Comic-Con 2008: Bigger Than Ever, But Does That Mean Better?
Comic-Con 2008 was a long weekend of geeked-out bliss and a chance to rub elbows with everyone from tiny independent comic artists trying to sell their books to big Hollywood stars. But it also meant gigantic crowds and impossibly long lines.
Comic-Con 2008: Bigger Than Ever, But Does That Mean Better?City: San Diego, CA
Venue: San Diego Convention Center
Comic-Con International is one of San Diego's signature events. Although it started as a tiny gathering in a hotel basement back in 1970, it has gradually grown into the biggest pop culture gathering in North America. I first attended in 2003, possibly the last year before Comic-Con made the full jump to the behemoth event it is today. Attendance that year was healthy, somewhere in the neighborhood of 80,000 people. Ballroom 20 (seating capacity 4,000) was the main event room, holding panels for upcoming movies such as Van Helsing, The Return of the King, and Freddy vs. Jason. Halle Berry made an appearance to promote the since-forgotten Gothika, while Angelina Jolie was on hand to discuss the second Tomb Raider movie. The Jolie panel remains one of the most surreal events I've witnessed at Comic-Con, as multiple twittering fans, most of them female, professed their undying love and even proposed marriage to the poor woman during the Q&A portion of the panel. This year was my sixth consecutive Comic-Con, and although the organizers began capping attendance in 2007, the event now attracts somewhere between 125,000-130,000 people. The sheer number of bodies squeezing into the San Diego Convention Center (which is a huge, huge building), make it difficult to get around, and even more difficult to get into popular panels. Hollywood's ever-increasing presence at the convention makes the logistics of certain panels less-than-ideal. Besides the requisite big-studio movie panels, television has also carved out a niche in San Diego, to the point where even non-genre shows like The Office and Prison Break had panels this year. The large amount of television and movie-related events run smack-dab into their respective studios' reluctance to allow any of these panels to be scheduled on Sunday, the convention's final day. This resulted in many panels that should have been programmed into Ballroom 20 or the 3,000-seat Room 6CDEF being shoved into the 1,400-seat 6A or its twin, 6B. With demand far outpacing the supply of seats, the lines for these two mid-sized rooms stretched outside of the building and down the steps to the ocean for most of the weekend.
At Comic-Con, you can get a picture with famous people.
Or, robots that used to be famous.
Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Fillion, and Joss Whedon
joke about Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog
Joss Whedon introduces the cast and crew of Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog
If you want to get into Hall H at Comic-Con, be prepared to wait in line.
The cast of Heroes -- all 12 of them plus creator Tim Kring -- appears onstage.
The Mythbusters make their first Comic-Con appearance.
High-speed camera footage of Adam Savage of Mythbusters getting slapped