What do you think so far?

19 JULY 2018

So Comic-Con 2018 is fully underway and so far it's been business as usual. What are you thinking?

Preview Night was pretty average. It wasn't quite as capacious as last year but was still manageable in terms of getting around. Once we got in, there was the usual surge of energy and desperation as everyone fought their way to their desired hunting area; then it settled down and people got to their usual ambling and shopping.

I didn't see any of the Ballroom 20 pilots but I did hear favorable reviews for Manifest.

So far the lines haven't been terrible unless you're a first-timer who is shocked, shocked, by all this. I've gotten an earful from my first-timers so far who seem to expect that logic and order should prevail at all times. It doesn't, it won't, it's Comic-Con. Apparently they were told this morning to line up for the C doors, where the staff told them to go down to E, where I met up with them; we were then redirected (after a very long time in the sun) to go back to C. I barely blinked but they were incensed.

I was in panels all morning so I haven't been back in the Exhibit Hall yet but it too seems business as usual. I noticed one of my favorite booths, Bud Plant, is gone completely after shrinking last year. That felt like the end of an era. But a lot of old favorites back and honestly, sometimes it seem even the same merchandise returns every year. I didn't buy anything until 6:47 pm last night, which is probably a record.

As for panels, I heard The Predator panel was fantastic. That's a nice way to start off the Con. I went to Anatomy of a Robot where I sat right in front of Mother, the robot from I AM MOTHER. This is a dystopian SF flick where a little girl is raised by a devoted robot in an underground bunker after humanity perishes. When the girl is a teenager, Hilary Swank busts into their bunker to tell a different story. The trailer looked good; put it on your list. Also saw the National Geographic panel for the second season of Mars, starring my celebrity crush Jihae, with NASA astronaut Leland Melvin and The Martian author Andy Weir.

Overall, I heard that most panels have been accessible.

Good photo ops include the NASA astronaut, Jurassic Park and the Walking Dead. Topic of bar conversation last night: are computerized photo ops as fun as ones with a physical props? We all agreed that the "A real T Rex is about to eat me" looks cool but the ones with mannequins and fake beasts are probably more satisfying to pose in.

I haven't done any offsites yet but am collecting reviews. I did hear the American Horror Story was better than last year's and that Cartman's Escape Room was decent. My friends left the Adult Swim State Park because the humidity got to be too much for them but they'll go back. What people seem to really like: the giant laptop at the Dell activation.

If there's one dynamic that I've walked into both last night and today, it's the split between people who are still peeved that Marvel, HBO and Netflix pulled out and the people who are sick of hearing about it. (Team Over It, personally, but I do understand why the rest of you are still bristling.) Some attendees seemed especially rankled that they bought their badges last year, their hotels in the spring, and then found out in June that their favorite shows and movies won't be here.

All I can say is - that's San Diego Comic-Con. Most Cons, really. It's ultimately a grab bag. But I still think there is plenty here even for those of you who come strictly for Hollywood trailers and panels.

Back to the first timer indignation issue. Maybe I need to run another post on security guards and staffers - because I saw a number of people trying to argue their way inside the convention center or into forbidden areas. Look, I am as anti-authoritarian as anyone, but this is not a fight you will win. You will get further with these people if you're polite and reasonable and accept it when they give you a hard no. Even if you think they're wildly mistaken, it's best just to move on and ask someone else or try another entrance. I'm sure that sounds passive to some of you but ultimately you're here to have a good time, not start a scrap. I've never seen any kind of victory come from antagonizing a staffer or guard but I've seen several bad outcomes. Just my two cents.

I'll report back in a bit.

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