San Diego Comic-Con Unofficial Blog http://sdccblog.com The ultimate source of news and info for Comic-Con attendees. Tue, 31 Mar 2015 00:00:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.1 Under the Tents: Sleepy Hollow, BOOM! Studios, Hilton Bayfront, Geeky Hooker, Sean Dietrich, Norm Rapmund http://sdccblog.com/2015/03/under-the-tents-sleepy-hollow-boom-studios-hilton-bayfront-geeky-hooker-sean-dietrich-norm-rapmund/ http://sdccblog.com/2015/03/under-the-tents-sleepy-hollow-boom-studios-hilton-bayfront-geeky-hooker-sean-dietrich-norm-rapmund/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 18:22:57 +0000 http://sdccblog.com/?p=21739 Heaving a huge sigh of relief, we are on the other side of Hotelpocalypse, and hopefully no worse for wear.  We hope you were all successful in your hotel missions, and if not, check out our post on what other options you have.  With all of that out of the way, it’s time to look at some news about SDCC, that wonderful convention we subject ourselves to all the insanity for.

This edition of Under the Tents has news on goodies being dropped around the convention center like a new Geeky Hooker critter, as well as J. Williams Tawnee being back with themed paracord bracelets. We also have news on attendance by comic artists and authors Charles Soule,  Norm Rapmund, and Greg van Eekhout. Also, BOOM! Studios will be back at Comic-Con, Sean Dietrich is having a party and an art show, Beefy & Co. reveals another plush exclusive, and more.

Here’s some news you might have missed:

  • Filip Sablik, President of Publishing and Marketing for BOOM! Studios, as well as comic creator, writer, and artist, tweeted that he and the BOOM! crew will be attending San Diego Comic-Con 2015. Attendees can probably look forward to seeing many of BOOM!’s most well-known titles, including Adventure Time and the newly released Bill & Ted’s Most Triumphant Return.

  • Geeky Hooker tweeted a picture of her first work in progress crocheted critter for SDCC 2015.  She plans to drop more crocheted creations this year, just like in years past.  She randomly hides them in or around the convention center, for lucky attendees to find. Her finger on the pulse of what’s hot, like this Big Hero 6‘s Baymax, are what keeps her followers coming back for more. To join the hunt, follow her on either Twitter or Facebook to track the drops during the convention.

  • Painter Sean Dietrich has updated his official website with his art tour schedule to include four days at Comic-Con, as well as a kickoff party on Preview Night sponsored by PBR. The tour will include brand new art, prints, and hat pins from Custom Hat Pins. Dietrich creates his paintings live for his audience, usually accompanied by DJed music. Dietrich’s Instagram shows off a piece of the party venue without giving any real information. We will bring you more details as it becomes available.
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Sean Dietrich live paints Nightmare Before Christmas

Party Venue Preview

Party Venue Teaser

  • Charles Soule, comic writer, posted on Twitter in an exchange with another Twitter user, that he intends to attend Comic-Con.  Soule is known for big name titles like Civil War, Inhumans, Letter 44, Wolverine, Superman/Wonder Woman and more.

  • Cesare Asaro, of Curio & Co., shared more pieces of the work in progress tartor card drawings on Twitter. This is one more of many tarot cards slowly being revealed, and you can find them all on his Twitter account, before the full set will be presented at Comic-Con 2015.

  • Artist Anthony on Instagram has posted a picture of an R2-D2 in progress for the Sideshow Collectibles R2ME-2 project. This finished piece, along with approximately 90 others will be on display at SDCC in the Sideshow Colectibles booth. For more information on this fun and creative project, check out our previously posted article.
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Anthony’s R2-ME2

  • Actor Orlando Jones responded to a fan question on Twitter that he would absolutely be at Comic-Con 2015 – and although he doesn’t specify for what, we can only assume (and hope) that it’s for Sleepy Hollow, which recently received a season three renewal.

  • Stan Lee Collectibles, which is dedicated to official Stan Lee collectibles and 100% guaranteed authentic signatures, posted on their official Instagram their convention schedule, which includes San Diego Comic-Con.
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Website founders Tony Carroll, Stan Lee, and Max Anderson

  • Fantagraphics Books posted on Twitter that they will be publishing Gilbert Hernandez’s Blubber #1 and it will be out at SDCC this summer. Fantagraphics and Hernandez have a history with having worked together in publishing the hugely popular Love and Rockets series.

  • The fantastically talented Otis Frampton, creator of Oddly Normal and ABCDEFGeek, announced on Twitter that he will not be attending SDCC 2015.

  • Actress, model, YouTuber, host, and Twitcher, Trish Hershberger, responded to a fan on Twitter that she will be attending San Diego Comic-Con.

  • In a Twitter back and forth thread between the Hilton SD Bayfront Twitter account and SDCC attendees, the Hilton Bayfront stated that it will be announcing offers or specials on available rooms after deposits have been made and they know if there will be available rooms (so sometime after April 15). Follow the link above to see the full thread.

  • Comic book artist Norm Rapmund responded on Twitter that he will be attending Comic-Con 2015. Rapmund is currently working on the DC series Flash, and has previously worked on Teen Titans, Ravagers, Nightwing, and Batman/Superman.

  • Claire Hummel, a multi-faceted artist, responded on Twitter that she will be at SDCC for once. Working in illustration and visual development, she designed the Lutece twins from Bioshock Infinite, designed historical Disney princesses, and is currently working as a production designer for HBO.

