So here it is, the big day at Comic-Con! Day Three! That being the Saturday of the convention. Day Two was phenomenal but this is the peak day, an all-out tour de force of people and events. The scale of it is like nothing you could ever imagine—if you can believe that the last two days could get any bigger!
And big it is!
In the morning, I head down to the lobby to do some work on the hotel’s complimentary computer. While working, Pete and Joel soon join me. We start talking about the Godzilla exhibit that we’re all dying to get into (the buzz about it is insane!) but only Pete has a ticket. Joel and I are bummed. Then in an act of divine providence (no pun intended Providence Rhode Island, hahaha), a guy named Victor who is sitting at a computer across from mine looks up and says, “Hey, my company’s the one that built and runs the exhibit.”
And Pete replies, “That’s awesome! Can you get my boys here in?”
And Victor says, “Yes!”
OMG! We’re getting into The Godzilla Encounter first-class style!
What that meant was that we were able to sit across the street on the patio of Bubs Restaurant enjoying a morning beer while they were getting ready to open up the exhibit, and then Victor comes over and says it’s time to line up—first in line that is!
Okay, so here’s what this once in a lifetime experience is all about: The Godzilla Encounter is an entire warehouse that has been converted into a Las Vegas-style Star Trek Encounter live action experience complete with actual sets from the new Gareth Edwards movie; tons of Godzilla memorabilia, and lots staff running around pretending that Godzilla is on the rampage!
Rampage? Yep! Godzilla is headed to San Diego!
After touring the sets made up to look like Tokyo (including a high-tech sushi bar), with street signs that read: “Gojira Street” (the Japanese name for Godzilla), the alarms sound, the lights flicker, and the staff rushes everyone into the command center where banks of video monitors and NASA-style mission control equipment all say that Godzilla’s arrival to San Diego is imminent!
And then he attacks!
The lights flicker, the entire place shakes, and the staff moves us into a huge elevator to get us to safety!
And as the elevator ostensibly heads up to the roof of the building, it shudders and shakes and goes dark!
Godzilla has arrived!
So we stop at the nearest floor and get out in a dimly-lit office. Out through the rain-streaked windows we can see something moving amongst the buildings. And we can hear that massive “thump!” sound of the monster’s footfalls.
Then we see him!
Oh my God he’s huge! Larger than any creature I’ve ever seen!
He stomps among the buildings. The staff tells us not to move or turn on any lights.
Godzilla walks off.
Then all of a sudden one of the staff’s lights goes on by “accident”…
Godzilla sees it!
His gargantuan head rises before us, and then comes the most famous roar in history, the one roar that everyone has heard since the first 1954 Godzilla movie!
He bellows his mighty roar! We’re doomed! The entire building shakes!
And then by some miracle Godzilla spares us and let’s us go!
IT WAS AWESOME!
Then the encounter is over and the staff lets us out of the building where we can see a mighty gash hewn into it’s side by a creature beyond comprehension: The King of all Monsters!
How can you top that?
Well, there was something completely different and equally as awesome coming up later that night.
But now it was time to get lost in the crowds outside by the convention center for a few hours.
OMG was there sooooo much going on out there—especially at the gates of the Gaslamp District.
There were a ton of street performers and promoters doing so many things that I feel like I caught only a fraction of it amongst a sea of people just as vast as the one inside the convention center.
For example, promoting the upcoming X-Men movie, X-Men: Days of Future Past, were a bunch of people protesting for mutant rights. Yeah, in the X-Men universe there’s a big rift between so-called normal humans and the mutants who exhibit bizarre looks and superpowers. Trask Industries is an evil organization dedicated to wiping out the mutant population from the world. Hence the protests!
It was awesome to watch this realistic street performance of acting and marketing.
In fact, Joel (being a web-marketer himself) remarked that the level of sophisticated marketing techniques exhibited here at Comic-Con should be a required study for any company or marketing school!
Also of course there were tons of zombies about. People loved having their pictures taken with Hollywood-level-made-up zombies totally in character.
There was Darth Vader dancing up a storm on the street to the dance club music being blasted from the Gamespot Basestation Bar (the hottest scene of all the bars and clubs there in my opinion).
And there was also a copious amount of Christian fundamentalists with bullhorns and signs screaming at the top of their lungs to the crowds that we’re all going to hell in a hand basket if we don’t repent and embrace Jesus.
Some of them were especially upset over a gay comic-book character that came out a few years ago (seriously, no pun intended there): The Green Lantern, Alan Scott.
Yep! There were all kinds on the streets.
