The 52 special

Despite Catastrophe, Fans Line Up for Comic-Con: Sub Diego

by Noah Vince – Daily Planet Senior Entertainment Columnist


Overcoming astonishing setbacks – a global crisis, the destruction of most area convention facilities by OMACs, and, of course, the sinking of approximately half of San Diego under the Pacific Ocean – Comic-Con, America’s largest comic-book, science-fiction, and movie convention, is as popular as ever. This week, more than 10,000 eager fans donned submersible helmets to wait in line at Sub Diego’s newly refurbished Norris Convention Center.

“It’s hard to maintain the merchandise in these conditions,” admits Denver, Colorado, comics retailer Hanley Miles, “but the enhanced Mylar bags keep the comics airtight and dry, and consumers know you can’t beat the back-issue selection here at San… uh Sub Diego.”

Scott Middaugh of Dallas, Texas, agrees. At age 38, this self-confessed “fanboy” didn’t know how to swim (an admission requirement for Sub Diego’s Department of Safety), but he signed up for a crash course at an area gym and was certified just before the show opened its airlocks on Wednesday. Says Middaugh, “There are other conventions I could go to — drier ones, certainly — but no place else offers the combination of merchandise, celebrities, and amazing programming. I’d rather swim here than walk almost anyplace else.”

Indie director Tom Schaefer Jr. cancelled a scheduled appearance due to a case of the bends (“he was so eager to be there, he descended too quickly” explained spokeswoman Jeanine Palmer), but exclusive clips from his new film “Karate Monkey” will have a special screening on Saturday night. Other highlights for the weekend include appearances by former “Space Trek 2099” star Garfield Logan and actor-director Fletcher Carlin, promoting this summer’s “Shaolin Hustler.”

Organizers anticipate losing money this year and next, as labor costs are extremely high for a consumer-oriented show held entirely underwater. However, tax breaks from Sub Diego have defrayed many of the costs, and the show’s long aboveground history makes it a beloved local institution likely to endure. Explains Sub Diego Chamber of Commerce member Elizabeth Stuart, “Comics people are some of the most devoted fans you’ll ever meet and this show is important to them. We’re thrilled that this show has managed to both sink and swim.”

Comic-Con: Sub Diego runs through Sunday and tickets are still available a $25/day for all certified swimmers. Citizens of Bludhaven, Star City and Opal City with proper identification are admitted at half-price.

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