SDCC 2013 - Day 1: Wednesday 7/17

This was the roughest start to the Comic-Con International in San Diego I've yet to endure. The previous nine days I was working on the east the coast and only returned home Wednesday morning at 12:00am. Surprisingly, twelve hours was not enough time to recuperate from over a week on the road AND to prepare for SDCC... who knew?

Rather than my hoped for noon departure, it was 3:00pm when I finally got on the infamous 405 freeway heading south. What is normally a two hour trip become a three hour ordeal in Southern Californian traffic. I bypassed my hotel check-in and valuables drop-off heading straight for the Gaslamp Quarter, gateway to nerdom. I found a "new" place to park (and for a reasonable $20, all things considered) then hustled to the Convention Center to stand in a surprisingly long line for Preview Night having already started. Then, finally, after an emergency "3-hours-in-a-car" bathroom break I hit the floor! And 30 minutes later I felt like I'd pretty much seen everything and felt a sense of "being done."

It was a quick tour of the key booths (Hasbro, Bridge, Mattel and NECA) but with few reveals there was no "high," and a quick survey of the all to familiar surroundings left me with a "now what" sense of ennui. Like the embittered trooper I am, I pushed through that wall and continued on the sites and sounds of the other major booths (DST, Sideshow, DC) then the vendor booths and "indie toy" makers.

They've moved the videogames over to the north end of the floor, which makes a lot of sense on a traffic flow level, but from what I can tell many of the familiar vendors from those displaced slots seemed to have disappeared - a real tragedy since several where action figure booths (and one was the phenomenal Geek Chic booth last year). And indeed many of the toy booths that are in play have very little to offer in the way of older stuff, interesting figures or good deals. I did, though, manage to snag a complete set of Mad Monster Party figures and the translucent green Sideshow Creature From The Black Lagoon from one of my favorite booths!

The studio booths seemed surprisingly lackluster this year. The Ice King's head is a great one, but we have battling pirate ships from Black Sails and Once Upon A Time - awkward. This year Walking Dead has replicated a section of the prison while Weta's anchor is Azog. He's pretty cool (though appears to be over-scaled) but is a weak follow up to last year's three troll brothers, I must confess. He's hoping for and expecting Smaug for 2014.

At last, I finally dove into purchasing which always helps cheer up this old materialist. I snagged some exclusives from NECA, then filled several holes in my Minimate collection at AFX and DST before picking up some various other sundries. I waited in Mezco's line at about 8:30 or so only to find out that both exclusive versions of their Creature From The Black Lagoon were sold out entirely! Sorry me, and every non-Preview Night attendee... I guess that's why you don't make only 100 of the most sell-able Universal Movie Monster!

All in all, despite a rocky start it was a good night. Even though I arrived late (for the first time) the efficiency of these guys got me through a quarter-mile long line in about 20 minutes - if only the booths were as effective! No doubt my frustration in arriving affected my mood but once I got into it was a fine time with plenty of shopping to be had! After a solid Preview Night I picked up some Chipotle for dinner then headed to my shockingly-bad hotel a 15 minute drive away. It offers internet at a surcharge, which is ridiculous in this day and age, so my updates will only be as regular as my access to Comic Con "Teen Wolf Free Wifi." Please bear with me.

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5 Responses to SDCC 2013 - Day 1: Wednesday 7/17

  1. PrfktTear says:

    Since I've never been to SDCC, I really can't say for certain --- but it seems to me that if you've been to one comic book-type related convention, you've been to them all. I know there are many Cons out there which have fostered their own communities, like Dragon Con for instance, and there's more of an empasis on quality content while the vendor aspect take a back seat whereas toy shows are just basically big flea markets.

    • Rustin Parr says:

      Generally your spot on, but SDCC and Dragon Con, like you mention, are the most different. The latter squarely focuses on costumes, while the former is certainly based on marketing. I'm dealing with over 100,000 other people here (as many as 200k) and exclusives made in shockingly low quantities that sell out before noon and huge lines. It does just sap the fun out off it.

      • prfkttear says:

        Oh, absolutely. Exclusives really boggle the mind sometimes. Going under the premise, "Hey, we're gonna be showing our stuff at this Con and we want to reward people who come and visit our booth." makes total sense. But then there's this other mindset "We're going to make something that everyone is going to go freakin' nuts over and is a must-have for everyone in the fandom." At which point why make it an exclusive? Why not just sell it at retail, however then if it's no longer an "exclusive" will it be as highly desirable?

        Of course that is an entirely different issue all together from what you're dealing with. They've gone ahead and made these highly desirable "exclusives" to "reward" attendees, but then go ahead and make it damn near impossible to obtain them! Add to that 100,000 people and amongst them every stereotype you can think of and put 'em all in one room! Sounds like a recipe for Con Rage!

  2. jestergoblin says:

    Godspeed Rustin.

    Now selfish-greedy question: any sign of Action League from Mattel or Super Hero Squad at Hasbro?

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