So – we’ve been waiting long and hard for Comic Con 2012 (a.k.a. the “BIG Super Hero Party,” as we call it in the Fantin household), and this weekend we finally had the chance to head down to San Diego for the full SDCC experience.
Though we did visit Comic Con in 2011, we didn’t actually have tickets, so we got to experience lots of people-watching and other cool stuff outside – but none of the craziness that happens inside the conference center walls. We did attend WonderCon and Long Beach Comic Con this year, but we weren’t quite sure how SDCC would hold up … or more precisely, how we’d hold up against it as a mama/monster team. (If you have a 3-year-old son, you know the anxiety that comes along with trying to “plan” pretty much anything … let alone something as massive as this event.)
Once we arrived, the goodness was overwhelming. B had the chance to meet lots of (hot) super heroes, fight some bad guys, and see his favorite toys come to life. He even got lots of cool giveaways (like – LOTS), which I’ll be shelling out slowly over the next few months.
Still, my favorite part of the show (as with the others we’ve been to) is simply seeing the smile on people’s faces when they see B in his Captain America uniform, and when he does his “super hero pose” for those who ask to take his picture. Life truly is about the simple things. Bringing just one spark of happiness to someone’s face can warm my heart into eternity.
Some of my fave memories from this weekend:
- Seeing Blake fight Red Skull and his evil Hydra army
- Seeing my usually shy monster go up to his favorite heroes and ask them – all by himself – if he would get a picture with them. (Imagine a young Captain America gently tugging Batman’s cape to get his attention. *heartmelt*)
- Hitting the Speed Racer booth … and getting a free comic when I told them that Speed was my boyfriend when I was about 5 years old.
- Making the list of Best Cosplay of Comic Con” for thetwistgossip.com
- Having folks ask where they can get Captain America outfits like ours (“Um … ask your mommy to make it for you?”)
- Having someone ask if I made the family’s costumes … and telling me that I’m doing an awesome job as a parent when I told them ‘yes.’
As a mama, I cherished every minute of this Comic Con experience. I know my son is at a special age. That he won’t be willing (or wanting) to dress up like a super hero forever – let alone in a costume that I make for him (with my incredibly mediocre sewing skills!). I know there will come a day (sooner than I like) when dressing up like Captain America with mommy isn’t cool. When hanging out with mommy, in general, isn’t cool. When spending time with the family feels like torture instead of a special treat to count down to months and months in advance. (“Mommy, is it time yet? Is it time?!?!?!?”)
Meanwhile … outside the convention center, tons of other cool stuff was happening, from the WB’s Extra event to film and TV set experiences from Frankenweenie and Grimm, the latter of which allowed you to walk inside an Airstream featuring relics from the show, as well as walk through a replicated forest. Another huge outdoor presence was The Walking Dead Escape, which allowed people to participate in a real-live zombie attack. A little too scary for my little guy, but intriguing none the less.
My most favorite of the outdoor experiences was the Batmobile display, which brought in all six Batmobiles from movies past and allowed fans to get up close and personal with each and every one.
Some planning notes for mamas considering the trip next year …
Though it’s a kid-focused industry, Comic-Con itself (and the “business” of pop culture) is not necessarily 100% kid-friendly. The floor is *super*crowded … and overwhelmingly gigantic. If you’ve never attended the event before, the following are a few tips to keep in mind when hitting Comic Con with your own monsters.
- Be prepared to skip the panels … and lots of other cool stuff. Most panels and giveaways have incredibly long lines (as in HOURS long) … and most young children have incredibly short attention spans. There were tons of panels and workshops I would have loved to catch, but it just wasn’t going to happen with my 3-year-old in tow.
- Make a plan … and be prepared for it to fall apart. Select three to five top spots you know you want to hit, and leave plenty of time to meander in between.
- Split up your day. If your child has a regular nap time, try to make time to fit one in. We left around noon after just a few hours on the floor … but it meant we could return in the afternoon for another few strong hours (rather than 1 or two more cranky ones).
- Remember: kids will be kids. And not everyone is a fan of them. Most attendees at Comic Con are adults, and a few intense attendees didn’t seem too keen on sharing the floor with children. If your child can deal with a little pushing and shoving, he or she should be OK.
- Go off the beaten path. Our hotel (The Holiday Inn on the Bay) was located about a mile from the Convention Center. Luckily, thanks to Showtime, there were numerous free shuttle routes running 24-hours a day (every 15 mins!) from our locale (and tons of others throughout the city) to the event. Super easy and convenient, and it was nice to have a quiet retreat to return to at the end of the day. (Oh, and we totally got to be in a video about how to use the shuttle, which will be used as a promo for next year.
So – to recap:
Thank god for my boys.
Thank god for make-believe.
Thank god for super heroes.
Thank god for Comic Con.