COMIC-CON: HULK VS. HALL H!

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EVENTUALLY, THE TWO OF US HAD TO DO BATTLE.

HALL H IS COMIC-CON’S MASSIVE CONVENTION ROOM THAT SEATS APPROXIMATELY 6,500 PEOPLE. IT IS WHERE THEY HOLD ALL THE BIGGEST PANELS FOR THE HIGH-PROFILE MOVIES AND PRESENT THEIR FOOTAGE TO THRONGS OF SCREAMING FANS… AT LEAST IN THEORY. BECAUSE THE TRUTH IS THAT SO OFTEN THERE ARE A GOOD DEAL OF PEOPLE IN HALL H WHO ARE JUST THERE FOR SOME OTHER PANEL.

WHY DOES THAT HAPPEN? BECAUSE THE SHEER LOGISTICS OF HALL H DICTATE THAT ONE MUST REALLY COMMIT TO ARRIVING WAY BEFORE THE PANEL THEY ACTUALLY WANT TO SEE. THUS, THE POLITICS OF WHAT PANEL GOES BEFORE WHAT CAN SERIOUSLY AFFECT HOW ONE’S PANEL MAY GO.  FOR INSTANCE, AFTER THE FIRST YEAR OF TWILIGHT MANIA, THE CONVENTION DISCOVERED THAT THESE UBER-COMMITTED FANS WOULD LINE UP SO EARLY FOR THE PANELS THAT THEY WOULD DOMINATE THE LANDSCAPE. NOT ONLY THAT BUT THEY WERE SO COMPLETELY DISINTERESTED IN ALMOST ANY OTHER PROPERTY THAT IT MADE THINGS PRETTY MUCH HORRIBLE FOR ANYONE ELSE. (THIS ISN’T A SWIPE AT TWILIGHT MIND YOU, JUST THE RAMIFICATIONS OF THEIR FANS’ COMMITMENT). THE ONLY WAY TO MAKE IT WORK IS HAVE THE ANNUAL TWILIGHT PANEL OPEN HALL H ON THE FIRST DAY OF COMIC-CON AND THAT HAS NOW BECOME THE TRADITION (ALONG WITH PEOPLE CAMPING OUT FOR WEEKS BEFOREHAND). THE OTHER THING THEY HAVE LEARNED IS TO GROUP ALL THE BIGGEST, MOST MAINSTREAM PANELS ON SATURDAY, WHICH IS THE ALSO THE MOST HIGHLY ATTENDED DAY OF THE CON.

AND WITH SO MANY HIGH-PROFILE FILMS THERE ON SATURDAY THERE WAS NO BETTER DAY FOR HULK TO SPEND THE ENTIRE DAY IN HALL H.

WELL… MOST OF THE DAY. BECAUSE IT TURNS OUT THE BIGGEST DAY FOR THE BIGGEST MOVIES DURING THE BIGGEST COMIC-CON OF ALL TIME OBVIOUSLY RESULTS IN THE BIGGEST LINE OF PEOPLE OF ALL TIME TOO. HULK ARRIVED A GOOD FOUR HOURS BEFORE THE START OF THE FIRST PANEL TO FIND A LINE THAT SNAKED THROUGH THE ENTIRE TENT SETUP, ACROSS THE STREET, DOWN AROUND PAST THE HILTON GARDENS, BACK TOWARD THE HILTON ENTRANCE, BACK TOWARD THE BOARDWALK, ALL ALONG THE ENTIRE BOARDWALK, AND FINALLY BACK DOWN A BRIDGE NEARBY, WHERE HULK EVENTUALLY LOST SIGHT OF WHERE IT WENT AFTER THAT… YEAH… AT ONE POINT LATER, HULK HEARD AN ESTIMATE THAT THERE WERE UPWARDS OF 12,000 PEOPLE IN THE LINE. BUT OF COURSE, HULK DIDN’T KNOW THIS AT THE TIME. HULK INSTEAD DID THE DILIGENT THING AND WAITED TO SEE IF HULK WAS SOMEWHERE AROUND THAT 6000 PERSON MARK… HULK WASN’T. SO HULK TOTALLY MISSED THE FIRST PANEL FOR DJANGO UNCHAINED. APOLOGIES, BUT EVEN HULKS HAVE LIMITS.

