On Preview Night, Saturday & other badge types

19 FEBRUARY 2016

Reality check: most of you won't get your dream badge for San Diego Comic-Con tomorrow. Some of you won't get a badge at all (and I'll have specific words for you later) but a lot of you will also find yourself getting a few days instead of everything.

While that probably won't feel great, I can honestly tell you that a partial Comic-Con won't be as bad as you think. Here's why.

Let's start with Preview Night. Veteran attendees refer to "Preview Night badges" so often that they probably sound like some mythical ideal to first-timers. While they are still the preferred badge for most of us, I'm not that hung up on Preview Night anymore and you probably shouldn't be either.

Once Preview Night meant not having to stand in line for your badge, a spacious and freshly stocked Exhibit Hall and first crack at the best exclusives. You could roam through the aisles much more easily since only a fraction of attendees were allowed in.

Now? No one has to stand in line for a badge; they'll all be mailed out. A much larger portion of attendees are let in, so that it feels almost as crowded as a regular day. And while there are still some first-come, first-serve exclusives that will be snapped up Wednesday night, many vendors instead release a limited amount of product each day so that everyone gets a shot. (And the idea of an "exclusive" is laughably elastic these days compared to how it used to be.) Also, the TV pilots they typically show in Ballroom 20 on Preview Night are usually aired a second time over the rest of the Con.

As far as the other days, Saturday isn't any more special than the others in my opinion. Once it's sold out, a collective groan will typically echo across the Internet. But this isn't like a smaller Con where they save the big names for Saturday. Every day of SDCC is amazing and special, with top shows and celebrities. Last year's Friday in Hall H was one of the most legendary days ever in SDCC history (not just Game of Thrones and Walking Dead, but Star Wars and then a surprise Star Wars concert courtesy of the San Diego Symphony.)

Thursday has great content too, and has been one of my favorite days the last couple of years because of the fascinating NASA panels. And if you "only" get Sunday? Not only is Hall H Sunday highly coveted (Supernatural reigns supreme, along with other shows) but there are tons of great panels for kids and the Exhibit Hall sales are incredible.

But what you really need to know is that you'll want to spend some of your time outside the convention center anyhow. Even people with full badges will often miss a day so they can attend all of the outside activities, games and events. Nerd HQ is not be missed, with panels that outrank many SDCC panels in some attendees' opinion. The Conan O'Brien tapings last summer were huge and they'll be back this summer. There are parties all over the area, Gam3rCon, art shows, competitions - and given how exhausting SDCC can be, you'll probably want some downtime to nap or swim or have a meal with your friends. And sometimes you just want an afternoon away from the crush of humanity that is the convention center.

My point is that you should value whatever kind of badge you end up getting, even if it doesn't match your ideal. You probably won't agree with that tomorrow, as you watch yourself get shut out of Preview Night and then maybe other types. But once you're actually at the Con in July, I bet you'll feel differently.

Good luck and I'll talk to you tomorrow when I live-blog the sale.

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