It’s difficult to fully capture the scale of this shit show. And I don’t mean to be a wet blanket, or to harp on a broken record about a dead horse, but Comic-Con IS a shit show. We showed up this morning at what we considered to be a perfectly reasonable time, and it turned out that it was not reasonable at all. A reasonable time to wait in line for six hours to watch 10 minutes of a movie that is going to come out in 8 months is 6AM. You can see Harry Knowles wheel himself into Hall H against the backdrop of the rising sun. Of course, Harry Knowles has the last laugh, because he was sitting FRONT AND CENTER for the preview of Megamind. He probably no longer even sees this Matrix: just a bright string of green numbers. “There is no line.” That’s what he says. Of course, being front and center for the preview of Megamind is really just a pretext for seeing the preview of Tron, a sequel to a movie that, let’s be honest, wasn’t that good to begin with. You see, the way the festival works is that once people are inside Hall H (which is where all of the major panels are held), they don’t ever have to leave, and they usually don’t. They pee into Stadium Pals and bring sandwiches their moms packed them. And so, when you do get in line, you will be led across the street from the convention center to a beautiful but very far-away quay along the bay and you will be left there to die. Eventually, this line will loop back around to the street and you will cross the street again, onto the right side of things, and now you are in a cattle corral, at which point you sit down. Everyone sits. You sit and you wait.

A BRIEF SIDENOTE: There is no WiFi service at Comi-Con, and very spotty cell phone service. Bear in mind for whom this conference is intended. In 2010, having no Wifi and spotty cell phone service already seems like the plot to Before Night Falls, but at a convention for nerds and blogs? WHOOPS, THAT IS YOUR CONVENTION’S COMMUNICATIONS CAPABILITIES, NERDS AND BLOGS. Anyway, back to the line:

After waiting for two hours, a man will come out and tell you that Megamind is CLOSED, but that you are now in the line for Tron, and that you will get into Tron. You will barely be able to hear him over the heated argument the gang of nerds behind you have been having. They are like those Tuvan throat singers who practice circular breathing, but for arguing about old episodes of The Simpsons, or whatever. In any case, this is good news, becuase you didn’t even know getting into Megamind was a possibility, and you were (slightly) more interested in Tron anyway. The truth is, you are an adult, and you would love to see sneak previews of things if it didn’t require stretching the limits of human patience and discomfort. But an hour later the man will come out and reveal to you, which in your heart you knew all along, that not a single person left the hall after the Megamind panel, and they are all staying for the Tron panel, and so now the line you are in is officially the line for the Salt panel (THE SALT PANEL), which begins in another two hours. At which point you realize that there are three more days of this.

What I’m trying to get at is that it seems fully possible for one to spend one’s life in an infinite Comic-Con line with no determinable outcome. You will be like Seido in Inception, getting noodles in your old man beard, wondering whether shooting yourself in the head would even FIX anything. No mind to speak of, that is for sure. It’s really an experience unlike anything I’ve ever known. It is just hard, as a human adult, to understand what, exactly, is the APPEAL of this circus. As someone who ALSO loves movies and TV shows and comic books and movies and TV shows about comic books, none of that actually tracks with the “pleasure” of standing around for hours in a crush of strangers and being unsure when or if you will be allowed to go to the bathroom and then being told again and again “no.”

I am getting too old for this shit!

“This guy knows what you’re talking about.”

Perhaps I’m not the intended audience for Comic-Con, and that’s fine, but my question, then, would be WHO IS?! I certainly understand feelings of alienation, and the thrill of finding a place where people accept you as you are, but that doesn’t really seem to be what this is about. What this is about is shoving endless promotional materials for uninspired and/or unnecessary nonsense into increasingly large branded gift bags. If you would like to know how it feels to be at Comic-Con it feels like you are a door, and people won’t stop shoving fliers under you. A door saddled with oversized garbage bags.

The good news, of course, is that there are three more days of this! “I can’t wait to hear all the latest complaining!” Max and I are going to try and get in early enough to actually make it into Hall H on Saturday for the Green Lantern and Captain America panels. That day is also Awesome-Con, the competing Tim and Eric festival in some parking lot somewhere or something, who knows. And Tommy Wiseau is supposedly in town? So town has that going for it, which is nice. I’m sorry: I know the tone of these posts has really been a drag. Some old man who thinks everything is noise. But sometimes what young people need to realize is that some things actually ARE noise.

More soon!

Comments (157)
  1. So you’re having a great time, is what you’re saying.

