San Diego Comic Con 2012: A Nerd’s Perspective
I’ve only been to San Diego Comic Con once. In 2010. At the time I remember how insane it seemed to purchase tickets in September 2009 for an event taking place in July 2010. But it was an exciting life goal to cross off my list. My spouse and two closest friends were in attendance. We booked hotel rooms together and spent the weeks before planning out itineraries and scouting out the convention center. Or maybe just I did. Yeah, I think it was just me.
It’s a great experience. Not only is there a chance of spotting or chatting with your favorite writer, artist or celebrity, but you end up meeting all kinds of cool people in epic hours-long lines with the same kinds of passions and enthusiasms as you. Magic happens when people with like interests meet. I’m still Facebook friends with a couple we met in line for The Avengers panel, wherein we hugged random strangers afterwards because there was so much joy and love in the room.
Once in a lifetime was enough for me. Especially since topping The Avengers panel is pretty much impossible.
There was a moment in 2010 when we were standing in line to register and looking at the booth set-up for purchasing 2011 tickets. I almost dashed over and bought a ticket a year in advance. I thought better of it.
I don’t regret the decision. As much as I loved my San Diego Comic Con experience, there were parts of it that never jived well for me. The near-crushing at the WB booth, standing in line for hours to get some crappy trinket I wouldn’t buy with my own money (SWAG!), and the cattle like approach to meeting people you’d admire where the seconds-long interaction is a blur.
ALSO: The relentless product whoring and Hollywood inundation was stifling and frustrating. Everywhere you turned some movie or television show was jammed in your face. You essentially pay money and wait in long lines to be advertised to, all for the promise of exclusive content with leaks to the internet within days or hours anyway. You pay for the privilege of being a test market audience, radiating the promise of future box office profits to pleased investors. There is a seedy element to the manufactured fun at SDCC I never enjoyed.
If I want to be thrilled and entertained, I’ll book another vacation to Disneyland where my hopes of being taken to a dream world of magic ACTUALLY come true. AKA, I wouldn’t mind a comic book related theme park. OMG, can we finally get on this?
If I want to meet writers, artists or celebrities, I’ll attend local comic book conventions who are hosting equally cool industry and media guests within driving distance at affordable rates. And I’ll still be able to book a cool vacation this summer, maybe to witness some spectacle not crafted by man…like a forest or river or crater or cave or glacier or…you know, something natural.
Comic Con is wonderful for meeting people with similar interests. But you can do that anywhere, without having to travel across the world or country or to another state. Especially if you live in Portland, Oregon where a strong smattering of nerds reside. There are local events happening at the same time Comic Con transpires, specifically designed to cater to folks who weren’t able to earn a coveted golden ticket for this years dog and pony show. Savvy local comic book shops or publishers will take advantage of your crushing disappointment and give you an opportunity to spend your hard earned dollars. Don’t despair nerds.
There was a shining moment when SDCC was still affordable, exciting and within reach of the average nerd. That time has passed. More and more it’s becoming an entertainment industry event with closed rooms and parties, with press edging out the true fans for good seats and event tickets. SDCC may be the biggest game in town, but it’s not the only game in town, and coming from someone who’s been there…it’s not even the most fun. In fact, the best time I had was downing a cadillac margarita the last night we were there and giggling uncontrollably with my close friend as we took the long trolley ride back to our hotel.
What I’m most excited about? Emerald City Comic Con later this month (Katee Sackhoff, The Weasley Twins and cast of The Walking Dead!). Stumptown Comics Fest, picking up a copy of Between Gears and having it signed by the writer/author. Geek Girl Con in August. ALSO: The myriad local events happening for The Hunger Games (potential advanced screening and mall event in Seattle). The Avengers in May. All things I found out about sans a trip to San Diego.
Industry insiders and entertainment junkies cannot crush the true spirit of a nerd. Like an animal equipped with the ability to grow a new appendage, we will spring up in some other location and amass there, proudly proclaiming our right to consume popular culture in peace. Nerds are legion. Expect us. 😉