Although Comic-Con is a four-day affair, the pros, the press and the true fans know the real night to go is the Wednesday night preview.

The only event that night is the Exhibit Hall and this is where the geeks get a chance to try new video games, get a head start on the Yu-Gi-Oh tournaments and spend their hard earned money from doing tech support all year on valuable artifacts like a Family Guy plush toy or pornographic Japanese computer games.

Every year, lines get longer and longer even for the professionals for whom the Con is their one weekend of the year where they get appreciated for their work.

And every year, Con organizers vow to speed things up, only to have their best-laid plans fall apart because the onslaught of fans is bigger than they anticipated.

Last year, the wait to get in was marred by the fact that anyone and everyone with a blog tried to get in with a press pass. This year, the standards for journalists are higher but the line for professional artists is jam-packed.

Meanwhile, the installation of the various booths was so last-minute that the crowd wasn’t let in until 15 minutes after the scheduled 6 p.m. start time.

During the wait, I saw some teenagers show off their light sabers to a security guard. I asked, “Don’t they check for weapons” and the brace face just smiled.

I also saw geek love in all its forms from the young teens groping each other as they walk up and down in front of the convention center to the older comic artists who sign autographs as their wives lovingly look on and offer the fans “a great deal on original art – only $150.”

There are also artists who are trying to make their name at the Con – and one who was trying to get his new fans smashed by offering a tequila shot to anyone who bought his art.

No, I’m not revealing his name. I don’t want him to get busted before I have a chance to take advantage of the offer.

Some of the cooler exhibits include the one for the Sci-Fi Channel, which is a weird white one-fingered, no-thumb hand (Sorry, I can’t be more specific). Hot Wheels also has a life-size replica of a car and while it’s possible it could run (there is a gas tank) after all, it would probably be hard for a driver to see over the engine block.

Maybe that’s why there’s a fire extinguisher installed next to the driver’s seat.

DAVID MOYE

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