San Diego Comic-Con International 2005
San Diego Comic-Con 2005: An Overview

by Bamboo Dong, Jul 21st 2005
Easily North America's largest comic book convention, this year's Comic-Con International played host to over 90,000 attendees during its four-day run. Bringing together fans of comics, science fiction, cartoons, anime, and all-around pop culture, this event temporarily took over the city of San Diego and the surrounding areas. Quite literally, too. Every hotel, motel, inn, and possible place of lodging was booked solid every night, and every restaurant within a few miles of the convention center had at least an hour's wait.

Luckily, free shuttles were provided to most of the area's hotels, an amenity that made Comic-Con much more enjoyable. Policemen were hired to direct traffic around the convention center, which was a necessity given the huge throngs of people that were constantly flowing in and out of the event.

For veteran attendees and newcomers alike, there's one thing about the convention that will never cease to impress—the sheer size of the event. For starters, the convention center stretches a good four blocks long, and Comic-Con occupies every inch of it. Most of the lower floor was reserved for the gargantuan exhibitor's hall, packed with thousands of booths.

Ranging from independent artists, to comic book retailers, to merchandisers, to company exhibits, the exhibitor's hall had something for every attendee. Be it comics, sci-fi, anime, or just plain eye candy, it provided plenty of entertainment all four days. By Saturday, the entire hall was packed to the brim—moving from one end of a row to the other took up to half an hour.

Of course, there were plenty of other things to do. With fourteen panel rooms running simultaneously, attendees could choose to sit in on a multitude of events. On Thursday, many anime and comic book companies chose to announce their current projects and discuss their business plans. Several artists also gave presentations on their work, as well as give advice on how aspiring artists could crack into the industry.

Friday ushered in more of the same, with notable events being advanced previews for movies like Warner Brothers' Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Corpse Bride, V for Vendetta, The Fountain, and Disney's Chicken Little and Cars. Manwha fans got the chance to ask questions to So-Young Le, thanks to Tokyopop. The evening festivities included premieres of new episodes for popular properties like Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis, and Battlestar Galactica. The big event of the night though, was the presentation of the Will Eisner Comics Industry Awards. The list of winners can be seen on the Comic-Con website.

More movie previews harkened Saturday, including Paramount's new Aeon Flux and Universal's King Kong. This day, Tokyopop brought out their second guest, Ms. Masami Tsuda, the creator of Kare Kano. The afternoon also marked a discussion panel with science fiction legends Ray Bradbury, Forrest J. Ackerman, and Ray Harryhausen. Even with all the events going on, attendees still found the time to wait in a long line for masquerade tickets. Sponsored by The Devil's Rejects, the Masquerade drew in plenty of terrific costumes, and even more spectators.

Sunday was a great time for parents who brought young children to the convention. There were several panels designed solely for kids, from instructions on how to draw, to panels on properties like Nickelodian's Spongebob Squarepants.

Irregardless of why an attendee chose to shoulder the entrance fee into Comic-Con, they had a good chance of leaving happy. Whether it was to track down some illusive issue of Spiderman, rub shoulders with celebrities like Sarah Michelle Geller and Rob Zombie, or wander the halls to stare at cosplayers, there was plenty to see and do.

Overall, Comic-Con was a well-run event that lived up to all its hype. The staff members were friendly and helpful, security was tight, and everything was done to make sure that attendees had as great of a time as possible. From the sheer size of the event to the bevy of interesting events, this was a show that successfully catered to pop culture enthusiasts around the world.

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