  2. This:

    “They are like those Tuvan throat singers who practice circular breathing, but for arguing about old episodes of The Simpsons, or whatever.”

    made me laugh so loud that I might have had an accident.

    • Poochy was a terrible character Season Six was the best, No, season 7, no 8, all I know is I don’t watch it now, yes I know Phil Hartman did that voice, yes, they did make fun of scientologists, I know, Fox owes him for making their network and they canceled Futurama but give three shows to Seth MacFarlane…

      • No, the Halloween episodes aren’t part of the storylines, it WAS a horrible impression of Bill Clinton but they are not known for their impressions, no one knows whether it was actually Michael Jackson but Happy Birthday Lisa was my first ring tone. Baby on Board.

    • Mr. Knowles, it’s impolite to LOL and pee yourself in a crowded room full of nerds previewing a shitty film.

    • Sometimes you just have to let the actor in you take over

  3. In England, they call lines “queues.”

  4. I think you should just continue to post you in front of stuff with that face you’re making. That’s enough updating for me. Then the final post in 3 days is you smiling with Harry Knowles….

  5. It seems like comic-cons are for people who revel in being at the forefront of breaking pop-culture news and, in general, rebel at the prospect of being forced to shower.

    • ALSO about SEEING the cast for that TV SHOW no one ELSE IS GOING to watch cause it blows BUT YOU are going to BE FALLING down or some shit BECAUSE YOU THINK that 5 second protest is going TO GENERATE THE millions of dollars NEEDED TO continue your show.

      IF THAT’S you then COMIC-CON is fucking TITS!

      • are you saying that my hastily scrawled “bring back jericho” sign ISN’T going to do any good?

      • Soooo I had a period of time where work was busy enough that I actually had to work. Did you ever reveal why you wanted our icon pics, or is that being reserved for a big post-comic-con (so many hyphens!) celebration???

  6. Next year, we should all go. And wear match t-shirts.

  7. do or do not Gabe, there is no try.

  8. At least you got to meet Sarah Jessica Parker

  9. I went last year and vowed never to go again. Sure, some of the free stuff you can pick up is sort of cool, but then you realize you spent three hours in line to get a two cent poster and you’re going to have to explain that when somebody asks about it on your wall.

    I live in San Diego and decided to go to opening day at the Del Mar Racetrack instead this year. Which is just as much long lines and crushing claustrophobia, but at least the people are more prettier.

    • I’ve been to WonderCon in SF twice, and both times after I got finished with the panels I’d come for (world premieres of footage from the Firefly movie with Joss&cast and footage from the second X-Files movie with Chris Carter&cast), I spent an hour on the vendor floor and had to flee because I couldn’t fucking stand it. As you can tell from the panels named above, I am a HUGE geek, to depths I cannot share here without public shame, and even I couldn’t stand it for more than 8 hours. San Diego seems like it’s that to about the fourth or fifth power and getting worse every year. So I guess I’ll probably never go.

  10. Gabe is the mayor of Miserytown.

  11. I DON’T wanna sound LIKE A LITTLE shit, BUT YOU kinda have TO KNOW AT this point that COMIC-CON is a fucking MESS THAT has nothing TO DO WITH anything it started WITH. Also HELPS IF you’re THIS guy:

    and not THIS guy:

  12. Have Fun Gabe! (Maybe that will help)

  13. Reminds me of when I went to the Star Wars Celebration II convention in ’02. Seemed to be a reason for fans to gather in the spirit of wasting money, feeling frustrated and sad, and maybe wearing a Halloween costume.

  14. I’ve been to two of the San Diego comic book conventions myself and a few in other cities. They are all pretty much like what Gabe describes, except the San Diego one is the most crowded of any of them by far. Very gratifying to see the Truth about these types of events revealed. Will there be videogum blog posts up on Saturdays and Sundays to continue the coverage? I don’t normally tune in to this site on the weekend but will make an exception this time.

  15. So you might say there was a double-complete Tron Line?

  16. This is a post complaining about Gabe complaining which will cause some people to get angry and defend him, others to recognize that this complaint is just giving Gabe’s complaints a hard time because really his complaints are hysterical and if I were at Comic-Con my complaints would come in the form of tears and other nerds’ blood, and others who finally just ignore the whole deal as they are unable to determine tone on the Internet, because who the fuck can manage that, honestly, it’s absurd and I get so tired of that game which is one of the reasons I love Videogum — you can spend enough time here to vaguely know these almost imaginary commentators well enough to make a decent judgement on their tone.

