SDCC 2016: The Brutally Honest, No BS Review

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Harley Quinn Blerd Cosplay at SDCC 2016
Daddy's Little Monster/Courtesy of GeekMundo.net

We had the opportunity to travel to San Diego for SDCC 2016 and if you’re hoping to attend next year, I’m going to keep it real with you.

Okay, my review is a bit late but still very relevant.  We attended San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) for the second time in four years last month.  If you’ve attended, then you kind of know what to expect.  Granted, the Con does change every year.  It gets bigger.  If you are hoping to attend for the first time next year, then this review is for you.

Jamie Lee Curtis at Fox Fanfare 2016
Jamie Lee Curtis – Courtesy Jon Q./GeekMundo.net – All Rights Reserved

The celebrity shit is out of control

Right about the time we passed the booth for The CW with stars from The Flash is when it hit me.  I’m over these celebrities and their shit.  Let me clarify.  It’s not that I think that celebrities suck or anything.  It was cool knowing that a disguised Henry Cavill may have passed us by while we paused for pics with cosplayers.  What I can’t abide by is the disruption of my SDCC experience at their expense.  This is the craziness that veteran Comic-Con attendees complain about.  They say SDCC is not the same now that the studios and celebs descend on the Con in droves.  I have to admit that they have a point.

Comic-Con International, the studios, or both create these little enclaves that double as booths for the celebs to kick it and wave at the thronging mass of geeks.  If they’re signing, then there’s a line.  That still doesn’t stop people from flocking to get a glimpse of their favorite (or hell any) celebrity.  The celebs do their little waves then go sit on a posh couch at the top of their booth in full freaking view of everyone.  Either let us throng and angle for pics or get them the hell out of the convention center.  Something has to give.  But for the love of God, don’t yell at us plebeians for wanting to get a good look (or wave) from the celebrities.  This is something that Emerald City Comicon has mastered.  It can be done.

If people are paying good money to hit your convention, they should not be inconvenienced by the celebrities who are there to get them to watch their shows or films.  I’m just keeping it real.

SDCC is still very much about comics

When people tell you that San Diego Comic-Con has stopped being about comics, they’re exaggerating.  SDCC is about a lot of things like anime, pop culture, TV, and film but it’s still very much about comics.  Publishers like Image Comics, Dark Horse, Titan Comics and IDW (to name a few) were there in full force.  Don’t even get me started on the many booths dedicated to Golden and Silver Age comics.

The Walking Dead realistic mannequins from SDCC 2016
Courtesy of Jonny Q./GeekMundo.net – All Rights Reserved

Five days still is not enough time to see it all

We were there for preview night (although thanks to Southwest Airlines’ stupid tech glitch we got there late) through Sunday morning.  I am telling you that it still was not enough time to see and do everything.  Physically, we could not take in everything.  It became a damn marathon.  There was so much going on for SDCC that we simply could not take  it all in.  There were events at the hotels, on the grounds outside of the convention center, across the street from the convention center, at various satellite locations… And I’m still not covering it all.  If you go, be prepared to be busy (and overwhelmed with awesome activities).

Free stuff everywhere

The minute we checked into the Manchester Grand Hyatt we were given some huge buttons that they made for Comic-Con.  They are now a part of my collection of “pieces of flair” from all the Cons we’ve attended.  We picked up free water bottles, donuts from Krispy Kreme, a free fan, and that’s not everything we could have gotten.  These companies come out in full force to peddle and advertise their products.  I mean MAC Cosmetics was there for Christ’s sake.

Tom Cavanaugh at San Diego Comic-Con 2016
A fan takes a photo of CW star Tom Cavanaugh at SDCC 2016/Courtesy of GeekMundo.net

The crowds are insane

We’re veteran Con attendees but the crowd at SDCC is legendary.  It is a pulsating swarm of human beings going in various directions.  You will need a ton of patience and the ability to shorten your strides to that of a toddler because you will be going nowhere fast.  And if  you think the streets were any better, you would be wrong.  We cannot stress enough how important comfortable shoes are.  Oh, and stay hydrated.

By all means take your kids

There were kids with us and we still all had a good time (although they had less stamina for the hours spent shuffling to and fro).  If you’re worried about not being able to go out and party–because the parties are lit–at night, we highly recommend Marion’s Childcare.  They will send a babysitter to your room to watch the rugrats.  Our babysitter was super cool!

As for activities, there are a ton of activities for all ages.  The city of San Diego goes hard when it comes to accommodating people in town to partake of the geeky festivities.  By all means, drag your kids along.

Vampire Statue of Liberty with Long Tongue
The Strain FX Promo – Courtesy J.Q./GeekMundo.net – All Rights Reserved

No badge?  No problem

While we recommended going to SDCC even if you weren’t lucky to procure a badge back in 2012, we were out of the game long enough to wonder if that changed.  Well, we got an answer this year.  The recommendation still stands.  If you are unable to get a badge in 2017 and you still want to get down at the largest geek family reunion, you should still go.  Book a flight, get a place to stay and walk around outside the Con.  Many of the overflow activities outside don’t require a badge.  Plus, Zachary Levi’s Nerd HQ is getting more prestigious each year.  This year, Levi had Chadwick Boseman, Tom Hiddleston, and Sonnequa Martin-Green and that’s just to name a few.  Nerd HQ has become the official alternative to Comic-Con and it doesn’t look like that’s going to change.  There were so many activities that going just for those alone would make it worth it.  Oh, and San Diego is freaking beautiful.

Comic-Con was super lit 

Despite a few close wig snatchings (some people have no chill and too much bravado), SDCC was fun as hell.  We all had such a good time and there was so much to see and do.  The city was alive with people at all hours of the night, the skyline was beautiful, and the hospitality was on point, from the cabs to the restaurants.  It was like a music festival without the drugs or the bad decisions!  All jokes aside, we can’t wait to go again.  Trust me, we are going again, come hell or high water.

Have questions or want to share your Comic-Con experience?  Leave us a comment.  We have  over 100 images that we took, so look for those in our upcoming SDCC 2016 image gallery series.