So, the San Diego Comic-Con is upon us and thousands upon thousands upon thousands upon thousands of people from all walks of geekdom – television, movies, games, otaku, and actual comics – are making the annual pilgrimage to the sunny shores of San Diego, California. It is here that they will see old friends, make new friends, meet their idols, and spend entirely too much money on things they will never need, yet desperately need, like the Limited Edition Batusi Batman that I find myself in a strange, dire need of possessing even though the rational voice in my subconscious knows that I have nowhere to put it.
Of course, I am not actually going to San Diego Comic-Con – and I am perfectly okay with this.
San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC for short because reasons) is the event that everyone I know talks about. If you’re a fan of movies, you’re probably excited to see the new Godzilla footage. If you’re a television fan, you’re likely trying to hide the raging erection that you have for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. If you’re a Star Wars fan, hell, half the show floor is your personal playground. I see the videos, and I hear the stories, and there is always a sizable part of me that wants to jump in and be part of it with all of you. And yet, the realities of the show itself ensure that I will never attend (unless my job sends me, in which case please don’t dig this post back up in four or five years and be all ‘YOU SAID YOU WOULD NEVER GO YOU BIG STUPID HEAD!’).
Contrary to how I carry myself on social media, I am an introvert by nature. Being an introvert, the act of being “social” drains me. When I do go to an event, like a PAX East or an RTX or a WonderCon, I usually leave the show dead tired. I’m not tired because I was on my feet all day, or because I was active, but because I was social. Talking to people I don’t know, interacting with strangers, while wholly fulfilling, is a tiring process for me.
I am not one to go out very often (unless it’s to Disneyland), I’m uncomfortable being in the middle of very large crowds (again, unless it’s Disneyland), and I hold a deep, fiery and venomous hatred for those incessantly loud, over-the-top after parties where you have to blow out your voice to shout over the godawful bass that makes your naughty bits vibrate in timing to some dubstep remix of that one Technotronic song that you never liked to begin with, and… and… and I’m getting on a tangent here.
What was I talking about?
Oh! Right. Comic-Con.
While the notion of bumping into Neil Gaiman on the show floor, or sitting in on a panel with the stars of [insert summer blockbuster here] is an awesome thing to think about, this (seen left) is the very definition of my personal hell.
And that’s if you somehow managed to hack your way through the briar patch of chaos that is the process of acquiring a badge to begin with.
I recall the day that the badges for SDCC 2013 went on sale. It was in the morning on February 16th, a Saturday. Myself, along with everyone else in North America, began abusing their poor F5 keys in a pitiful attempt to somehow slip through the massive onslaught we were putting the purchaser servers through. In a mere 93 minutes every single badge was claimed. For those of us who were placed into a queue that never moved, the event was extremely frustrating. For those who couldn’t even make it to that point, well… I can only imagine.
Now I’m not trying to place blame on anyone for this, mind you. After all, it’s no secret that trying to buy passes for an event of this scope is a crapshoot at best. Tickets for this year’s Penny Arcade Expo were snatched up in roughly six hours – with four-day badges going in less than an hour. The finite number of tickets, combined with the limitations of just how many orders can be processed at one time, are going to make this process feel not unlike slamming your face against a hot brick wall.
Of course I also see the payoff for dealing with the infuriating frustration. At the end of the ever-growing queue and beyond the mountains of server errors, lies the elusive golden ticket that grants you entry into Jack Kirby’s Shangri-La. What lies inside is… everything. Comic books, novels, movies, video games, action figures, models (the kind you build, creeps), statues, celebrities, panels, sneak previews, exclusive premieres, cosplayers, everything else you could ever dream of – and, most importantly, friends. Friends you’ve made years before, and friends you’ve yet to make.
At the end of the day, San Diego Comic-Con is about the people. That’s what has allowed this event to survive, and thrive, and grow into the behemoth that it is today. It’s beautiful… if you can stomach being crammed into a building with 100,000+ people at one time.
Which I can’t.
Which is why I am not particularly heartbroken about not going.
So I will be enjoying this year’s SDCC from the comfort of my office chair. I will sift through YouTube at all hours of the night to find “exclusive” footage before it’s taken down for violating copyright. I will refresh the blogs until my fingers are numb, tweaking like an addict in need of their next fix, for news about Captain America: The Winter Soldier (shut up, I liked the first one) or the next slew of DC Universe movies. I will see pictures on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram, of all my friends having all kinds of fun, and a part of my heart will ache over missing out on being part of the experience.
But then I’ll remember that y’all will come home smelling like sweat and hot dogs, and half of you will contract the latest mutation of the “con plague,” and I’ll feel vindicated in my decision to avoid the crowds.
So I guess it all balances out in the end…
…now would be a slightly hypocritical time to tell you guys that I’ll be speaking as part of the “DISCLAIMER: These thoughts and opinions are my own… or are they?” panel at this year’s Penny Arcade Expo in Seattle, wouldn’t it…