LUCKILY, HULK ALSO HAD A BACK-UP PLAN THAT INCLUDED HAVING AN EXPRESS PASS TO THE OPEN ROAD PANEL WHICH IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWED DJANGO. NOW, AT THIS POINT YOU MIGHT BE A BIT CONFUSED AS TO WHY THIS ALL WAS HAPPENING. ISN’T HULK PART OF THE PRESS? WHAT’S WITH THE LINE WAITING AND EXPRESS PASSES? HOW DOES IT ALL WORK? DON’T WORRY, BECAUSE HULK WAS CONFUSED TOO. BUT HERE’S THE DEAL: COMIC-CON IS ONE OF THE MORE DEMOCRATIC PROMOTIONAL EVENTS ON THE PLANET. FOR ONE, TO OBTAIN A GENERAL PRESS PASS YOU JUST HAVE TO DO SOMETHING VAGUELY PRESS-LIKE AND THEY WILL GIVE YOU ONE QUITE EASILY. APPARENTLY, THIS YEAR THEY TIGHTENED UP THEIR REQUIREMENTS A TAD, BUT THE GENERAL CONSENSUS WAS THAT IT WAS PRETTY MUCH AT THE SAME LEVEL AS BEFORE. IT ALSO JUST AS EASY TO OBTAIN PROFESSIONAL PASSES AS LONG AS YOU DO SOMETHING VAGUELY INDUSTRY-ISH. AND WHEN IT COMES TO LINING UP PART FOR PANELS AND WHAT NOT, WE’RE ALL IN THE SAME BOAT AS THE FANS THAT BUY DAY PASSES. THERE ARE NO PRESS SECTIONS. NO CATERING TO THE FACT THAT THIS IS ONE’S PROFESSION. NO NOTHING. PLEASE UNDERSTAND THAT HULK IS NOT COMPLAINING ABOUT THIS. HULK WAS LUCKY ENOUGH TO ATTEND AN EVENT THAT MOST PEOPLE WOULD KILL FOR A CHANCE TO ATTEND AND HULK NEVER LOST SIGHT OF THAT BLESSING FOR A SECOND. HULK JUST WANTS YOU TO ALSO UNDERSTAND THE FLIP-SIDE OF THAT REGARDING THE PRESSURE TO MAKE IT INTO SAID HIGH-PROFILE PANELS IN ORDER TO SIMPLY DO ONE’S JOB. IT IS ACTUALLY RATHER STRESSFUL (AND YOU WOULDN’T LIKE HULK WHEN HULK STRESSED OUT). BUT HULK SIMPLY HAS TO CHALK THIS UP TO THE REALITY OF THE SITUATION. COMIC-CON IS NOT FOR THE PRESS. IT’S FOR THE FANS. AND THAT REALITY IS FINE.

THE ONE CAVEAT TO ALL OF THIS IS OBTAINING AN “EXPRESS PASS,” WHICH YOU OBTAIN BY COORDINATING WITH THE STUDIO REPS BEFOREHAND AND THEY GIVE YOU A PASS THAT GETS YOU INTO THAT SPECIFIC PANEL ALONE. THERE ARE A LIMITED NUMBER OF THEM TOO, SO OFTEN IT INVOLVES PRESS OUTLETS FIGHTING OVER THEM LIKE WILD DOGS OVER A BLOODY STEAK. THE OTHER IMPORTANT PART OF THE EXPRESS PASS DEAL IS THAT WHILE IT TOTALLY GETS YOU INTO THE HALL, IT ALSO MEANS THAT IF YOU EVER LEAVE IT YOU CANNOT GET BACK IN. GETTING A PASS AND WANTING TO SEE SOMETHING LATER MEANS YOU ARE ESSENTIALLY COMMITTED TO THE LONG HAUL. BUT THAT’S OKAY CAUSE HULK WAS TOTALLY COMMITTED FOR A BIG, WONDERFUL DAY. WITH THAT, HULK WAS READY FOR HULK’S FIRST PANEL AND ENTERED THE FRAY OF HALL H.

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