Comic-Con is all about the fans.  Social media has empowered regular people to reach more than traditional press.  But that won’t stop exhibitors and companies from catering to the press and professionals.

And I had a press pass.

This year, PR firms seemed to have made a concerted effort to reach out to outlets, providing exclusive and relaxing lounges where press can get info about the newest products, test out and peruse products and games, as well as get respite, food, and drink away from the frenzy.

AMD, Nintendo, Konami, IGN, Sega, and Wired Image all had well-needed and exclusive suites with food and laptops set up for VIP and press.  Swanky giveaways at the Arts and Cinema Centre by Nintendo included the Limitless DVD as well as Kenneth Cole Reaction’s Connected cologne.  The designer scent’s Wireimage Portrait Studio shot visiting stars like Pee Wee Herman and Elijah Wood, while Yowie hosted podcasts with celebs.

I enormously enjoyed Konami’s lounge at the W Hotel.  Bit of a walk, but well worth it.  I played Puddle, which was quite hard and challenging.  I definitely would get addicted to this game.  I played Leedmees Kinect at E3, and my HUB friends enjoyed it immensely here.  Thanks to the staff of the W and welcoming demeanor of Kelsey at Burson-Marsteller for getting me a gluten-free option to munch on at the lounge.

Many of the lounges served sandwiches, sliders, and pizza, which are near poison for a guy like me.  But I loved the BBQ food served at the Tucker and Dale vs. Evil Kickoff Party back at Nintendo’s Arts and Cinema Centre.  My VIP bag got majorly pillaged before I got it, but my friends got muscle milk, DVDs, and some sort of herbal ecstasy among other booty.  I got a bunch of advertisement cards and a T-shirt, but I and perhaps the girl passing out the bags were feeling too good on BBQ and monster margaritas to notice.

Movies on Demand had an intimate lounge with Mahi Mahi.  Unfortunately it was on bread, though I was tempted to peel it off and eat it.  At the Oasis, several lounges were set up; I didn’t hear back from the Wired Image people, but went to the AMD suite to snack and relax.

Appointments were a highlight of my Comic-Con adventure, and I was treated to a tour of the Disney Store’s Funko line by Director of Toys John Balen.  I loved my Maleficent Funko doll and a Vinylmation robot toy sculpted in a Mickey Mouse shape that was a thank-you gift for attending.  A 9” Metallic Maleficent was a Comic-Con exclusive. Very cool stuff and oh-so-cute.

Awarded this year’s Designer Toy Award for Best Functional Toy, MIMOBOT unveiled their Series 7 line of character flash drives.  I was especially enthralled with its Han Solo drive, replete with a Carbonite carrying case.  This is the coolest of cool; the case will work with all molds since MIMOBOTS are uniform in its shape and construct.  There were also exclusives available only at the Con including Harley Quinn and Star Wars’ Bossk.  Lucas Arts is stringent with its property, and production for these flash drives can take up to six months from design to production.

I’ve never played Magic: The Gathering, but many a comic book shops hosts afternoons where people (and not only kids) congregate to play the game.  For the uninitiated, they can play Duels of the Planeswalkers 2012, where they can learn and fine tune their strategies for playing against others online and in person.

Though Comic-Con says that press do not get special lines, there is a VIP entrance for Hall H.  For the Dorothy of Oz panel, I was escorted through door SE and had up-front seating to watch Patrick Stewart and fellow cast and producers of the upcoming animated movie.

Through friends, I was able to finagle VIP access to the Aquabats Concert at the House of Blues, enjoying munchies and an open bar — always good during Comic-Con — while being entertained by music, live-action comedy, and animation segments bursting together for an explosion of fun.  The group has their live-action The Aquabats Super Show! debuting this fall on The Hub.

Next year, I’ll endeavor to utilize my press pass for more privileged access to events and suites.  Either way, Comic-Con is just it for me.

 

***in accordance with FTC rules, in addition to the Disney Store items, I was given 2 decks of Magic: The Gathering playing cards and the Han Solo MMbot referred to as a thank you for attending.

 

—Ken Choy

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