Monday, July 24, 2006

ComicCon International 2006

I've been skipping ComicCon for the past five years or so, after about a decade of working the show in some capacity -- mostly technical and video. I had planned on missing this year, too, but at the last minute allowed myself to be drafted in as an assistant to the Executive Director (sounds fairly pretentious, no?). So I spent Wednesday through Saturday running errands and wrangling lines, for the most part. But I did get a chance to wander the exhibit hall from time to time, to take a few dozen photos of the costumes and goings-on, and get Sergio Aragones to sign a few newly-purchased items.

Geez, but the thing is BIG. It was almost too big the last time I went. Since then, the expansion of the convention center has about doubled the size of the exhibit hall, and there isn't any wasted space. I'm told that walking up and down all the aisles would be around the equivalent of a 10K, and it seems believable enough. Of course, you can't do it in any hurry, the place being jam-packed.

I'm told attendance was up this year, from over 100,000 last year, perhaps to around 125,000, though that figure is unofficial. I do know that on-site registration was shut down on Saturday afternoon, and that announcements went out on radio, on the freeway status signs, and via the trolley conductors that if you didn't already have your membership, turn around.

Despite all that, all the reviews I've seen coming in are favorable. Oh, there were the usual glitches to overcome, and certainly the crowding had its downside -- I had someone tell me that they were lining up for tickets to the Masquerade at 11:30 AM (tickets to be handed out starting at 4:30 PM, with the event itself at 8:30) which strikes me as somewhat insane. I spent most of Friday and Saturday outside of Hall H, which is where most of the big movie stuido stuff happened. The hall seats about six thousand, but filled up several times, and whenever it got full, there were people desperate to get in. (Some of the press in particular went away a little annoyed.) But heck...the crowds must mean we're doing SOMEthing right.

I took Sunday off (originally I had only been due to work Wednesday-Friday, but I let them talk me into Saturday too), slept in till about 11:00, got up and puttered about a bit -- but felt so out of it I had to go back to bed for about a three-hour nap. Then I had dinner, and THEN I felt more or less human.

All this meant that I missed most of the City of Heroes "Double XP Weekend" but what the heck...I had fun. Worse yet, they seemed to think I was they're already working on trying to get me to work next year. *shudder* Well, I had been missing it, I have to admit. (It's mainly an economic issue for me: I've watched too many of my friends use up a week's vacation time, year after year, to go to the Con and work twice as many hours as they would have had they stayed on their jobs, which always struck me as a bit crazy...and I don't *get* paid vacation time.) I imagine the odds are good I will be there in some form in 2007.

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