Dust Off That Cape, It's Comic-Con!

Comic-Con's here.

Wait, let me try that again. COMIC-CON'S HERE!!!

You may be asking yourself, "What exactly is Comic-Con?" Well, for a man-child like myself, it's heaven on earth, hence why I broke my personal "never use exclamation points, ever" rule.

In this is magical place one can:
  • Demo video games that don't hit shelves until fall.
  • Shake hands with people like Robert Kirkman (creator of The Walking Dead).
  • Accumulate over 50-pounds of free t-shirts, posters, comic books, action figures, hats, and pins per hour.
  • Sit in the same room with the cast of every major movie/TV show and listen to behind-the-scenes stories.

Essentially, Comic-Con is the ultimate Nerdvana.

There are plenty of geek conventions every year, but this is the biggest. Over 130,000-attendees, big. What began as a small comic book convention in 1970 has evolved into the largest pop culture event in the world.

Special events happen all over downtown San Diego, but most of the craziness can be found on the showroom floor -- a dreamlike yet chaotic place where you can bump into a kid wearing an Iron Man costume, the illustrator of the current Iron Man comic, or even Robert Downy Jr. himself.

On this crowded and sometimes smelly (spandex costume + southern Californian sun + being too busy to shower) floor you'll also find mind-blowing exhibition booths from video game companies, movie studios, toy manufacturers, and TV networks.

But Comic-Con has always been about the attendees. And besides seeing their favorite idols in person, these people fly across the world for two main reasons: showing off a highly detailed costume and accumulating mountains of free swag.

When you see a Ghostbuster at a local Halloween party, odds are he's wearing an inflatable Proton Pack from Halloween Express. Amateur.

A Ghostbuster at the Con only wears an aluminum, full-scale replica with working LEDs, sound effects, and a masterful paint job. These diehard fanatics even spend time "aging" the proton pack with steel wool to make it look battle tested.

Basically, if a costume doesn't take five months or more to make, it isn't worthy of being worn.

The second most important part of the Con is snatching as much free swag as possible. From the convention center to the streets of downtown, there are promo squads and giveaways as far as the eye can see. It's the equivalent of running through Toys "R" Us with a $1,000 gift card each day.

In fact, vendors give away so much free stuff that a massive, 24"x29" bag is included with ticket purchase. And, best of all, there's a FedEx right inside the convention center, ensuring that all attendees can get their colossal haul home with ease.

Celebrities. Costumes. Free swag. Now you kind of know what Comic-Con is all about. If you're into comics, movies, TV shows, video games, collectibles, novels, action figures, or just want to experience the crazy world of nerds, I'd suggest you check it out next year. But make sure to get tickets the second they go on sale -- in 2012, all 130,000 single-day and four-day badges sold out in 90 minutes.

Note: If you're heading to Comic-Con, come visit me! (Damn, I broke my rule again). I'll be signing free screen-printed posters for my book 'Steel Rainbow' Thursday through Saturday at booth AA12.