Day One is more like Day Half as the Wednesday night before the Con proper kicks off is Preview Night. It’s a chance for early bird arrivals and those who are attending all the days of the convention to browse the exhibition floor and get in a little early shopping. It’s also one of the few chances for journalists such as TF to look around the place before the hectic schedule kicks in.
Comic-Con is getting bigger and bigger every year; as Hollywood studios realise it’s the perfect place to launch genre films, TV and anything else they care to make, the stands grow larger and the various companies – including those pimping comics, toys and all sorts of merchandise (Pierce Brosnan’s gun from Die Another Day, anyone? A snip at $200!) – compete to see who can make the biggest splash and generate the most buzz.
And even tonight, which is usually quieter than any day save Sunday, the place is packed, and even the line of members of the press waiting to grab our credentials is huge.
With bright orange badge in hand (complete with a “press” ribbon that makes us look like a winning shire horse at a country fair), it’s time to dive on to the chaos of the floor. The faithful stroll around wearing all sorts of weird costumes, and we're tempted to find a complete Ghostbusters outfit to blend in. Fortunately, we decide against that plan.
The film companies are out in force again, and New Line’s stand for Snakes On A Plane is particularly impressive – a giant snake head that holds props, costumes and trailer footage repeating on an endless loop. Also fun is the display for Guillermo Del Toro’s new film, Pan’s Labyrinth. It’s a giant, freakish tree that fans can wander into in the hopes of finding footage and grabbing freebies to win prizes.
And it’s all about the freebies here – the stands are manned by staff members throwing out T-shirts, badges, postcards and just about anything that a logo can be squeezed on to. You’re left with the impression that if you slow down long enough, an enterprising studio bod will tattoo their film’s logo on your forehead. Hhmmm…
But all too soon, the Con is shutting down for the night, as the overly contentious and frankly power-tripping security staff starts demanding that we all leave. They do a great job keeping us all in line, but do they have to act like Blakey from On The Buses? We retire to the hotel for the night. Better get a good night’s sleep – tomorrow the chaos really starts…