  • Author of adult and young adult fiction, Greg van Eekhout, responded to a tweet that he will be attending San Diego Comic-Con. His most recent novel, Pacific Fire, joins his many other works such as California Bones, The Boy at the End of the World, Kid vs. Squid, and Norse Code.

  • The urban designers of vinyl toys, pop art, and apparel, Beefy & Co., added a picture to their Instagram featuring an SDCC exclusive plush. According to the Instagram, the exclusive might be called Ryupoo and the Golden Fleece.
Beefy & Co. SDCC Exclusive Plush

Beefy & Co. SDCC Exclusive Plush

  • Similar to Geeky Hooker and her Critter work, J. Williams Tawnee revealed to us that this year, she’ll be doing an SDCC bracelet drop. The paracord bracelets will be hidden around the convention center, and you’ll be able to follow the drops on Twitter @bitterTactical. Here’s a look at one of last year’s bracelets:

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Anything we missed? Let us know in the comments, drop us a line or tweet us at @SD_Comic_Con.

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Escape to San Diego Comic-Con, Courtesy of Starz ‘Outlander’ Contest http://sdccblog.com/2015/03/escape-to-san-diego-comic-con-courtesy-of-starz-outlander-contest/ http://sdccblog.com/2015/03/escape-to-san-diego-comic-con-courtesy-of-starz-outlander-contest/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 15:58:57 +0000 http://sdccblog.com/?p=21724 outlander-promo-picThe Starz series Outlander made its San Diego Comic-Con debut last year with a star-studded panel and red carpet screening. Although there’s no official word on if the show will be back or 2015, it’s looking more likely, and they want to send one lucky attendee along for the ride.

Starz is giving away one Grand-Prize trip for two including two San Diego Comic-Con four day badges, airfare, three nights stay in a hotel, ground transportation, a $250 credit at the hotel spa, and $750 cash (for the winner only) to a lucky winner in its Escape with Outlander Sweepstakes. To enter, simply visit the site and register.

Given that Starz is using Outlander to promote their Comic-Con contest, that hopefully spells good things for the show’s Comic-Con return. The network had previously brought Black Sails in 2013 with a special offsite screening, but the series didn’t return to the convention in 2014. Instead, they focused their efforts on Outlander, bringing out stars Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan, Tobias Menzies, Graham McTavish, and Lotte Verbeek, as well as the author of the book on which the series is based on, Diana Gabaldon, and executive producer Ronald D. Moore for the panel and screening.

You have through May 30, 2015 to enter the contest, and a winner will be alerted shortly after. You can find all the rules on the contest site.

Will you be entering the Outlander contest? Let us know in the comments.

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Marvel & Adobe Team Up for San Diego Comic-Con Contest http://sdccblog.com/2015/03/marvel-adobe-team-up-for-san-diego-comic-con-contest/ http://sdccblog.com/2015/03/marvel-adobe-team-up-for-san-diego-comic-con-contest/#comments Sun, 29 Mar 2015 01:37:24 +0000 http://sdccblog.com/?p=21722 411px-MarvelLogo.svgIf you’re a college student with dreams of becoming a comic artist, who doesn’t have a badge to San Diego Comic-Con, then this might just be the answer to your prayers. Marvel Comics and Adobe have teamed up with the online portfolio site, Behance, to “find four talented students who will be hired to work on a limited-edition Marvel Comic debuting at this year’s San Diego Comic Convention”.

The article from Marvel.com promises that the winner will not only receive a ticket to SDCC 2015, transportation, hotel accommodations, and a daily stipend, but they’ll also receive access to the Marvel booth (which was already basically spelled out by Senior Vice Present of Publishing of Marvel Comics Tom Brevoort, but it’s nice to have more official confirmation of a booth presence for Marvel Comics), as well as a one-on-one portfolio review. Plus, there’s the nice perk of having the Avengers comic actually debut at the convention, before being available as both a digital and printed comic.

“The four students we pick will get a full Marvel creative experience. They’ll get pages scripted by a Marvel writer with interaction from the editorial team,” Senior Editor Mark Paniccia said in the Marvel press release. “I’m really excited about the possibilities and the fact that we’ll see student art from all four corners of the globe. I believe this is definitely a place where future comics superstars will be discovered.”

To be considered, head on over to the Behance community between now and April 13 to begin tagging your non-Marvel online portfolio pieces with #madethis #Marvel. According to the description from Marvel.com, sequential art (panel to panel) should be included to highlight your storytelling sills.

You can find more information on the contest over at Marvel.com.

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Guide to the Food Trucks of WonderCon Anaheim 2015 http://sdccblog.com/2015/03/guide-to-the-food-trucks-of-wondercon-anaheim-2015/ http://sdccblog.com/2015/03/guide-to-the-food-trucks-of-wondercon-anaheim-2015/#comments Sat, 28 Mar 2015 18:09:33 +0000 http://sdccblog.com/?p=21708 As almost any attendee will tell you, convention food is rarely appealing. It’s often overpriced and not very appetizing. However, one of the best features of WonderCon Anaheim is the diversity of food offerings in the immediate area — including the food trucks located in the front plaza of the convention center, which will be returning for WonderCon this weekend.

Comic-Con International announced that 12 (yes, 12!) food trucks will be serving attendees (though all trucks are subject to change, as are any menus) for 2015, and we’ve rounded up what we think are some of the best offerings from each.

Barcelona OntheGo

The popular Latin eatery-on-wheels is back again this year. The food truck combines “wholesome, traditional Spanish recipes with Latin influences, modern cooking techniques, and local products” to create dishes like their USDA Prime Top Sirloin topped with chimichurri sauce and served with fries, shrimp tacos with chipotle aioli, and a breakfast burrito so good that our own Sarah Lacey hasn’t stopped talking about it all year.

