No Agenda. That’s how I’m approaching this year’s Comic-Con.
Usually, I’m prepared. I have lists. I have schedules. I have an agenda.
Of course, there are a few things on the agenda for the weekend: the Zombie Run, the Valiant panel, poker night with the folks from the Valiant Fans forum; but that’s about it.
This year, which is different from previous years, I don’t have a list of panels to attend, no list of exclusives to buy, no particular artists to see, no books to get signed, no sketches to get.
I am, in a sense, free. Free to wander around and check out the con.
One of the best parts of the con is Pre-Con. This is the time on Wednesday afternoon before the con starts, as everyone is arriving in to town and picking up their badges.
This is the time when you go grab lunch with a friend and wash it down with a beer or two, then have another drink as more friends show up to meet you.
Usually, this also helps settle the pre-con jitters, that anxiety that builds up as you get closer to the time the doors open, and the mad scramble to get the exclusives, get on artists sketch lists, etc, etc.
Without an agenda, however, there were no pre-con jitters, and I spent the afternoon at the Hyatt bar, hanging out with folks, and most importantly, running in to Atom! and getting my dang card back.
In the past years, there has been a trend. Preview Night has become more and more crowded every year, until a year or two ago, it was just as busy as a typical Friday or Saturday at the con. There wasn’t any “preview” in preview night, it was just a fifth day of the convention.
This year, however, preview night felt how it did the first time I came to Comic-Con, back in 2008. The overwhelming crowds weren’t there, and the floor was navigable. Even in the “maelstrom”, that portion of the convention around halls D and E, where all of the big media and movie studios are located, was uncrowned enough to walk through.
With an open floor before me, I spent the evening cruising around the convention, getting me bearings, and seeing what there was.
I stopped at the CBLDF booth to renew my membership and pick up a couple of the Quantum & Woody #1 variants that were for sale there.
Other than that, I walked the floor, saw what was there, bought a big ol’ Omnibus hardcover that was on sale for 1/3 price (X-Statix!), and took it all in.
Maybe it was just the lower amount of people at the con last night, but the whole convention felt a little more subdued than in previous years. The giant booths weren’t quite as giant, the spectacle wasn’t quite as spectacular, and the craziness wasn’t quite as crazy.
Of course, I could be wrong, and it could just be because there weren’t quite as many people there. I guess we’ll find out on Thursday.