My First Experience at Comic Con

Comic Con 2011

I have never been much of a comic book/video game fan.  My knowledge of science fiction is essentially compiled of Star Wars and the recent major Hollywood films such as X-Men.  Never in my wildest dreams did I expect to find myself walking alongside the geekiest of costumed nerds into the biggest comic book/science fiction convention of the year – Comic Con.  All that changed when I was offered a highly coveted, totally cost-free opportunity to enter into the San Diego Convention Center doors for a look into the world of magic and super powers.

Transformers Robot towers over crowd.

When I hopped onto the free Comic Con shuttle, my first surprise was that there were actually totally normal people on the bus.  A feeling of relief washed over me; I was not the only average person attending Comic Con 2011.  Perhaps there were several other people like me who were blindly walking into the convention with little previous knowledge of comics.

The shuttle arrived at the convention center, and I picked up my press pass.  Then the adventure began as I entered the Exhibit Hall.  Thousands of people filled the hall to view everything from the actual transformers robot to Playboy Playmates.  Overwhelmed, I wandered around viewing the booths and snapping pictures.  The more I absorbed it all, the more I realized I actually enjoyed much of what was being celebrated at the convention.  Maybe Comic Con was not just for nerds after all…

Jeffrey Weissman and I pose for a picture.

Jeffrey Weissman who played George McFly in Back to the Future2 & 3 was the first actor I encountered.  I have grown up adoring the movie, so I asked if I could snap a photo with him.  Only when I flashed my press pass did he happily agree.  He currently lives in Northern California and is continuing to pursue an acting career.

I naively attempted to attend a panel session with the Napoleon Dynamite cast and showed up twenty minutes before it started.  Around five hundred people were already anxiously in line, and the room filled up far before I ever got a chance to enter.  It became quickly obvious that the only way to attend almost any panel session would be to wait in line for well over an hour.  With no patience and an empty stomach I soon gave up.  However, as I was walking away I did catch a glimpse of Diedrich Bader before he entered the room.  He stopped to pose for a couple of pictures and seemed very friendly.

Elijah Wood talks to ecstatic fans while promoting his newest movie, Wilfred.

The highlight of my day was easily when I saw Elijah Wood up close and personal.  I have watched Lord of the Rings countless times and consider Wood an amazing actor.  While signing autographs, he saw someone he knew and the two of them began to make conversation.  It was exciting to watch him interact with a friend and show his true personality.  He really does have piercing blue eyes in person, by the way.

My afternoon at Comic Con 2011 turned out to be very insightful.  The following tips may help other newbies walk into Comic Con a little less blindly than I did.

1)      Review a map of the Convention Center before you arrive.  I spent too much time staring at the map and asking people where certain exhibits were located.  If I would have known my way around the building beforehand, I would have had more time to attend panels and hunt down celebrities.

2)      Bring water and snacks.  At many events similar to this one, security makes you throw away food and drink before entering the building.  However, there were no rules against carrying in food or beverage.  Prices for snacks at the convention were unsurprisingly inflated, and I really regretted not coming more prepared.

3)      Do not be afraid to go alone.  I bravely attended the event alone and had the freedom to do and see whatever I wanted on my own terms.  Though the experience would be fun shared with a friend, going alone has its advantages as well.

4)      Ride the free Comic Con shuttle.  Do not attempt to park downtown!  The free shuttle comes as far as Hotel Circle and was not crowded.  While other modes of public transportation are also helpful, they are not free like the shuttle was.

5)      If there is a panel or screening, show up EARLY.  Depending on the popularity, you may have to wait in line for hours.  Bring a book or game, or just enjoy the chaos around you.  “The key is to view the smaller panels.  They are actually really fun and the lines are not as long,” I overheard some Comic Con pros telling a rookie.  Seems like good advice to me!


One Response

  1. Very cool, Holly! I liked this one a lot! I’ve always wanted to go to comic-con. Your tips are well heard.

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