Shrimp tacos (from flickr)

Shrimp tacos (from flickr)

Burger Monster

The Burger Monster is famous for, you guessed it, burgers. The menu rotates between a wide variety of burgers, including the American Werewolf (melted American cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, and a house made OC sauce), a vegetarian Creature From the Black Lagoon (balsamic marinated portabella, sauteed onions, tomatoes, avacado, spinach, and native herb spread), and The Mighty Melt (carmelized cheddar, bacon, BBQ sauce, tempura onion strings, and coleslaw – all on a white brioche bun). We also talked to the talented burger-slingers behind the wheel at Burger Monster last year, to find out just what it’s like to serve hungry hordes at WonderCon.

Chunk & Chip

The weather will hopefully be nice and sunny during WonderCon Anaheim, but if you find yourself getting overheated from a walk on the exhibit floor, cool off with Chunk-n-Chip. This food truck serves up ice cream cookie sandwiches in a wide variety of offerings, including options like Butter My Velvet (peanut butter cup ice cream sandwiched between ooey-gooey red velvet cookies), Drunk Monkey (bana ceam pie with bourbon and salted caramel on two graham crackers), and Goober Doober (a chocolate chip cookie and chocolate brownie with mint chip and vanilla bean ice cream).

chunk n chip
Devilicious

Delicious promises that it’s “food so good it’s bad”. Everyone in line will be jealous of your All Crab Crab Cake served on a toasted sourdough english muffin with house spicy aioli, or your Buffalo Chicken Melt made with caramelized onion, habanero jack cheese, blue cheese, and buffalo sauce on a french sandwich roll. from this truck. Don’t forget the Truffle Parmesan Fries, either.

Butter poached lobster grilled cheese (from flickr)

Butter poached lobster grilled cheese (from flickr)

 Kala

In the mood for some Mexican? Then Kala should be your first stop. This truck dishes up gourmet Mexican dishes, putting their own twist on traditional classics. Try offerings like Patron Tacos (tender steak marinated in Patron tequila and lime, then topped off with pico, guacamole, and queso fresco), Sweet Piggy Tacos (slow cooked pork shoulder with ancho chile, jicama slaw, pineapple, scallions, and tomatillo salsa), or a Raspberry-Chipotle Chicken Sandwich.

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Mustache Mike’s (Italian Ice)

Not in the mood for ice cream? Cool down from the convention with Mustache Mike’s Italian ice and choose from flavors like Da Bomb (Cherry, Lemon, Blue Raspberry Swirl), Cherry, Juicy Rancher (Sour Apple, Lemon, Watermelon Swirl), or mix flavors for your own creation.

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Porko Rico BBQ

New this year, WonderCon attendees will be able to find a fix for their BBQ hankerings with Porko Rico, which serves up “great slow smoked American BBQ with some fun Caribbean twists”. Pig out on options like the Black Beard Brisket (smoked and brased beef briskey with carmelized peppers and onions, and a mango BBQ sauce), THE BRIG (pulled pork, ham, bacon, pepper jack cheese, and jerk sauce), Voodoo Chicken Tacos (jerk chicken, fresh fruit salsa, jerk bbq sauce, and cilantro), and sides like the mango coleslow and Canon Fire Fries (topped with jerk chicken, jalapenos, peppers, cotija, pepper jack cheese, and jerk BBQ sauce).

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Pork Pillager

 Slummin Gourmet

With a tag line of “Fancy Without the Schmancy”, you know The Slummin’ Gourmet is going to be a good time. Although their menu changes with each event, in the past, the mobile eatery has offered options like a Kobe Beef Slider with blue cheese, arugula, carmelized onions, and bacon aoli, Vietnamese Style Spicy Caramel Chicken Wings, Flat Iron Steak Sandwiches, Honey Walnut Shrimp Tacos, and more.

slummin

Vietnamese Style Spicy Caramel Chicken Wings

Spudrunners

If you think the ultimate American comfort foods are potatoes and cheese, then Spudrunners might just be your new favorite digs during WonderCon. Fresh ingredients and unique sauces help showcase the potato and grilled cheese sandwiches in all their glory with the Spudrunners’ menu, which includes eats like Irish Fries (Applewood bacon, cheddar cheese, green onion, and dipping sauce), the Santa Fe Baker baked potato (grilled lime cilantro chicken, cheddar, tomato, fire roasted green chile, red onion, cilantro, and chipotle ranch), and the Pesto Chicken Grilled Cheese. If you order fries, be sure to check out their wide range of dipping sauces, like Ranch, Pesto Aioli, Lime Cilantro, Baconaise, Wasabi Ranch, and Jalapeno Cheese.

spudrunners

Irish Fries

Tasting Spoon

Chef Joe Youkhan’s Tasting Spoon offers eaters grilled artisanal pizzas, sliders, pastas, salads, and more. The Carbonara pizza – black pepper marmigiano cream sauce with crispy pancetta and carmelized onions – is apparently to die for.

the tasting spoon

A crowd at Tasting Spoon (from flickr)

TJ’s Woodfire Pizza

Be treated to the smells and sights of traditional wood-fired cooking with TJ’s Woodfire Pizza. The menu rotates, but popular options include the Margherita, Quattro Formaggi with mozzerella, asiago, ricotta, parmigiano, and tomato sauce (yes please), the Chicken Fajita (shredded chicken, red onion, red peppers, cilantro, guacamole, sour cream, and tomato sauce), and the Big Al (Italian sausage, pepperoni, and tomato sauce). The menu also boasts salads, garlic knots, bruschetta, and desserts.

