THIS WAS AN ADVENTURE I WON’T SOON FORGET!
Article and Photos By Dan Bringhurst
In early 2017 I was invited on an adventure that I would not soon forget. In the beautiful state of California sits the teeming and progressive city of San Diego: home to the original Comic-Con. And oh my God is it ever the mecca for nerds. Here, I was at home. Here, standing with 7,000 other fans in the blistering heat, sleeping in ridiculously long lines and making friends with the unlikeliest of people, I learned how to enjoy myself with a sleeping bag on a sidewalk.
Why sleep for hours on the sidewalk? Because this is what it takes to make it into the coveted Hall H. Home to the coolest panels, visited by the likes of Steven Spielberg himself, mega stars from the Marvel universe, and pop culture icons that were bred and raised on the now necessary streaming platform that is “Netflix.”
We work hard and in the end, we play hard. And boy, did we play. Getting sneak peaks and glimpses of yet-to-be-aired t.v. episodes and films, overflowing with commentary from the incredible minds that spawned the very idea that was a script, and then pitch, and then production – this was what we were there for.
I think ideally Comic-Con would have me write about all the stars we saw, the directors who were interviewed, and the content that was kindly shown to this select crowd. And I will. But for me, that stuff all played second to the wider experience.
The very act of racing to a spot in line, knowing it would need to be held for between 12 and 24 hours, was aggravating, but out of this hellish scenario came an opportunity to meet some really cool people. And if you’re in line for tomorrow’s Hall H panels, you can’t very well stay in line the entire time, so you’d damn well better be a nice guy and make some friends because you rely on these new friendships in hopes that someone will kindly save your spot.
So we passed around the bottle. We played Cards Against Humanity. We imagined what the weirdos walking by were saying, as they mutter to themselves. And we told stories about the towns we came from. This must have accounted for 50% of my experience at Comic-Con, with another 10% being Uber and hunting down reasonably priced food.
But inside the convention center, it’s a different beast. Hall H is full of panels, with stars galore and sizzle reels set loose that won’t be seen by others for weeks or months (and in some cases, never.) But we get to experience this stuff, and even take the time to poke and prod our heroes, asking them intimate questions related to their projects.
And next door is a room so large it’s very nearly impossible to explore everything offered. Fan based arts and crafts, games and books. Shirts and sculpted masterpieces for the fan, by the fan. And much of it has some heavy weight thrown around behind it. Bodies like Nickelodeon, HBO, and Netflix, for instance, have entire blocks and cubicles constructed for this immersive experience, bent on sharing something cool for the guy who came there for that exact, obscure thing.
And walking from one place to another is a gargantuan collection of Cosplayers. Fans so dedicated to the concept that they dress up and even build from scratch their sci-fi and geek inspired heroes, to the point that some of it is just mind blowing. Nobody is charging to have pictures taken because that would defeat the purpose. This is for the fans, so when the Fluorescent Pink Wookie and exhausted Freddy Mercury duo pose for six hours, taking photos for fans, it’s because they’re awesome and they know the people around them are too.
What a great time that was!
So I’ll get to it. In Hall H we were shown A LOT OF STUFF! But my favorite moments were surrounding the following films and shows:
Stranger Things – Season Two
Kingsman: The Golden Circle
Justice League (Give me Gal Gadot any day!)
Blade Runner 2049
And of course, the megaton bomb dropped on the crowd, and one that leveled the entire 4-day event was Steven Spielberg’s,
READY PLAYER ONE!
Good heavens, this looks amazing! And as a fan of the book, it’s doubly dizzying. The extended trailer that they dropped on us was a devastating explosion that made just about everyone weak in the knees. It has the Iron Giant, Back To The Future, Freddy Krueger, and more pop-culture heroes than can be listed in this article.
This was the pinnacle of the whole event, in my mind. It all lead to this, and on the final day.
Give me READY PLAYER ONE and I’ll be happy all throughout 2018.
I may not get to go to this event next year. Comic-Con is a tough nut to crack, because of limited seating and a rigorous ticketing system. But this event, even if it’s the only one I attend, will forever and always be one of the coolest things I’ve ever done.
Thanks, Adam and Christian!