They are there, waiting.
They are there before the 30-foot gorilla, posed mid-roar, is planted on the sidewalk across the street from the convention center. Before the facade of the cult-ionic house at the center of The Good Place is built next to the train tracks at the end of the Gaslamp District. And before restaurants and local businesses pull out their stash of superhero window decals.
Two full days before San Diego Comic-Con officially begins, the most dedicated fans and outdoors enthusiasts start to line up on the grass outside the San Diego Convention Center's Hall H, setting up camp under tents and along the edge of the bay to ensure that they get seats for the first day's biggest panels. As other convention-goers file in and out of the convention center for Preview Night, their more devoted brethren wait patiently, sleeping bags and camping chairs strewn about, to make sure that they are in the same room as the cast and creators of their favorite TV shows and movies.
It has become a time-honored tradition over the last decade. As one fan told The Fandom Files, there used to be a time you could just walk right up to the convention center and buy a ticket for that day's Hall H festivities. That all changed when Twilight descended upon the convention and blew open the doors of SDCC to all genres and demographics. That marked the beginning of the modern Comic-Con, and the installations and hotel-sized posters are a testament to just how big this thing has become.
As we walked along the Hall H line, talking to fans, that wide range of visitors was very apparent. One family brought three generations of geeks to the campground, with grandparents sitting next to their Predator-obsessed 7-year-old grandson and Doctor Who-addicted granddaughter. Another group boasted a former Marine who planned on sleeping out all four nights, carrying the bulk of the burden for the group of friends he initially met on the internet. There are certain strategies to making sure you get the best spot possible — and, somehow, we got fans near the front of the line to let us in on some of them.
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