It’s my favorite time of year again, that magical holiday of fandom and geekiness, of cosplay and panels and running into celebrities on the street…of buying too many toys and pieces of art you don’t need (and comics and books you do), of late nights and early mornings, of aching backs and aching feet, of braving the dreaded Hall H line just to say you were there when Loki demanded you kneel before him or when Misha Collins bought pizza and coffee for the line. It’s the holiday they call San Diego Comic Con. Unfortunately, for the first time in twelve years, I found myself unable to make the trek down to San Diego…mostly because the trek is over 1,500 miles longer now that I don’t live in California.
Comic Con has been a family tradition since my parents took me for the first time when I was twelve. To be honest, I don’t remember much about my first Con. I remember seeing the exhibit hall for the first time and having my little head explode from the sheer enormity of the place, from far too many things to see and do in the single day our badges allowed. But beyond that, the specifics of that day all get blurred together with the first few years I went to the convention, I couldn’t begin to tell you what I saw one year or the next. I do remember the first year I tried to go to a panel–a Psych panel because of course it was–and learned that one does not simply walk into Ballroom 20 twenty minutes before the panel begins. The year after that I learned you don’t do it an hour before either. I remember the year we finally did make it into Ballroom 20–getting up at the crack of dawn to get in the already absurdly long line for panels that wouldn’t even start for six or so hours (later I’d learn that six hours in line is in fact nothing)–and camping out there all day seeing panel after panel after panel with my parents. It was glorious. And exhausting.
A ton of amazing memories have been made at Comic Con over the years—especially once we started going for multiple days and got to enjoy more parts of the Con outside of the exhibit hall. There was the year Mom and I went to the Psych the Musical premier, standing in line for hours, getting free Psych themed swag, watching the cast pull up in the Weiner Mobile and walk the line to greet fans, and getting to see the two-hour long musical episode in the theater a full six months before it aired on TV. Or the year I ran into Misha Collins outside my hotel. For those who don’t know, Misha Collins plays my all-time favorite character Castiel on Supernatural and is generally my favorite celebrity. I somehow managed to hold it together long enough to get a picture with him but the second he was gone my friend Michelle practically had to carry me away from there as my legs were basically noodles at that point. That was also the year I tried cosplaying for the first time and went as Scarlet Witch from Avengers: Age of Ultron for a day. Another great year was the year I went to a Supernatural fan party and made two new Supernatural-loving friends and—later in the weekend—ended up spending the night in the Hall H line with them for the Supernatural panel—a major rite of passage for Comic Con attendees I hadn’t actually done before. So many great memories, and I’m sad that I didn’t get to make even more this year but although it might be a while before I make it back, I’m confident that last year was not my last year attending San Diego Comic Con.