It’s been a few days since the madness of San Diego Comic Con.
You know, madness might be too simple of a description of this event that happens every year.
See, for me, Comic Con is equal parts madness, excitement, disappointment, happy, sad, extreme JOY, anger, and exhaustion. Oh my the exhaustion.
So, why do I do this every year?
Because I haven’t missed one since 1997.
Yep, that’s me, back when I was 13 years old, at my very first Comic Con.
I remembered the first time I heard of Comic Con. My cousin Sonny (the man directly responsible for my comic addiction) just came back from it and he told me all about it. Sure there were the endless amount of comics, but what got my attention was the vast amounts of Japanese superhero movies I could get (which, let me tell ya, were very hard to come by back then.)
A few years later, my mom and brother finally took me there, and it was MORE then I expected.
In what sounded like a really big swap meet, I was surprised to know that the CREATORS were there too! Keep in mind, this was PRE us having the internet, so I honestly didn’t know anything about that.
That year at Comic Con I met Erik Larsen, Savage Dragon creator, and I not only got to tell him how much I loved the comic, but he also drew me a sketch of Dragon. My mind was blown.
I keep seeing all these amazing things, and then, all of as sudden, before you know it, it was over. Done in a flash.
The ride home, I’d imagine my face was stuck in shock and awe.
One thing I knew for sure, I had to come back the next year.
16 years later, I’m still here.
I know that for many, the crowds are insane, the waiting is nuts, the corporations have taken over the vast majority of it, but deep within all that craziness, is the energy of a place full of people happy to enjoy the things they love.
As the time changes, so did my priorities on what I wanted out of the convention changed.
This time I wanted to enjoy myself either way, either I got into the panels I wanted to see or not. Either I got that crazy collectible item or not. I was just happy to be there.
Five days later, and just like when I was a kid, before you know it. It was over. Done in a flash.
This year three of the Agents of GUARD got to be there….
I’m not sure if the other guys will do much writing about the event, but I do have some plans of my own to talk about my experiences this year.
One I’m willing to share right now.
CAMPING OUT FOR HALL H or MY DAY I GAVE UP AND JOINED THE HERD OF NERD.
2009 was the first time I saw the fans camp out.
I saw the sleeping bags. I saw the tents. Right away…I was straight up PISSED.
I practically screamed “NO! This is going to far!!”
Con was already getting too crowded. Parking was becoming a nightmare. Getting a ticket was becoming harder and harder to get.
In the words of Bill Paxton, my reaction was very much this….
I fought against it of course.
Every year since I refused to do it. I refused to sleep over. That’s ridiculous. It’s a f***ing panel! It’s just footage! It’s just a Q and A! Why the hell would I do this? I can make it just fine, I just have to get there early. And that was successful enough. Until last year.
Last year, me and Agent Nate did get there really early…and guess what?
We waited nearly 1o HOURS before we only saw the last two panels that year. We missed the whole day. We baked in the sun for most of it. I READ on Twitter about what happened inside while I was waiting outside in the sun.
It. Was. Awful.
This year, I wanted to still prove them wrong. I still wanted to NOT do it, and then I found out that Agent Patrick WAS brave enough to do such a task.
(as seen here on our video….)
Well crap….if he’s doing it….
But, you may ask yourself…WHY do I want to get into Hall H that badly?
Because, truth be told, Hall H IS my favorite thing at Comic Con. See, my favorite thing about going to the movies is experience a film together. I love the shared reactions, and the Comic Con audience is the most passionate, most energized, most engaged movie crowed to ever exist. I love being in that Hall.
So, with a heavy heart, I told Pat I’d join him. I didn’t want to go through what I went through last year.
I brought my sleeping bag. I borrowed Agent Nate’s copy of Cards Against Humanity, and I set forth on camping out.
I got there at midnight. Pat and some of his other friends have been there since 6pm(!!) but have been nice enough to let me go back to the hotel, grab my stuff, and meet them there. The entire time I was packing and getting my gear I kept think “I can’t believe I’m doing this, I can’t believe I’m doing this….”
I was prepared to go through hell. I was prepared to feel terrible and even ashamed.
And as if you could tell from my set up….I didn’t. It wasn’t that bad.
Thankfully, I LOVE to go camping too (imagine that, a geek who likes the outdoors.), so this bizarre urban outdoors thing we did was sorta….fun. We played a few rounds of Cards Against Humanity, and by 1:30am, we all called it a night and feel asleep.
Since I was already exhausted from my day at the Con earlier, it was very easy for me to fall asleep.
It seemed like I literally JUST closed my eyes when I soon started hearing the faint sound of Comic Con security calling at us.
“Sorry guys! You gotta wake up! We need you to condense this line! Sorry folks! Get your stuff and move in closer!”
It was 5:17 am. I only had a few hours of rest. I was groggy and disoriented. I assumed this is what being in a post-apocalyptic refugee camp feels like, as I quickly gathered my stuff, and hoped to god I didn’t lose anything.
Despite my unrest, something became very clear…..we were definitely going to make it! Sure, we’ll move occasionally, but me and Agent Pat are sitting pretty. The worry is over. We are going to make it.
Even Agent Nate (who decided to bow out of Hall H this year, in which I call him a man with better sense then I do) and my old friend Jamal where kind enough to drop by and get us breakfast burritos to start our day.
And of course, when is said and done, the doors opened up, and we walked in proudly and easily, happy to make it inside.
The rest of the day, the Hall H presentations were ours to behold.
The question now is….would I do it again next year?
Too early to tell. I surprisingly didn’t hate it, but I feel it all depends on the right people. If the person is down to join the madness, and is coming in with good spirits…then I would be open to doing this again.
After a full day of Hall H madness, me and Agent Patrick stood tired but successful….
Me and Patrick will do a write up on what we saw later this week, so STAY tuned!
And what did I do right after this? I went straight to my hotel room, took a shower…..got dressed and went out to enjoy the night life in the Gaslamp District.
I know what your saying “Agent Justin…you’re crazy.”
I say your right, but at Comic Con, your somehow are willing be a bit crazy sometimes.