Old Man KL talks about: San Diego Comic Con
Posted by Old Man KL on
Sat Aug 24, 2013 11:01 pm
1994. That was the first year I went to the San Diego Comic-Con. It was a hot 1 day trip to downtown San Diego(I am a local to the area). I went with a decent sized group of, say, 6 other people. How much thought did we put into our trip? Well letís put it this way-we bought our badges on site.Yeah, it was THAT LONG AGO.
So how did it go? Well we sat in the sun. We sat in the sun for a very long time. Did I mention we didnít bring water, snacks, backpacks or common sense?
Honestly in our defense we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. When we finally got in I had a great time and I learned something: 1 day is not enough. Next year we went for all 4 days (there was no preview nite yet!). Moving around the floor back then was a pretty simple task and only on Saturdays, and maybe for a bit on Sunday, was the sales floor even crowded. As for attending panels, well, there was no Hall H at that time and to be honest I didnít even care about panels. Really I just shopped and rampaged around with my friends all 4 days. Also pre-2002 there was movie and anime programming that lasted well into the wee hours of the morning. In fact they ran until 4 a.m. in the morning and were pretty popular with con-goers with rooms at the convention center staying pretty full well after midnight. These days anime rooms donít mean much because of the internet however back then you actually saw new stuff. Companies like ADV and MediaBlasters would actually bring and show animes they were still working on. Heck during popular animes like Ranma Ĺ the rooms would actually fill up. Attending panels or going into show rooms back in the day meant, well, walking up to the door of the room and going right in. There were no real lines except for a few notable exceptions like Spike Ní Mikes twisted animation and of course the masquerade. There is always a freaking line for the masquerade. Seriously, the masquerade line has and shall always be-but it is not your friend. Although the line is a good place to score ďfree hugs!Ē these days.
Enough of the masquerade. The sales floor only went up to the 3000ís in aisles (as opposed to the 5000 plus now). Fare though was roughly the same as it is today as far as shopping options go. Clothes, anime, dvds, comics, books, fantasy art, toys, etcÖ Sundays back then were also good haggling days especially if you were on the prowl for anime vhs tapes/dvds. You know, because the internet sucked back then. On a final note about the good Ďole days the food at the convention itself has never changed. Yeah, thereís a Starbucks now but Miss Fields and those personal pizzas and 5 dollar corndogs have been there FOREVER.
2001 was the year when the con started to really take off with regards to attendance. A look at the wiki and itís easy to see the increase in congoers culminating in the opening of the vaunted Hall H in 2004 and an increase of over 20,000 in human participation over the previous year. This boosted total attendance to 95,000. Now these years, while still enjoyable, were the forerunners to the convention we all know today; and it certainly wasnít without its problems. Gone were the days of being able to stroll into the panel of your choosing. The sales floor became a train wreck, more so than usual anyways, on Saturday and Sunday. Perhaps the toughest part of this attendance explosion was, well, containing the EXPLOSION. From badge pickup to shuttle rides and panel lines things got way out of control and the poor staff working the event were hardly prepared for the frothing con masses. Things got hot and stuffy in the convention center and when temperatures rose comic con masses and security staff collided in not-so-nice ways. To be specific part of the problem was the new trend of putting Hollywood and tv stars on the show floor at really big booths. Big booths like Warner Bros. and the like started to really gain traction with regards to floor space taking up much of the center of the convention floor. This led to security staff yelling at people and those same people not listening. Much shoving and gnashing of teeth would ensure as people clamored for views of their favorite stars...
Stay tuned for chapter 2 when we enter the modern con era and we begin to discuss how to survive 4 days with 130,000 of your not-so-closest friends in downtown Fun Diego!