SDCC

What’s Inside: March 2016 Loot Crate

Looking Inside the March Loot Crate

Spoiler Alert: If you haven’t opened or received your March Loot Crate yet, turn back now!

I’ve waited long as I could to share my March Loot Crate.  Of all of my Loot Crates, I think this one is my favorite.  In fact, I know it’s my favorite.

The March Loot Crate theme is Versus, which is perfect timing with the March 25th release of the highly anticipated Batman vs Superman movie.  That being said, the good folks at Loot Crate did not disappoint.

This month’s t-shirt celebrates the famous classic Star Trek episode “Mirror, Mirror” that pits Good Spock vs Evil Spock.  Juan Ortiz, the artist who designed the shirt, is an avid Star Trek fan and created posters depicting every episode of the original series.  The “Mirror, Mirror” poster, he says, is based on boxing posters with their striking but limited use of color.

When you think of rivalries, no rivalry comes to mind more than Alien vs Predator, and not only is AvP represented on the March 2016 Loot Pin, but there is also a blind box featuring either an Alien or Predator 4.5 inch figure.  I got the Alien figure.  (Yes, I open my blind boxes.  I’m also the kind of person who will open Christmas presents several days early if someone leaves them within reach.  I have crazy amounts of patience for many other things…but not for blind boxes.  I need to know!!!)

Given that we’re still in the last days of winter, the March Loot Crate also features a reversible Daredevil vs Punisher beanie.  The red side features an embroidered DD while the black side features the Punisher symbol.  I see this beanie coming in handy during those chilly nights outside the San Diego Convention Center during SDCC.  It does get chilly down by the water at night.  I know this because I live here.

While everything in the Loot Crate box is near and dear to my heart, this month we receive a Loot Crate Exclusive edition of the Harley Quinn comic.  If you’re not reading Harley Quinn, this is a great chance to get to know one of DC Comic’s most complex—and perpetually entertaining—characters.  When Harley find herself her very own Genie in a bottle, the sky is the limit (as you’ll see when she takes a little trip into orbit).

Lastly, in honor of Batman vs Superman, there is a Mighty Wallet made from Tyvek.  I’m not exactly sure what Tyvek is, but it’s so strong that I doubt Superman himself could tear it.  It’s also 100% green, which is awesome.

Are you a Loot Crate subscriber?  What did you think of this month’s Loot?

New Poll Says San Diegans Would Prefer Keeping SD Comic Con Over Chargers

In a (completely non-scientific) poll by the San Diego Union Tribune, a majority of San Diegans favor keeping San Diego Comic Con over the San Diego Chargers.

Clearly, the public sentiment in San Diego is changing amid clandestine backdoor dealings between the Spanos family and Carson, and special counsel Mark Fabiani stalling talks between the Chargers and the city.  Where there was once a fierce battle cry over the loss of our beloved football team, now there’s a bit of healthy suspicion caused by the team throwing shade to its Bolt Faithful.  If they want to stay so much, why are they doing so  much to leave?

There’s no real way to determine the amount of money the Chargers bring the city, but I’d imagine that the Chargers aren’t exactly a cash cow for the tourism industry in San Diego.  While it’s true that landing another Super Bowl would lead to economic prosperity for the city, hosting duties only come every so often, and our Chargers aren’t exactly Super Bowl contenders.  There aren’t many people who come to San Diego eight times a year to watch the Chargers play.  At this point, we’d be building a stadium to appease the Chargers…and to profit from all of the other non-Chargers events held in it.

SDCC, on the other hand, brings in over a hundred million dollars to local businesses every year, with the annual revenue on a perpetual uptick.  SDCC is a huge cash cow, and the city would be foolish to let it go.  Every bit of the Convention Center expansion would be worth its weight in gold, and not just because of SDCC; the recent Cisco convention, though smaller than SDCC in terms of participants, brings in as much (and possibly more) money to local businesses than SDCC.

As a native San Diegan, avid sports fan and card-carrying nerd, I feel bad about the Chargers, but they’re not exactly helping their cause.  Leaving San Diego seems to be a done deal.  (Remember, they’ve been secretly working on this since 2013)  SDCC was born in the basement of the El Cortez Hotel, and the Powers That Be want it to stay in San Diego.  Unlike the Chargers, SDCC can demonstrate how they impact San Diego’s economy.  San Diego businesses fully support SDCC and [most of them] cater to SDCC because SDCC does so much for them.

If a deal can be made to keep the Chargers, and if it makes sense for the city, then I’m all for it.  However, at this juncture, now that SDCC has committed to staying in San Diego through 2018, I believe that we need to shift our focus to make sure the Convention Center expansion happens soon so that we never have to have the “should I stay or should I go” conversation with SDCC again.

What do you think?

You can read more about the UT poll here.

