Planning for Your First San Diego Comic-Con: A How-To Guide (Part 4)

One of the many exhibit floor oddities

REALITY: CHECK

After a series of initial successes between being prepared (Part 1), getting a great hotel and parking spot (Part 2) and surviving our first day (Part 3), we knew something had to give, and the universe kindly delivered. Friday morning in one of the smaller ballrooms, there was to be a panel for an animated series that Mr. P² and I both enjoy, Young Justice. The series was cancelled abruptly several years ago despite rave reviews, and will be making a comeback on the new DC Universe streaming service some time next year. The panel included voice and creative talent, and we figured they would be showing new footage, so we were anxious to get inside and grab seats.

Remember the “C” doors we got stuck at the first day? We were stupid enough to try getting in the same doors on Friday, and not only were they not letting people in, they didn’t even open the doors until 9:40 – 10 minutes after the main doors opened. Despite hustling as safely and quickly as possible, by the time we got to the ballroom, it was already filled to capacity, and the line wrapped around the ballroom to the other hallway.

This was apparently an “easy” line (original source: Google, alterations by Mrs. P²)

We decided to wait it out as there were other panels in the same room we wanted to catch, and on the off chance seats opened up, we didn’t want to miss out. Unfortunately this is the one and only panel we did not get to see that had been planned for, although I had been warned ahead of time that this happens often, so I’m counting us fortunate that we only missed one. Plus we met some cool people in line, which is a nice side-effect in situations like this.

MAKING IT RAIN

Part of our planning for SDCC included putting aside some cash to buy art. There’s an area on the exhibit floor called “Artist’s Alley” where artists of all skills and styles sell prints, originals, and take commissions. I had read that it’s easier to use cash since many of the artists can’t take card, or they’ll tack on a service fee. Mr. P² and I enjoy collecting posters and prints that catch our eye, so Saturday morning we made a beeline for Artist’s Alley first thing. I highly recommend getting there right when the doors open to avoid the suffocating crowds and have better interactions with the artists. We met one Disney artist in particular and I was able to ask him a few questions that he probably wouldn’t have had time to answer later in the day.

Waiting until Saturday to do our spending gave us a chance to take everything in and get a lay of the land. We ultimately bought several prints, a couple t-shirts and a moving Tribble for Mr. P²’s dad. I will readily admit, there is nothing “cheap” to be found on the exhibit floor – you’re paying for the readily available access to these products. However, if you’re okay with shelling out a few bucks to get a signed art print or original of your favorite character, it’s totally worth it.

Artist Jim Kay referencing his original Harry Potter book art

BATMAN & BEYOND

Saturday we had planned to do our shopping and check out more panels; I am very proud to report that we accomplished both goals. We enjoyed the Costume Design for TV & Film, Production Designer: Architect of the Imagination, and 20 Years of Magic: Inside Harry Potter panels.

However, the highlight for Mr. P² and cherry on top to finish our SDCC experience was the Batman: The Animated Series on Blu-Ray panel. The show holds a special place in Mr. P²’s heart, and it meant a lot for him to see the voice actors and hear from the people who created the show. It was a strange and heartwarming experience to be in a room full of grown men in their thirties listening to this panel and watching the footage rapt with attention.

Batman: The Animated Series Panel included Bruce Timm, Paul Dini, Andrea Romano, Kevin Conroy (Batman), Tara Strong (Batgirl) & Loren Lester (Robin)

Although our badges were still good for Sunday, we decided to pass and head home early Sunday morning to beat the traffic. I was worried that Mr. P² didn’t enjoy himself, but ending our experience at SDCC with the Batman: The Animated Series panel was something special, and he was smiling from ear to ear all the way back to the hotel. I honestly couldn’t have planned it better myself 🙂

DO’S AND DON’TS

A handy-dandy pinnable list of do’s & don’t’s!

At the end of the day, everyone’s Comic-Con experience will be different. We made the deliberate choice not to attend any panels in Hall H simply because we didn’t want to deal with the hordes, but if you’re desperate to see the Game of Thrones or Avengers casts in person, go for it! If you plan accordingly and have patience, you may get that miracle moment every fan longs for.

All the best,

Mrs. P²

PS – feel free to drop any additional notes, suggestions & stories in the comments below!

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