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San Diego Comic-Con opens to packed crowds, promises geeky fun

The San Diego Convention Centre was packed with people as soon as it opened its doors for Comic-Con.

hollywood Updated: Jul 20, 2017 12:32 IST
Associated Press
Comic-Con,San Diego Comic-Con,SDCC
Judy Hawkins, left, of San Diego, reacts as a zombie character approaches her at the Walking Dead exhibit on the convention show floor during Preview Night of the 2017 Comic-Con International.(Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

The San Diego Convention Centre was packed with people as soon as it opened its doors for Comic-Con.

Fans with four-day passes to the annual pop-culture convention were treated to a preview of the showroom floor Wednesday night: 460,000 square feet of TV, film and video game displays, along with toys, art and comic books for sale. Panels, presentations, screenings and celebrity appearances begin Thursday and continue through Sunday.

Forty-nine-year-old Tony Saxon bee-lined it for the Hasbro booth, where he loaded up on two massive bags of collectible toys.

Comic Con fans walk past a MAD poster as they participate in the opening preview night at Comic Con International in San Diego,California. ( REUTERS )

“I spent $700, and that’s just the beginning,” said Saxon, who has been coming to Comic-Con since 1993. “I’m going to be broke by Sunday.”

Besides being packed with thousands of fans, Comic-Con’s showroom floor was alight with flashing screens and giant character displays touting the latest shows, movies, games and toys. The Mattel booth boasted a life-size replica of the new Batmobile from Justice League, which looks like a tank crossed with a sports car. Sanrio’s booth showed Hello Kitty reimagined as Sonic the Hedgehog. The Walking Dead booth was crawling with zombies. And players were so engrossed in their games at the Yu-Gi-Oh! booth, it was like they couldn’t tell Comic-Con was happening all around them.

“I just got here and it’s crowded,” said Miles Messenger, 35, as he waited in line to buy an exclusive toy at the Nickelodeon booth. “But I keep coming back because I really enjoy the atmosphere and the community, and being with people who share the same interests.”

What started as a comic-book convention with 300 participants in 1970 has grown into a corporate-heavy media showcase that draws more than 130,000 attendees. Netflix, Warner Bros., Fox, HBO and Marvel Studios are among the companies hosting large-scale presentations with top-name talent. But while Hollywood has raised Comic-Con’s profile, comic book enthusiasts say it keeps edging out the book buyers and sellers at the heart of the event.

HBO advertising posters are pictured as attendees arriver for opening preview night at Comic Con International in San Diego. ( REUTERS )

Among the fan obsessions on view this year: Stranger Things 2 and Marvel’s The Defenders from Netflix, which also promises a surprise screening Thursday night; HBO’s Game of Thrones and Westworld; Justice League and Blade Runner 2049 from Warner Bros., along with an anticipated appearance by Steven Spielberg showcasing his adaptation of Ready Player One.

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First Published: Jul 20, 2017 12:32 IST