tj's woodfire pizzasThe Viking Truck

Vikings may not be returning to WonderCon this year, but you can still get a taste of the old world with The Viking Truck. Start off with some Dragon Eggs — delicious tator tats with dark ale chili, cheddar, sour cream, sriracha and viking ketchip — before devouring options like a Loki (Hot Polish sausage with fire roasted jalapeno and red pepper mix, thick cut bacon, smoked cheddar, brown mustard, viking ketchup, and sriracha), a Dirty Bird (chicken apple sausage topped with danish style braised red cabbage and deli mustard), or a Nemesis (a smoked bratwurst corn dog).

viking food truck

What WonderCon food trucks are on your must-visit list? Let us know in the comments below.

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I Didn’t Get A SDCC Hotel Room – Now What? http://sdccblog.com/2015/03/i-didnt-get-a-sdcc-hotel-room-now-what/ http://sdccblog.com/2015/03/i-didnt-get-a-sdcc-hotel-room-now-what/#comments Sat, 28 Mar 2015 00:08:12 +0000 http://sdccblog.com/?p=21702 San Diego City View Harbor Hotels Transportation ship sailboatsWe’re almost done talking about the San Diego Comic-Con General Hotel Sale, we promise. Now that Travel Planners has finished doling out hotel rooms, there are not only some very happy attendees, but also some unhappy ones — either because they didn’t receive any hotel, or they didn’t get the one/area that they wanted.

So what are your next moves?

  • Room Trade: One of the positive things about Travel Planners is that attendees have the option of changing the names on their hotel reservation, rather painlessly. This means that you can both give and receive any unwanted room reservations to someone who does want it, making two people happy. There are room swaps all over (the Twitter #SDCC hashtag currently looks a bit like the classified section), but the biggest and most trusted is over at the Friends of CCI forum. Don’t pay someone to “buy” their hotel room reservation from them, though.
  • April 8 Hotel Sale: Some hotels will go back on sale, starting April 8. That’s because some hotels are returned, as often, each roommate in a room will try for a hotel, and then if the group receives multiples, they can cancel the rest. Most of these will be Mission Valley options, but it’s a hotel, and it certainly beats sleeping on the sidewalk.
  • Pray for Waitlist: For at least the last few years, Travel Planners has opened up some returned downtown hotels to those who were on the waitlist, or who simply didn’t receive their top hotel picks. Last year, the SDCC Waitlist Sale happened on May 28, so it won’t be happening anytime soon, but the good news is that last year, Travel Planners let those who had booked hotels in Mission Valley or other areas they didn’t originally request get a full refund, even though the refund deadline had passed. You can read more about waitlist hotels in our recap from last year.
  • Go Outside the System: So you didn’t get a hotel. You have other options that aren’t the Hall H line, we promise. Although downtown hotels basically want attendees’ first born in exchange for a room (the Hilton Bayfront has rooms starting at just $899 a night, kids!), with a quick search we were able to find several motels in San Diego for under $200 a night. You won’t be spending much time there anyway.
  • Accept Your Fate: If all else fails, if you at least have somewhere to stay — make the most of it. So maybe you’re in Mission Valley instead of the Gaslamp District. There are plenty of Comic-Con shuttles that run 24 hours, or you can even look into renting a car and buying parking. You now have a quiet hotel room to go back to, twice the dining options, and you can still hang around downtown as much or as little as you want. Getting that perfect downtown hotel isn’t the be-all/end-all of the Comic-Con experience, and it only means you won’t have a good time if you let it mean that. Now start planning the fun stuff.

 

What’s your strategy if you didn’t get what you wanted in the hotel sale? Let us know in the comments.

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EDITORIAL: The San Diego Comic-Con General Hotel Sale Failed On Every Level – And Why That’s Not Acceptable http://sdccblog.com/2015/03/editorial-the-san-diego-comic-con-general-hotel-sale-failed-on-every-level-and-why-thats-not-acceptable/ http://sdccblog.com/2015/03/editorial-the-san-diego-comic-con-general-hotel-sale-failed-on-every-level-and-why-thats-not-acceptable/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 17:53:14 +0000 http://sdccblog.com/?p=21687 hilton bayfront hotelUPDATE: At 6:08PM PT on March 27, 2015, Comic-Con International issued this statement to us:

We’re obviously disappointed the hotel sale didn’t run as smoothly as we would have liked. Our attendees are very important to us and we have worked very hard to secure more room blocks and reduced rates at area hotels. We continue to strive to provide the best means to accommodate the growing number of people looking for lodging during the show. In fact, one of the major sticking points in our current negotiations to remain in San Diego are hotel rates. This incident has cast a shadow on our efforts but we are working with Travel Planners to ensure this type of situation does not occur again.

Previous:

For most (as some are still waiting on e-mails), the 2015 San Diego Comic-Con General Hotel Sale is finally over. Thousands of attendees are left to fend for themselves outside the system or wait for released rooms to open on April 8, and thousands now have a place to sleep. As for me, I got my #1 downtown pick.

And I don’t feel good about it. At all.

Because no matter which way you slice it, the entire general housing sale this year was not only a disaster, but a critical failure, on every single level.

As most attendees know by now, hotels for San Diego Comic-Con are given out similar to the way that badges used to be given out – a website launches at a certain time, in this case 9AM PT on March 24, 2015, and only the fastest survive. In the case of hotels, the website leads to a form, where you have to fill out information like your name, arrival and departure dates, select which hotels you want, how many people are in your room, and more.

