What first-timers thought about Comic-Con: Part I

16 JULY 2015

Comic-Con ended 3 days ago, but I'm betting most of us are just beginning to acclimate to normal life again. Going back to work, catching up on your sleep, sorting through your piles of merchandise and connecting on social with the attendees you met; it's a process. And many of us still have boxes from UPS and Fed Ex to unpack in the coming days and professional leads to follow up on. Comic-Con is like a bell that takes a while to stop ringing.

But a few first-timers have already compiled their thoughts on what they thought about SDCC, so let's hear what they have to say.

Emma. Emma had a fairly lucky Con in that she experienced very few lines and got into top panels at Indigo and Ballroom 20 without waiting. The longest line: 30 minutes for Stephen Amell at NerdHQ. Which of course is nothing. "I feel that I was incredibly lucky this year to get all the exclusives I wanted, plus others, and get to see everything I wanted to without much of an issue, and in good seats." That's the ideal first time SDCC experience.

Verdict: "Totally going next year."

Lane. Lane is more of a returner than a true first-timer, which made his take interesting. His last SDCC: 2005. His reaction was thus split into two parts. "When I first got there, I thought Holy shit and just wanted to go home. It was too much. The Exhibit Hall is not at all what I remember. I was more or less depressed the first day but the second day I snapped out of it and tried to take it for what it is now. It was great people watching. But I went to fewer panels than I used to, so even though the Con is bigger now it felt like it shrunk for me."

Verdict: May go back. "If it happens, it happens. I think I will be looking at more focused events."

Rob. As a gamer, he focused entirely on the tournaments and a few gaming offsites. His take on SDCC for gamers: "There are people of all levels which can make it hard in either direction to get a good play in. Some of the demos were good. I wish now I had done more of the other stuff." It's worth noting that he did not do Gam3rCon, which might have changed his perspective.

Verdict: "I wouldn't go back just for gaming." He said he would go back with his girlfriend for more of a well-rounded Con.

Colin. Colin had one of the unluckier stories I heard. A hotel reservation misfire kept him busy all of Thursday looking for alternate rooms. (His original hotel was finally able to accommodate his party with a smaller room and cot.) One roommate lost his wallet and had no photo ID to pick up his badge. Somehow that got worked out but once they were in the Con, they experienced these rites of passage: wrong directions from a security guard/uniformed person, leading them away from their panel, and waiting in the wrong line on a separate occasion, which they didn't realize until they were in the room and the panel started. But after all that, they still had a good time.

Verdict: "I might go back but I'll be okay if I don't get a badge."

Manuel. This attendee was all about exclusives and thus had the most dramatic ride of any first-timer. There were toys that sold out, misinformation on where to get in line, deals made with shadowy resellers, money exchanged behind a food truck, and finally, 3 of his 5 top items in his hands. "It's worth it to work every angle because that's the only way you can get some of these figures." He still has plans to track down his other items on the post-Con online market.

Verdict: "Yeah, I'll be back next year."

Calista. She was at Comic-Con for the vaguest of reasons: her friends got her a badge. So she went along for the ride and as it happened, that ride was pretty spectacular for her. She did Hall H on Saturday and loved it, did some animation panels on Friday in the Indigo Ballroom (less enthusiastic) and discovered an author she liked was at the Con. While she missed the autograph session, it did inspire her to go back next year and focus more on the publishers' booths. One thing she didn't like: the nightlife. "It seems like there's a lot going on but really it's just a lot of people and not much to do." I can see that.

Verdict: "I'll go next summer but I'll probably do it on my own."

Amber. Amber is a 2nd-timer (you can read her report from last year here) but I thought her experience was worth including because it shows how SDCC can feel on return. Thursday they spent 4 hours in line for the Game of Thrones experience. "I'm sorry to say it wasn't worth it. It was basically a bunch of photo ops (insert pics of us getting burned up by a dragon, as white walkers, or on the Iron Throne) and the lines inside were slow-moving too. It was actually pretty dull and we missed the NASA and Industrial Light and Magic panels to attend it." She said they won't bother with it next year. She also gave an unfavorable report to the Black Panel.

What was great: tacos at Puesto in Seaport Village, the Orphan Black panel, the Quick Draw panel, and the Her Universe Fashion Show. "It was well-organized and fun, had great swag, and showcased incredible creativity!" She also had Jared Padelecki from Supernatural come to her dinner table and chat for a few minutes. "He was so friendly and charming - definitely the nicest celebrity I have ever encountered." Amber, you are officially the envy of one of the most berzerk fandoms on the planet. She and her husband also saw Stan Lee, the cast of Gothan and the Superman v Batman trailer at the Con, the Nerd HQ conversation with Joss Whedon, and a guy from KISS, Kevin Smith and M. Night Shyamalan at the Omni.

So that's my first crop of first-timers. Other reports are rolling in; I'll post those in a few days.

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