Tuesday before con is pretty quiet. I took the time to walk around a bit outside, vetting Pokemon and photgraphing some of the offsites. The pop=ups that used to extend into town are lessen but the size and complexity of the activation son such well known spots as opposite the Hilton Gaslamp and by the fish taco place on Fifth are increasing.
There’s definitely an increased security presence here even on Tuesday, and security is a bigger concern:
“Even though these unfortunate incidents occurred, we’re ready for these type of incidents and take them into consideration for the planning process,” said Lt. Paul Connelly with the San Diego Police. “We will have numerous officers in uniform on foot, on bikes and in patrol cars and helicopters. We’ll also have a large [number of] undercover officers to make it was a safe and successful event.”
Since its inception in 1970, the massive event has grown exponentially over the years — swelling to 167,000 attendees last year, according to SDCC officials. It’s become so large that many attractions have spilled out of the convention center and have taken over the surrounding area including Petco Park and a good portion of the Gaslamp Quarter, which has choked the sidewalks and walkways with comic-culture fans of all ages.
Tensions are high for sure. One completely reliable source told me he saw some drugged out dude escorted off the convention center premises by police, but I didn’t see the incident.
Otherwise, it’s a huge year for South Park, Suicide Squad’s Hard Rock takeover is magnificent, and Amazon has a feel good “Man in the hiGh Tower’ activation where you can…feel like a Nazi? They also have Thunderbirds.
Inside the convention center, where I’m about to tour, the double decker booths are shaping up, there’s a huge display for Star Wars as usual, and the new comics publisher configuration with Neal Adams taking over for Slave Labor and Fantagraphics where Top Shelf used to be looks good.
More soon, including captions for the below.
Some scenes from a Tuesday:
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.