Day one does not disappoint

by Caitlin Johnson

The sights and smells of Comic-Con have long become nostalgic for me—the scent of stale pizza wafting across the chilled exhibit hall air, the murmur of hundreds of thousands of voices as people shuffle across the floor, searching for that elusive rare collectible. After 10 consecutive years of attendance, I thought I’d seen it all. But each year I feel the same rush of excitement as I step across the threshold into what has become a fond home for my guilty pleasures.

Each year exhibitors are finding the need to out-do what was done the year prior. That means bigger and better attractions, more swag, and doing whatever it takes to draw con-goers to their booths. I’m definitely not complaining. I love to be spoiled rotten at conventions; after all, isn’t that why we go? The comic gods know I spend enough on entertainment throughout the year, so this is my one chance to earn it back.

I mean it when I say bigger attractions. Exhibitors have gone to great lengths to set up massive sets guests can walk through and interact with. One of my favorites has to be the “Walking Dead” booth: A prison tower reaches toward the ceiling as a grizzled Rick Grimes mannequin keeps watch. The perimeter is blocked by a six-foot chain link fence. Live zombies groan and rattle the barricade as startled attendees wait for their chance to pose for photos with the “walkers.”

Actors were hired to pose as “walkers,” adding an eerily realistic vibe. Photo by Caitlin Johnson

Another positive change was the consolidation of the major gaming companies onto one side of the convention floor. Instead of being scattered about as in previous years, video game giants such as Blizzard, Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony stand alongside one another, showing off their best for the upcoming season. It’s almost as if the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) had been uprooted from Los Angeles and dropped straight into the San Diego Convention Center. Photo ops at Nintendo’s booth and playable Xbox One demos at Microsoft’s brought much joy to this little gamer’s heart. It took quite a bit of effort to pull away, but I managed with the help of security ushering me out at closing time.

Nintendo promotes "Pikmin 3" with this larger-than-life photo station. Photo by Caitlin Johnson.
Nintendo promotes “Pikmin 3” with this larger-than-life photo station. Photo by Caitlin Johnson.

I left, exhausted and spent but overall pleased with yet another year of fun at the biggest comic convention in the world. Three days remain, and though I know I won’t be able to see everything, I’m ready to make the most out of my time there. I suppose the old saying is true: the best things really are worth waiting for.

Over and out!

Check out Entertainment Editor David Dixon’s own adventures on the first day of the Con featuring William Shatner and Newman.