Just as the swallows return to San Juan Capistrano every March, the annual locust swarm of pop-culture nerds descends on San Diego every July as Comic-Con International takes over the Convention Center and the surrounding areas. It was the typical joyful insanity with brief moments of disappointment I have come to expect and be exhausted by.
Day Zero: Preview Night
Comic-Con engulfs the senses right from the get-go. As I made my way into downtown San Diego, Comic-Con banners decorated the street posts. I only saw a few people in costume. One kid was dressed as Rorschach from Watchmen, but he was sweating so much his white face-mask turned gray. There was a guy dressed like Hurley, but he could just have coincidentally been a fat guy in a robe. During check-in, the unfortunately familiar Comic-Con smell of foul body odor made its presence known in the lobby earlier than expected, at two in the afternoon. Very unique conversations could be heard, such as the one I had while dining at the Gaslamp Quarter’s Rockin’ Baja.
While sitting on the patio with Senora Bicho, I looked over and saw a man wearing a black t-shirt with the Ghostbusters Ghost on it, yet rather than being placed within the traditional "no" symbol, it appeared in a circle made up of red, yellow, and blue, and on the back it read, “Man, that's one big twinkie!” I consider myself somewhat well versed in pop culture, but Comic-Con will test your knowledge. I said to my wife, “it looks like the Ghostbusters Ghost on the Arizona flag.” A young man, also in a black shirt, walking out of the restaurant surprised me by verifying, “It is the Arizona flag.” “What’s the connection?” I asked, unable to see one. Without turning to respond as he kept walking, he proudly informed me, “We’re the Arizona Ghostbusters.” Obviously.
On Wednesday, press, professionals, and four-day pass holders can pick up their badges, and have early access to the massive dealer room, commonly referred to simply as “the floor.” I had never been and was under the impression there would be fewer people than during the convention’s official operating hours, and technically there may have been, but it was a zoo, as people waited and sought exclusives, treats, and swag.
The Summit Entertainment booth had an odd set-up. Posters were being given away, so people stopped to try and get them, particularly from The Twilight Saga: New Moon, but they had to go off to another booth and pick up a laminated pass for an opportunity to spin a wheel back at this booth. The young lady working the microphone apparently didn’t know how it worked and annoyingly screamed into it.