San Diego Comic Con

Hollywood Lost and Found

San Diego Comic-Con - A Newbie's View

In my 29-and-holding years, I had never attended a comic book convention, or a sci-fi convention -- or really any convention of the sort. When I was asked if I wanted to go to Comic-Con this year, I shuddered. I could already feel my nose twinge as I pictured a stuffy conference room at Holiday Inn, rows of card tables covered in piles of dusty old comic-books, and wall-to-wall hot sweaty people wearing rubber Spock ears. Images of The Comic Book Man from The Simpsons whirled through my head. I thought of the convention scene from William Shatner's appearance on Saturday Night Live. My response was "uh, okay" cuz, you know, it's good to try everything at least once. And after running up and down the aisles a few times, maybe we could go do some shopping on Garnet Street or have lunch at the Hotel Del Coronado.

Once we got past the off-ramp in San Diego on Sunday morning, I was surprised to see an unusual amount of traffic. What really got me was the drones of people walking along, miles from the convention center, each one with a plastic bag swinging at his or her side. My monitor-atrophied eyes squinted as I tried to read what was on each and every bag...COMIC CON. Uh oh. This is going to be big.

Once we were registered I was given my very own Comic Con bag full of goodies. Woo hoo!! Then I followed the line of people who were gathered around a giant island of tables full of free stuff. I grabbed fliers, stickers, trading cards, posters and business cards until my lust for free stuff was satiated. Finally I stopped and took a moment to observe my surroundings. This was the biggest room I had ever seen in my entire life. High ceilings, airy, lots of windows, view of the ocean, snack carts, plenty of elbow room--and this is just the entrance.

Intent on exploring, I proceeded into the next area and wandered up and down a few hallways. Room after room after room of the convention center was monopolized by Comic Con. Outside each door was a list of the day's screenings and lectures. I peeked inside one to see that the rooms themselves were three times the size that I expected the entire convention to be. I made notes of a few events I wanted to catch later, and moved on.

Downstairs was the big enchilada. When I got off the escalator the first thing I noticed was that I couldn't see the wall on the oppostive side of the room. I looked to the left and then to the right. I could not believe my eyes. This was huge. And beautiful. Ohmigod, look at that. People, costumes, displays. The colors, THE COLORS. Sparkling things and lights and Satan, is that you? Toys from my childhood, aliens, monsters, movie memorabilia, errr...things I can't describe, all waving in front of my face like some kind of inconceivable kaleidescope. Immediately I knew that leaving my wallet at home since "I don't collect comic books anyway" was a huge mistake.

After taking a few deep breaths and going into the bathroom to splash some cold water on my face, I was ready to look around. The only way I was going to have a chance at seeing everything was if I started at one side and worked my way across. I decided that the art show was the best place to start -- 'cause art is my thing, you know.

I was thrilled to see the wide range of subject matter and level of expertise in the art show. How incredibly cool to see stuff that looked like it was drawn by some kid sitting at a TV tray, displayed right next to the most professional artist renderings. I hope that artists of every skill level will realize that there is a wide range of talent represented and enter the art show next year. For a beginning artist, knowing that other people will see your work is both exciting and scary, but this is a great opportunity for starting out.

After an hour or two I was exhausted and still had only made it through a couple of aisles. The next thing I knew I was sitting on a giant patio overlooking the bay, chomping on some pizza and feeding pigeons. It was so calm and breezy I couldn't believe that there weren't more people out there! Then I remembered the feeling of sensory overload I experienced a short time before and was anxious to get back in.

This time we headed to the autograph room. Not as crowded as I expected, and the autographers were very forthcoming with chatter to the autographees; not quite the assembly-line that I thought it would be. I got Peter Mayhew's autograph for my brother the Wookie fan. I wish that Kenny Baker, aka R2-D2, would have been seated closer to Mayhew. Dammit, I was too shy to talk to Johnnie Whittaker. I loved Family Affair when I was a little kid. I just never know when I'm going to get tongue-tied, and besides, I HAD to get back to the main floor.

Well, I never did see everything there, but I sure had a good time. As I was making my way through the Time Machine exhibit and watching the costumed patrons go by it hit me, this place is like my beloved Renaissance Faire. Only better because here we aren't limited by a certain time period and we also have air conditioning! And it isn't about only comic books, Comic-Con is about pop culture; toys, art and entertainment. Seeing people in costume really made my day. For an event of this magnitude, participation is key for everyone's enjoyment, and when you're dressed up you instantly become part of the show. What's more fun than that?

Instead of feeling calm and satisfied after spending my first day ever at Comic-Con, I was left with thirst for more. I made my final round on the main floor, soaking it all in before I had to go home. There was Lou Ferrigno in all of his rippling goodness smiling for the camera; the big comic book companies and networks with their booths right along side the struggling cartoonist hoping for exposure; and did anyone else besides me think it was hysterical to see Richard Hatch -- Captain Apollo -- drinking a cup of STARBUCKS??? And I was totally stoked that I got to see previews of Star Wars Episode II.

Next year, I will be ready. I will eat a bowl of Wheaties before I leave the house. I will go for more than one day. I want my own booth. I will bring money. I will wear comfortable shoes.

-- Hollywood Lost and Found

The San Diego Comic Con, the largest event of it's kind, is held every year. For more information, check out their website at

Back to Events page

Home / Features / Film Sound / Movie Props / Locations
Trivia / Events / Tributes / Recommendations / Blog / About
Bibliography / Links / FAQs / Shop / Message Board / Disclaimers / Site Map

Please support our site by visiting our affiliates:

Webmasters Make $$$
Webmasters Make $$$