I can’t believe my twelfth San Diego Comic-Con has already come and gone. It was so incredible to return to SDCC for the first time since 2019! John and I stayed in San Diego for a full week, so we didn’t return home until this Tuesday afternoon. It’s taken me awhile to gather my thoughts and pick out photos for this recap. I’ll keep it as brief as possible and keep the non-con stuff to a minimum. 🙂
I went to Manchester Grand Hyatt lobby market for a breakfast burrito and realized when I got upstairs that they had given me the wrong one. So I went back downstairs to get the right one, and I passed by a masked Matthew Modine in the lobby! Thanks for the burrito mistake, hotel market!
We easily picked up our vaccine wristbands at the Marriott Grand Terrace. There was zero line for them on Wednesday afternoon, so that was one benefit to arriving in town early. I saw many Twitter complaints about the waterproof-ish wristbands that we had to wear for the whole con. Mine held up pretty well over five days but apparently they got pretty cruddy if you went swimming while wearing yours. You could always get a new one, but once the con started there were (of course) lines at vaccine/negative test verification stations.
After getting our wristbands we sailed on up to Sails Pavilion to pick up our lanyards and official con bags. I only saw two bag designs this year, both illustrated by Jim Lee. WB, the con bag sponsor, clearly decided to save money on bag designs this year. (WB also skipped their large booth this year.) But I kept my bag since this was the first con in three years!
Because we didn’t have preview night badges, we headed to Blind Burro in Gaslamp for dinner. After dinner, we went to Altitude Sky Lounge at the Marriott Gaslamp, which we usually visit at least once during SDCC. It’s a pretty douchey bar, but it wasn’t busy at all that evening, and you just can’t beat the view. It’s a great spot to see the sunset, too.
In the morning, my friend and I headed over to the IMDb boat. This year they offered “fan hours” that you could register for online. There was no line at the boat registration table, so we got our IMDb wristbands right away and boarded. They had a nice lounge setup inside, with snacks, games, app demonstrations, and prizes. And I got to meet a beauty community friend in person for the first time! I love meeting nerdy friends that I DM with constantly. 🙂
Note: the fan lounge was not a place where you could mingle with celebrities who board the boat for interviews. Those take place on the top deck, away from us regular folk. 😛
From the boat visit we headed into the convention center. And we spotted this amazing Peacemaker cosplayer before we even set foot inside:
The exhibit hall was busy, but maybe a little less so than a typical year.
I had created a list on my phone of booths I wanted to visit and items I wanted to buy. So my friend and I headed straight for Entertainment Earth to get two Beetlejuice tiki mugs that I wanted. The line for that was only about a 15 minute wait on Thursday morning…not bad at all, and we got a cool free Yellowjackets t-shirt while we waited!
I loved these cosplayers from The Boys…Starlight and The Deep with his octopus lover Ambrosia. So good.
This Squid Game cosplayer was great too:
I can’t go without mentioning that I was REALLY impressed with mask compliance in the exhibit hall. Prior to entering the convention center I wasn’t sure if I’d want to go in at all, but once inside I felt pretty safe because of all the masks. Plus, I was wearing a tight-fitting N95 that made me feel okay about being on the floor. I would say at least 90% of people inside the con were wearing masks properly, minus a few attendees and some vendors whom I really hope were asked by security to don masks. I’ve heard many other people also say they were impressed with the mask wearing. Great job, nerds! Truly!
I spent maybe an hour, hour and a half tops on the floor before I got tired of dodging bodies and decided to go back to the room to rest.
My group met up for dinner at the Marriott Tequila Bar, but I didn’t feel great after eating so I went back to the hotel while they stayed out. I decided to just call it a day and went to bed early. I still had multiple days left in town and didn’t want to exhaust myself!
Because I had tapped out early on Thursday evening, I decided to take it easy on Friday and not do too much early in the day. More beauty community friends of mine were arriving Friday afternoon and I wanted to hang out with them that night. I’m an introvert to begin with, and the pandemic has lessened my socializing reserves. So I lounged in the room in the morning, then walked around the marina and in the exhibit hall briefly in the afternoon. Here’s what the hall looked like from the mezzanine that afternoon…busy but not overly so:
Friday night, I hung out with my friends and we went to three different places (Water Grill for food, then the Star Trek pop-up, then The Pool House at the Pendry). We had a lot of fun but then lost steam and headed back to our respective hotels around 10pm.
