It transported me to a place where demon girls flirted with superheroes. Where Indiana Jones stepped out of the crowd to take a moment and light a cigarette. And where bike chariots shaped like iron thrones waited patiently for Jedi’s and Browncoats to hop on for a spin through the Gas Lamp District.
Was this just a mythical land born of a writer's fertile imagination?
Nope. This was San Diego Comic Con.
For those of you who have yet to experience it, Comic Con is hard to explain. What started as a conference for comic book lovers has grown into a movement. It is a movement of nerds. Nerds who love superheroes, video games and role playing. Nerds who love great stories–whether in books, television shows or movies. Nerds who long to live the magic, wear the cape and vanquish the evildoers.
...Or, at the very least, snag Princes Leia's phone number.
Crazy as it may sound, I actually went to San Diego without a ticket to Comic Con. You see, the conference has outgrown the San Diego convention center. This year, tickets sold out in a few hours, months in advance, and I was not one of the lucky ones. Fortunately, a little thing like a lack of tickets doesn't stop anybody from enjoying this con. The nerds have branched out. Events have started popping up all around the conference center—from pirate ship parties floating along the coast to zombie walks in the park, to Conan O'brien art galleries—the movement has far outgrown the con.
And that is how I ended up in San Diego, ticketless and happy. You see, a few months before SDCC, I learned about one of these soirees surrounding the con. It was an event sponsored by Zachary Levi, star of the hit show “Chuck” on NBC. He and his company (thenerdmachine.com) managed to forge a team of friends, television stars, gaming companies and dedicated volunteers to create something he named the "NerdHQ."
It. Was. Epic!
Pardon me while I SQUEEeee!
Ahem. Yet, none of these star-studded attractions compared to what I really got out of this event—meeting my peeps! My fellow Nerds! As a writer, I can honestly say that rarely do I find people who have more imagination, creativity and interest in... well... pretty much everything... than my fellow writers. But at SDCC and NerdHQ, I was surrounded by talented, fascinating people. People who made period-authentic movie costumes. People who could argue plot points on my favorite fantasy novels. Several times I even heard stars discussing their favorite books or graphic novels. Hazzah!
Then, believe it or not, more magic happened.
I will not explain how this happened (for obvious reasons), but I managed to score a one day pass into Comic Con. *Cue soundtrack to favorite nerdy movie of your choice.*
Armed with my new Nerd t-shirt, I passed through the doors of the main hall. My eyes lit with the sparkling lights of a thousand vendors. I gaped at Star Wars exhibits. I longed for Walking Dead t-shirts. I marveled at a Cowboys and Aliens display that lit the room and... wait, was that a Shark Week tote bag?!
Then I passed into writer nirvana. Row upon row of book venders. Urban fantasy, horror, science fiction, fairy tale, steam punk and paranormal books danced before my eyes. I also discovered that many of my favorite writers were speaking at the con, giving talks about their genre, their books and their writing tips. Oh, mama, I was home.
So the fever has forever altered my genetic code.
I am a Con girl—now, and forever. Who's with me?