Friday, August 5, 2011

The LOST Comic Con Experience Part 1 10

I am writing this a couple of weeks after Comic Con, and the scope of what happened is still struggling to sink in. This article may be quite long, but I’m not going to apologise for that as I need to describe all that happened. The bonus for having to endure the long article is that there is a competition at the end.

Over the last few weeks I’ve been trying to remember how all this started, I think it stemmed from reading many times of all the fun people were having at Comic Con via all the online posts on the various social media and here on LOSTARGs in the past.

The word to bear in mind when you read this is Surreal, the whole experience from start to finish feels like a surreal dream that may or may not have existed.


I personally decided that I wanted to try for tickets to San Diego Comic Con this year, but had no idea if I could make it across to the US at the time. In the end the process of getting tickets was a bit of a nightmare as those of you who tried for tickets will know. At one stage I had one ticket for me but not for my wife, which could have been slightly awkward ! After discussing things we had decided that we would take our main holiday this year so that we would be in the US at the time of Comic Con.

The process of obtaining tickets was made easier by several LOSTARGs members. At the designated time we got together on Skype and Twitter to encourage, give support and generally commiserate when things went wrong. In the end the first couple of times tickets were for sale it seemed that nobody got tickets, the purchasing process was just too swamped with too many people trying to purchase them. The third time I remember trying I managed to get through, and book 1 ticket. Completely frustrating as I needed 2 tickets for my wife and I and then the registration closed before I could get a second ticket.

At this time, when a few of us got tickets, it was mooted that if there were enough of us going it might be sensible to try and share some accommodation, partly to try and save some costs but mainly because it would be cool to meet up with people that have chatted online over the years.

So the next time they went up for sale we all got back together online and tried our best to get tickets. Because of the way the ticketing system now worked if you got through the first stage you could pass your ticket request onto someone else to purchase the actual ticket. Someone managed to get me a ticket request for my wife and we eventually managed to get the actual ticket for her.

I didn’t stop there and neither did several others, we kept on trying for other people that wanted to go, and in the end I managed to get a ticket request for someone else and a successful ticket purchase followed.

That wasn’t the end of the ticketing story, and lots of kind LOST fans helped each other so that as many people as possible that wanted to go got tickets.

The Build Up

Now people had tickets the hard work really started !

The talked about accommodation plan gathered coherence and one very kind person took on the task of organising this. Not an insignificant task given the number of people coming from all over the USA and all over the world.

A place was found for us and booked, two linked holiday homes in the Mission Bay Beach area of San Diego. At this point the accommodation was dubbed “The Barracks” and the thought of what was about to happen started to hit home.

During the build up to Comic Con lots of information flew around and most importantly plans for a party at The Barracks were drawn up. I shouldn’t have to tell you what the theme of the party would be, and if I do have to please stop reading this article now !

Information gathered from Twitter and other sources suggested that several people were planning surprises for the party, I also had a few things that I wanted to do.

In the end many people sent DHARMA pallet drops to the one person who was a San Diego resident, from all accounts the post office and courier services had worn a groove in the drive by the time Comic Con arrived.


The time was nearly upon us and the week before we were due to arrive at The Barracks my wife and I left for our holiday. We flew in to Las Vegas, went up to San Francisco and made our way down over a few days to San Diego.

All along this journey we had reports from everyone else of where they were and what they were doing. At this point although I knew people were in the same general part of the same country it still seemed like that we could have been anywhere in the world as we were still using the same online communication methods that we had always used.

Finally on Tuesday, after a long drive down the coast and through some of the LA traffic we arrived. Actually finding The Barracks was quite an achievement in itself as the streets in this area are only slightly wider than one car and they are mostly one way so if you missed a turning you had to go a considerable distance to get back to where you needed to be.

We got the car parked and were led up to the first apartment block. I went through so many thoughts on the journey down about how I would feel when I got there that I didn’t know what to think. In the end I walked in and felt instantly at home, a cold beer was pressed into my hand and some welcome food was offered.

I put names to the faces and just sat back and tried to take it all in, and just when I thought I was managing to do so I started noticing things about The Barracks. Everywhere I turned in both apartment blocks there was something LOST related. Whether it was the DHARMA labelled food, Oceanic Airlines flags, the posters and paintings on the wall, the large polar bear in the corner (cardboard cut out), the paper LOST figures on the bathroom mirror, or the giant window cling with the LOST numbers on.

The giant window cling is something I am especially pleased with as I designed it, but someone else had the vision to get it supersized and printed out that size. It turns out that some of the other residents of the apartments in the immediate vicinity of the barracks were almost convinced that we were setting up a cult after seeing the cling and other decorations being displayed.

If there was ever a place for LOST fans to be this was it.

The Party

Wednesday morning came and it was the day of the party, I feel slightly guilty looking back that I didn’t do more to help that day, but I was assured that everything was in hand.

Three of us went off to see the USS Midway which is moored permanently in San Diego harbour as a floating museum. Some went food shopping and some made even more preparations for The Barracks party.