At SDCC, there are a million things to have FOMO about. But I again chose to ignore the FOMO and reserve my energy for going out with friends on Saturday night instead of wearing myself out during the day. Which ended up being worth it!
On Saturday afternoon, I waited on line to get on the Voodoo Ranger pirate ship to see the live Nerdin’ Out podcast. The wait was about an hour and fifteen minutes, which was longer than I had anticipated, but I made some friends while waiting and we had beer together once we were aboard! Nerdin’ Out is a fun podcast, so I enjoyed listening to the crew do their thing live while drinking beer on a pirate ship. I haven’t done anything like this at SDCC before, so I’m really glad I had the experience!
When I left the pirate ship, my friend and her husband were leaving Ballroom 20. So we met up and cut through the convention center to make our way to the roof bar at Hotel Indigo and have drinks with my beauty community friends.
Here’s what the Gaslamp District looked like on Saturday afternoon…pretty standard for Comic-Con, I’d say:
We spent some time at the roof bar, then moved on to the deck at Moonshine Flats. I always love catching up with nerdy friends at SDCC!
My group wanted to try getting into Hall H for What We Do in the Shadows on Sunday afternoon. I love that show so much, but I didn’t want to sit in a room of 6,500 people, even with masks. So I rested in the morning and returned to the exhibit hall in the afternoon for one last spin while my peeps were in Hall H. As you can see below, Sunday was more sparsely attended. It was still really busy in certain areas, but I was amazed by the amount of space there was to move around in parts of the exhibit hall:
I hadn’t stopped by Sideshow Collectibles, so I went to see their figurines (which are always incredible). John had sent me a photo of these Twin Peaks figures but I was happy to see them for myself. How cool are these?!
I also still wanted to check out the Funko area, which they blew out into a full-on Funkoville this year. They included Loungefly and Mondo in the area, and it was all really cute.
One of my favorite things on the floor was this giant Squid Game display in Funkoville:
And right before I decided to call it quits on the floor, I happened by a booth with a Grogu that you could take selfies with! Naturally, I had to take advantage:
As a horror fan I always appreciate the horror figurines at SDCC. Here’s a slideshow of some of my favorite horror figurines, as well as some other cool ones:
I snapped this shot of the back of the convention center after leaving. I was so sad to say goodbye to SDCC, but I had a really great time this year!!
On Sunday night, John and I went out to dinner with a small group. We had a really nice meal on the patio at a restaurant outside of downtown called Trust. Though I was pretty worn out, it was fun to have a chill post-con catch-up.
See Ya, San Diego
Overall, I had a very positive experience at SDCC 2022. Speaking of positive, we tested negative for COVID when we returned this Tuesday, even after being around so many people and flying cross-country. I masked indoors (obviously) as well as outdoors in crowded areas, and we stuck to restaurants and bars that were fully outdoors or that had outdoor air flow. It’s possible we could still get sick, but we’ll test again in a couple days. I’m just thrilled that the thing I had worried about most didn’t happen: testing positive while in SD and having to quarantine in the hotel. Making it back to DC as planned was such a huge relief!
Even without attending panels, I had a great time this year. Simply wandering the exhibit hall and people watching is a lot of fun. However, there was noticeably less cosplay this year, which may have been at least partly due to the mask requirement. I could see folks skipping cosplay that required intricate makeup…it would suck to cover it with a mask that would smear your work.
It sounds like with the exception of Hall H on Saturday, most panels were walk-in if you didn’t mind sitting in the back. Most of my group attended at least a couple panels and experienced short waits (even for Hall H on Sunday). I did see social media chatter about mismanaged offsite and panel lines, but that happens every year.
I bought a bunch of cool stuff and came home with some free swag, but I’ll do a separate post about all of that.
That’s a wrap on San Diego Comic-Con 2022! See you in 2023!