By Ali Colluccio
[Editor’s note: It’s always somebody’s first time. As a veteran of 20+ San Diego Comic-cons, The Beat is hopelessly jaded. But for people going for the first time, it’s either a dream come true, or a job to be done. Or both. To get a handle on the human experience behind the hype, we’ve asked three first time San Diego con-goers to share their experiences with us. First up, journalist Ali Colluccio.]

Hi, I’m Ali. And I’m a Comic-Con Virgin.

That’s right, next week I’ll be flying out to San Diego for my First Time with the biggest, baddest, craziest, most epic, mother of all comic book conventions. Some how, I don’t think SDCC will be gentle.

I’m still relatively new to comics. I started reading about four years ago, but I fell in love with them pretty quickly. Like most folks on the internet, I love talking about and commentating on comics. For the past year, the kind folks at iFanboy have been letting me write stuff up for their website, and I co-host Wonder Woman and comics round table podcasts with a group of friends. And thanks to the wonderful world of Twitter, I’ve met some really great folks in the comics community that I now call friends.

You can hardly call me a noob – I’ve been to my fair share of conventions. New York Comic Con is my hometown show, and I’ve got three NYCCs under my belt. And this year alone, I’ve hit C2E2 in Chicago and WonderCon in San Francisco. I love conventions. I love hanging out with fellow comics fans, meeting online friends, and awkwardly gushing over comic creators. Being at a con just makes me love comics even more. And now that I’ve done my time in the minors, I’m ready for the big show.


San Diego, to me, feels a bit like a Rite of Passage. It’s not just about geek cred either. SDCC has been on my Bucket List since well before I was reading comics. In my head it’s this epic event full of everything I love from pop culture. With drinking and crazy parties. Just a sensory overload of movies, TV, comics, and Slave Leias. Kinda like the Mardi Gras of Geek Culture.

After my plans for attending last year’s con were foiled, I was determined to make sure I was not missing SDCC 2011. I started plotting and planning while last year’s show was still going on. Instead of playing Russian Roulette with the infamous hotel lottery, I booked my hotel and airfare as part of a package deal on Expedia in September. I paid through the nose, but come March, I knew I had a room at a hotel 7 blocks from the convention center (I’ve called my hotel approximately 137 times to confirm my reservation since September… that reminds me, I haven’t called them yet this week).

With less than a week to go, I’ve got some pretty heavy pre-con jitters. That fantastic mix of excitement, hope, and nerves. I’m already a bit overwhelmed with invitations to parties and panels. The only real can’t miss panel for me is the Torchwood panel Friday morning. I’ve got the grid printed out and tacked up on my wall with big circles around panels I’d like to attend (color coded by priority). I’ve got multiple print-outs of my flight itinerary, hotel confirmation, and press registration (just in case I lose a set or need an extra). I’m scoping out small quiet places to curl up in the fetal position when the con floor gets to be too much for me.

Packing is the next big thing. I’ve started making lists for things I need to pick up before I leave (Airborne, Dr. Scholl’s inserts, cute dresses). There’s a lot of laundry to be done and I need to get my haircut and nails done. Plus, you know, make sure things are all set at my day job for me to be out of the office for a week.

Pressure’s building up in the best kind of way and I can’t wait to get to San Diego!


  1. Hi, Ali. I’m a Sandy Eggo virgin too.

    While a part of me would like to do it just once, the part of me that gets overloaded by large crowds wants to stay home and draw stuff. Plus the logistics and cost (even as a visitor, let alone as an exhibitor) are simply prohibitive. I could almost buy one of my housemates a DeBeers-approved engagement ring for that kind of money.

  2. Welcome to the San Diego Comic-Con,
    BEAT Virgins. Hope you survive the experience!

    Gonna be fun (as an SDCC veteran) to read your reports detailing your reactions…