So after months of waiting, it was finally time for the San Diego Comic Con! I had only 2 goals going in this year: 1. get some good info for a videogame blog I’m going to be writing for soon and, 2. have a good time! I FAILED at both, especially the latter. Now I felt compelled to write about my experience this year, not for the regular Con attendee who goes every year religiously, it’s for those who were disappointed about not getting in this year and are contemplating going in the future. I will try my best to not make this a page long “Bitchfest” but just to warn you, THERE WILL BE BITCHING,…and a little moaning.
It’s been about 4 years since I’ve gone to Comic-con, but I used to go on a fairly regular basis before that. This was back when you could just go to the Convention Center, buy your ticket at the door and just go in. And even though it would get a little cramped and congested, you could still move around pretty freely on the main floor, see freaky people dressed up in costumes, go to the panel you wanted to see, and get signings from your favorite artist, writer, etc.
Now, you MUST by your tickets online and nearly a year in advance. You have a tedious one hour window to try to get a single day pass if you are lucky enough to actually get through to the Comic Con website without it crashing from the thousands of others trying to get there ticket as well. Once you’ve made it to the Con, you have to fight through a herd of people just to get from one aisle to the next, and if you want anything signed you need a special “golden ticket” that you have to have gotten the previous day. But, at least you could still watch freaky people dressed in costumes so I guess that’s something right?
Here are just a few reasons why Comic-Con sucked kangaroo nuts:
THE LINES NEED TO BE LONGER!
Wait, no, that’s not right. People actually don’t like standing GYNORMOUS lines all day! This particular section is going to cover a multitude of sins. Overcrowding played a major part in my terrible experience there. TheSan DiegoConvention Centerholds approximately 125,000 people. The Comic Con attendee numbers were close to 130,000. I’m not a mathematician or anything but even I know that’s over capacity. Too many people in a short amount of space can only lead to good things, right? Cause the “Powers that be” at Comic-Con tend to think so. One particular little slice of paradise is known as Hall H, or to those who are regulars, HELL H.
HELL H is the biggest hall at theSan DiegoConvention Center. This is where they hold panels for the biggest Comic Book movies and TV shows. The stars, writers, directors, and so on come out, talk about their newest project and sometimes show exclusive clips from said project. Again, there was a time when you could just go to a panel, wait in a realistically long line but still get in, now you got this:
Now how does it get worst? Once people (after hours of waiting) finally make it in to the “Promised Land”, they bring breakfast, lunch, and dinner with them because they plan to camp out there ALL FUCKING DAY! Sitting through panel after panel they could give 2 shits about just to get to the one they actually want to see. So those wanting to view a particular panel are denied. Now I guess it’s not entirely their fault because those whacky “Powers that be” think, common sense be damned, clearing the room after every panel is just too much work!
Hey I’m going tell you an insider secret so listen close! The easiest way to make sure you get into HELL H is to… get there at4:00in the morning. And if you are really “hardcore” you man-up and sleep on the streets the night before! That’s just between us though (wink). Yep, get there before the rooster crows and you MAY have a shot of getting in. Otherwise, as the French would say, you my friend are fuct!
So naturally I decided to avoid the 5th circle of Hell and set out to see some of the smaller panels. Knowing that there would be a chance of long lines for even the smaller panels, I decided to get to these panels an hour before just to be “safe”. Little did I know, an HOUR before was already too late. I was not able to get in due to the room being full. So the next panel I go 2 hours early, guess what? Yep, DENIED. This happened all day Saturday. Now my ego wouldn’t not allow me stand in a 3 hour line so I just decided to go hit the main floor where there are exhibits and merchants and smaller shows. Well that’s when I entered “Thunderdome”.
When people use the word “Clusterfuck” I usually feel like it’s an exaggeration. This was a time where it was spot on. Just imagine being at Ralph’s or Von’s, going from one aisle to the next, shoulder to shoulder with weird strangers with whom many consider deodorant to be “optional”. GOOD TIMES right?
Normally when I would go to the Comic-con I would go do the “Con” thing during the day, have a good time, leave, then get ready for a long night of bar and club hopping with my people. This year, I was literally so exhausted from standing in lines and fighting through mobs of people, I literally went back to my hotel, ordered a pizza and just crashed, only to wake up and do it again the next day. But as bad as the crowds were, they were a delight compared to “security” staff on the floor, which brings me to these ass clowns….
STAY IN SCHOOL BOYS AND GIRLS!
(WARNING: THIS SECTION GETS UGLY!)
