Thousands of people surround you. They are a mix of genders, races, ages, shapes and sizes. The one thing they have in common? They are all at San Diego Comic Con.
San Diego Comic Con - originally called San Diego's Golden State Comic-Con - was first held on August 1-3, 1970, at the US Grant Hotel, with only three special guests: Ray Bradbury, Jack Kirby, and A.E. van Vogt. 300 people attended that first comic book convention. Now Comic Con has 130,000 attendants not including staffers, celebrities and volunteers and is held at the San Diego Convention Center.
Comic Con used to just be a comic book convention with the occasional film screening and panel. Now that is taken to the extreme. There is rarely a movie that isn't previewed at Comic Con, and every TV show that wants to become the "next big thing" has a panel. At Comic Con there is such a huge variety of people, movies, TV shows, video games and, of course, comics, that it would be easy to get lost.
Comic Con has become so popular that it is almost impossible to buy tickets, which cost about $140 for Wednesday night to Sunday. Plus you also have to be able to get on the website and buy the them. Those who have attended Comic Con before get priority, and then they are sold to the first-timers. From watching my brother try to buy tickets, I can tell you with confidence how much trouble you have to go to in order to attend Comic Con.
And yet people do it anyway, including some of our own Pres girls. "It was really incredible to see that so many people were willing to cough up enough cash to make their way down to San Diego just for this convention, especially when it's so hard to get tickets for Comic Con," said junior Celia Kelly.
Not only that, but women are starting to be recognized more often as comic book readers and nerds. While girls have always attended Comic Con, more panels and projects have started to be angled towards both girls and guys. The demographic of Comic Con is 60 percent male and 40 percent female. When asked if they noticed more men or women at the conventions, Pres girls said they did not notice a difference. The recognition of women could be a possible explanation for the spike in Pres girl interest.
Comic Con is a great place to meet new people."Well, one of my hobbies is creating costumes to wear to events like this so that I can hang out with people who share similar interests as me, so I like to make new friends and hang out with people as well as meeting idols that might be attending as well,"said junior Rebecca Bingaman.
Comic Con has basically become the model for every convention out there now, from Fanime to Otakon and Leaky Con. Celebrities walk around mingling with fans and signing autographs. People dress up in such elaborate costumes that it looks like they just walked off a professional movie set. And nerds roam free expressing their individuality.
It used to be a bad thing to be a nerd. It meant you were most likely not physically active, couldn't play sports and spent all your time stuck in a book where you would obsess over fictional worlds. Now that comic book conventions have gained so much popularity, it has become more accepted to know how to speak Klingon or be able to recite every line from Doctor Who.
And Comic Con is not the only convention out there for people to attend. Nicole Suits, junior, attends Fanime every year and does cosplay, which is designing and wearing a costume based on a character. "The first time I went to Fanime I only went as Roy Mustang from Fullmetal Alchemist, but since then I have cosplayed from the webcomic Homestuck, the anime Hetalia, Percy Jackson series and the horror game Amnesia: The Dark Descent."
Yet Comic Con is still, by far, the mother of all conventions. "It was really, really crowded and there was a ton of security. They wouldn't even let you lean against the walls because it was a fire hazard, so there were only a few places where you would actually be allowed to sit down and get some rest," said Kelly. "There was a lot of walking. But you also get to see a lot of really cool cosplayers and actors. Once I was trying to get somewhere but couldn't because Harrison Ford was being mobbed by fans, so foot traffic had stopped completely."
While the idea of Comic Con is to get people who are fans of comics together so they can share their love for it all, you do not have to be a nerd or a "fangirl" to attend Comic Con. There is no contract saying that you have an undying need for the next episode of Sherlock or can sketch a map of Middle Earth better than you can sketch a map of the United States. In fact, a lot of people go just to meet their favorite celebrities.
"I saw Harrison Ford, Joss Whedon, Ian McKellan, Patrick Stewart, and most of the Avengers actors including Tom Hiddleston, Scarlett Johansson, and Chris Evans," said Kelly. Bingaman added, "Two I admired the most were Jared Padalecki and Misha Collins from the TV show Supernatural."
Comic Con helps people to make new friends and express who they are. Bingaman said, "It's a really awesome feeling because then you can share something you love with really nice, easygoing people who are your age. Then you can hang out and laugh and talk about whatever you're into. It's just a great way to make new friends."