Saturday, July 30, 2016

San Diego Comic-Con 2016 - Part II

Wednesday, July 20 - Preview Night (cont'd.): We were finally able to get into the Convention Center and up to the Sails Pavilion around 3:00 pm. This was the first time that we had to scan our badges, which have RFID tags.  From that point on you had to scan each time you entered or left the Convention Center, except Hall H where you had to show your badge and wristband.  I've heard that some folks had issues with this system causing them to go to the special officer over at the Marriot.  Dan and I had no problems at all during the four days we attended.

Once we got out lanyard, bag and program books, we found ourselves in yet another line.  The convention floor doesn't open up until 6:00 pm so there isn't much to do unless you go back outside.  While waiting we found that the swapping of bags has become even more of a 'thing' than it had been before.  It  unusual for attendees to swap the bags they were given for another as the Con generally has about half dozen different ones each year.  This year people were standing in the area directly across from where folks got their bags holding up the ones they wished to exchange.  Dan and I decided to swap out Supergirl bags for something else. I was able to score a bright red Banzinga , promoting The Big Bang Theory, while Dr. Dan swapped his for an iZombie one more fitting to his personality.

It never fails that Dan and I always find ourselves in line with your stereotypical fanboy, who believes that we need to know every item he wishes to purchase and why.  They also feel the need to regale us with the history of each of the characters he collects. Extensive background details that I'm sure even the character's creators have long forgotten. Fortunately, Dan is much better dealing with these folks, plus has a much better knowledge of some of these figures than I ever had, or could pretend.  I find myself tuning out pretty quickly, unless the discussion is actually about comics/movies/TV shows or characters I actually care about.

When we finally made it downstairs we quickly split up, each in search of something either we wanted or were trying to get for Kristina.  Dan struck out at Hasbro, but I was able to score both a Woodstock figure and a couple of Charlie Brown for President pins at the Peanuts booth.  Points for the step-father on that one!  I was also able to locate the WCG Comics booth where Randy Reynaldo was selling comics featuring his creation, Rob Hanes.  I first met Randy at an earlier SDCC in the '90s, where several other folks were singing his praises.  I've been a fan of both Randy and Rob since then. His art style and the adventures his creation remind me of the classic adventure strips of a Milt Caniff or Roy Crane.  I recommend you check them out if you think you might be interested.

Rather than spend a great deal of time at Preview Night, Dan and I had made plans have dinner with Kristina and Sarah.  The ladies picked us up in down and we drove to Ponce's Mexican Restaurant , one of the girl's favorites local places.  The food was good, plentiful and the Sino margaritas delicious.  We had a wonderful time, but as both ladies had to go to work the next day, we cut the evening short and went back to call if quits for the night.

I'll have more to add when I can, as this seems to be going on longer than I had thought.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

San Diego Comic-Con 2016 - One Fan's Adventure

This year I promise my blog won't run on for several days.  I'll probably be able to wrap things up in at most two without cramming too much in.  To be honest, my SDCC adventure was much more laid back than it was last year. I didn't hit nearly as many panels, and took few photos.  Not that there wasn't a lot of stuff going on, but after the events following my trip last year, I thought I should be a bit more relaxed this time around.  Hell, I will be celebrating (?) the first anniversary of my heart attack in just a few days.

I was lucky enough to qualify for another professional pass this year and also to get a guest pass for my friend, Dan.  You still have to go through the routine of going online and sitting in the queue but have a slightly better chance than in open reg. I may have to re-register for next year, but we'll see how things go. As usual, by Saturday I'm wondering if I'm getting too old for this type of thing and might want to sit things out.  Then I recall everything I've done and the folks I've met, so by the time I start getting those e-mails about registration I'm psyched and ready again.

Tuesday, July 19: This year, rather than trying to get a seat on Amtrak for early Wednesday morning I decided to take a late-night Surfliner down the coast to San Diego after work.  I've also learned from past experience that it pays to spend an extra few dollars to get a Business class seat.  The seats are a bit more comfortable, plus you get 'free snacks' and a drink.  Each window seat also has an outlet so you can plug in any devices you might have, plus you get free wifi.  I certainly recommend it if you want to give it a try.  The final stop is right there in downtown San Diego, within walking distance of a number of hotels and the convention center itself.

