There is no denying that the last few years have been a little rough on conventions and events like E3 and Comic-Con International have been hit fairly hard out there. There have been many of the smaller conventions out there that have not been able to survive everything we have been going through since 2020. As many of the avid readers of the site will know, SDCC is one of the bigger ones we like to head out and cover for all of the various gaming needs and other attractions that bring a bit of gaming into our real world. That is why I know myself and the team were pumped to be able to head out to Comic-Con Special Edition last week. Now that we have had some time to kick back and reflect on it all, here are some of the interesting takeaways, feelings, and events that we were lucky enough to venture out into.
Right out of the gate, we will start with what will most likely be the norm going forward for events like Comic-Con and the like. That would be the new safety concerns and limitations that are going to be abound. Obviously, there will be the vaccinations, testing, and protective wear that needed to be implemented. This will also be something that can slow down some of the processes out there. I am sure that this was a bit of a test for events like Comic-Con that easily have hundreds of thousands of con-goers, but this one not only had the numbers drastically reduced. It also required all of the verifications of these safety concerns and from the various locations around the world and not just Southern California.
This was where the longest of lines had to be found while out at Comic-Con this year. In fact, it took our team roughly forty-five minutes from arrival until we were at the front where vaccinations and/or testing were checked. Not the longest of lines I have ever been in for an event like Comic-Con, but something worth noting as the teams vetted everyone for safety as they entered the convention space and offered up the wristbands that would guarantee that they would not need to go through the process for the remainder of the convention. All of this is being mentioned here as it does feel like this will be sticking around for the events for the foreseeable future and for fans to better plan ahead. Showing up as the doors open on the first day will take a bit.
Once we were in, this is where the lands of Comic-Con opened up quite a bit and the normal stressors of it all faded away. That was the only true bottleneck and the rest of the event, at least for the team, went by without much of a line or waiting for anything else. Well, beyond the one massive off-site event and a few of the various vendors around the show floor that will always have the crowds showing up for Comic-Con. I am looking at you Funko and Namco. If you were paying attention to some of the social posts, or want to see a look at the show floors below, you can see how wide and open the space was out there. It has been a decade since I have been able to experience things as I did this time around, and this is a great thing. Even if I know that the humans will be back in droves in the following year for all of this.
While the crowds and lines for this Comic-Con were sparser, that does not mean that it was all at the same level of things that have been out there during that decade I mentioned. Sure, I could walk into every panel I wanted to right when they were starting this year (normally it has been hours of lines before the one you want to go to), there were not many panels that seemed to pop out and grab my attention. Even when I am normally looking for things like Mythology in Final Fantasy or How Conspiracy Theories Shape Our Media, things felt few and far between all of that. A little more muted than before, which felt like there was less of an energy out there to ride and enjoy along the way. Even the Call Of Duty panel was less exciting than some I have seen in the past. I have a feeling most of this was due to the timing and number of attendees confirmed more than anything. Most companies are not going to shell out for something that will not have the best return.
Nonetheless, all of this did bring me back to the Comic-Con of the past. Something that felt more for the true fans of it all out there and not those trying to rub elbows with celebrities, scalp the coolest exclusives, or collect all of the swag for some weird bragging right. There were many times where we were able to use this to our advantage to keep the panel discussions going in the halls after the main event or actually talk to the artists that have been keeping our attention for so many years. This is not something that will sell for many gamers or fans out there, and as ironic as it sounds, this Comic-Con felt less commercial and more of a community. This could also be me loving the fact that I did not have to Juggernaut my way through crowds to be able to converse with one friend or make it to a media event.
Moving away from all of that, though, let us discuss some of the other fun parts of Comic-Con that will get the masses excited. These would be the activations and fun little things going on inside and outside of the convention space. Even if the number of these could be counted on one hand. There were small things for La Brea and Resident Alien, but the bigger things were the Pacman arcade and the Peacemaker Corp Obstacle course. The prior being exactly as it sounds to help highlight the milestone that the IP has gone through. The latter was one of the famed Comic-Con off-site events that came with full production and fun inside to experience. All to get us hyped up for the launch of the new TV show. This was the one that felt like the most recent state of the event out there.
You can see it all in motion just a bit lower, but as it sounds, this was a full shooting gallery and obstacle course that was set up across from the main Comic-Con halls for Peacemaker. Once inside, there was a full cast of actors to help get you into the setting and explain some of the safety protocols needed. These were due to the fact that we were also given large Nerf guns and being sent out into the range to go through the normal training that the character would have gone through. All while keeping it all in-universe at the same time. Not to mention that it was also one of the faster experiences I have been able to get into without special access, as it took about thirty minutes to go through the line, sign the waivers, and the basic setup of it all. If only Comic-Con could run this way all the time moving forward.
Lastly, and certainly not least at all, this year also marked the official opening of the Comic-Con Museum in San Diego. Given how long the event has been going on and how it has helped shape and grow the city, it makes sense that there would be something official down there. All of which with revolving exhibits that not only highlight the fun of Comic-Con with cosplay and other fan-created things but also bring in more of the culture through various other fandoms and exhibits. While we were there, we had a chance to see some things from the history of Star Trek, Archie, and Addams in the mix. None of which was directly part of the main event, but something to behold as you can see the history of it all and how the rest of the culture can come together off the show floors out there. It was definitely worth the break from the convention center, even if it felt like it was still part of it.
At the end of it all, Comic-Con Special Edition was a very much nice to have and not a need to have as many of the fans out there would have liked it to be. You can see how just how the pandemic and restrictions have brought things down a bit from the glory it was before the world turned sideways, but this was a great return to form. The smaller event feel was greatly appreciated by the team here and the general vibe out at the event felt a little more on the upbeat and positive than I have felt in a decade. This will not always be the same, I know, but it was still a great time for us all to have. It was also a great learning curve for attendees and organizers to have so when things get back into full swing again, they can make it all go off without a hitch. I know that is when things will be a bit more on the overwhelming side of it all, but it is how life will always go.
Comic-Con Special Edition — Peacemaker Corp. Activation
Comic-Con Special Edition — Walking The Show Floor [Part 1]
Comic-Con Special Edition — Walking The Show Floor [Part 2]
Comic-Con Special Edition — Walking The Show Floor [Part 3]