  17. Three guys wearing matching shoulder straps… now there’s a crazy costume. Comic on!

  18. Where is your green sash Gabe? two of the guys behind you have them!

    • A lousybutler has better eyesight than me, make that three.

      PS where do you find time to go the gym with all this waiting in line? Did you bring a shake-weight?

  19. Comic-Con ain’t no party.

  20. I think there is a lot of unnecessarily enthusiasm about Comic-Con (like on most of twitter right now) and I think this is a nice corrective to that. Preach it, Gabe! Nothing is immune to criticism. Except Inception.

  21. The Gathering of the Juggalos isn’t looking so bad now, is it Gabe?

  22. I was all set to get up in Gabe’s face about how you shouldn’t complain about something that you got into for free (I’m assuming, I may be very wrong about that) and that other people, who probably care a lot more for the things the con is all about, can’t experience due to financial issues or a lack of connections or other issues.

    And then I read this post. So uh, carry on, Gabe. Blog til’ you die (of thirst in a line for the GHOST RIDER 2 panel).

  23. I live in downtown San Diego and I can say this frustration extends beyond the borders of the convention center. This event brings in like all of San Diego’s money, so it’s a big deal and it’s not going away soon, but it makes my neighborhood a kind of blurry miasma of b.o., pasty thighs stuffed into Rainbow Bright costumes, huge rolling tumbleweeds of McDonald’s wrappers, and b.o. There’s nothing more disheartening than watching an obese man in Crow makeup slowly wilting in the SoCal humidity. But every once in awhile someone pulls of the princess Leia golden bakini costume and I’m like “I don’t completely hate you, Comic Con.”

  24. oddly enough, yesterday was Glovers birthday.

  25. correction, today is his birthday.

  26. Surely some Take One For The Team could be worked into this?

  27. “Nobody has to wait in line for my gun show.” – Gabe

  28. But how was the Salt Panel?

  29. this just confirmed all of my suspicions about comic con. thank you gabe. my friends go every year and say how awesome and fun it is, and i always think that i would have a not-awesome and not-fun time. now i know.

    • It’s only because Gabe is going to the panels people want to go to. He needs to go to the extra terrible ones if he doesn’t want to wait in line.

      • Oh c’mon people, you know you want full coverage of the Twilight Fanfiction Writers Panel.

        • I tried to give him some great suggestions in the BNPG thread for Non Hall H panels. Sadly I haven’t seen any tweets about panels so i’m guessing he skipped:
          10:30-11:30 Talks The Hobbit movies
          1:00-2:00 Spotlight on Charlaine Harris

          It’s not too late for:
          2:15-3:15 World of Warcraft: Epic Loot Room 6BCF
          6:30-7:30 Magic: The Gathering Panel Room 26AB

          • Here’s my suggestions for the rest of the convention re-iterated (and will Hall H suggestions removed)
            12:00-1:00 Star Wars Day: Collectibles Update Room 7AB
            3:00-4:00 Bite Me: Evolving Urban Fantasy Beyond the Vampire Phenomenon Room 8
            3:00-3:45 The Joss Whedon Experience Ballroom 20
            3:30-4:30 MTV’s Teen Wolf Room 6A
            5:15-6:15 True Blood Panel and Q&A session Ballroom 20
            7:30-8:30 Klingon Lifestyles: IKV Stranglehold Room 6A
            11:00-12:30 Syfy Original Movies and Chiller: Mega Piranha Room 6A

            10:00-11:00 Twilight Fanfiction Author Fangroup Santa Rosa Room, Marriott Hotel and Marina
            11:00-11:45 Family Guy— A freakin’ sweet discussion on all things Family Guy with Seth MacFarlane, Alex Borstein, Seth Green, and others Ballroom 20
            12:00-1:00 Fang Girls and Fang Boys: The Popularity of Vampire Lit w/ Charlaine Harris Room 7AB
            1:00-2:00 The Lost Podcast with Jay and Jack Santa Rosa Room, Marriott Hotel and Marina
            1:30-2:15 The Simpsons Ballroom 20
            4:15-5:00 The Vampire Diaries Screening and Q&A Ballroom 20
            4:30 – 5:30 Welcome to The Future: Are You Sure You Want to Stay? Room 4

            12-1: Blood, Sweat & Tear: Teen Angst in Young Adult Fiction Room 24ABC
            12:30-1:15: American Dad with Q&A with Seth MacFarlane Ballroom 20
            1:30-2:30: Glee Ballroom 20
            2-3: Harry Potter Fandom Panel Room 24ABC
            4:00-5:00: Buffy the Musical Ballroom 20


    • My friend is there, and he complained on Facebook about the Westboro Baptist Church picketing Comic-Con.