Travel Planners, the company who runs the general hotel sale, then uses the timestamp that they receive your hotel submission to assign rooms. If when they get to your timestamp, your top choice is taken, they move on to your second choice. If that’s taken, they move onto your third, and so on.

Most years, anyone who submits this information after three minutes doesn’t get a hotel. Not just “doesn’t get a downtown hotel” (those are normally gone in roughly 90 seconds), but doesn’t get a hotel. That’s because, like with all things relating to San Diego Comic-Con, demand simply outweighs supply.

So the speed in which you can fill out your information matters greatly. But this year’s sale was skewed, to an almost ridiculous level – because unlike in previous years, the form had trouble loading. We took a reader poll, and although the 740 submissions represent only a fraction of the potential 130,000 attendees who may have been participating, the percentages haven’t changed much from 50 user answers to 740. Although it’s far from scientific, that implies that even with a much larger sample size, the results may not change that much. So, take from these numbers what you will.

Of those users, most – 23.99% – reported the form taking over a minute to load at all. The second most common load time was somewhere between 16-30 seconds (22.51% of users). And how many reported that it loaded straight away? 2.16%.

Yes, you read that right. Only 2.16% of users reported the system which determines their fate functioning as it should have from the start.

Does that sound like a success to you?

poll

As we already know though, this wasn’t even the only issue, though it was arguably the most common. Some percentage of users – which according to our poll, was around 34.58%, or roughly a third of all users – got what we’ve dubbed the “bad form”. This form came with all kinds of issues, ranging from things like being unable to rank your six hotel choices as directed, to being able to submit your form even accidentally just by pressing “enter” at any given point, which potentially led to submitting without all of your information intact, a faster timestamp than you would have gotten otherwise, and other problems.

bad

When I spoke to a Travel Planners manager early on Tuesday to find out what we should tell users to do (and more on this in a minute), he seemed surprised when I told him I’d seen hundreds of users reporting having a “bad” form. At the time, presumably, they didn’t realize just how badly this sale had gone, and how many users had been impacted, and he directed me to tell users to call, so they could take their information and contact them later about ranking their hotels.

An hour later, as Travel Planners probably began to realize just how many calls they were getting, they changed their tactics.

But to what, exactly, is something we can’t really explain, because over the next 48 hours, getting the same two answers out of Travel Planners representatives was virtually impossible. We began hearing everything from you’d be e-mailed to change your information, to some representatives still taking down names, to some telling people it was too late, and others telling people that there was nothing wrong at all.

This was a theme that would continue, throughout the next 48 or so hours. E-mails will still go out on time (as promised, by March 26). E-mails won’t go out until Monday. E-mails will go out on Friday.

And round, and round, we went, with so many people reporting being told different things from Travel Planners.

Here’s the thing, though. Although the customer service reps at Travel Planners were the public face (or voice, in this case) to Comic-Con attendees, it’s mostly not their fault that they had an inconsistent message. Because they don’t make those kinds of decisions, they can only pass on information that’s given to them.

The problem is, then, that either both Travel Planners and Comic-Con International weren’t giving those employees that kind of information, or it was getting lost in translation, because things were changing minute-by-minute behind the scenes. Neither of those scenarios are acceptable, though.

Although we can almost picture how the conversation went behind the scenes — something along the lines of, “Yes, there were problems, but we think we can work very hard and keep our deadlines and the promised March 26 hotel reservations deadline” – it fails to address the main problems here. First is obviously that things went horrifically wrong in this sale. Unlike when the Member ID site crashed an hour before the Open Registration badge sale, when you could theoretically blame attendees for “waiting until the last minute”, this was not the fault of outdated browsers, ill preparation, or anything other than technical issues – plural.

Travel Planners attempted to solve the problem on Tuesday night by e-mailing only the users they believed were impacted. They asked them to fill out, in roughly 24 hours, a form to re-confirm your top six hotel preferences, and they would combine this with the rest of your form:

2015 hotel choice travel planners dropdown error

But it didn’t address a multitude of other problems: That many who hadn’t been able to rank their hotel rooms also hadn’t been able to give Travel Planners their basic information, such as departure and arrival dates or room dates; the lagging load time; how the confusion over the incorrect form caused many to take longer than normal to fill out their information. And additionally, some who had good forms received this e-mail. Some who had bad forms didn’t receive it at all.

After a confusing afternoon, around 3PM PT on March 25, recap e-mails of what users had selected began to go out. Some with the bad form, who had submitted a second time when either they submitted too early without all of their information, reported getting multiple e-mails. Some, like myself who had only submitted once, reported getting two e-mails with the exact same Reservation Request Numbers. The most common issue that we saw, though, was that several “bad form” people had that same missing information that Travel Planners had failed to collect the day before. These e-mails looked like this:

blank room details

There was no explanation of what to do about it – either in the e-mail, or from Travel Planners through a statement, or Comic-Con International..

It wasn’t until the next morning, thanks to a tweet from a user in what had basically just become “let’s crowd-source our answers, since they won’t give them to us”, that we learned affected users should reply to the e-mail with the missing information:

Travel Planners either would not, or could not, take this information over the phone. But you had to call to find out this information. Anyone seeing a problem?

It’s also worth noting that, at least in the case of one member on our team who had blank information due to a bad form, that despite receiving a reply e-mail that his information had been updated, both his departure dates and room type were wrong in the final confirmation. Here’s the response he got that someone, somewhere, at least saw his information, even if it never got changed:

email tp

As March 26 wore on, it became increasingly obvious that Travel Planners was not going to make any kind of a statement, and that e-mails were expected to go out on schedule, regardless of what had happened, how many problems people were still reporting, and the unlikelihood that they could address all of those issues within the few hours remaining.