The Calm Before the SDCC Storm: Friday Preparations

It’s the Friday before San Diego Comic Con.  It’s a beautiful San Diego day and preparations are being made all around the Gaslamp.  One thing I’ve noticed is that it seems like the SDCC fervor has been impacted by the July 4th holiday; preparations are moving at a slower pace because so many people are celebrating the holiday in and around the Gaslamp.  However, come Monday the Convention Center will be a hub of activity.

The Convention Center looks eerily empty given how it will look at this time next week.

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Hall H is wide open.
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The San Diego Hilton Bayfront is getting wrapped as we speak.
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The MTS Trolleys have been wrapped in Scream Queens, Conan, and The Muppets.

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Speaking of Conan (who is hosting his show from SDCC this year)
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Mary Jane’s at the Hard Rock Hotel is getting a dose of the SyFy experience
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It’s a beautiful day…and you can almost feel the SDCC buzz….
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SDCC Weather Advisory

With a week to go before SDCC, I thought you might appreciate a weather update.

It has been humid here the past few days. Very. Humid.  Right now in San Diego it’s 75 degrees with 78% humidity.  No bueno.  And it’s raining in some areas.

Of course, San Diego needs the rain, so this is a good thing.  And it’s monsoon season, so that’s where this weird moisture is coming from. 

The weather people say it’s going to be better next week…but it’s important to be prepared.  If you recall, we had high humidity and some rain last year during SDCC. The humidity wreaked havoc on cosplayers.  Makeup was running down faces.

So be prepared.  As you pack your bags, consider the possible humidity.

End of public service announcement.  For now.

The Amazing Las Vegas Comic Con June 2015

The Amazing Las Vegas Comic Con (ALVCC) took place June 19-21, and from all appearances it was hugely successful.  Comic and pop culture fans descended upon the South Point Hotel and Casino on the southernmost tip of the Las Vegas Strip for three days of fun in the summer heat.  (Yes, it was over 110 all weekend long, but we were able to stay inside with tons of air conditioning, the way Mother Nature intended…)

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I arrived in Las Vegas on Thursday evening.  My plan was to have a day to relax prior to the convention, and this was a great idea.  It’s important to pace yourself in Sin City.

Friday morning I woke up, got some work done, and had a nice buffet lunch.  Press passes were available at noon, but a very helpful staffer gave me the program guide early so I could study it over lunch.

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By 3pm the South Point was buzzing with comic con fans.  Seeing Elsa from Frozen in the casino surrounded by excited kids on vacation gave me a hint of what was to come.

The ALVCC Exhibit Hall took up the entire South Point convention area, as well as part of the arena concourse.  They also used concourse space for the main panel room, which was very convenient, but not very practical.  (More on this later)  Given the excessive heat outside, you’d think it could be warm inside, but it was actually quite comfortable in the massive Exhibit Hall.  At times it was even chilly in there.  Even at the busiest point on Saturday, the con floor was never unmanageable.  The event organizers did a great job with spacing the booths to allow for easy crowd flow; there was an open perimeter around the outside to allow for ease of access when you needed to go quickly from one end of the room to the other.

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ALVCC boasted over 200 artists in Artist Alley.  There were two rows of spaces that spanned from one end of the Exhibit Hall to the other, and artists were lined up on both sides.  At times it was overwhelming to see so much great art displayed at once because it made choosing what to buy even harder.  In addition to Artist Alley, there were over 150 exhibitors selling must-have toys and collectibles.

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Saturday programming included the highly-publicized panel with Deadpool creator Rob Liefield, as well as a panel with the always charming John Barrowman.  The only downfall was that the big panels were held on the concourse in a curtained off area.  The big panels were standing room only, even though the area could have been expanded.  I think that it would be great to make the area bigger, since the space was available and not limited to the confines of a room.  The noise level was also an issue because there were booths and games directly outside of the curtains.

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The last event of the night on Saturday was the costume contest, where all of the cosplayers came out to display their awesome costumes.  The judges were looking for more than just costumes; they also took into account the craftsmanship of the costumes.  The best in show winner was Oberon Martel, from Game of Thrones.  Oberon was wearing a handmade leather costume that he hand-tooled himself.  It was quite impressive, and it was nice to see that his hard work paid off.

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In my opinion, ALVCC is the perfect comic convention in terms of size, content and exhibitors.   There was enough going on to keep me busy all weekend.  I don’t know the final attendance numbers but I do know that the parking lots were full on Saturday, and yet I didn’t get the claustrophobic feeling in the Exhibit Hall that I’m used to at SDCC.  There was plenty of space for everyone, and having that space made it easier to meet and greet artists and exhibitors.  And having a “self-contained” convention was nice, too.  The South Point has a midnight breakfast special, and there was a huge line of ALVCC people waiting to get in.  It was awesome.  Every elevator, blackjack table, and restaurant was full of costumed fans.  Vegas is fun in and of itself, but add a comic con and it gets even better.  At one point we were out on the Strip late at night and we ran into a trio of Halo cosplayers.  It was great.

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If you haven’t been to Amazing Las Vegas Comic Con, make plans to be there in 2016.  It’s, well…amazing!

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