Kristina and Sarah used to rent a condo a block or so away from the depot, which was really convenient, but have since moved out of town.  They were nice enough to pick me up and I was able to stay the next few days on the TV room couch.  Of course, I did have to share it with Wilbur their cat.  At about 15+ lbs. Wilbur can pretty much take up as much room as he likes.

Wednesday, July 20: While this was Preview Night at the convention, it is surprising how little, even off-site, was open to attendees.  Some of the restaurants and bars were already offering specials,but the exhibits and outside venues were still in the process of being put together.  Kristina and I left around 8:30 am to pick up Dan from the airport, as he had decided to fly in from Phoenix, rather than drive he generally did.  The parking downtown has become such a hassle that we ended up taking Uber to and from the convention last year most days anyway.

SDCC now sends out the actual Pro badge in the mail prior to the con now, so it's only necessary to pick up your lanyard, bag and programs when you arrive.  With a few hours before we could get in to Sails Pavilion, Dan left his suitcase with Kristina and she dropped us off near the con center. Both of us had a desire for coffee, so we stopped off at a small cafe in the Gaslamp Quarter.  Simon's Cafe is a nice little place on First Ave.  They have a few tables and the place had a lot of comic inspired art and SDCC stuff up on the walls.

I'll try to finish up on Preview night and maybe Thursday in a day or two.  See you then!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Cleaning up and Future Posts

I've finally gotten around to checking some of the links over on the side and deleted outdated or bad links. The Lone Ranger one hasn't been updated in years, but the information is still valid, so I've let stand.

I know I've promised before, but I really do want to start posting more often here.  It will be primarily reviews of the current comics or commentary on announcements and previews.  Comixology and other sites are allowing me to check out comics I normally don't purchase, so I'm going to try to read and review those. 

Beginning on Tuesday night or Wednesday morning I'll start posting photos from San Diego and Comic-Con 2016.  Most of these will be either on my Twitter or Facebook pages, so if you don't follow me you might think about it. 

Catch you later!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Is the San Diego Comic-Con really only a week away?

My very first Comic-Con, and second visit to any convention, was way back in '75.  That first one was held several months earlier at a high school that was closed for the summer.  Mostly what we would call a 'marketplace' nowadays, but with a few panels for those interested.The con was held at the now defunct El Cortez hotel and the entire place could fit easily into a corner of Hall H and be missed by most folks in attendance.  The idea of a few hundred folks wandering around, looking at old comics and even panels discussing them was amazing to me.  Those folks who complain that SDCC is no longer about comics, should know that even then there were panels on movies, television and animation.  Actors like Jock Mahoney and Kirk Alyn were there among others.  The following year people were there promoting some film called, STAR WARS that was still in production.  Whatever happened with that?

Comic-Con is so huge now that major stars show up promoting their latest projects. Companies vie for space on the convention hall floor, taking up hundreds of square feet to push and sell their products to over a 150,000+ folks.  Media reporters from around the world cover the event like it was the Super Bowl. The fans snickered at four decades ago are now shaping the culture of the entertainment industry.  Yeah, there are still those who laugh at the folks dressed up in costumes, but many of them are shelling out hundreds of dollars a year to see the films and play the video games based on those same characters.

I never know what to expect when I go to the Con every year, despite that list of 'must attend' panels and comic book creators I want to meet.  There are always surprises, from running into a celebrity at a restaurant or hotel lobby to ducking into a panel room, just to rest, and discover some new film, TV show or comic I'd never heard of before.  Heck, I've even come to know some of my favorite creators by their first names and to have shared a lunch or beer with a few.  The coolest part is when one of them unexpectedly remembers me and says hello on a crowded convention floor or walking into a room for a presentation.

Like every year I'll try to post some of my daily adventures when I get back.  I will also be posting some photos on Facebook and Twitter when something cool catches my eye.  Hope I can share a little of what goes on.