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This was my first year attending San Diego’s Comic-Con. I’ve never been into comic books or super heroes and I don’t consider myself a movie buff. Having experienced the Con from afar, hearing stories and seeing pictures, I thought I understood what it was. But now having seen it myself, I discovered it is so much crazier than I could have ever imagined.
There’s an other-worldly level of obsession at Comic-Con. It drives people to wait in line for 12 hours, to camp out overnight, to push and shove their way to be first to buy exclusive toys and collectibles. It even compels some to not only just dress up in character costumes, but also to act out that character – in language, personality, and mannerisms. By the second day, even I was camping out and waiting in line with thousands of others before the sun had come up, trying ever so desperately to get into the most popular panels.
What were we all waiting for? It was the chance to see our favorite casts and creators. The chance to be the first to see sneak previews and hidden footage. And the chance to be connecting with the 6,000 other fans who feel just as passionate about the stories and characters.
I know it sounds absolutely insane. It’s crowded, it’s smelly (at times), and it’s out of control. But it’s also remarkable. It’s wonderful to see human beings emotionally bonded to the characters and the stories, consumed by the fantasy and escape. It’s that sense of belonging in the world of the story that makes entertainment and pop culture so special. Comic-Con is the ultimate place to indulge this.
It used to be all comic books and super heroes until the movie business snuck in. And now the shows on television – huge hits like The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones – have made it into this realm of obsession. This is because television, namely cable, has become the medium of choice for creativity. It’s the new home of obsession-worthy stories and characters. So really, it’s no surprise cable programs have taken over Comic-Con.
Technology has allowed anyone to become a worldwide publisher, creator, writer, and filmmaker. And as much as I love them, GIFs or cat videos can’t build the kind of obsession that great stories can. YouTube and other short form video can’t do it either. It takes high quality art and exceptional storytelling. It takes stories that are given time to develop. The shows that do this best are fulfilling our need to connect with stories unobtainable through any other medium. TV has become art. And this four-day convention is a celebration of the artists.