And then, as if timed perfectly to when their phones lined closed, Travel Planners began sending out hotel confirmation and rejection e-mails.

The results were mostly all over the board. Some who reported very fast times received no hotels, some who reported much slower times reported downtown hotels. Some, like our bad form staffer, wound up with two hotels, but with wrong occupancy and arrival and departure dates.

Maybe you could claim that’s due to discrepancies between time you hit submit on your computer and the time that Travel Planners receives the e-mail – but it does nothing to explain things like these:

The most obvious reason for all of these issues is that Travel Planners, despite presumably working around the clock, simply couldn’t fix everything that needed to be fixed by the end of March 26. And honestly, we don’t see how they could have.

The minute that Travel Planners realized just how far-spread the problem was (and they had to realize fairly early on, because one of the few consistent messages we did hear from Travel Planners representatives was that they were swamped with calls), they should have scrapped the entire sale, and held a re-do. Given the wide discrepancy in load times, and the multitude of other problems, and the joke of a conclusion last night, this would have been the only fair solution.

However, even if Travel Planners felt they couldn’t make that decision because they’d promised CCI that they would get hotel reservations out to everyone by March 26, then Comic-Con International should have been the ones to step in and make that decision. They hired Travel Planners, and there’s no way that they don’t hold some kind of power over their own hotel sale. Yet they didn’t make that call.

And actually, they didn’t have much of anything to say – at least publicly – on the matter.

Instead, on the day of the General Hotel Sale, the non-profit company offered only one tweet: A tutorial for how to draw a cartoon bat.

On Thursday, March 26 – the day that e-mails were slated to go out with hotel selections, despite hundreds of users still reporting issues with information in their confirmation e-mails being wrong, not getting confirmations, and more, CCI showed off a brand new billboard for their other convention, WonderCon Anaheim.

toucan_wca2015_billboard2

Rather than commenting on issues affecting literally tens of thousands of their own attendees, they thought the more important message was about their own marketing efforts.

We reached out to Comic-Con International on March 25 for comment, but as of press time, have not heard back. [UPDATE: Comic-Con International issued a statement to us later in the day, which can be found at the top of this article.]

You could make the argument that because Comic-Con International doesn’t directly run the hotel system themselves, they are absolved from any sort of responsibility in this matter. But that’s really not the case, and we’ve seen them take an interest in other sales – namely, badges. In 2011, when the company that they’d switched to, TicketLeap, crashed during the badge sale, CCI made the decision to move the badge sale to another date. Although in that case, users had been sitting trying to refresh for hours, not seconds, the end result was the same: The sale didn’t work as expected. The solution, though, was vastly different.

So why didn’t they make the call in this case? Is it because badges is the only sale that directly impacts Comic-Con? Is it because they decided an arbitrary deadline was more important than getting it right?

That’s something that only Travel Planners and Comic-Con International know. And one thing’s for certain: they don’t seem to want to say.

It’s been a very bumpy 72 hours (yes, really, just 72 hours!) of attendees being misinformed, left without guidance, and problems down the line. Although it’s only been three days, in this day and age, information flows lightning fast, and the sheer amount of misinformation pouring out from both Travel Planners and the internet virtually demanded some solid, real information from a credible source. And unfortunately, no one proved up to that challenge. In the world of San Diego Comic-Con, we all lost this battle.

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WonderPost: Autographs, Ivy Doomkitty, Tobias Gebhardt, California Browncoats, WonderCon After-Party, Plush Exclusives http://sdccblog.com/2015/03/wonderpost-autographs-ivy-doomkitty-tobias-gebhardt-california-browncoats-wondercon-after-party-plush-exclusives/ http://sdccblog.com/2015/03/wonderpost-autographs-ivy-doomkitty-tobias-gebhardt-california-browncoats-wondercon-after-party-plush-exclusives/#comments Wed, 25 Mar 2015 18:58:53 +0000 http://sdccblog.com/?p=21634 Less than two weeks until WonderCon, and we have news tons of beautiful and interesting art, from re-purposed NES cartridges to art made on logs, is available for your viewing and buying pleasure, as well as convention favorite Ivy Doomkitty, the official autograph schedule, and word of an afterparty.

Here’s some news you might have missed:

  • Caleb Paullus, illustrator and creative designer, revealed on Twitter a piece of hangable art in the form of an NES cartridge that he will have as a WonderCon exclusive.

  • Cosplayer Ivy Doomkitty announced on Twitter that she will be doing a limited signing at WonderCon at the Dial Up Games Booth (#752). Check out her Instagram for the specifics of her signing, cosplay, and panel schedule.

  • Tobias Gebhardt, an independent artist and illustrator, revealed on Instagram another print, or piece of a print, of his Hip-Hop Trooper series. There was another sneak peek in our last edition of the WonderPost. Looks like fun.
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Tobias Gebhardt’s Hip Hop Trooper

  • Artist, Kelly Kao posted on Twitter a Teen Titans work in progress print for WonderCon.

  • Caped Wonder posted on Twitter that they will be selling Christopher Reeve dog tags at their WonderCon table. Caped Wonder celebrates the legacy of Christopher Reeve and proceeds from the the dog tags go to the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation.

  • DD Studio Art released an image on Twitter of the Spidey on Avengers Tower print they will have available at WonderCon.

