One February morning, even though I had the cold sweats and had spent the night waking up every hour in agony over my stuffed nose and sinus problems, I crawled to my computer and entered the virtual waiting room…and waited. For the next 40 minutes I watched as Saturday, Friday, even Thursday sold out. I felt defeated. I was sick and would have kept on sleeping, but I had set my alarm to make sure I was awake to purchase tickets and now I wasn’t even going. Just as I put my head down on my desk, eyes filled with tears over the wasted effort, the screen changed and I was able to add tickets to my cart. I instantly sat up straight, excited that my group was finally called and squealed as I checked out. I purchased two tickets for Sunday night’s Comic-Con.
Anahi and I have wanted to go to the San Diego Comic-Con for years and when we finally remembered to purchase tickets early, we discovered that it was already too late. Anahi and I didn’t realize that we needed a Comic-Con Member ID in advanced, so even though we registered in February 2015, we were ineligible to purchase tickets that year and had to wait until 2016. So we hatched a plan: Anahi and I would share our Member IDs with each other and whoever got in would buy the tickets.
In July of 2016, a year and 5 months after we originally tried to get tickets, we were in San Diego for the world’s biggest costume party (at least that’s how it felt).
I originally wanted to be Kiki from the Studio Ghibli anime, Kiki’s Delivery Service, but I was having trouble tracking down the components and when I finally found everything I needed from Amazon, it was way too expensive or would take a long time to ship from China. I needed a back up plan. So I scrapped that idea and recycled my American McGee’s Alice costume.
I wasn’t sure how comfortable I was going to be walking around the convention center in Dr. Martens boots, but I didn’t wait this long to not dress up. Believe me, Anahi and I have talked about attending Comic Con for many years, this was something we wanted to do together for a long time.
We saw some amazing costumes, but I didn’t take many pictures. The convention center was way crowded and stopping to take pictures would block the hallways, as we were reminded constantly by the hallway monitors. There was tons of security throughout the Con that directed the human traffic, especially down the “one-way” hallways.
Anahi and I tried to get in to the Lego Dimensions panel, but the room had reached capacity. On the way to the Lego panel room, we had heard that a panel was starting for superhero girls, so we though we’d try our luck to get into that one. As we walked back down the hall, security stopped us because we were going the wrong way on a one-way hallway. Excuse me? We were promptly directed to exit to the left or right and walk in a big circle back to the entrance of the Section 6.
As we approached the entrance again, someone was waving people in to the first door. I wanted to see any panel available, and not even knowing what we were going to see, Anahi and I rushed to the closest open seats and sat down. It turned out to be the panel for cartoon voices. The panel was delightful, but I wasn’t too familiar with the cast. I did noticed that parents and children went nuts when the actors talked about their different roles, so I felt like I was a little out of place. I laughed a lot and heard a hilarious cold reading of Rapunzel while the the actors mimicked voices of Donald Trump, Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Mexican princess and others.
After the panel, we stayed for the Sailor Moon panel, which was confusing and overly salesy. I felt like I wasn’t going to be able to escape without buying a timeshare. It was supposed to be a panel about the upcoming Blu-ray release of Sailor Moon, but what I observed seemed like a nightmare combination of QVC and trivia. Everything was “Pre-order now and you’ll get this special gift” or “We have lots of glittery goodies to buy at our booth. Go to our booth, you must go to our booth.” I was a semi-fan in a sea of some very serious disciples. The host talked to us like we were children, and all about sparkly pink — well, everything. I looked around the room expecting people younger than me, but no, it was a room full of adults, some older than myself who were just hanging on her every word. I felt like I was not a big enough fan to be there, so we left to explore the exhibitor booths.
One of the booths we passed was promoting LGBTQ comics. Earlier that day we had missed the “Bisexuality and Beyond: New Frontiers in Popular Culture” panel because we were still downstairs in the exhibitor section, trying to find some lunch. But we were surprised to see an entire booth dedicated to it. LGBTQ issues have been very prominent this year with all the bathroom controversies, but I didn’t realize that representation in comics was a cause. I was curious to check out the booth, but wasn’t sure where to start and the literature displayed wasn’t very helpful. I was also afraid what I would see if I opened the graphic novels…and there was one section of sexy ones, so I didn’t explore more.
I came home with a fun shirt, a Star Wars jacket, and two pins, but no SDCC shirt. We tried to find the merchandise section in the Con, but it was actually next door at the Marriott and down the stairs. Once we found the merchandise station, it was already closed. Bummer! I did look online after and see an option to purchase shirts ahead of time. If we get in again next year, we’re definitely doing that. Our late arrival to the merchandise was caused by our decision to catch the masquerade screening first. We got in only to see the last 10 minutes of it. What a waste!
Below are some awesome goodies and memories we did come away with.
I found this magical company called I Heart Guts and purchased this shirt promoting healthy kidneys.
I also bought these pins. The liver one represents my six month struggle to heal my own liver.
I couldn’t walk away without something Star Wars and I have never seen this amazing jacket before.
On our way out, one of the exhibitors stopped me, saying he would give me a reusable bag and a place mat in exchange for my Supernatural bag. At the con, you were given a giant, cheap plastic backpack to hold all your goodies/purchases. I paused and thought, “but this is a souvenir.” Then Anahi said, “Why not? You’re never going to use the backpack again.” I agreed.
On our way from Anahi’s place to San Diego, we saw this Ghostbusters hearse driving next to us on the freeway.
One big hit at the Con were these “mystery boxes.” For $40, you got four geeky items. I thought $40 was a lot to spend, but I was curious. There were were loads of people crowding around to get their hands on those mystery boxes and many satisfied customers frantically opening their boxes to see what was packed inside. I found this box deserted outside the Con and took it home to give to Joey. He was not impressed.
I had one concern in prepping for the Con and that was parking. We could purchase a parking permit ahead of time, but I was hesitant about it. The last time I stayed a weekend in San Diego, I had to pay $20 to park at my hotel and I didn’t even get a spot one night. Parking in San Diego is no fun. When I checked two weeks before the event, there were plenty of permits still available, but when I checked again a week later, three of the lots were sold out and I could only purchase permits for parking lots a mile away. I didn’t want to pay an outrageous $40 for parking when our tickets were only $40, so Anahi decided to chance it. We found parking on Broadway for only $15 and walked an extra mile and a half round trip, avoiding most of the crowd.
It was quite the journey visiting Comic-Con and I’m looking forward to many more visits.
Drink of Choice: An ice cold bottle of Coca-Cola.