The Washington Times - July 16, 2009, 04:25PM

By Heidi Bridges

In less than a week, the convention center doors will open upon the 2009 San Diego Comic-Con International. This year marks the 40th anniversary of Comic-Con, which has literally grown exponentially from a small comic-book show into the veritable mecha of pop culture that it is today -  a reflection of the massive growth of the comic and film community. The show has been at maximum capacity, selling out for years now, and the convention is teeming with folks of all ages, genders, and orientations for four straight days, not including the ever-popular Preview Night that happens on Wednesday for four-day pass holders.


A not-for-profit event, Comic-Con exists as a for-the-fans celebration of all things pop-culture where attendees can convene. Amid the booths, big and small, and within the masses of folks who gather, lies a community of fans and friends. It’s a place where one person is connected to the thousands of others who walk the show floor. It’s a place where fans of a certain property can become personally connected to the show and celebrate their fanaticism with others who share their love. It’s a place to discover what the future holds in film and comics and a place where the industries unveil their latest creations to fans that will truly appreciate them. People meet at Comic-Con and become lifelong friends, making plans to meet up again at the next year’s convention and the convention after that. The experience creates real, lasting bonds, and in fact, I met my husband there just a few years ago.

Words really can’t convey just how the buzz of Comic-Con affects you. It’s a place unlike any other, and the only true way to understand it is to attend it. The con isn’t just booths full of really cool stuff and panels about awesome movies and comics. It isn’t just great new artists making their debuts or the unveiling of the year’s brand new collectibles and toys. While all of that (and more!) exists in droves, at its heart, Comic-Con is a celebration of our popular culture community, and I truly can’t wait the two weeks left until this year’s celebration begins.

Heidi Bridges works for Sideshow Collectibles.