20 JULY 2016
Did you go to Preview Night tonight? If so, I think you and I were in the minority; this was the most spacious Preview Night I've seen in years, Aisles were easily navigated, many booths were nearly ignored, and most of the exclusive lines - while long - seemed orderly. Let's break it down.
Bag and lanyard pickup: Got multiple answers on this from multiple staff and volunteers. It was in the Sails Pavilion! No, it's at the Marriott. Wait, the Marriott is only for people picking up badges. The bags and lanyards are back in the Sails Pavilion. Etc.
Access: I came straight from Conan. Again, there were multiple answers on where badged attendees could get in. One person insisted we had to walk all the way down to Lobby G. We moved one more down to C or D and got in. It was 6:08. Tip: if you are sheparded into a line that goes up the escalators and winds through the entire center and brings you back down again, you don't have to follow the leader. If you come up the main escalator, break off and go left at the top until you come to some stairs, which will take you right back down into the lobby and let you into the Exhibit Hall.
Exclusives: While I barely dipped my toe in, I did come across the same dynamics; vendors not telling people they were sold out of items until they'd already waited 40 minutes, confusion over where to wait in line, confusion over multi-step lines (wait in that line to pick up a button, then bring it over here and get in line and exchange the button for a ticket, etc), and bitter complaints over items selling out or not being exclusive.
Pilots: I caught the 2nd half of Riverdale. The audience liked it a lot. To me it seemed to hit all of the TV teenage cliches and wasn't quite as weird as promised, but it does look good. If you're looking for something to do Saturday evening, seeing the 2nd showing of the pilot might be good. The others? I've heard mixed reviews.
The Exhibit Hall: How do I say this politely? It was pretty much identical to every other year. Yes, some of the video games and photo ops have changed but it's mostly the same vendors, companies and publishers selling the same stuff. The Archie booth seemed a little sparse. Fantagraphics has some beautiful work available, including some great box sets. Boom, IDW and such have what you expect. The big loud studio booths weren't cranked up to full capacity, so it was quiet. All in all, it was like a Preview Night from years gone by.
What did you think?