The Break
by The Break

If you’re a comic/movie/TV fan, chances are you’d like to go to San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) at least once in your lifetime. For such a gargantuan event, knowing what to expect and what to do is essential. CATCHPLAY ON DEMAND visited 2017’s SDCC, and it was every bit as mind-blowing as expected. Watch the adventure here! 

Here is what you need to know to prep yourself for SDCC:

Where to stay

San Diego is one of the most populated cities in the US, and there are plenty of places that accommodate travellers, but with the influx of more than 100,000 people from around the globe within a four-five day period, finding a place to stay can be problematic. Even if you obtained one of the entry badges that were quickly sold out within minutes, getting a room at a price you’re used to is just as difficult.

Hotels near the convention centre usually charge you more than 400USD a night, you’ll soon find out that all the money you’ve been saving up for this event is mostly spent on rooms – and admit it, you’ll be so focused on the con and be out there waiting in lines that you barely have time to enjoy the hotel’s services. A more affordable choice would be hostels or Airbnbs, but those are usually further away from the centre, requiring you to get up earlier and commute via Comic-Con shuttle buses. And you still have to plan ahead in order to get a good one.

Lines, lines and more lines

With hundreds of thousands of people attending Comic-Con, it goes without saying you’ll be waiting in a line for almost everything, and the lines are usually very long. Sunscreen is a must, for there are more than a few lines stretch outside the air conditioned convention hall into the hot Californian sun. How to pass time is up to you – chatting with fellow fans, reviewing your purchases, or reading a book if you don’t feel like talking. Most important of all, bring a fully-charged phone and power supply.

The Booths

Big-name studios put their best efforts in building the most eye-catching booths you could imagine. There was something for everyone – action figurine displays, VR games, LEGO bricks, My Little Pony makeup sessions, taking photos with walkers from The Walking Dead, and lots of shopping. And they kept you coming back with numerous free exclusive posters, celebrity signings and more.

Comic Books

As the title suggests, the heart of Comic-Con is, and always will be, comic books. All the comic publishers, artists and vendors you can or can’t name will be there. Visit the artists, support them with a purchase of an art print, or discover that one rare issue of Uncanny X-Men you’ve been searching for years. You can even go to seminars where artists share their secrets to creating amazing comic artwork.

The Cosplays

Among the crowd, you’re guaranteed to see at least hundreds of movie/TV/cartoon characters walking around. You are more than welcomed to join in on the action and dress up as your favourite character, which is always an excellent way to get attention, have pictures taken, and make friends – if you could stand the heat and fatigue of wearing a costume all day.

Hall H

And then there’s Hall H, the holy grail of Comic-Con. Expect the biggest A-listers to show up in there for a panel, and expect to wait in endless lines just to have a slight chance to actually get in and see the superstars in person. Hall H houses a mere 6,500 people, while the record attendance number in Comic-Con history is 167,000 in 2015; you’ll bet there were more than 6,500 of them wanting to see A-list stars.

This year, the waiting line for an entrance wristband stretched from the convention centre to the Seaport Village a mile away, forming a long row of tents, folding chairs, grills and sweating fans that you cannot see the end of. Luckily the weather was good and the seaside view was breath-taking, so the 12-hour wait wasn’t a complete torment. If you are fortunate enough to be the first 6,000 or so people in line, you could get the wristband that ensures your entrance to Hall H the next day. By then you could either return to the hotel you paid good money for and come back next morning, or you could stay the night outside in line and secure a better seat in the hall. Late comers would have to bear with a Lego-sized Chris Hemsworth from far back of the hall.

If you fail to enter Hall H, the second best option is to watch panel replays at the hotel convention hall nearby. Be warned though, they’d only replay the panel discussion segments; any trailers and sneak peeks are omitted. Expect angry roars of boos when the presenter says, “Now, here’s the new official trailer for Thor: Ragnork!” and the screen turns blank for two minutes.

Outside the Con

While the convention centre has enough activities to fill the entire four days, there are still tons of things to look at outside of the Con. Near the convention centre is Gaslamp Quarter, the best site for entertainment in San Diego full of shops, bars and restaurants. During the con, the streets of Gaslamp are filled with thousands of visitors, along with more fun things to do and see.

Blade Runner 2049 VR Experience

In addition to handing out free bags that rivalled Comic-Con’s official bag in terms of design and carrying capacity, The Syfy channel set up a wedding chapel, complete with a band that plays classic movie scores. Want to walk down the aisle to the tune of Jurassic Park? Want to kiss the husband/wife while Star Wars theme plays in the background? They’ve got those covered.

Also showing up in Gaslamp was Laika Studio, of Kubo and the Two Strings and Coraline fame. Visit their pop-up store and receive a free tour, seeing their intricate, highly artistic puppets used for their famous stop-motion animated movies.