Yes, you should go to SDCC even for 1 day

22 FEBRUARY 2015

                                     San Diego Symphony Summer Pops Comic-Con Concerts

Now that the smoke has cleared from the badge sale, two groups of people have probably come to terms with how they did: those who got 4 day or Preview Night badges, and those who got nothing. There's not much to decide there, after all.

But people who landed in the more nebulous zone of a one day badge or Thursday/Sunday have to decide now if they really want to go after all. My vote: yes. Unless the airfare is going to be outrageous and you're already strapped for cash, you should definitely go to Comic-Con. Even just for one day.

I discussed the Thursday/Sunday split when I landed in it last November. But I want to point out a few other reasons you should attend, especially for first-timers who've never been to SDCC before. It's easy to visualize Comic-Con as something that happens within a building, like a soccer game or concert would happen inside a stadium. You're either in or you're out. But the Con is quite different. It is a sprawling octopus of a phenomenon with tentacles that can accommodate anyone - whether they have a badge or not.

Let's say you have a Thursday badge. You have access to a freshly stocked Exhibit Hall and you can get into the massive MTV party that night - it's free to anyone with a Thursday badge, features multiple bands (Linkin Park headlined last year) and fandom awards. The whole thing is broadcast on MTV that Sunday night. If you only got Sunday, you'll have all those Exhibit Hall deals to take advantage of - lots of marked-down stuff - and a fairly eclectic variety of panels. (Which isn't to say you won't have major ones too. Check out last year's Sunday programming.)

But mostly you'll have a dazzling array of outside events to attend. I'm not talking about vendors or cheap carnival exhibits. I'm talking about really fun high-caliber events and promotions that can be more enjoyable than anything inside the convention center.

Here's just a small sample of the events last year:

The CBLDF party
The Image Expo
The Outlander red carpet premiere
The Adult Swim Fun House and Jammy Party
The Strain screening and fan event
The Walking Dead Escape
San Diego Symphony Summer Pops Comic-Con Concert
The Nerd-A-Thon with MC Front-a-lot
The Zombie Walk and the Zombie Prom
The Orphan Black Meetup
A combined Welcome to Night Vale/Thrilling Adventure Hour performance
The Incognito cosplay party with Adam Savage
Chris Hardwick's @midnight and live Nerdist podcast
The Haunted Hotel/Zombie Apocalypse Store
Geek and Sundry's ongoing party
The Crave Online party with MGMT and Grimes
Free gamer arcades at various bars and locations
A Nerdist laser-tag party
The Assassin's Creed obstacle course
The Game of Thrones Experience
The Sleepy Hollow virtual reality experience

And I'm not kidding when I say that's just a fraction of what was happening.

Of course there's also Gam3rCon - not just gaming but art shows, bands, and panels - and of course
Nerd HQ. Last year Nerd HQ offered up Joss Whedon, the Orphan Black cast, Nathan Fillion, the Supernatural and Walking Dead cast - lots of fan favorites show up there. Check out this list of panels.

Most 2015 events are yet to be announced, but we do know some - for instance, that Conan O'Brien will be taping from Spreckles Theatre every night of the Con. And of course there are beaches, taking the ferry to Coronado Island and lots of local museums that offer special nerd-themed exhibits during SDCC.

So 5 benefits in all to your partial badge situation:

1) You can avoid getting worn out. If you haven't been to SDCC before, you can't imagine how exhausting it is. I say this as a high-energy person who can hike for miles without getting tired. When you're at the Con, a day to sleep in, eat some leisurely meals and then kick around doing whatever you feel like is pure heaven.

2) You can actually spend time with your friends. Every year I have long-distance friends at the Con and while we say we're going to catch up, it never happens because we're trapped in panels and interviews and obligations.

3) You can go to all the fun outside events the people in the Hall H line will never experience.

4) You can avoid going down this hellish rabbit hole next year if you find out now that you actually don't care for Comic-Con. Hey, it happens. A lot. If it's not for you, better to find out when you've only invested in a 1-2 day trip.

5) You will have two chances at going to SDCC 2016, since even a one-day badge gets you into 2016 Pre-registration. And you're only competing against 2015 attendees in that round, unlike the horde of hopefuls in Open Reg.

Did I convince you? Don't ask for a refund. Just go.

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