San Diego Comic Con is a crazy thing. Imagine only attending Disneyland for about an hour and you have Comic Con.
If you watch Adventure Time, the Nightosphere is Comic Con. To survive the Nightosphere, errrr, Comic Con, you must follow a few guidelines.
First, you have to be realistic. If you want Hall H, plan on being in line for at least a day, possibly two or more. Hall H = all you will do.
Second, have a plan. Sacrifice is an important part of SDCC. Allow for an hour before the small panels like Mattel or Hasbro. Sit through the panel before yours to claim a seat. Not only will you make your panel, you may find something interesting. Last year, I sat through a psychological ride through Spider-Man and how he dealt with the death of Gwen Stacey and a panel highlighting Dave Stewart (an amazing freaking colorist!) hosted by Mike Mignola himself. Sometimes, it is the little surprises that make Comic Con awesome. If you want toy exclusives, be prepared to wait a long long time! Hasbro is next to impossible unless you are in line to get in to the con super early. Seriously, those Marvel, GI Joe, and Star Wars exclusives are hard to get even if you attend. Such a pain in the ass... Mattel: make sure to do the pre-order. Bandai, good luck. Those with exhibitor and attendee badges will own those exclusives. Thankfully, Hasbro and Bandai mark the badges so you can't buy more than the limits (even though they are inconsistent).
Third, plan some SD time away from the con. Hang out with friends, spend some time at the beach, hit the zoo, or even just find some great places to eat! We love Ciro's Pizza on Market St (Batgirl provided us the best customer service experience!), Richard Walker's Pancake House surprisingly has the best pancakes ever, The Hopping Pig had a great beer selection and some amazing burgers (not to mention homemade ketchup!), and Bolillo, which served some *bleeping* amazing tortas and mexican food. Seriously... Bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers... 'nuff said, right Zak?
Once you settle in on your purpose for attending the con, you can gain a little focus. Me, I'm a toy guy. I avoid those busy panels like the plague. Even then, I barely can handle the five days of intense crowds and rude people. Bouncing around with people pushing you in every direction! It really kinda sucks!
My highlights this year:
1. Being done with Hasbro. All I could think was "I can't believe that is done. What a clusterf#$%."
2. Meeting the Champion (Jonathon Penner) from episode (officially) 9 of the Tick live action series. That was seriously one of those awesome moments! "Champion, good to see you!" This was a seriously random event! Nice freaking guy!
3. Speaking with Hasbro's crew. Where else can you be one on one with the creative teams that bring you the toys you love!
4. The Strike Back panel. If you don't watch Strike Back, you must not be old enough to watch Cinemax!
5. Getting Webarella signed by the entire creative team of Monster High. I have never met a more sincere, humble team of amazing-ness. Thank you all for signing my daughter's Webarella! Too bad she can never open her now!
6. Getting the Adventure Time Encyclopedia (buy it here!) signed by Marceline and Hunson Abadeer (the lovely Olivia Olson and her dad Martin Olson). Best experience of the con!!!
7. The best of the show. Go to the show with people you have a good time with. A beer with friends after the show is priceless (or Jaeger shots, right Kevin?)
Here's to next year and SDCC, may we all survive it again!