Being at San Diego Comic-Con International is like living in a dream.
Only this dream isn’t hazy or vague. It’s not one you’ll forget in the morning. In fact, it’s one you’ll remember for the rest of your life.
I can’t begin to express how excited my sister and I were when we scored tickets to the international pop culture convention, which is the largest of its kind in the world. Our expectations were high.
Yet, come the dates of the four-day event (five if you include Preview Night), our expectations were blown out of the water. It was awesome in every sense of the word.
While on the plane to San Diego, we sat next to a woman who had been to Comic-Con several times before. She told us most of it would end up being a blur because there’s so much to take in.
She was only partially correct. There was so much to take in and far too much for anyone to do. All of it looked amazing. We had to prioritize what we wanted to see most.
But she was wrong in stating it would end up being a blur. I remember every detail as if it were yesterday.
I could tell you exact times we lined up for certain panels, exact times we were let inside. I could tell you what we did in what order and what we saw. I could list off all of the 13 (yes, 13) celebrities we ran into while on our trip in order and under what circumstances we ran into them.
I still remember shaking with excitement as we stood in line for an autograph from a celebrity. I recall all of the cool exhibits we saw on the massive show floor. I will detail our adventure at Comic-Con in its full glory in Saturday’s paper, so you’ll just have to wait and see for specifics. We had a blast.
I think a lot of people have no idea what Comic-Con is. It started out as a comic book convention that began in 1970. It was the first comic book and popular arts convention in southern California.
Originally it was a one-day convention, called a “minicon” on March 21, held at the U.S. Grant Hotel, according to Comic-Con International (CCI)’s website. It had about 100 attendees.
Its purpose was to generate funds and interest for a larger convention held Aug. 1-3, 1970 at the same hotel called San Diego Comic-Con (then called San Diego’s Golden State Comic-Con). There were more than 300 people at that event.
This is nowhere close to what Comic-Con has become. For the past several years, including this one, there have been more than 130,000 attendees at the giant two-level San Diego Convention Center. That attendance is at capacity.
People come to this from all over the world. While in line for a panel at one point, my sister and I overheard that one of the individuals in line was from New Zealand.
It’s grown so large that there are events outside of the convention center as well, including Petco Park and the downtown historic Gaslamp Quarter. There are also tons of offsite events that don’t require a Comic-Con badge to take part in. I believe CCI is the biggest popular arts event of the year.
Despite what the name says, it’s not all about comics. In fact, comics have taken somewhat of a backseat and Hollywood has taken over to an extent. A-list movie stars and TV stars come down to San Diego for Comic-Con, participating in panels, autograph signings and are also often spotted in the area.
There are large panels with big-time celebrities and smaller panels with perhaps lesser-known individuals, but that doesn’t come close to detracting from how awesome they are.
And the heart of Comic-Con — that is, comic books — is still there. Many panels relate specifically to that and there are more than enough comic books available for purchase, often at very good deals.
There is literally something for everybody. It’s busy and crowded with events running practically 24 hours a day and shuttle buses do run 24 hours a day. We got little sleep. Our feet hurt by the end of it. We loved every second and are still buzzing from excitement. We can’t wait to go back.
Follow Lisa Goudy on Twitter @lisagoudy.