We literally wrote this post while we were asleep. Literally. Re-read it and had no idea what we’d written. Amazing.

Anyway, here’s a better photo by @whedonverse of those troll statues from the WETA booth:

They are LIFE SIZED (20 ft high) and based on our se-up day roaming, the WETA booth is most impressive thing you will see. It’s got Captain Haddock too!

The big impression from the first pre-day here backs up what we’ve been thinking just from reading the PR: if you can’t bring the people to the con, bring the con to the people. Events and pop-ups and displays and lounges have taken over the entire Gaslamp up to about Market Street. Skype even has a tricked-out airstream trailer parked by Horton Plaza where you can chat with friends and family and win tickets to the Wired Café.

While getting a badge is always going to be tough, it seems like you don’t even need one to enjoy a lot of the atmosphere and excitement of “Con Fest.” From chatting to a few folks the real logistical bottleneck is getting a hotel room. Not that being at the Omni is the only way to enjoy the experience, but being downtown is the real have/have not indicator of the show.

As opposed to past years, every local we’ve talked to is pretty excited about the show and getting in. One local oddity however: the San Diego Union Tribune is now owned by local baron Doug Manchester, and very openly promotes his agenda. Manchester is no friend of Comic-Con for various reasons, and this could increasingly become a factor in the paper’s coverage.

The tragic death of Gisela G., the Twi-Hard who was struck by a car, was a topic on conversation, certainly. The event is doubly tragic in that evidently she was struck while the line was being moved to a safer spot, as evidenced by these rules that we laughingly mentioned a few weeks ago:

For safety issues we cannot allow anyone to line up in the Park until ALL tents, canopies, stanchions and work is completed at the Park. This also includes areas adjacent to the park, so please no waiting nearby for work to be completed. We anticipate that all work will be finished sometime Tuesday morning (July 10), however this is not a guarantee.

Because this is a safety issue, we have been told that anyone waiting in the area before all work is completed will be asked to leave regardless of time of arrival or length of time they have been waiting.

As you can see, every other word is “safety.” As an unnamed industry insider told us yesterday, “Comic-Con runs the safest event, the biggest event and the best organized event.” The con discouraged lining up early, and had nothing but safety in mind. Dashing into a busy street isn’t something you should do under any circumstances.

We’re told that one proposal for the convention center expansion includes putting Harbor Drive into a tunnel. The years in the making bridge over Harbor and the railroad tracks is kind of out of the way for the massive convention center/Gaslamp exodus and crossing the tracks and Harbor remains a madhouse when things are in full swing. Still, traffic has to slow down during Con. Certainly the Tuesday before it was just another busy highway.


  1. Thanks for the initial impressions (and the Beat-On-The-Street report).

    As for Doug Manchester I feel he will have an uphill battle if he finds the urge to go up against such a well-established tradition — especially now that there is plenty of Hollywood involvement. But if it’s his paper he can direct it however he wishes.

    And I don’t have to buy it, either. Haha!