When we returned from the Midway things were looking even more LOST related and it was hard to keep up with what was being added to the mix. One of the biggest things was the Swan Station which was bought over for the evening by Scott Adams (aka Mego Scott) You can read a lot more about this and the other LOST Mego projects at Scotts blog

Several of us then went off again to collect our Comic Con badges and despite the very large queues and rumours that the second room we had to enter was actually the gateway to the underworld, we managed to get them.

It emerged that a couple of our number that were further up in the queue had Zachary Levi from Chuck pop his head out of the door and do some impromptu web casting, one of us also gave him a LOST wristband to wear as he thought it was cool.

So badges obtained we went back to the barracks to join the party. Some people were off to the Comic Con Preview night and we got messages back at the barracks about the fun they were having, a large stay puft marshmallow man model was one of the main talking points.

Burgers and sausages were cooked on the BBQ, burritos were formed, salad, chips (crisps), cheese and all manner of goodies were available to eat. Not all of us being there at the same time caused a few concerns but in the end we just started eating the large volumes of food as hunger took us.

Eventually everyone was back and in the party mood, we had other people arrive just for the party and I lost track of everyone that attended, but I am very glad that so many people came and said hello as meeting everyone had been a long time coming.

The party itself had lots of LOST related activities, the episodes were playing we had a Hurley Golf tournament, which I came second in after being beaten in the playoff. We even had an invitation to be recruited into the DHARMA initiative, by watching a short orientation film and then taking part in some psychological experiments. You can watch the orientation film created for us that was directed by Ben Murphy, who wasn’t able to attend but was there in spirit.

One special guest was Jo Garfein, who you may know as Jopinionated, she was at Comic Con to cover some of the new shows that will be airing soon, including Alcatraz which stars Jorge Garcia. Jo gave us a LOST quiz in which the questions ranged from the very simple to the Son of a Bitch category which were almost (but not for some) impossible. If you ever get to go to a event with Jo as the host I thoroughly recommend you do so as she entertained us in style and handed out some great prizes.

The other reason I need to mention Jo is that she was being very inscrutable about one aspect of Comic Con. Throughout the day Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof had been trading Twitter messages about something, what that something was we had no idea about at the time. One of the final tweets gave us a code word “Marbled Rye”. All of us at the party knew that there was a Comic Con panel that would be hosted by EW’s Doc Jensen, set up to discuss LOST one year after it had finished. However there was no more information and certainly no indication that anyone else would be attending. We asked Jo if she had any inside information about the tweets and the panel and all she would do is smile and say that the panel was a must see.

You must remember that when we started planning this get together there was no clue that there would be anything LOST related at this year’s Comic Con. The inclusion of any panel with the word LOST on it was a bonus in itself.

All too soon the party ended and those of us staying at the barracks went to bed happy with the LOSTness of it all. I don’t think I’ve seen so many DHARMA labelled products or LOST related items in one place and to be honest it was quite overwhelming what had been achieved by everyone that attended.

There was quite a bit of food left over from the party and each day at Comic Con I was able to take some DHARMA food and drink in. It gave me great pleasure to sit in a panel and unwrap a DHARMA chocolate bar or eat a DHARMA apple.

(Pictures courtesy of Bonnie Green LOST_4815162342 and Rob Perrin)

End of part 1 - Next we get to the con...


andalone said...

YAY! for the Barracks!

Zort70 said...

Quick of the mark as always :-)

I would have put part 2 up as well, but I have to get up early tomorrow to drive 4 hours to Cornwall.

There is another party involved so its not really a hardship !

Patmc said...

I've been going to Comic Con for 25 years now... but this year was truly something special. The friends I've made here on LOSTargs, are some of the most generous, kind and yes, even a little bit crazy, people that I've ever had the pleasure of knowing. The chance to finally meet my "virtual" friends in person, was an amazing experience that I will treasure for the rest of my life.

Now... who's going to kick off the planning for next year? And the big question: is it to be "The Barracks: the return"... "Back to The Island"... or "The Temple"? :-)

Can't wait for part 2!

RobPerrin said...

I don't believe I've ever had as many high points in such a short period of time as I did during my stay at The Barracks this year. I too am nearly unable to believe it really happened -- but I'm so grateful that it did.

maven said...
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maven said...
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maven said...

This was definitely a once in a lifetime experience! So many special moments were created by us all. A true LOST experience!

theotherben said...

Enjoyed reading this post! Hope you all enjoyed the video! Can't wait for part 2!!

Richrootes said...

So - can one of you guys please explain how the ticketing process works for Comic Con? I live in Vancouver, and want to drive down next year - but how on earth do you get tickets??? Any hints/tips most appreciated

Zort70 said...

The ticketing process was a nightmare for this year.

I don't know if they will change it again but in the end it went like this :-

When the tickets went on sale you logged into a site where you bought a token ticket. This cost a couple of dollars but guaranteed you access to the main Comic Con site.

You could pass this token ticket on to anyone to use as it just contained a reference number nothing else. As long as you used it within a certain timeframe.

So once you had your reference number you went to the actual Comic Con site and purchased your actual ticket.

Not simple and very annoying, but if there are lots of people trying to purchase I guess that their has to be some sort of system.