So it's been a crazy couple of days filled with crowds, rushing around, and little to no sleep, but I've made it back to home-sweet-home from San Diego Comic Con. It was a lot to take in, what with all the new trailers, footage, and pop culture gems that attendees got to enjoy first, just absolute massive amounts of information, but it was an amazing experience and I'd go again in a heartbeat.
As far as comic cons go, I'd only been to a few, here in New Orleans and then in Ohio, so nothing on the scale that is the Hollywood playground in San Diego. Studios make sure to have a presence there in order to generate buzz. They know that thousands of early adapters (geeks, nerds, etc.) will fight for a spot, even sleeping in line for hours to be the first viewer of the Batman v. Superman trailer. They know that creating a spectacle at SDCC could ensure that their project will find success. The early adapters will talk, word will spread, articles will be written, interviews will be shared, gifs on Tumblr will be reblogged over and over again.
But even though I had more fun than a person should be allowed to have, there were certain elements present at every con that I felt New Orleans did better, and I'm not afraid to say it.
Here are a few:
• Bible thumpers. In New Orleans, we know all about Bible thumpers, as they're usually parked on Bourbon Street during key weekends that they deem more sinful than others. They're totally absent from New Orleans Comic Con, but were everywhere in San Diego. It made absolutely no sense to me. I understand the concept behind it, that God's children are to have no idols before him, or something to that effect ... and that comic books, superheros, and Ryan Reynolds could be seen as idols. Okay, sure. But really? Kids being into comics and movies is about one of the most benign things out there, and it gets them excited about reading, stretches the imagination, perhaps even inspires innovation. I can't think of anything more stupid than protesting a comic convention. The world of advertising had the last laugh however, because there was a campaign that totally used the Bible thumpers for buzz in a very ironic way.
There's a new TV show in the works called "Damien" about the anti-christ, and groups of people would protest the protesters with "there is only Damien" signs.
I almost felt sorry for the Bible thumpers. Almost.
• Drinking. The New Orleans Comic Con is the only one I've been to that has served alcoholic beverages. I'm totally into that. I actually remember asking a friend of mine if they sold beer inside the SDCC, and he gave me the same look I got the night before, when I tried to walk out of a bar with my drink in a plastic cup. You just can't do that in other cities. Pity.
• The Costumes. I'm being totally serious. In the years before, the best part of reading about Comic Con, besides the exclusive movie trailers, has been about the cosplays. For me, viewing all the cool costumes was always better than watching the red carpet special for the Oscars. But I'm being completely honest when I say that the cosplays at the San Diego Comic Con were a huge disappointment. I'm not saying that I didn't see some seriously cool stuff, I did (so many Deadpools!) ... and hell, maybe this year was a fluke, but after living in New Orleans for several years, I've seen some amazing stuff. And after being in the Chewbacchus parade the past two years, I've witnessed some stunning work. The bar has been set pretty damn high. Our comic con might be quite a bit smaller in New Orleans, but the cosplays are better. No lie.
This was my favorite costume of the weekend ... for reasons. A 1940's Captain America. I made sure to thank him for his service to our country.
• The crowds. New Orleans Comic Con was crowded, but SDCC was crowded on a completely different level. Saturdays are usually the worst, but Sundays are at least a bit chill. This wasn't so in San Diego, as Sunday was somehow even worse than Saturday, as far as the crowd went. If you actually want to buy anything, like comics, it can be extremely uncomfortable. I actually did get a few things I wanted, as I like to collect cool variants of the comics I read, but I would have liked to look around a bit more. It's pretty bad when you have a group of people willing to throw money at you, but they simply can't because it's too crowded to move around and look at stuff. It was like trying to decide which variant of Secret Wars no. 1 you wanted, while trying to not get trampled in the front of a mosh pit.
That was the line for the infamous "Hall H" on Friday night. Those people were first to see the Batman v. Superman trailer, and damn it, they deserved to.
• The artwork. This is usually my favorite part of a comic con, the fan art. New Orleans always has an amazing collection of artists selling their work. I'm not sure if it's completely unaffordable for artists to be able to rent booths in San Diego, or if we just attract better artists somehow, but I was seriously surprised.
I think at the end of the day, San Diego Comic Con is about the entertainment industry, it's about the movie trailers and the TV shows, it's about the celebrities that make appearances. It's about the spectacle ... it's less about comics and artwork, and maybe even the costumes. It all depends on what you're into. Would you want to stand in line for 24 hours to see Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill say a few things, and then view the new hot superhero trailer? Or do you want something a little smaller. And that sells booze.