First-timers review SDCC

29 JULY 2016

All week I've been getting reports from first-timers (and veterans) on what they thought about San Diego Comic-Con. Overall, there is no overall, because their feelings and experiences diverged wildly. As you will see.

Jorge is only sort of a first-timer; two years ago he borrowed a friend's badge to go through the Con on Sunday. But that doesn't really count, so this was his first full-fledged Con. He went on his own while his girlfriend stayed at the hotel, so he didn't stick around at night. As a gamer, he didn't think the demos and gaming panels were that interesting and that SDCC isn't much of a gamer's destination. (He didn't do GamerCon.) But he did like "the culture" and thinks that if he goes back next year, he'll adjust his expectations to do things beyond gaming. His favorite activation was the Abigail.

Will went for work, so he experienced the backstage, back hall parts of the Con most attendees don't see. His impression: the Con is a lot of sitting around/hurry up and wait when you're there at the behest of a studio, and the fans are crazy when it comes to celebrities. He had free time on Friday to go into the Exhibit Hall and enjoyed that but thought it was too crowded; he also complained about the smell. Attendees don't like that either, Will. Despite his negative impression, he said he would be interested in attending on his own when he wasn't working.

Anonymous did just that this year; after leaving his job at a certain well-known publisher, he did the Con as a free-range attendee for the first time and loved it. "Everyone who goes to Comic-Con should have to work at a booth so they see what it's like and how rude people are." Freed from his employment shackles, he went to panels (mostly animation in Indigo on Friday) and collected Rick and Morty loot. While he mostly resented SDCC as a booth babe, he had a great time this year.

Ailie had a different story. She was one of the unfortunate few who just could not, would not and did not like San Diego Comic-Con. Top complaint was the crowds (which actually weren't nearly as bad this year) and the fact that she was only able to see about 1/3 of everything on her agenda, due to line times, panels being full, travel time, etc. She also thought the Exhibit Hall was "shabby" and "cheap" which hey, is a selling point for some of us. But fair enough: Comic-Con isn't for everyone.

Melissa came with her husband, a former D&D nerd who now is "out of the community." So they mostly came to gratify her fan thirsts, namely for iZombie, Supernatural and Wynonna Earp; she had to miss the Orphan Black panels (SDCC and Nerd HQ) but still felt satisfied. "If you know what you want to do and schedule everything around making that happen, you can see whatever you want at San Diego Comic-Con." She was also introduced to the Her Universe fashion world and liked that a lot. She intends to cosplay next year.

Justin is a Trump supporter and did not appreciate all the Trump-bashing that went on. He thinks the panelists should have kept their election feelings to themselves. What he did like: Marvel. "That was hands down what I waited for and it was worth it." He felt there wasn't much to do at night, but also came to San Diego alone which could have played into his social isolation.

Mike and Ty tried for 4 years to get badges before getting Thursday-Sunday badges. They were the most enthusiastic of the first-timers I met and loved pretty much everything they saw. Even standing in the Star Trek premiere line for six hours and getting nothing didn't dim their Comic-Com ardor. Their advice? "You have to put yourself out there and keep asking and not going home and you'll go to things not many people go to." Comic-Con: the secret menu.

That's the first batch; I'll share more later and also maybe post some of the reviews I got from 2nd and 3rd timers and older veterans. People had a lot of feelings about SDCC this year.

But back to the first-timers. As someone who celebrated #15 this year (where is my cake), it was gratifying to hear what the new arrivals thought. I do notice a drop in the this is life-changing and I am always coming back no matter what reactions I used to hear. Probably that's because SDCC involves more frustrations these days (lines, badge and hotel sales, general logistics) which tend to cloud the magic. But most everyone in my world is already talking about Pre-reg - and it's a safe best most of us will be using all the sorcery we know to go back next summer.

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