved around, and eventually spiraled in on itself, with the end of the line at the center of the spiral!
In all the commotion, some of the moments that stand out were moments of stillness: pausing out on the nearly empty lawn after leaving Hall H, or watching a small bird that somehow made it into the main hall.
We had dinner at Indigo Grill in Little Italy. Our waitress had been to the convention for the first time today, and as we were getting ready to order dessert, she came up to us and said, “You know Stan Lee is here, right?” We looked, and sure enough, Stan Lee was just leaving the restaurant. Another group of fans walked out to where he waited for a taxi, and he chatted with them and posed for photos.