Five Reasons You Should Be Happy You Won't Be Going To Comic-Con

This weekend is the annual Comic-Con International in San Diego. Unless you are living under a pop-culture rock, Comic-Con is THE place to be for all things pop culture: exclusive screenings and cast appearances, celebrity appearances from the obscure (Peter Mayhew shows up every year) to the huge. You may be feeling some envy for the hundreds of thousands of fans descending in San Diego this weekend.

Three years ago, after wistfully reading about all the appearances and programs for several years, I took the plunge and made the trip. A month's paycheck and half of my sanity later, I found it to be one of the most exhilarating yet one of the most exasperating experiences of my life. I can assure you of five reasons you are better off enjoying it from afar:

1. Only Bruce Wayne could afford it.
Comic-Con is a big source of tourist income for San Diego, and the hotels and restaurants know it. Not only do you have to make reservations up to a year in advance, you'll pay exorbitant prices for a hotel room. Unless you think ahead to bring your own food (and if you can find a grocery store in downtown San Diego), you'll wait in a long line for conference center concessions and eat an eight dollar slice of microwave pizza.

2. You'll get more information than Professor X's Cerebro.
Sure, all the studios and networks make sure they promote their shows, but it is information overload; do you really want to see all those panels about shows you may or may not watch? I waited in line for several hours to see the an advance showing of the of the reboot of the show V. Where is that show now?

Of course, there is the rare moment when you are present for an amazing reveal: one year, the cast of The Avengers movie was introduced and Joss Whedon was announced as director- but those moments are rare, and only if you've been patient waiting for entry. Which brings me to:

3. It's more crowded than three times the population of Gotham City.
Imagine the biggest crowd you've been in. Now multiply that by at least four. Shuffling along the exhibit hall at a rate of ten feet in ten minutes is exhausting. And considering all you've had to sustain you is the overpriced pizza.

The huge crowds mean huge lines. If there is a panel you want to see, you would have to get in line a minimum of three hours beforehand to possibly gain entry. And that's for a space at the back of the exhibit hall where the people on stage appear as small as ants and you end up watching them on the projection screens anyway. There are lines for the bathroom (yes, even for the men), lines for the water fountain, lines to enter the building, lines to exit the building, and lines to cross the street.

4. It used to be like the original 1940s Minutemen, but now it's more like the 1980s Watchmen.
Comic-Con doesn't necessarily have the same focus that it did in the past, which was originally Science Fiction/Fantasy/Comics. Sure, people love Community and Workaholics, but what business do these shows have with panels at Comic-Con? The Con used to be a large gathering for superfans with fringe interests to geek-out without consequences. Now, it seems to be a weekend in July where all of Hollywood just transplants itself in downtown San Diego.

5. The news travels faster than the speed of light.
Everything that happens at the Con is posted online the moment it happens. Twitter feeds (follow #sdcc), film and tv websites, and Facebook pages post everything as it happens. You can relax in the comfort of your non-crowded, temperate climate home, open several web browsers and follow everything. You may get a piece of news quicker than someone at a panel who looks down for a few seconds. You'll even get organized slide shows of the best cosplay costumes, and you can gawk at the pictures all you want without feeling creepy.

Then again, if you have a dispensable income, unlimited vacation time, infinite patience, ability to sustain yourself on one meal a day, and a super ability to not mind invasion of your personal space, why not go if for nothing but to have the experience. Even two years after my trip, despite the downsides, I still find myself starting sentences with "This one time, at Comic-Com..."

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