From giant gargoyles with 15-foot wingspans, a horde of Hello Kitty girls, people passing out tons of freebies and postcards promoting everything hip going on, independent filmmakers looking for donations to help fund their movie projects, to every conceivable comic book character mash up you can imagine, and more, it was crazy, crazy, crazy!
I was in a complete blur for what seemed like days!
So I went back into the Gamespot to chill and recharge (with a couple of beers). Soon my buddies Joel, Dan, Ben, and Pete all joined me. Joel spent over an hour waiting in line to get into a Game of Thrones exhibit/event where he got to sit on the throne of swords and even had a custom t-shirt made that said House “X” (his last name that is).
Pete too was wrapped up for a few hours getting into a the Person of Interest and Grimm panels.
And Dan was just having a blast.
Since Dan is a real Hollywood filmmaker, I decided to interview him for the magazine. He’s done some amazing work so far, and he’s got some great stuff coming up!
It won’t be long before people will be waiting for hours to get into his panel at San Diego Comic-Con!
Speaking of hours, the people started lining up the night before for the Warner Brothers panel in Hall H happening this day!
There was no way I was going to go through that again, despite the fact that they showed some exclusive footage from the upcoming 2014 Godzilla movie, and a crazy announcement about what the next Man of Steel movie is going to be about…
Can we say, Superman vs. Batman?
Oh yes! The mashed up bat symbol/S-shield logo was blasted on the jumbotron in the hall!
From what I read on io9.com the crowd went wild over it!
But for me and my friends we were just hanging out on the Gamespot patio watching the crowds, talking to people, and having a grand ole time!
I even interviewed an upcoming graphic artist named David Turner who came to this year’s Comic-Con to find a pathway to his dreams. He was there with his girlfriend, Stephanie Guidera, who was dressed in an eye-catching Where’s Waldo costume. She certainly got my attention and did some great PR for her guy!
Then it was time for Dan and Ben to head back up to LA. I bid my dear friends a fond goodbye and then they left.
And we had a place to be too!
Now we were on our way to attend the famous Comic-Con Masquerade.
As I mentioned previously, this is a costume contest and pageant like none other, and thousands of people were in attendance. In fact, people started lining up at noon to get into the second largest hall at the convention center, Ballroom 20.
We knew we’d never get in so we decided to opt for the overflow room at the nearby Sails Pavilion. And I’m sure glad we did!
This place was the perfect place to watch the Masquerade on a giant jumbotron and hang with another thousand or more people all partying up a storm.
There were drinks, food, and tons of energy in the house!
And when the Masquerade was happening, everyone in the room got into it.
We cheered our butts off for the best costumes and spectacles. There was one that was a Star Wars musical to the tune of “America” from the musical West Side Story. There was a mash up of Marvel comic book characters versus He-Man & Skeletor, oh it was funny. There were super elaborate fairy costumes, superheroes, incredible demonic creatures, mind-blowing battle-tech suits, Master Shredder from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and stuff I can’t even describe!
And we in the overflow room loved it!
There’s this great Comic-Con Masquerade tradition where the hosts say something like, “It’s now time for costume number…”
And the audience replies with whatever number they’re on and then, “Ah, ha, ha…” Like The Count from Sesame Street. There’s also something else the audience yells but that constantly changes as there are signs that are held up with the newest taunts to the hosts. I’m dying to know what they are so I’m Googling them as soon I get home to Boston!
Tons of fun watching and hearing all of this!
Then once the judges in Ballroom 20 retired to make their decisions, the Masquerade was paused and the dance party began!
Yep! Right there in the Sails Pavilion it was the happening-est of all after-hour parties.
OMG! The dance music was blasting, the lights were blazing, and the dancing was out of control!
It was hotter than hot!
I was caught up in a mass of revelers grooving and shaking up a storm baby!
I was dancing with Bane, a female Captain America, Unicorn (a guy with a giant inflatable unicorn), Poison Ivy, and Wolfman to name but a few!
And everyone was having such a great time the massive floor was literally shaking like Godzilla was joining in the festivities!
I don’t know how long we were there for but it seemed like the party went on forever.
And rightly so!
These awesome people probably spend so much time in their daily lives and jobs trying to be conservative and/or mainstream that when they ultimately get to Comic-Con they can finally, finally cut loose and be themselves and everyone loves it!
It was a beautiful sight and I’m so thankful to have been a part of that!
And so after the winners of the Masquerade were announced on the jumbotron (though I don’t think anyone could hear it), the dance party went on and on.
Pete bugged out a while ago, totally exhausted.
Joel and I took off about an hour later.
I think we got back to the hotel by about 2AM but I can’t be sure.
Regardless, we were spent!
I hadn’t had that much fun in a long, long time.
One more day to go! Day Four, “Ah, ha, ha…”