Posted by Jay on July 24, 2006 at 08:02 AM CST
The San Diego Comic-Con, 2006. Never will you find a more nerdy hive of geeks and dorkiness. We asked one intrepid reporter to brave the floor and give us a sense of what it's really like attending the largest comic convention in North America. Here's what we found out.

The con itself seems to be as crowded as previous years - not much has changed in terms of costumed characters, though there does seem to be more 'booth babes' this year. Yup. And when they're aren't booth babes, we've got various comic and sci-fi inspired 'things' hanging out at the booth to tempt the passerbys. The fans themselves will dress up in costumes from Anime to SciFi and Fantasy. My favorite was probably the guy in the Galactus mask and 3-piece suit.

While this is a comic book convention, it really feels like fewer and fewer comic book dealers are out there and more and more manga and graphic novel dealers are popping up. Makes sense, as this is the type of funny book readin' that is invading bookstores. But it's sad, because there's something about holding a comic book in your hands. Still, one can't argue with simple economics, and that slick, slick, glossy paper!

In terms of Star Wars vendors, there wasn't much at the Dark Horse booth, but the booth was typically very crowded, as DH gives away a ton of free swag - keychains, lots of window clings w/different DH characters (Sin City, Hellboy, Usagi, etc), pencils, some free $.25 books, mini-posters, etc. They also had all their talent hanging out, making autographs and such.

And, speaking of autographs, there were lots of people that were around to sign stuff. Besides all the artists and writers at the Dark Horse booth (Jan Duursema, Randy Stradley, Doug Wheatley, Mick Harrison, Frank Miller and Kazuo Koike), Official Pix brought out some celebs to sign (Carrie Fisher, Dave Prowse, Temura Morrison, Amy Allen, and Daniel Logan), plus Ray Park was at the Master Replicas booth, and famous comic celebs such as Carmine Infantino, George Perez, Kurt Busiek, John Romita, Gail Simone, and Phil Foglio.

Brandon Routh was at the DC booth for a while signing mini-posters. Super (pun!) nice guy. Wore a "Blizzard" baseball cap - we hear the guy is addicted to Warcraft. The press pass can get you nice and close! And on the show floor guests could be lucky enough to bump into one of the Lone Gunmen from The X-Files, the guy who will be starring in the upcoming 300 movie, Gerard Butler, Stan Lee walking around wrapped in a blanket of security people, Billy West (the voice of Ren and Stimpy), Stan Winston (creature maker extraordinaire), and even Henry Rollins (rocker, beat poet, actor) at the IFC booth.

Samuel L. Jackson was also on hand for the Snakes on a Plane panel. He has a lightning quick wit and great responses to the QnA stuff. One guy asked if these snakes, given what they were doing on the plane, really deserved to die. Sam instantly shouts the A Time to Kill quote "Yeah they deserved to die and I hope they burn in hell!" The crowd, of course, went insane.

The best thing to do, in terms of attending a con such as this, is to do your research up front. Know what you are looking for, know when it's happening and be there in plenty of time. You'd hate to be all set to attend "Competing for the Young Adult Mind with Words and Pictures" and then discover that it butted right up against the "Star Wars Day: What’s New, and What’s Coming at Hasbro". Curses! Foiled again.

When inquiring about the size of the convention, our intrepid reporter let us know that they were there for the entire show (four and one-half days) and they didn't feel like they saw every booth on the floor. Even with being able to walk around for an hour or so each day before the show opened and no crowds to slow them down. And how about the size of the show? The size of three ginormous shows plus a boat show. MAn! That's BIG!

Oh and bring plenty of water. The food is not any better than a normal con. And it's very expensive inside the con. Always best to pack a lunch, or steal one from the breakfast buffet at the hotel you are staying at! Until next year...

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