When I was a kid growing up I always wanted to go to Comic-Con. I would lay in bed at night, reading my comics, see the ads for SDCC and think how much I would love to go. However, trying to convince my parents to blow our family summer vacation at a comic book convention proved just a little challenging. (We lived in Texas so San Diego was more than a little out of the way.) Flash forward a couple of decades and low and behold one day in 2006 (or maybe it was 07- time flies) and my college buddy Tony sends me an email inviting me to fly out and go to SDCC! Of course, I jumped at the chance and I have been every year since.
But that first time, wow, what sweet memories. It wasn’t as crowded then, and hadn’t quite blown up to the proportions it has now and we were able to get into most anything we wanted. I remember being in awe of the entire thing.
The sales floor was a magnetic drawing me in. I was thrilled with the vendor displays. All the toys, shirts, weapons and an ever-widening display of things I didn’t even know existed. I loved walking down the artist ally and seeing the immense creativity on display. I admired the small press section and all the independent writers who self-published and sold their comics at the con. (Dreaming one day I would join them.)
I loved the panels on writing, publishing and art. Taking furious notes in hopes of becoming a better writer myself as I got to listen to such greats as Neil Gaiman and Joss Whedon talk about their work. I took pictures of every cosplay character I could as my own desires to cosplay began to awaken (much to the dismay of a galaxy far, far away). I remember being in awe of Hall H and seeing the celebrities I loved so much. Back then you didn’t have to camp out overnight just to get in, so we were fortunate to be able to get a good night’s sleep beforehand.
I also loved San Diego and the amazing weather you only experienced in SoCal. The perfect nights and the ocean breeze with the boats all lined up next to the convention center. The vibrancy of the Gaslamp district at night always held its own rewards as well.
But most of all I loved being with my buddies. They had moved off to California and it was great to see them again. My brother also got in on the action and soon our Contourage (as we liked to call it) numbered close to eight to ten people. We went together every year.
In fact, one year Tony suggested I move out to California with him and my other two friends. We went to Comic-Con and the fact it wasn’t a hundred plus degrees every day and I missed my friends led me to the decision to move out here. So in some part, Comic-Con has had a big influence on my life since it was attending it with my friends that inspired me to throw everything I could in the car and drive to Orange County.
These days our Contourage isn’t so big. Life happens, as well as the difficulty of getting tickets. Now instead of ten of us it is more like three or four. Still, I love the convention as much as I did in those early days. The Call of the Con still beckon’s my to it every year, like a religious pilgrimage I must make. People ask me if I enjoy it as much as I did in those early years and the answer is yes, absolutely so.
I hope for you first timers that your experience is as epic as mine was. I hope for you return attendees that the magic never fades. And lastly, I hope I get to meet you there! See ya in a couple of weeks!
Let us know about what you love about your trip to SDCC as well!
You can follow Jefferson @ nerdsinrecovery.