The “Retard Elite”! Who are they? Where do they come from? Well this finely trained crew of high school dropouts are on the floor to make sure things run “smoothly” and orderly. The way they accomplish this goal is by screaming at you to “KEEP MOVING” and “DON’T STOP FOR ANYTHING” repeatedly! Because it’s not like you paid your hard earned money to go this event to STOP AND SEE STUFF. Obviously you paid to be “herded” from one end of the fucking Convention Center to the next! But if you were lucky enough to have the “special badge” you were aloud to stand where you want, walk where you want, hell you could even dry hump the displays if the spirit so moved you.
This went on unrepentantly all weekend! I remember stopping by a booth to check my messages. I went behind a little corner, not blocking anybody, no traffic coming my way. One dickless wonder went out of his way to come over and yell in my ear to keep moving at which point I had had enough and told him he needed to fuck off. Realizing he was a seconds away from the “asswhippin” of his life, he called for backup. In the calmest voice I simply told them, I paid money for this shit. I paid to stop and look. In which they told me they didn’t care, I had to do what they said. To my surprise (and theirs) my response was uncontrollable laughter. I told them good luck with that and continued to check my messages. To no surprise, they walked away.
What that little exchange told me was this: 1. clearly the “security” staff had no direction and didn’t even know why they were doing what they were doing and, 2. they are told (by somebody higher up) we don’t matter unless of course we are, “important”.
By the way, after talking to several folks about this, somebody brought up an interesting point, “ aren’t they just doing their job”? Maybe they are, but you can do your job well, or you can suck at it. So no, sorry, I’m not buying that logic.
So now back to the big question, who are the IMPORTANT people? Well these people of course…..
REMOVE HOLLYWOOD’S DICK FROM COMIC-CON’S ASS ALREADY!
Yep, ever since Michael Keaton first put on that Bat-Crotch Hollywood has been shooting their load over comic books like a 15 year old with a copy of Penthouse. And now fast forward 15 years and we even have a new genre, the “Comic Book Movie”!
This wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. It was actually good at first. See what most don’t know is that comic books were a fading industry. And I will be the first to admit that Hollywood helped save it. Then slowly but surely they eventually made their way into the “Nerdi Gras” known as Comic-con. Again, not a bad thing at first. We got to see glimpses of movies to come from our favorite characters, got to know the actors and directors, hell we even got to ask questions. It was a fun part of the event.
But now, the problem is, it’s become the whole damn event! And worst, it’s not just “Comic Book Movies” anymore, its shit that has nothing to do with comics like, Glee? Twilight? Things that have nothing to do with an event called “COMIC CON”. And because of this, there is overpopulation. This is why you need to camp out the night before to see a panel. This is why you are herded like cattle on the main floor.
Plainly said, unless you are in the entertainment industry you don’t fall into the IMPORTANT category. And the irony is, those with “special badges” most likely didn’t even pay for it. But YOU as a consumer do pay and are treated like rebel scum! (oh see what I did there? Worked in a Star Wars reference. Cause see i’m talking about Comic-con. I said rebel sc…forget it, the moments past)
Anyway, for the first time, I decided to keep up with several Twitter feeds of writers I knew who were doing reporting at the Con. One individual in particular, a friend of mine (name will not be mentioned) works for a MAJOR media outlet. She is not into comic books, animation, video games, or a fan of any “geek fare” really. But her tweets intrigued me the most and the reason why was this; She had the “best” time there! Every tweet was about one amazing event after the next!
Because of her “VIP Press” badge, she was able to go to every panel she wanted to without one complication, hung out with the talent, went to exclusive viewings, and so on and so on.
Needless to say my experience was the complete opposite of hers. Basically this whole “Series of Unfortunate Events” this led me to a sad realization:
COMIC-CON NO LONGER HAS A PLACE FOR THE AVERAGE FAN!
With all the problems of the Comic Con, it really only comes down to this, POOR MANAGEMENT of the event. So much of the bullshit I went through could have been so easily averted if the event was better thought out. The truth of the matter is I don’t believe those in charge even think they have a problem. Every year, people go, spend their money, put up with shenanigans, go home, and then return the following year for more of the same.
I spoke to a few attendees in my hotel bar where we all drank ourselves numb to get over the insanity we just survived and they all had a horrible Comic- con story to tell. Many who traveled as far as Australia came to San Diego that weekend to have a good time, only to be battered and bruised physically, mentally, and verbally. This isn’t what you pay money for.
Where is all the “NERD RAGE” that I hear about? Why keep supporting an event that no longer caters to its base? And at what point do we turn our backs on them? These are questions individuals need to ask themselves. As for this fan, unless I’m working and getting paid to be there, I will not drop one red coin on this event ever again! In the words of Daniel Plainview; “I’M FINISHED!”