Comic-Con San Diego 2016 - Convention Review
by Bryan Mero
Comic-Con San Diego 2016 was again big, bold, hot, exhausting and awesome. The feeling after the Con is much like a survivor of a major event. I'm glad to say "I Survived Comic-Con 2016!"
If you ever mention that your going or went to Comic-Con most likely you get the reaction, "Oh man, I'm so jealous!" Yes, it is fun but there is a harsh reality. With 100k people attending the Con each day there is no way NOT to be put in a line one time or another. For example: I wanted to get into a panel that started at 2:15pm in a ballroom. I got in line at 11:30am outside with no shade and just a ton of people hoping to get in. At 2pm I wasn't even close to the middle of the line and I knew the battle was lost. I couldn't take the beating of the sun anymore and got under cover.
Word of warning: If your going to Comic-con in the future, make sure you pick a few things you want to do or panel to see that day but commit to the ONE thing you'd rather not miss and go all in. For some people that's going into Hall H (the 6,000 seat venue) camping out the entire day before to get a wristband for entry the next day. At least you'll be able to see that one panel you craved for. On a smaller scale, if there's a popular show panel, check out the line 2-3hrs ahead of time. If there's a line...YOU SHOULD GET IN IT! Even waiting an extra 30min or so can hurt your chances of getting into a panel room.
Other advice: Look for some of the other more sublime panels. There's a jewel to be found at every convention. For me, it was the "How to write a story in 3 acts" panel by Maxwell Alexander Drake. This was his 3rd panel in a series at the Con and the line for it went down and around a hallway as if this was some kind of entertainment panel. I'll tell you this, it was so much better. Maxwell was a dynamic speaker that tells it like it is. Every story is broken into pieces, it's how you tell that story that makes it special. Some people are good at it...others not so much. I bought his book and I'm hoping to apply some of his principles in my future writing. That was one line that was totally worth the wait! Please check out the link above and look at his work!
Planned encounters: I'm a huge ROM:Spaceknight fan since I was a kid and IDW now publishes ROM as part of their comic universe. I connected with Chris Ryall on Twitter and showed him a ROM helmet I created and asked if he would sign it at the con, he was so excited to see it in person and gladly signed it along with the writer Christos Gage and artist David Messina! It's amazing how in the world today you can connect fans with creators so easily. I never would have brought my little creation otherwise but Chris Ryall made it possible. Now I have something to cherish or maybe sell at a charity auction with funds going to Bill Mantlo (original creator of the ROM comic book series). Learn about his story here.
COSPLAY: I'm not going to attempt to put up a gallery of pictures of cosplay at the con. Every other website and their brother will have that. I'll give you one of my favorites, Samurai Jack and what it's like to be a cosplayer in such a large convention. I got to cosplay 2 out of the 3 days I was there and its always a fun experience. It's pretty amazing how a costume can bring out reaction of people. A majority of the time it's positive. I was Director Orson Krennic from Star Wars: Rogue One and had a blast. I was stopped for pictures more than ever before and people were giddy to see me. Really, me? Yep, and they wanted a picture. I have to thank my wife for helping me with the final touch of the cape, that really made the cosplay. I even won a prize and got some free swag for dressing up. If you like to cosplay, do it. If you have a cosplay that's hot, think about a change of clothes in the middle of the day just to save yourself the stress. Overall, puttin a smile on someone's face, young and old, makes it all worth it.
It seems there's always something new coming out that causes a bit of a stir. This year will be BBC America's Dirk Gently's Hollistic Detective Agency with Elijah Wood. With the cast and writer Max Landis (Chronical, American Ultra), the panel was as lively as I've ever seen. The show itself is based off Douglas Adams'(Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy) book of the same title and it so crazy and sometimes confusing, but in the end a fun and hollistic ride. This will be a show on BBC America where most viewers will go, "huh?" As you've seen in the trailer above, I think that reaction is appropriate. Is there anything, anything on TV like it?? Nope...this should be applauded and promoted as much as possible.
GIVING THANKS: I want to personally thank Ralph Miley from the Christian Comic Arts Society for providing my badge, letting me work at their table and sell my comic series Spirit Kight. It was such a pleasure to be part of such a great group of people. I'm pictured here with extremely talanted Producer/Actor Carmi Fellwock. As a geeky Christian at the Con, we sometimes take the brunt of complaints for those outside the Con that preach at people with bullhorns or yellow signs. Let's just say we take that oportunity to show people that we'll talk to you about anything...from The Walking Dead to Star Wars...if they want more spiritual conversations, we were available. Just need a hug or a friendly face, sure...one of our group affiliates Geeky Guys for God handed out water to people standing in line just to bless them. Those are the people I wanted to be associated with. We also had "church" at the Con and had an awesome speaker Stephen Weese (author of God Loves the Freaks) and worship music along with a panel of Christian artists and creators. It was a great turnout and I can't wait for more next year.
OVERVIEW of Comic-Con 2016: There are times inside the exhibitor hall when you think, "man, a smaller con would be so much more fun," and then you end up seeing Elijah Wood or Will Smith and feel thankful that you got to catch a glimpse of them. It's a two sided coin and it can flip in a moment. It's the chance encounters, planned encounters and main experience of the con that makes it all worth it. If you can go, you should try. Everyone should go at least once. If you can't go look for more options for coverage coming up, like live streaming panels from Comic-Con HQ and others. Otherwise, look for your local Con...it seems as if most major (and non-major) cities have one. Get out and start experiencing the fun with your fellow comic, sci-fi, fantasy and adventure geeks. Until I see you at the next event...Con On!!