Provided you don't have a hatred of crowds, lines, robots, leotards, cod pieces, giant scary bags, and the occasional waft of... what was that, bologna?, Comic-Con International in San Diego is the place you want to be. Like right now. The doors swung open to the San Diego Convention Center this morning and the masses who've made the trek here from all over the world (about half of my flight from Portland yesterday was obviously headed this way) poured in to pounce on the hundreds of booths inside like jackals at a beef jerky factory. Though it's not the biggest day for panels and Q&As;—Friday and Saturday are loaded with those and I wasn't impressed/as frightened as I thought I would by today's Twilight turnout—Thursday is the day for the hardcore collectors to get their mitts on Comic-Con exclusives that will remain in their boxes, never to be played with, only possessed.
(Sorry, I just had to go take a picture of four people dressed as Street Fighter II characters, but I'm back.)
Today marks my return to Comic-Con International, The Con, Nerdaggedon, whatever you'd like to call it, after missing the last two. What I've noticed, even after only two years off, is that the culture of Comic-Con has diversified even more than it already had been before. Movies aren't as big here as they used to be, comics are obviously still prominent, and video games are bigger than they've ever been (life-size Portal guns are a HUGE seller and there's a surprising number of Minecraft cosplayers). But it's television that's really being pushed harder than ever. Or maybe that's just what I choose to see since I'm a huge TV geek?
The Walking Dead is EVERYWHERE, in all its forms (AMC's TV show, the comic, and the video games). It's the major selling point for at least three major booths, including one of the longest lines inside the exhibition hall: a photo-op as one of Michonne's pet zombies. Game of Thrones isn't as heavily represented as I thought it would be. I mean, I haven't even seen ONE person in a Dany costume! That should change tomorrow, though, when George R.R. Martin, Peter Dinklage, and others gather for the show's panel. But seriously, not even one Dany costume yet.
One welcome big surprise: The franchise with the most costumes I've seen on the floor so far is... Cartoon Network's Adventure Time! It probably has something to do with the simplicity of the outfit: Finn ears, green shirt, backpack, and POW you're Finn! You can't walk 10 paces in the convention center right now without seeing a Finn, and if you're really lucky you'll see one of the many Fionnas from the alternate-world gender-swap episode "Fionna and Cake." And if you're really, really lucky, you'll catch Finn, Jake, Marcelline, and the Ice King walking in a group. Adventure Time also has the coolest booth activity I've seen. They're handing out maps of the Land of Ooo, with an Adventure Time scavenger hunt on the back. Find the items on the list (a Finn flash drive, a Jake wallet, etc...) from a list of booths, get a stamp to prove you were there, and return your completed card for a special prize. Apparently Pendleton Ward's creativity is not limited to just the show.
So far I've also been green-screened into a scene from Person of Interest, harnessed at the Falling Skies booth (photographic evidence to come later), saw an adult man dressed as Princess Leia, and had some dude dressed as Breaking Bad's yellow jumpsuit Walter White hand me a bag of what I assume is blue rock candy but hope is the real deal because I'm gonna need a little pick-me-up to get me through the next few days.
I'll be posting pics and tidbits on Twitter all weekend, so follow up if you want 'em!
If you missed Price and I talking about Preview Night of Comic-Con, including our initial thoughts on Fox's new serial-killer drama The Following, it's right here!
Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom