WELCOME TO EARTH-4
A Weekly Column with J. Torrey McClain
First things first, I have no clue if the Comic-Con app will work during Comic-Con, as hundreds of thousands of people in such a small area tend to overload the capability of wireless networks. However, this isn’t about this weekend. It’s about now. It’s about finding all of the cool stuff possible and figuring out how to maximize my visit to Comic-Con 2014.
When you open it, a big advertisement for Constantine or The Blacklist as NBC sponsors the app. If the app has gotten this better, I for one am willing to submit to our Comcast overlords for this one brief moment and think about their TV shows. I can live with this ad and not feel a bit of impatience.
Once you watch the ad, or as soon as you hit skip after reflecting for the appropriate entertainment masters inspired time, you get to a page that lists venues, shows, awards and some of the highlights of the weekend. There’s a square for Game of Thrones which gives the straight dope on an “immersive experience” at the Omni Hotel including authentic costumes. There’s a square for the offsite Horton Square Theater venue where “Weird Al” Yankovic will appear on Saturday. There’s a square for the Comic-Con International Independent Film Festival that lists the panels associated with CCI-IFF, but unfortunately doesn’t include the films to be shown. However, if I may paraphrase what the kids were saying six years ago, there’s a feature on the app for that.
Click on the drop down menu in the upper left of the screen and right below the discovery section of the app you’ll find the schedule, the most wonderful part of the app. Do you want autographs? Filter the schedule to where you just see the autograph sections. Want to see the films of the aforementioned CCI-IFF? You can see the whole list of movies playing at the Marriott. For me, it’s all about the programs. I can just filter those and check out what is happening day by day, as a menu bar at the top separates Wednesday from Thursday from Friday from you get the idea. I can focus on any segment of the con I want. What’s happening with anime panels? Filter out everything but the anime programs. Costuming? Art? Whatever you want, you can list, or you can just list it all and see how to fit together a puzzle of extracting all the juicy goodness from Comic-Con. Then just tap the star next to what you want to remember and ta-da, presto, chango; we’ll get to it later.
Oh my gosh, Raymond Feist. Oh my gosh, Jim Lee. Go to this section and get excited over all of the special guests that will be around. Unfortunately, it is just a list and as of now doesn’t connect to all of their sessions they will attend.
This part of the app also got me going. I always wonder if I’m missing something cool in some corner of the con. The Exclusives menu lets you know what all is happening with the different companies offering exclusives. Tick comic books. Cool t-shirts like the Smaug scale t-shirt from Weta or the official Batman Comic-Con shirt which I probably should have pre-ordered. Figurines. Statuettes. Look for your favorite company or look at them all and add a star to those things that interest you.
Before I even get to San Diego, I can figure out which artists I’d like to see by going to the Exhibitors section and tapping Artists Alley. I already can see that borg.com favorites Peter S. Beagle and Freddie Williams II will be there and I can visit their booths to see what original art I can purchase. There is also small press exhibitors listed as well as fan tables and once more, the star is your friend.
Assembled together on one page is a list of things that you have starred. Programs. Special guests. Exclusives. Exhibitors. It’s all listed and you can click over and see where it is, when it is and how to get it. Now, you have in one simple place the ability to see what you thought would be awesome. If you have some extra down time or needed a little more time during lunch, you can always plunge back into the various sections and change your plans on the fly.
Lastly there’s a map section, but bah, I already know where I’m going most days. Better to wander and discover for a bit before focusing on where I need to be.
Now, if this app could only do something about the lines. Well, when I think about it, even lines aren’t that bad as I’ll be surrounded by people interested in the same things as me. Before I know it, another day at Comic-Con has passed while waiting on a sidewalk, a patch of grass or a cozy piece of carpet as I got to know my fellow geek neighbors and proved the most interesting way to experience the con was meeting all the cool people once again.
Happy Comic-Con to all!
Follow me on Twitter: @JTorreyMcClain