LOCATION: Comic-Con International Convention Center. San Diego, California
This post is part of my San Diego/San Francisco trip series.
Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve always loved superheroes. My Dad is definitely a big contributor to my fan-hood since he’s an even bigger fan. Before I was born, he made his own Spiderman and Batman costume and they looked pretty darn good! My first experience with Spiderman was when I was three years old, on Halloween, while living in Hawaii.
I was in awe of Spiderman coming to visit, and eventually realized that Spiderman was my Dad. From then on, he would always be my superhero and we always shared in our favorite superhero movies together.
I’ve always wanted to go to Comic-Con in San Diego, but it wasn’t until 2012 that I really showed my intense interest in it. After seeing video feeds of Comic-Con 2012, I instantly placed “Attend Comic-Con in Costume” to my list. When I told Dad that was on there, he quickly said, “That’s been on my own bucket list since I was little.” I knew at that instant that I was determined to get into the 2013 Comic-Con, and I was going to share that experience with my Dad.
Over the next 6 months, I researched intensely how to get a badge to the treasured convention. Badges were coveted tightly and only allowed to the person with the screenname on them. No selling, trading of any kind. They also were known to sell out within the hour and be extremely hard to get. But, again, I was determined.
Finally, the day came. February 16th at 9AM Pacific time, badges would go on sale. I clicked the link to get into the waiting room and twice was told it was timed out. Their system was not capable of handling the large volumes of people clicking at that exact moment. On my third click, my screen turned white and I assumed I was being taken somewhere, but after 6 minutes, I realized nothing was happening. I decided to refresh the page and suddenly I was in the waiting room….but with 34,090 people ahead of me. I decided to wait until the system said all badges were sold out, but I knew I wasn’t going to get in. I called Dad and told him that I was sorry, but it wasn’t going to happen.
I watched the waiting number refresh every two minutes. Each time, it would reduce by about 500 people. Eventually, as the people were tired of waiting, the number was reducing even faster, by almost 4000 each time. After 50 minutes of waiting, my number was finally to 421 and on the next refresh, it let me in to the badge purchase page. After noticing all the 4-day badges were sold, I quickly made my purchases for the Thursday day only (what we wanted anyways). Before I knew it, my purchases were completed, I had them. I HAD THEM! I called my Dad and told him the good news, and instantly started crying. Why? I’m really not sure, but it probably has to do with the fact that I didn’t think I would and had wanted these so so bad for awhile now. I was able to take MY Dad to his dream. This was priceless to me. Now I just needed to decide on a costume to wear!
I went back and forth on possible costume choices; Edward Scissorhands, a Cyborg, various woman superheroes. My ultimate choice ended up being one that I think fit my personality the best; Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. Not just any Lara Croft either, but the revamped one that came out in March 2013.
She was badass to say the least and ditched the old version nearly completely. I decided to make my costume as exact as possible. With the help from Dad, we made my weapons and clothing. Dad carved my ice axe out of wood and I painted it. The bow was made from plastic and secured in the middle with screws so that I could take it apart and travel on the plane with it.
I made my bow quiver with poster tubing and leather fabric and my gun holster with belts, cardboard and leather fabric. After 4 months of making, assembling and testing the gear, my costume was complete. I was Lara Croft. Now…just to practice getting through doorways and crowds with all my gear on!
Finally the day for Comic-Con had arrived. Unfortunately, Dad did not. Thanks to Delta for canceling his flight the night before I was going to miss the chance to go with the person it meant the most with. However, the show must go on and Lara Croft needed to prepare. After 2.5 hours of makeup and dressing, I was dirty enough to travel to the convention and apparently so was everyone else because it was packed! We arrived just as the doors opened and people rushed in to get their spots in line for panels. Others rushed in to grab the promos that were available for limited times. We felt stuck in the swimming pool of people, it was very overwhelming.
Twenty minutes in and I had already lost count of how many times I was asked to have my picture taken. My costume was a hit and I was even asked to be featured in a gamer magazine. The best was getting compliments from the vendors themselves. My hard work had paid off! As the day progressed, I was recognized a lot for Lara Croft, but noticed that I was also getting a lot of Catniss’ too from the Hunger Games. I guess the costume can be about the same?
The convention was full of action figures (around $50-$2000+ a piece), posters and extremely overpriced artwork of superheroes. It was nothing I would really buy so we were able to walk around the convention fairly fast, or as fast as the sluggish crowd would allow.
It would have been great to get into a panel, but you would have to stand in line early and all day just to get a seat. Maybe if I had a 2 or 3 day pass I could do one, but not this time. The crowds were overwhelming but the overall experience was fun. However, by the end of the day, I was left tired, achy and not wanting any more pictures to be taken! How do people do this 4 days in a row!?! I wish my dad was here so we could have appreciated the merchandise more with a true collector. It just wasn’t the same, or nearly the experience I was hoping for without him. I guess I’ll just have to plan for another Comic-Con with him…better start preparing for that costume!
After Comic-Con, we decided to go to the USS Midway museum. Needless to say, it was amusing since the people touring the midway did NOT understand why I was in costume. It made for some very interesting looks!
Some things I learned about my first time at Comic-Con
- Get a hotel away from the convention and take the trolley in. It’s super easy and cheap and you stay away from a large amount of crowd and the high cost of hotels at that time
- If you’re going to do Cosplay, know everything about your character as much as possible. Also be prepared to do some fancy poses like them. I was not ready for the amount of pictures I had to take. I also had people ask me weird questions like, “Does Lara shoot with her right hand?” uhhhh……
- Be prepared to stand in line all day if you want to see something not on the main floor. It will, in fact, take all day!
- If you want to go for just one day, stick to Saturday. It seems like it had the most action for great costume viewing.
- You most likely will not see or meet a celebrity unless you are in line for an autograph. I figured I would have seen SOMEONE, but sadly, no.
- LEAVE the convention to eat lunch or dinner. The crowds can get overwhelming and this is a good moment to breathe.
- Items are super expensive. Be prepared!
- Crowds also seemed less during noon to 2pm, perhaps because everyone was eating. Much easier to walk around then.
- If there is a booth you want something from, find out the item and if it is only released at certain times. Some promos were released at certain times of the day only. Other booths had a timed ticket to buy something from them (HASBRO)
- There is a lot happening outside of the convention center as well. Make time to enjoy all of that.
- Wear comfortable shoes, and make sure you break in your shoes before you go. LOTS of walking!
Here’s a pretty cool video of some of the costumes featured at Comic-Con. We saw a few of these people around on Thursday. It’s funny because I met the girl filming this, and she never told me what it was for, but I told her I didn’t wanted to be filmed. HA. dang!!
*Thank you Troy for accompanying me on this adventure.
WOULD I DO IT AGAIN? Yes. Next time for panels…and hopefully with dad there too!
HOW TO DO THIS: Comic Con badges go on sale in February of every year. Member IDs must be registered before they go on sale because only members of their site are eligible to buy a badge. Go to their website to sign up. http://www.comic-con.org/cci