  • Sonic Boom Box announced on Twitter that the company is hosting a WonderCon after party sponsored by Nerd Block, featuring cosplay, dancing, bowling, drink specials and giveaways on Saturday, April 8, at 8PM at the Bowlmor Anaheim. You can find more information on the Facebook event page, and tickets to the VIP Afterparty are available on Eventbrite, starting at $30. Entry to the Bowlmor itself is free, and con attendees can even buy one game and get one free by showing their badge. Check out Facebook for more information about all the cool things happening.

  • Freelance children’s illustrator, Jillian Altmeyer, posted in Twitter pictures of the prints of Grass Eater and Banjos she will be selling at WonderCon. Here is another tweet of of some more. Absolutely adorable.

  • Sharon Lee, the graphic designer behind Sharodactyl Art, posted buttons on her Tumblr that she will have available at WonderCon.
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Sharodactyl’s WonderCon Buttons

  • WonderCon has official released this year’s autograph signing schedule. On Friday, you’ll be able to get autographs from talent like Becky Cloonan and the voice cast of the DC animated film Batman vs. Robin. On Saturday, stop by to get something signed by Sam Humphries, Babs Tarr, Devin Grayson, the voice cast of Teen Titans Go!, and more. Finally, on Sunday, you can stop by again for two Becky Cloonan signings, or to get an autograph from John Ostrander. You can find the full schedule on MySched, but all WonderCon signings will take place at Booth #233.
©2014 WBEI

Teen Titans Go! signing at SDCC 2014 ©2014 WBEI

  • Illustrator and concept artist, Matt Doering, posted on Twitter some of his new log art for WonderCon. As a fan of Twin Peaks, this could be an homage to the Log Lady.  Doering is currently working as a Concept Artist for RED Interactive Agency and previously worked for Disney Interactive.

  • Artist Gabby Zapata (and her adorable cat Minnie) posted on Twitter a picture of art prints and the packing process for WonderCon. There will be more to come in April. Zapata currently works for Disney Interactive.

  • Board artist, animator, and YouTube host, Andrew Dickman has posted pictures on Twitter of his art prints for WonderCon. He will be at the Starfield Creations Booth (Small Press 095). Dickman also has a webcomic called Roomies.

  • Flat Bonnie and Friends, and maker of adorable plushes, recently announced two of her WonderCon exclusives: Sparq the Baby Dragon Sour Candy Edition ($50), and BunEwok ($35). Both are currently available on her website, and hurry, because according to Urban Vinyl Daily, only 20 Sparq’s exist, and only 25 of the BunEwok’s were made.

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flatbonnie_wondercon2015_bunewok_1

  • Digital illustrator, Chandler Ford unveiled Batman prints for WonderCon on Twitter.  She will be at artist alley table A-42.

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  • The California Browncoats have posted a WonderCon exclusive on Twitter: A limited edition 57th Overlanders Challenge Coin. They are individually numbered and there are only 100 available.

  • Comic-Con International may not have posted information about food trucks yet (we’re waiting!), but they have told you where you can park your regular, non-food -truck vehicle.

wca2015_parkingmap_0Anything we missed? Let us know in the comments, drop us a line or tweet us at @SD_Comic_Con.

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Reader Poll: San Diego Comic-Con General Hotel Sale Experience http://sdccblog.com/2015/03/reader-poll-san-diego-comic-con-general-hotel-sale-experience/ http://sdccblog.com/2015/03/reader-poll-san-diego-comic-con-general-hotel-sale-experience/#comments Wed, 25 Mar 2015 17:21:25 +0000 http://sdccblog.com/?p=21671 As almost anyone who participated in the San Diego Comic-Con General Hotel Sale yesterday is already aware of, the sale didn’t go as smoothly as we’d all hoped. Instead, it had some problems – but just how widespread those issues were is something that only Travel Planners knows.

So we’re asking our readers about your experience during the Hotel Sale (and thanks to user MediaSavant for the idea), to try to get a vague estimate of just how many people experienced certain problems.

As a reminder, there were two forms that attendees would have gotten during the hotel sale: The “good” form, with the normal hotel drop down box:

4a

And the “bad” form, which had a scrollable text box, where you couldn’t rank your hotel choices (screenshot from @SDCCIndigo):

bad

Let us know how your experience was:

This poll has ended.

Which hotel ranking option did you have?

This poll has ended.

How long did it take your hotel form to initially load?

How long, including initial load time, did it take you to submit your form?

This poll has ended.

If you had the “bad” form, the first time you submitted your form, was all other information except the hotel rankings complete or incomplete?

How was your experience? Let us know in the comments.

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Hotelpocalypse 2015: A Tale of Two Forms http://sdccblog.com/2015/03/hotelpocalypse-2015-a-tale-of-two-forms/ http://sdccblog.com/2015/03/hotelpocalypse-2015-a-tale-of-two-forms/#comments Wed, 25 Mar 2015 14:37:23 +0000 http://sdccblog.com/?p=21662 Although everything about San Diego Comic-Con has increased in competitiveness over the years, Hotelpocalypse really became the monster that we know today just a few short years ago. Since then, though, it’s become what we consider to be the most stressful sale relating to Comic-Con that there is – yes, even compared to Open Registration badge sales, in which we estimate that you have only a 6% chance of scoring a badge.

That’s because, to steal a line from our staffer James Riley, unlike badge sales, the hotel sale is similar to the stress of the last 30 seconds of an eBay auction, but with none of the immediate gratification. At least in the badge sale, you may leave disappointed, but you have your answer of whether you scored a badge or not in roughly two hours. In the general hotel sale? You won’t know how well you did for days.