      Like shut up, knowing the queues that’ll probably be the only interesting thing you get to see.


  30. Gabe, if you want to feel better about things I highly suggest you take a stroll around Autograph Row. You need only do one lap but once you’ve seen the ridiculous amount of has-been and never-was “stars” like Marc Singer and Guy Who Played A Klingon That One Time charging $25 for an autographed photo, you’ll feel right as rain.

    Or you might see the line twenty-people deep waiting to pay for those autographs and then jump off the roof.

    So…I really don’t know what to tell you.

  31. I demand a liveblog of the event.

    *crosses fingers for breaking coverage of Kevin Smith’s Cop Out “Maximum Comedy Mode Edition” Panel*

  32. “I am getting too old for this shit!” – Gabe, 125

  33. what’s up with all the down voting in this thread? Is Videogum being trolled by comic con geeks upset by Gabe’s complaining?

  34. I “Right-clicked”-> “Open in New Tab” on the “Read More” link so that I would not lose my place in line.


  35. The facial expression Gabe has in that photo is one of the best/worst things I have ever seen. It alone pretty much sums up how you are feeling about this whole thing.

  36. Id’ rather be at work than a Comic-con.

  37. remember when comic-con was just you and a bunch of nerds looking through thousands and thousands of cardboard backed, mylar bagged comics being sold by older, smarter, more condescending nerds and you were looking for really random titles like the ‘nam and everything ever published by milestone because you considered yourself a “progressive” comic collector but really you bought that shit because nobody else cared so they were way cheaper? those were the days.

  38. Eesh. Sounds pretty ew.

    I mean:

    OMG we miss you send me a postcard oh pleeeeease!!1

    I’ll even send you one from my home town!! We make really terrible chilli!

  39. I’d much rather attend Birdie-con.

  40. gabe, you should do what i did while scrolling down the comments section: turn some negatives into positives. ;-D

    • Yes, Gabe, turn some negatives into lesser negatives and/or neutral zeroes. Flip that thumb upside down. Is that what we say? No? Thumb me down, ladies.

      • the sentence that starts with “thumb me” and ends with “ladies” will be creepy no matter what.
        thumb me down, ladies.
        thumb me up, ladies.
        thumb me sideways, ladies.
        thumb me, ladies.

  41. Gabe is just upset that he missed the Lost panel.

  42. When you look up existentialism in the dictionary it says:

    “What I’m trying to get at is that it seems fully possible for one to spend one’s life in an infinite Comic-Con line with no determinable outcome.”

    And for added measure there is probably a picture of Gabe’s face photoshopped onto The Scream.

  43. Gabe! Is that your great-grandson standing next to the pony?

  44. Luckily that earthquake that was predicted by Yahoo Questions hasn’t hit yet today. Can you image being trapped in that convention center with all those fanboys?

  45. I for one am glad that our regular posting schedule has been disrupted so that Gabe can have a really shitty time at a really stupid convention (negative Nancy over here!).

  46. I’m sorry, Gabe, but I put the pony pic on my desktop. Your expression is priceless. I’m sure my boyfriend won’t mind! lol

  47. I once queued for 7 hours to get into the open auditions for Luna Lovegood but I was too old and they wouldn’t let me in. That was a bad day.

  48. Comic-Con = SXSW


    Comic-con ))(( SXSW

  49. I got a free Comic-Con pass from work so I’m taking the train down from LA (no self-respecting LA-person ever takes public transit, but I have heard that traffic is a nightmare) on Saturday to see what it’s all about. I have to say, my main emotion surrounding the whole thing is dread. I will look for you, Gabe, in the terrifying ponies pavilion.

  50. No wifi at Comic-Con? I really hope that makes it into a Big Bang Theory episode.

  51. dear gabe: you have an entire website of people who would love to entertain you via spotty mobile phone/wifi access with BNPG entries and lolcats. Just sayin’! when I’m in line on the brink of suicidal despair, I always turn to the internetz for luv&support.

  52. “Not pictured: Omar Little”

  53. The above reasons are why Comic Con managed to make 22 on the list of companies with the worst customer service.

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