San Diego Comic-Con: After the Dust Settles
The Con is over, I made it back safe and sound and I’m sitting back at my desk reflecting the past week of madness.
Even though Sunday is the last day of the show, it is no less crowded than any other day inside the convention center. The aisles are still packed, walking is still a pain in the ass and people are running around trying to buy the last of whatever it is they are trying to carry back with them on the plane or ship home. But nothing is as exciting as the announcement made at 5 0’clock, thank you for attending Comic-Con International! And everyone cheers. Then it is a frantic race to pack everything up and get to a restaurant before they close at 10pm. What took us two days to set up we now need to pack up in less than 5 hours.
There is no time to be tired now, we have already put in a full days worth of work at the booth and it isn’t over yet. All the samples must be wrapped and packed up, everything needs to be boxed up and put on skids, banners need to come down and everything needs to be shrink wrapped and labeled. I thought things would go quickly, but not matter how well you plan these things alway seem to take time and by 9:50pm we were finally done with Comic-Con 2016, exiting the convention center and getting our last well deserved meal in San Diego right across the street at the famous Lou & Mickey’s Steak and Seafood Bar.
I did a lot of complaining this week about all the work that had to be done and how exhausting it all is, and it is. But in the end, it is really well worth the effort. Everything looked great, we got a lot of positive feedback on our items on display, we sold a lot of stuff, I made some new contacts and I got to see some old friends. All Cons are kind of the same in the sense that you are secluded in this make believe world for a number of days and the outside world doesn’t even exist and you dread going back to it once the dust of Sunday settles. But there is something different about San Diego Comic-Con, something that no other Con is like.
As I walked around on Sunday looking at all the other exhibitors and what they had to offer, I stopped by some booths that were selling original comic art, hand inked pages from all different kind of comics. Very cool stuff, it would be cool to own something like this I thought, and I realized, Comic-Con is something different to everyone. The week these exhibitors had is probably very different than the weekend I had, or the weekend a movie studio exhibitor or a small press exhibitor has. But we are all here together under the same roof ultimately brought together by the same thing, celebrating the popular arts. And each of us is doing in their own way. Comic-Con is really something that needs to be experienced first-hand to truly understand the feeling. It is a powerhouse that can not be ignored. Christ even Conan is doing his show at Comic-Con for the second year now.
The entire town is literally engulfed by Comic-Con.
Everyone working in the hotel is wearing Batman and Superman T-shirts, there are statues in the hotel of different characters, storefronts are rented out for Mr. Robot and Star Trek’s 50th Anniversary, restaurants change their menu to comic book inspired fare, companies set up displays all around town for you to interact with. Comic-Con is everywhere and it is easy to get sucked up in the excitement. I easily find myself looking at advertisements for the TV shows like Arrow that take up the entire side of a four car trolley or The Strain that is plastered on one side of a hotel and think, maybe I should watch these shows or the thousands of comics and books for sale and think maybe I should get some of these to read or all the different exclusive toys for sale and think this would look cool on display. Even though the reality of the situation is, I am not really into these things being there and feeling the excitement everywhere around you, you can easily get sucked in. Being at Comic-Con makes you feel like you are part of it, makes you feel like this is all for you. This is the special club you belong to and you and 100,000+ like minded people are here to revel in it.
Comic-Con is like LSD, in that I think everyone should experience it at least once. I am stuck in a booth the entire week so I only get to experience probably about 1/4 of what Comic-Con has to offer, I have to come home and check the websites like non-attendees to see what I missed. I can only imagine what it is like for someone who just goes for pleasure. Being able to sit in on panels, see sneak peeks, get autographs, try out new games, buy a bunch of limited exclusives or whatever and yes above all, being able to come and go and eat and rest when you want.
So yeah Comic-Con, you really kind of have to be there to get the full effect. There is no other place like it and I don’t care how big or how many people go to Salt Lake City Comic Con or New York Comic Con or wherever, it is just not the same. It’s the weather, it’s the city, it is everything. Comic-Con starts as soon as you get off the plane, there are advertisements in the airport. Once you cross the street at the convention center in New York no one gives a shit that you like comic books, but in San Diego, the con doesn’t leave you until you are back home.
When my wife picks me up at the airport she can spot all the other attendees because they all have poster tubes and big WB bags strapped to them. I am in San Diego for Comic-Con a full seven days for the convention. I see the town before the madness begins and things are still being set up around town and I see it when somehow 100,000+ people vacate the city at 5pm Sunday and things start to come down.
By Thursday I say to myself, oh my god I can’t believe there are three more days of this and by Sunday I say to myself, I can’t believe it is over already.
So Comic-Con 2016, you seriously kicked my ass. But I will be back next year to do it all over again. Already counting down the days.