Let’s Get Nerdy to Rumble!! SDCC 2015

Let’s Get Nerdy to Rumble!! SDCC 2015

The San Diego Comic-Con exhibit floor.

The San Diego Comic-Con exhibit floor.

Vacation to some people may mean sipping on tropical drinks on a white sand beach. Others may prefer the quiet of the mountains and kayaking down some serene river. But, to the Maddys, vacation translates into one thing: Comic book conventions.

My husband and I are most at home sifting through overflowing bins of Silver and Bronze age comic books, hard-to-find collectible toys and attending panels discussing the virtues of Green Lantern and Spider-Man. This year, after a 5-year absence, we’re making our return to the mecca of geekdom — San Diego Comic-Con.

The event started as The Golden State Comic-Con in the basement of the historic San Diego Grant Hotel in 1970. That first one-day event drew 300 people. This year, badges to the 4-day pop culture juggernaut sold out in about an hour. Today, we will join 130,000 of our fellow geeks to take over San Diego (otherwise known as America’s Finest City).

We knew about Comic-Con from reading blogs and seeing clips online, but began to take interest about eight years ago when we started planning our first trip to the West Coast. The expression of artistry, through whatever genre or medium, is celebrated to some degree at the center for all things geek. Several years ago, we began to amass our treasure trove of collectibles and memorabilia, ranging from classic toys from the 1970s and 1980s, to comic books we had as children. That collection grew and sprouted new interests, such as autographs and props from television and movies. A costly endeavor, but one that has brought us a great deal of joy.

And Comic-Con has become something we can enjoy together. The con has given us memories and experiences that will last a lifetime. One of the best things about attending an event of this scale is never knowing what your day holds. On our last trip, we met the entire cast of “The Big Bang Theory,” talked to Mark Hamill while he ate Jello and chatted up Rob Lowe outside of a hotel.

The multi genre offerings now represented at the con are staggering and at times, overwhelming. Every room in the convention center and most downtown hotels host events throughout the weekend and that’s not counting the 460,000-square-foot exhibit floor overflowing with comic books, merchandise and the latest promotions for nearly every major film studio, television network and publishing company.

As panels and events were released in the weeks leading up to the show, we began taking notes and making spreadsheets. Yes, our vacation requires spreadsheets. With so much to choose from, one of the more difficult decisions is which panel, signing or party to attend. For the A-list properties such as “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” “X-Men: Apocalypse,” “Game of Thrones,” “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” and “The Hunger Games,” camping out all night on the Convention Center grounds has become a necessity. If you’re not in line by 3 a.m., chances are you’re not seeing Ben Affleck dish on that Batsuit.

We tend to stay far away from Hall H (the room that houses the larger panels) in favor of roaming the exhibit floor, taking in smaller panels and snagging autographs and selfies from the stars. Last night, we attended a live taping of “Conan,” a new offering this year.

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