Preview Night summary

23 JULY 2014

Preview Night has come and gone. It was a fruitful one for me, largely because I worked an aggressive Exhibit Hall program. But many good things happened today in general. Such as:

Everyone was let into the convention center early to get our Preview Night badges and also let in before the official 6:00 opening. None of that marching around for 20 minutes nonsense some of us went through last year.

Town & Country opened early and stayed open late to accommodate a larger number of people. The general speed and efficiency was reported as better than previous years. Traffic was still a snarl, but that can't be helped.

There seemed to be a larger number of exclusives available. I got my top items and a few gifts for other people, and so did everyone else I talked to. A general harmony prevailed over the whole process. (Unless you were at the Hasbro booth, I'm guessing, because that looked downright barbaric.)

I saw many tantalizing new books and assorted Exhibit Hall surprises, like this Archie Afterlife chocolate bar (not available for sale yet - this was shown to me by a "handsome stranger" at the Archie booth who wishes to remain anonymous.) Apparently Archie is coming out with a line of gourmet candy bars and the staff assured me they're delicious.

What else I noticed:

Preview Night is crazy crowded. Gone are the days when it was just a small fraction of us. It's intensely crowded. On the up side, I imagine that lessens the badge pick-up demand for the following days.

There's a new feature when you press a button to cross the street: a voice instructs you quite commandingly to "wait," like our very own Hal. It seems to be triggering everyone's authority issues, because I keep hearing people mimic it spitefully, along with pushing the button five times in a row just to make it snap "Wait - wait - wait - wait -" It got old fast and and it's only the first night.

I kept having to pony up cash for things because Square wasn't working for a lot of vendors. So be aware of that and bring cash with you tomorrow if you intend to shop.

First-timers can be hilarious. "Are people seriously that into toys?" one woman asked her husband with a dumbfounded look. Welcome to Comic-Con, ma'am. 

What I'm waiting to hear about: The pilots. How were they? I went to a restaurant then a bar after leaving tonight, and couldn't find one person who'd been in Ballroom 20.

Tomorrow brings us many things - Batman '66 and Batman 75, a ton of panels for writers, the highly anticipated NASA panel, Community, Teen Wolf, Penny Dreadful. And the lines are much worse than I anticipated, which makes me wonder how bad it's going to get for Friday and Saturday. Get a good night's sleep if you can and be ready.

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