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San Diego Comic-Con 2013: Wednesday preview night pandemonium

Posted by on July 18, 2013 – 2:08 am
Azog - San Diego Comic-Con 2013

Azog the Defiler (The Hobbit movie)

It’s that time of year again, when pop culture enthusiasts from around the world brave the insane streets, lunatic drivers and semi-controlled chaos of San Diego as it showcases everything new and nerdy under the sun. It’s the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con and Wednesday evening was its eagerly anticipated “Preview Night.”

It’s always fun to pass through Tatooine (the Star Wars sand dune location outside of Yuma) on the road from Phoenix to San Diego, although getting up at 4:00 a.m. to start the trip always leaves one feeling a little like a wookie who just lost a game of Dejarik.

The early hour was planned so that, if all cards fell into place, I’d be in & out of my “way-off-the-beaten-path” hotel by 1:00 p.m. and in line for my Comic-Con badge by 2:00 – but you know what they say about best laid plans. After three hours of fighting with hotel housekeeping, maintenance and technical support (yes, you must follow that specific order) about a faulty Internet connection, I was told that it was my laptop that was bad and not their stellar network infrastructure.

So on top of being incredibly late and losing any hope for a decent position in line at Comic-Con, the traffic in downtown San Diego was now horrendous and I was going to have to scramble to figure out how I was going to be able to post updates from the event once I returned to my room in the evening. Thanks, unnamed crappy hotel!

San Diego Comic-Con 2013

San Diego Comic-Con 2013

I have a long twisted history with San Diego, having lived there a few years during my “Navy days,” and for me it is the most nerve-wracking city I have ever driven in. The road layout makes absolutely no sense and I’m assuming that’s the reason people drive like maniacs there. Every time I get behind the wheel in that town I feel like daredevil Nik Wallenda crossing the Grand Canyon on a high-wire as I find myself repeating, “Please, Jesus… Please, Jesus…

So after finally arriving in the line that now stretched for thousands of con-goers, I had time to do some mathematical calculations and determined that for every minute you are late for your respective line at the con, you are likely to fall behind 1,067 people. I’ll probably chart this out later, but in the meantime, fair warning if you plan to attend any of the popular panel events this weekend.

Despite the craziness, the insane amount of people and more than a little disorganization, the badge line actually moved pretty quickly and before I knew it I had my pass, a sweet “Godzilla” swag bag, a 2013 souvenir book and some merciful air-conditioning after hoofing it in the heat for a mile or so.

Next, it was time to pick-up a souvenir steampunk T-shirt that my wonderful wife had purchased for me in advance, a new process for this year’s con as previously the hard-to-get shirts were only available by standing in line and keeping your fingers crossed. Alas, purchasing them in advance may not be all it’s cracked up to be either as the line for item pick-up measured in the hundreds, it not thousands, on Wednesday evening – so that “quick” pick up will be tried again on Thursday morning.

Steam Crow - San Diego Comic-Con 2013

Steam Crow

Finally it was time to head inside the main exhibit hall for preview night and get a lay of the land; and this was the busiest opening night I think I’ve seen, with wall-to-wall people on most parts of the convention floor. My first stop was a visit to our old friends at the Steam Crow booth (#4013) to wish them luck for a successful show. If you’re attending the Con, be sure to swing by and show them some love and check out their “Rasputin Hypnosis Academy” Comic-Con exclusive print.

I spent the rest of the evening just ricocheting off of other attendees and taking in the multitude of amazing sights (check out the gallery of pics below.) Of note was a very cool display for The Walking Dead cable-television series that is a scale mock-up of the prison compound from the show (or at least a corner of it) complete with zombies on the interior – ready for a photo op. Walking Dead fans were dying to get into this exhibit.

Another very fun display was at The Hobbit movie area, which had a life-size version of goblin leader, Azog the Defiler. They also had a life-size Gollum and Gandalf that were present at last year’s show. This Weta Workshop area also had a ray-gun display from the Dr. Grordbort line of “Infallible Aether Oscillators.” Oh, how I need a new ray-gun!

Frank Cho - San Diego Comic-Con 2013

Frank Cho, Jungle Queen Sketchbook

I wrapped up the evening with a visit to one of my favorites artists in the “artist alley” area, Frank Cho of Liberty Meadows and Jungle Girl fame. Mr. Cho was recently banned (temporarily) from Facebook for posting a sketch of Jungle Girl in the midst of a wardrobe malfunction while fighting with a Pterodactyl.

I personally think it’s absurd that Facebook is banning artists for anything, and to show my support for his efforts, I made Frank’s Jungle Queen Sketchbook, featuring said banned artwork, my first purchase of the con (and even got that particular sketch autographed as well – thank you Mr. Cho!)

On returning to my hotel room, miraculously my Internet connection was now working. (Not complaining, but it’s funny how I didn’t change anything.) So the good news is, Comic-Con recaps are back in business and Thursday the con is on full-force with its first full day of activity. Follow Nerdvana’s coverage all through the weekend, both here and “live” via Twitter @Nerdvana.

Nerdvana’s San Diego Comic-Con 2013 – Wednesday Photo Gallery
(Click to see larger image.)