A few years back I decided I to start arriving to San Diego a day early. Then it became two days. This time it was three. No matter what it seems like San Diego Comic Con is unrelenting in its reach as it too seems to start earlier. It all truly kicks off on Preview Night, and then it’s off to the races. Experience has provided me with the insight to take what you can, move on, and enjoy the ride. If you do, you will look back on your day and think “Wow! That was a lot. That was a good day.”
My day started with checking into my hotel. I’ve avoided hotel roulette and booked via a vacation rental site. It provides me a cheaper rate, and puts me near the downtown action with Analog restaurant nearby. I then set off towards the convention center already smiling at the installations being setup and loving the overheard conversations steeped in pop culture. After ten SDCCs you can start to forget how fun it is to see everyone excited for the days to come.
I was on my way to see about attending Image Expo with the rest of The Beat Staff. Timing being what it was, I noticed badge registration was short. I jumped on the chance to knock off a to do list item. After arriving at the Hilton Bayfront it became clear that Image Expo was a no go. It was a shame because Image is really bringing the creative energy to comics that I think many of us want to see. Instead of dwelling I realized The Beat had folks covering and soon I’d get to read all the news. That and I went to Image Expo in San Francisco and I didn’t want to be greedy. After some conversation with The Beat Staff regarding the week’s plans and what we were eager to see and cover, with a gap in my schedule I had another opportunity to pivot.
Provisions. Snacks. The good stuff. It was time to hit World Market and get snacks to last the days to come so as to avoid the convention floor bonk. Speaking with the staff we remarked how it always seems it’s never too busy over SDCC. This place really is a haven for no lines and great food and drink options.
En route to dropping off the provisions at my hotel I was stopped by street team for Legends with their Unlock Your Legend swag. Sean Bean is so good that I really hope this show works out for him. It also reminds me of the ads on the airport baggage claim pleading “Don’t Kill Sean Bean”. It was good I was stopped when I was because the swag seagulls (seagulls?) descended like a mob on these poor girls and it became a scrum just to get anything.
Glancing at my watch I had plenty of time to grab a cocktail and I stopped in at Jsix. They’ve since added a nice happy hour with 5$-7$ drinks and inexpensive but tasty bites. As luck would have it I ran into the How It Should Have Ended gang. For a crew that’s got over 3MM subscribers it’s fun to see that they’re here at SDCC as fans as well. I took the opportunity to share convention schedules, find a time to meet up again, and then we all hit Preview Night.
Preview Night has gotten easier for me. That’s not to say it’s still not difficult to move around, or that you won’t get mad at the person in front of you that just stopped to gawk at a booth. It’s easier because I didn’t have any agendas to fill, unlike those lining up for Hasbro, Funko, Adult Swim, and publishing exclusives. Our group just got to enjoy all the well designed booths and soak in the fun of Comic Con. See the video below for brief highlights.
I closed out Preview Night by delivering extra badges to friends at Rare Form. While there it was nice to try out their cocktails and deli board and decompress with friends. It was these friends who helped get me to my first Comic Con ten years ago, so it was nice to catch up. But there was one last even to do.
The Beat Staff meet up at El Pulpo. What a great time and great seafood tacos! I’m always part of a group here at SDCC, but this time I was part of a team eager to pass on news and our insights of the con. We talked past experiences, our own interests in comics and pop culture, Morrison Con memories, shared tips, and even aspirations. What a way to creatively recharge!
I called it a night since the rest of the week was filled with long days. I knew I’d sleep well. It’s these friends and new friends that make me realize that SDCC can be so much more if you let it.
The Elite Beat Staff is a trained squad of ninja masters.