By Tom Spiegel
Even if I have always been an avid movie and comic book fan since I have a memory, I had never really been graced with the opportunity to experience the San Diego Comic-Con due to various reasons. But this year was going to be different; my goal was to at least make it to the outskirts of the convention center and take loads of pictures of sweaties in full-blown cosplays. But what I got was a little bit better, just a tad shy of the full experience. While visiting my favorite video game shop, I encountered a nice lady employee who told me about a chance to work at the Con for a few days, suddenly getting paid to attend the event seemed like an excellent idea. The catch was that I would work as a security guard on the main entrance floor, without getting to go down to the exhibit hall. This was my first chance to actually get to say that I attended Comic-Con, so finally, I decided to go through with the experience.
I gotta say, apart from the excruciating pain my feet went through during all four days of the Con, the experience was actually pretty amazing. I got to interact with thousands of sweaty fans whose faces told the story of a place like no other, a convergence that congregates hundreds of thousands of fans who love movies, comic books, and pop culture, who are mostly quite respectful for one and other. My post was at one of the main entrances in the registration area; I had to deal with people who wanted to go out of the building for various reasons and needed to be re-directed by yours truly in order to get to the other side. For the most part, I had absolutely no problems dealing with people who just wanted their freebie bags, their collectible pin, and limited edition Jack Kirby book with articles about his impressive career. Since I wasn't allowed on the main floor, that was the best I could aspire to get, and I enjoyed every single minute of it.
I did attempt to sneak into the main floor, at first I did get past the security guards, but I miserably failed after only five minutes of walking in I was politely asked to leave the premises. It was worth the try; I got to take a picture of K2-SO from Star Wars: Rogue One. After that failed attempt, I knew that my main objective was to take as many cosplay pictures as I could, and that's exactly what I did.
The Strong Cosplay Game
It's hard to imagine how much work goes into making most of the elaborate costumes that make it to Comic-Con, I got the pleasure of taking over 60 pictures that I share with you at the very top of this article. All the toddlers with their cosplay are the ones that get me every time. However, perhaps the most beautiful costumes are the ones I got to see an old couple dressed as Han and Leia, who were walking around the floor holding hands and looking cuter than anything I got to see during the whole weekend. I also got a chance to find a couple of celebrities who were walking across the room to get to a panel. One of them was legendary comic book sweaty John Schnepp who has a show on Collider called Heroes. He was nice to me when I recognized him but looked a bit rushed to get to a panel.
However, the other famous person I met was one of the most recognized film critics in recent history; his name is Scott Mantz. As soon as he realized I knew him, he was incredibly gracious and asked me to take out my phone for a selfie; it's cool when people who get famous don't let it get to their head just like Mantz did with me and many fans I'm sure. But is I want to talk about highlights, there are other details of my whole trip that I can mention, for one I got to attend the event with my brother Diego who volunteered and hung out with me after every shift. Another great moment was when I met the lovable Moose, a local who goes every year for the autographs and got to take a picture with Chadwick Boseman. During a few breaks I got while working, I decided to spend time with him and got to meet a great human being who was one of the nicest people I met.
For next year, I will try to get a badge for sure, either as a professional or press so I can cover more details of the event for this website. I do believe that we qualify to get in there without a problem, we'll do everything we can to get the full experience of the Con. But as a first time, I really can't complain about everything I saw. And the best part of it was that I got to hang out with some very nice people, both staff, and attendees. Let's hope next year increases my love for the experience.