And even more so than any other year, how well you did and how many other people whose speed you beat, is completely up in the air, and completely unpredictable.

At 9AM PT, the link provided by Travel Planners and Comic-Con International was to open to to the General Hotel form, where attendees could rank their top six hotel choices in preference, and fill in all of their required information (like name, e-mail, arrival and departure date, how many people would be staying in the room, etc.) Things got off to a very bad start from the second the form opened, when most users, including us, reported the form taking longer than normal to load. How long it took varied person to person, with some reporting 20-30 seconds, and some reporting minutes. This obviously slowed down everyone’s time in being able to submit the form at all.

But that was only the beginning. It took a few minutes for news to filter down that users actually saw two different forms when they submitted – either the “good” form, with a drop down menu of all the hotel choices, that looked like this:

4a

“Good” form with hotel drop down option

Or the “bad” form, which didn’t include a drop down menu, but rather a scrollable text box. You could select one, or all six hotels if you held Ctrl down on your keyboard, but there was no way to rank them. Here’s a look at the bad form, from Twitter user SDCCIndiego:

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“Bad” form with scrollable box for hotels

That wasn’t the only problem with the bad form, though. The normal form has safeguards in place, so that you can’t accidentally press enter and submit your form before you’ve filled out all of the required information. That safeguard was gone on the “bad” form, leading to several users reporting to accidentally submitting their form before they’d entered in their name, room preferences, or other information. We haven’t seen much chatter from people on Twitter about the problem, but on the Friends of CCI forum, some users reported being able to accidentally submit without all of their information complete:

28savagedays

 

Although Travel Planners has yet to offer an official statement on what led to the breakdown in the form (which appears to have affected every browser), Twitter user Kenneth Hung seems to have found the answer – some Javascript elements didn’t load.

We reached out to Travel Planners shortly after we realized there had been a problem, and were told that we should direct attendees to call, so that they could take down names and contact information for anyone with a problem. However, at the time, the company possibly didn’t realize just how widespread the issue was, and were soon inundated with calls. This led to a different solution from Travel Planners: Anyone who had received the “bad” hotel form was e-mailed on Tuesday evening with a new link, to be able to fill out their e-mail (to match with the original submission time stamp and other information) and to rank their six hotel choices. Here’s a look at that form:

2015 hotel choice travel planners dropdown error

Although that’s likely to help the majority of users, it doesn’t address some key problems. Namely, time stamps, and how the form affected them. Most users with the bad form reported that it took them much longer than normal, even without the added consideration of the slow load time, to fill out their information, because the form was different, and did not behave as expected (or directed, as there was no way to rank six hotels).

imcla

From Friends of CCI user imcla

It also doesn’t address another problem: That some users (which we believe to be a very small amount) could have accidentally submitted their form some 20-30 seconds after the form went live, at least with their e-mails filled out, but with no other information, and that Travel Planners would still honor their original timestamp. Although we can understand the concern, because this is a Comic-Con sale and every possibly advantage someone has can mean the difference between you getting a hotel/badge/exclusive and being completely shut out, we don’t believe that this is a widespread issue. Further, there’s a very real possibility that since the form Travel Planners had users with the bad form fill out only included hotel rankings, that they could be discarding any forms without room information (such as departure/arrival dates and room preference), as it’s not enough information to assign a room. Travel Planners has yet to make any kind of statement on those forms, though, so we likely won’t know how those with that issue are dealt with until hotel confirmations go out.

We’ve heard that hotel reservation confirmations could start going out on Thursday night or Friday morning due to the issues (which is at least close to the promised March 26 date), but we only know one thing for sure: When they do, just like every year, thousands of attendees aren’t going to be happy. This year, though, there’s a lot more than usual to be unhappy about.

What was your experience like during the General Hotel Sale? Let us know in the comments.

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Eighth Wave of San Diego Comic-Con 2015 Guests Announced http://sdccblog.com/2015/03/eighth-wave-of-san-diego-comic-con-2015-guests-announced/ http://sdccblog.com/2015/03/eighth-wave-of-san-diego-comic-con-2015-guests-announced/#comments Mon, 23 Mar 2015 17:10:26 +0000 http://sdccblog.com/?p=21630 Petco Park Omni Hotel sdcc 2014 Street ViewThe biggest Comic-Con event happening this week is obviously the General Hotel Sale happening tomorrow morning at 9AM PT – and if you haven’t already, make sure to (re)familiarize yourself with the form in our Visual Guide.

However, that isn’t the only news. Today Comic-Con International unveiled another five Special Guests attending the con.

From the official Toucan Blog, here’s the list of the five more Special Guests headed to SDCC:

  • Peter Bagge, writer/artist, HATE, Woman Rebel: The Margaret Sanger Story
  • Katie Cook, writer/artist, Gronk: A Monster’s Story, My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic
  • Denis Kitchen, writer/artist/publisher, Kitchen Sink Press
  • Matt Phelan, author/illustrator, Bluffton, The Storm in the Barn
  • Jhonen Vasquez, writer/artist, Johnny the Homicidal Maniac; creator, Invader Zim

Special guests typically receive a special “Spotlight” panel during the convention, so attendees have a chance to hear their favorite authors and artists speak live.

According to CCI, they’ll continue announcing five additional guests each Monday throughout March, and April, with the exception of the week of WonderCon – so keep your eyes peeled for more exciting announcements. You can also catch up on tons of other things and people who will be at San Diego Comic-Con in our Under the Tents updates.

Are you excited about these guests? Let us know in the comments.

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