Is This My Last Comic Con Ever? 2014 Edition

Thursday Jul. 24

Having picked up all of my passes for each of the three days I got this year, I was ready to go in swinging on day one. My agenda was simple. Go to the Hallmark booth first and get in line to buy the Wampa and itty bitty ornament exclusives, run over to the Funko Pop booth way over at the rear end of Hall F for the Luke and Wampa two-pack exclusive, find a particular artist in Artists’ Alley, get a button at the Fox booth so I can go over to another booth, sign up with someone else’s e-mail, and pick up exclusive Firefly paper fold up thingies, and pick up someone else’s order at Acme. Plus look at everything else on the exhibit floor.

I’d snaked up to Hall C by 9 a.m.. The Hallmark booth was where it has always been, in the Lucasfilm “zip code” by Hall D. But as you may or may not remember from past SDCC reports, the Hall D entrance is only open to the press. I went in right as doors opened at 9:30 and dashed over to Hallmark. But remember, exhibitors can get in much earlier and their friends can go in with them. So do people who somehow managed to sneak into the convention center early or got in line for panel ticket drawings, only to get out of line and sneak into the exhibit hall. This means thousands of people are already inside before everyone is technically allowed in. Thus, the Hallmark line was already very long.

Okay, I’m going to stop right now to say this. I hate you Hallmark! I hate you, I hate you, I hate you! I would never bother with buying this stuff but a friend wanted the ornaments so I said I’d try. But here it was, 9:30 in the morning, and the Hallmark guys were screaming the line was capped and yelled at anyone else who wanted to get in line, although it was already full of scalpers they let in line before the convention was actually open. The neighboring Viz booth (anime crap) started yelling at people who were waiting for the Hallmark line to open up again. Then the security thugs started yelling at everyone to keep moving. One guy was so hostile I thought he was going to throw me out even though I was walking. What a great way to kick off the con. After that crappy experience, I went over to the far reaches of Hall F, way in the back corner, where Funko was selling its exclusives. It was another huge line that was of course, already capped.

Scalpers have long been a problem at Comic Con and this year wasn’t any different. These guys come walking out of the convention center at 9:15 a.m. with giant bags completely packed with exclusives. It’s unbelievable. I found out they not only sell them on eBay, they also sell them to exhibitors at inflated prices, who in turn sell them to customers who couldn’t get them, at inflated prices. It’s a disgusting b.s. racket that Comic Con should shut down.

After giving up on the Funko stuff, I looked around Artists’ Alley for a guy who was selling an original print I wanted. I walked around and around, not seeing the particular print or finding the artist. Then it occurred to me that either the guy wasn’t there yet—many artists roll in whenever they feel like it—or duh, he was there under his real name, not his Etsy shop name. The problem was I didn’t know the guy’s actual name. So much for that. The Fox booth line was long and was of course, capped. Keep moving! Keep moving!

My first hour or so at the con a bust, I just started trudging around looking at the different booths on the exhibit floor, at least where I could move. The exhibit hall quickly became stuffy, crowded, and smelly. Once again, I encountered several instances of mystery flatulence from gassy con-goers. You guys really need to lay off the beans and broccoli. I finally found the booth with the Firefly paper fold up thingies and got the one they give you if you sign up with an e-mail address. I asked about the other one you get with the Firefly online button from the Fox booth…did I really need one? The line was so long and it was capped. “You need the button to get the other fold up page,” the girl at the booth insisted. Bleah.

The first purchase of the day was a Carl minion Funko Pop figure from one of the dealer booths. Ten bucks. My first Star Wars purchase was at the We Love Fine booth located in the Lucasfilm zip code. They had a new Star Wars jacket and since I hadn’t bought one in a long time, the ones I had at home were really big on me. It wasn’t that expensive, so I bought it. I noticed on the tag that it had the Disney logo on it, which I think is the first time I’ve seen that on a clothing product. The Black Milk booth was right next to it and that stretchy spandex stuff was not for gals like me. Stylin’ had a bunch of t-shirts, none of them new to me, plus a bunch of different kinds of Star Wars belts. There was a booth selling stuff like hats, backpacks, and wallets, all of which only limited to the first three Star Wars films. I’ve long been annoyed at how licensees blow off everything else. The watch guys were back but they were only selling the really expensive ones. JAKKS Pacific was selling three-foot-tall black trooper figurines, the car accessories booth was doing brisk business, there was a headphones company, the motorcycle jacket company was back, Vans was promoting its new yawn-worthy shoes, and of course Her Universe was there too. The new Darth Vader dress at HU was SIXTY BUCKS. I think it’s because it has a zipper on the back. It’s a nice dress in person—I like the color scheme and capped sleeves more than anything else—but I think I’ll wait for a sale. Instead I bought the Sparkle Factory (Tarina Tarantino without saying it’s Tarina Tarantino) Artoo ring with the My Hero inscription.

After eating lunch while watching the SCA guys clobber each other in the hot sun, I went back in, looked around the Sails pavilion, and spotted former Catwoman and Star Trek actress Lee Meriwether signing at a booth. She has to be in her 80s by now and looked really good. Going back to the exhibit hall, I picked up the Acme character key a friend had ordered. I asked for a particular number and sure enough, they had it! When I got to the DC pavilion, I took a look at all of the Batman costumes put on display to celebrate the superhero’s 75th anniversary. They even had George Clooney’s infamous nipple suit! At the Profiles In History booth, I saw Butch Patrick of “The Munsters” signing autographs. When you’re used to seeing somebody as a young kid and you see them now as a 58-year-old, it can be a bit shocking. Then you remember almost everyone else on that show has gone to the 1313 Mockingbird Lane in the sky and it was a long time ago. Perennial Lou Ferrigno was at the Mile High Comics booth. No matter what, he always looks the same. It’s like he stopped time or something.

There was one booth that had some interesting original digital fan art but when I went to look for it again, I couldn’t find it. It was as though it was a mirage that vanished. Otherwise, my other big purchase of the day consisted of some budget-priced but cool jewelry at one of those booths that sells lots of ear clips and witches’ pentagrams.

Looking through the publishers’ booths, I saw that X-Files star Gillian Anderson is about to unleash her first novel, “A Vision Of Fire” in October. It looks it’s some kind of sci-fi thriller, which I guess is a genre she knows a little about.

By the time I finished with the exhibit hall, it was five o’clock and I was pooped. I was in too much “p***ed at Yoko” mode to head to the Rebels panel or see the free screening (plus the issue of having to walk around downtown at night), so I went home.

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