SDCC 2015 Journal: Orientation Day

Five hours in a tin can flying at thirty-five thousand feet in the air will turn any spritely young man into an elderly one with mobility issues. The flight took me from the dreary East Coast to the sunny, drought-tormented West Coast. On arrival at the San Diego airport I found my legs suffering from entropy, but thankfully only for a moment. The baggage claim alerts you to the fact that, indeed, San Diego Comic-Con 2015 is well underway. The belt that carries the assorted luggage around was branded with an advertisement for CONAN, with his likeness transmuted into four distinct Funko-like vinyl toys. I found my bag, hailed a taxi, and grabbed my first look at San Diego.

San Diego on first glance, especially for one who comes from the opposite coast, looks like Florida. The aqua ocean is dotted with yachts, and the skyline of the city looks suspiciously like Miami from afar. My hotel, as happenstance would have it, is located across from the theatre that is hosting Conan O’Brien for the weekend. Is he staying in my hotel? I eat dinner and fall asleep for Thursday. My first day at the Con.

Jet lag wakes me up at seven in the morning and I slowly get ready. I am informed that it will take a brisk ten minute walk to arrive at the convention center. I make my way down the main street that will lead me to the epicenter of pop culture. In the morning hours, the street has a quaint charm to it. The street advertises its faux mid-western charm with buildings built (presumably) out of brick. The bars and restaurants are enticing Con attendees with super-hero themed drinks, food, and costumed waitresses. Once you get close to the convention center, the bars are taken over by corporate entities, like the SyFy channel. You turn a corner and BOOM: it’s there.

On first glance the convention center is big. Really big. Intimidating. You make your way through hundreds of men, women, children, and religious nuts till you get inside. The main hall is filled with everything. EVERYTHING. You name it, they have it. Walking Dead crossbows, costumes from the upcoming Superman/Batman: Dawn of Justice film, exclusive Power Rangers figurines, posters, Legos, themed beach towels, plush toys, and, of course, comic books. Merchandising, merchandising, merchandising. If you find yourself bored, you can traverse through the Walking Dead booth and try not to get eaten by walkers. I found myself waiting in a half-hour line for this. Worth it.

SUPERMAN_VINYL_DIE_FINAL_S Panels were scarce today, because the heavyweights don’t come until tomorrow or Saturday. So I passed the time waiting in another line for Mondo exclusive and snatched myself a Superman: The Animated Series vinyl soundtrack. The rest of the day was spent in glazy-eyed wonder at the majesty and enormity of the San Diego Comic-Con. The sun has set and my legs are again giving out, but not from lack of mobility. I need some sleep.

Paul Gilbert is a 23 year old recent graduate student of the University of Rhode Island from which he received a BA double major in history and film studies. Originally from Philadelphia. Paul now lives in Washington D.C. He first found his passion for film in VHS stores when he was younger and has been studying, examining, and analyzing film and the history of film ever since. Paul has a second interest in the world of comics, video games and books. He is an avid connoisseur and frequent attendee at Comic Con and Wizard World events at sites around the country. His interest in those particular genres stem from the ways in which popular culture utilizes a variety of medium to convey stories, ideas, and messages.