Our intrepid reporter Robin is on the ground in San Diego and has sent in a report from last night's preview night festivities. I am jealous already....
First, a brief introduction to calibrate your geek meter. I've been reading The Park Bench for a longish while but due to generalized internet shyness I'm a habitual lurker. I'm a science nerd (professionally) and a literature geek (amateur), a semi-gamer, and avid aficionado of the finer elements of geek cinema and TV.
I am, however, a first-time Comic-Con attendee, so I honestly didn't know what to expect. And having just gotten back from preview night, I'm not sure I could adequately sum it up for five-hours-ago me.
Imagine Las Vegas, but with TV networks, comic publishers, and geek supply stores instead of the various sizes of casinos. Video game kiosks instead of slot machines, racks of dice instead of bars, and the show girls are dressed as Heroes cheerleaders. Now cram all of that nerdvana-Vegas into one room. Okay, it's a GIANT room, but it's all sharing the same air.
And then add people. A SEA of them. But I do admit to a certain feeling of being among "my people" unlike the "Stranger in a Strange Land" feeling I get in actual Las Vegas. Since it's only preview night we only saw a few costumes -- the kid from Kingdom Hearts, Rufio from Hook (yeah, didn't expect to see that one), and a girl-- I kid you not -- dressed as a TARDIS. I didn't figure out what she was until it was too late to ask for a picture, unfortunately, but I hope to be more on the ball the rest of the week.
As for personal experiences, my husband Sal and I were very excited to achieve one of our major Con goals within 10 minutes of entering the building. After a brief stop at the California Browncoats booth (at which Sal purchased a t-shirt with two dinosaurs that says, "Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!"), we got the guys from Penny Arcade to sign my Dungeon Master's Guide. Yes, that probably pegged the geek meter, but we only just started playing -- none of my group had played before I heard the podcast Penny Arcade posted of them playing the then-new D&D 4th edition. Gabe even drew his character Jim Darkmagic (of the New Hampshire Darkmagics) on the front page. So I was pleased with myself. We even got to chat a bit, and I didn't say anything stupid to the semi-famous people I think are awesome, so big score there.
Most of the rest of the evening was spent standing in what we assumed were lines, and were in fact lines about 75% of the time. Free STUFF was everywhere, as well as way too much awesome non-free stuff. The bigger booths were things like DC and Marvel, Warner Brothers, Nickelodeon, that sort of thing, but there were tons of smaller booths for independent comic shops and various geek-related hobbies (two separate booths selling corsets, not sure how to react to that). Basically, if you're reading this, there was something for you there. And the free stuff ranged from giant bags in which to carry your other free stuff to single issues of various comics, promotional materials (got a lovely Doctor Who postcard from BBC America), and just generally useful things (like a Pride and Prejudice and Zombies poster). And for some reason wind-up chattering teeth from Warner Brothers. (I *think* it's a promotion for their Arkham Asylum game but really who doesn't need chattering teeth?)
Only a few Famous Person sightings -- the whole cast of The Guild was signing at their booth, so a brief glimpse of Felicia Day and her cohorts. The panel presentations start tomorrow so I imagine there'll be a few more familiar faces hanging about.
More reports to come as the week progresses. Thank you, Robin!