Oh, San Diego, how I love you. Don’t get me wrong, Salt Lake City is where my heart is. But every day my planned 2014 exodus to Southern California gets closer and closer. Until that day comes, however, I’ll settle for an annual trip down here for the biggest nerd paradise in existence—San Diego ComicCon. ---
Five years ago—when I made my first ComicCon excursion—Preview Night was the best part of the weekend. It was quiet, relatively empty and exclusive to four-day pass holders—a nice little bonus for shelling out the $60 early. Sure, there were people here, but you had room to breathe, space to walk around in and plenty of time to catch all the good Con exclusives (whatever those might be) without fighting anyone.
With four-day passes having sold out months beforehand, Preview Night is just like any other day—packed. By the time I finally got to the main floor at 6 p.m. (having been herded up the escalator, around the entire upper level and back down another escalator directly across from where I began), I was already worn out. I definitely was not ready for the line of people clamoring around the Warner Bros. booth for an exclusive Harry Potter bag, or the hundreds of screaming tweens huddled around the Twilight booth for an eight second clip of New Moon.
Once I finally made it out of the “Hollywood Con” area that covers the entire middle of the floor and into the less crowded outskirts—where the small press booths and starving artists set up—the night got much better. Most people were too preoccupied and overwhelmed to notice anything truly good. Peter David (who wrote a legendary 10 year run on The Incredible Hulk) was just wandering around, and Brian Wood (writer of the excellent Northlanders and an accomplished artist) was selling freshly silk-screened prints and chatting up anyone that stopped by.
As crowded as it is already, Preview Night is relatively tame (and short) compared to the rest of the weekend, when the costumes and the crazies start showing up. But rest assured they will be here—and that’s when the real fun starts.