San Diego Comic Con 2022 was definitely a ride! We weren’t sure what our SDCC plans were until we got the word that we were going to present on the history of giant robots in anime on the day one. We stayed at our usual Town and Country Inn in Mission Valley. This is one of our favorite hotels having a 1950’s resort theme and strong libations for end of the day relaxation. The good news is that the hotel was on the convention shuttle line so we didn’t have to hire a rideshare. It took about 20 minutes of travel time and we didn’t have to wait too long for shuttle service.
Health and Safety
I do appreciate SDCC for having a consistent and enforced masking and vaccination policy. Most attendees were masked in indoor spaces. Security was friendly about enforcing this policy. One of the challenges we faced was getting our wrist bands. The pick up points were scattered around San Diego and locations and hours changed depending on the day. We had to walk all the way from Padre Stadium to the far end of the Marriot Marquis to get our wrist band. There wasn’t a lot of signs and staff was giving us vague and uncertain direction to get there. By the time we picked up our wrist bands, we were extremely winded, but still up for running our panel in the next few hours.
We didn’t want to let one bad experience ruin our first SDCC together. Suffice to say, our panel went great despite being the last panel of Thursday – we met a lot of anime fans and folks who wanted to get into giant robots!
The Exhibit Hall
San Diego Comic Con has a massive dealers hall! You could take a whole day to explore the whole thing. Of course, the biggest draws were booths like Lucasfilm showcasing Star Wars, Lego, Mattel, Hasbro, Sideshow Toys, Marvel, and more. Visitors can also get photo ops with a Lego Skeletor, various Marvel Disney Plus backdrops, Bowser from Mario, sitting on the couch with Beavis and Butthead, etc. Photo booths in the dealers hall are always a fun way to capture your Comic Con memories.
I did have my eye on the Captain Carter Loungefly backpack. The Loungefly booth was part of Funko Town. Funko Town is a collective of booths setup like Main Street USA in Disneyland consisting of various Funko sibling brands. Though you might need a ticket for in demand Comic Con exclusives, I was able to walk right into the Loungefly booth and picked up the Captain Carter backpack no problem.
However, even though the dealers hall is a haven for collectables and exclusives, let’s not forget the small press area. I supported the creators behind Lupin with a Vengeance. I was bummed we missed the sold out premiere, but I picked up a Comic Con exclusive collection of their comic series. It was also cool to see up and coming artists in the small press area. This is my favorite place to check out and the place I tend to spend my money the most. Comic Con would not be comic con without these indie artists. Give these artists some love!
The Industry Panels
So, I didn’t go to Hall H for panels. But I did visit Ballroom 20 a few times for what we could catch. We caught the Paper Girls panel. As a fan of the original comic, it was cool to get up close and personal with the cast. Both cast, showrunners, and creators were talking about 80’s nostalgia and the behind the scenes of creating an 80’s “anti-nostalgia” vibe to the new Amazon series.
We also went into the Saint Seiya / Knights of the Zodiac panel on a whim. We went in not knowing what to expect at this panel. Would this be about a new anime? Considering that San Diego is close to the border and Saint Seiya is a huge hit in Latin American countries, I wasn’t surprised that the room was filled with Latino attendees. The panel was news and updates surrounding the Netlfix distributed live action Knights of the Zodiac movie.
I admit, anytime we hear “live action anime,” there’s a part inside us that cringes. Yet, the creative team started talking about their love for Saint Seiya and how much research went in to making this happen. The stunt director, Andy Chen, begun showing videos of the stunt work in Knights of the Zodiac; the videos were edited in the style they wanted the final product to be. By then, the audience was sold that this live action anime could be promising!
We were also featured in some promo material for the movie!
We also checked out the GI Joe Hasbro panel. I always like checking out a collectables related panel at Comic Con International. My partner, Jared the Greek, was very hyped for the Hiss Tank. This was a huge accessory that lit up and had extra figures. The team forgot to bring their tools to get all the functions to work. Thankfully, someone in the audience had two double A batteries and a Phillips head screwdriver to get the job done! The panelists also talked about a GI Joe offsite in downtown San Diego. We knew we had to check it out.
If you need a break from the convention center, there were “offsites,” or events not associated with the con, but targeted the comic con audience, that you could check out. There was a gallery featuring Franklin from the Peanuts gang. The gallery emphasized visibility of a Black character in the comic strip and also talked about scholarships for aspiring Black animators (google The Franklin Project for more info).
Because Hasbro told us so, we went to the Cobra Recruitment Center. It was a long walk, but certainly doable on a scathingly humid day. This was like walking into Disneyland. The store was done up to look like you were able to be hired by Cobra. I appreciated the details and the merch. I may not be into the Joe’s as much as my partner, but I certainly appreciate an amazing theming!
We didn’t go to the Dungeons and Dragon bar, but we went to a better eatery that served food and drink – The San Diego Cat Cafe. This cat cafe is home to adoptable kittens. We always make sure to support the cat cafe anytime we’re in town. It’s always a different experience. Jared the Greek made friends with Grayson, a grey cat that was cozy with his cat tree. I made friends with Kota and Piper; both cats found a place to nap – under my Mirabel skirt. Proceed this offsite with caution; you will want to take a cat home!
Fandom is ever present at San Diego Comic Con. I made a point to visit the Marvel and Disney cosplay meetups. These are great places to make new friends, take selfies with cosplayers from the same series you’re from. I do appreciate that the cosplay meet ups were in the same place all weekend so that it was easy to find. Many thanks to Bill Watters and Robert Torres for making this happen!
Throughout the day, if you were on the mezzanine level outdoors, you could catch a joust by the SCA group that was present. We spent our lunch time enjoying our salad and burritos watching medieval knights go up against each other. Even attendees started taking bets against other knights!
And in Conclusion…
I liked it! We probably would not have considered returning to San Diego Comic Con if weren’t for our panel responsibilities. The staff was very hospitable. We appreciated their help in getting us set up. Navigating SDCC as first timers can be a pain, but we learned with pacing and planning, it can work out. SDCC has plenty of entertainment on site and off site. It’s hard to be bored at this event. Lines will be lines, but be on the lookout for some of the con’s hidden gems like the SCA demonstrations and indie press section.
Overall, I would love it if we could do panels again for SDCC. This has definitely been a big year for Scarlet Rhapsody in terms of participating in two major pop culture events in one year. We don’t mind coming back for more!
And yes, we would love to return to the Town and Country Inn. It was the perfect “home away from home” at the con.