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How the Hollywood strike drove up Comic-Con heat

No camping overnight in Hall H

"The AC is not blowing enough cold air for the people." - Image by Ian Bogan
"The AC is not blowing enough cold air for the people."

According to longtime dealers and cosplayers, the 2023 Comic-Con International, San Diego was hot. The people I interviewed on location on July 22 blame the heat inside the main hall on the SAG-AFTRA strikes — on top of other factors, including the 89-96 percent humidity on the five days of the annual show, July 19-July 23. Greater than or equal to 65 percent means more than usual moisture in the air, "becoming oppressive," says the Nation Weather Service site.

Inside the main hall, where hundreds of vendors and companies were set up, the temperature was building up during some periods of the five-day show.

Jaime Newbold: "We weren't prepared for the temperatures, but we are prepared for the thieves."

"On Wednesday and Thursday, there was an abnormal number of bodies at my end where all of the comic book guys are," said Jamie Newbold. "It was unusual."

Newbold of Southern California Comics on Clairemont Mesa Boulevard was set up towards the north side in the center of the massive hall; he's been attending the show since 1972 — two years after the show went live.

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Eduardo Lopez: "Some of the cosplayers are walking funny like they are dizzy."

Peter S. was set up a few rows away from Newbold. "I'm sweating - and it's not because of the Human Torch or Firestorm cosplayers running around," he said. "It's the AC; it's not blowing enough cold air for the people."

Peter's been selling at the annual show since the 1980s. "I had trouble breathing," he said. "There are too many people in the dealers' room, plus many people yelling like Bruce Banner (The Incredible Hulk). I must've heard people yelling 50 times, asking people to move out of their way as they took photos, and telling the photographers and posers to hurry it up because the masses were stagnant. TBH, when people get mad, their body temperature rises too."

McKenna Marquis, the owner of Event Response Services San Diego, noticed more people complaining of the heat. "We've seen 20 people with minor syncopal episodes, dizziness, dehydration, and a few patients who have had heatstroke symptoms," she told me outside their medical tent. A patient half sat and lay on one of the chairs by us. "There's definitely a little bit more of the heat-related illnesses compared to the last time we were set up here."

What's the cause?

"So we knew there were the [writers and actors] strikes going on," Marquis continued. "And we anticipated that a lot more of the patrons would be pushed into the convention center exhibit hall and hallways, rather than usually going to the usual Hall H where they are at."

"We anticipated that a lot more of the patrons would be pushed into the convention center exhibit hall and hallways."

At the Comic Con, Hall H usually seats 6500 people to its capacity; then another 6500-plus people wait outside the hall underneath the tents.

And because of the SAG-AFTRA strikes and the actors and actresses supporting the strike — many Hollywood folks did not attend Comic Con. And the panels this year were not as impressive. Peter continued: "At Hall H, there's no wait whatsoever; in previous years, some of us would camp overnight to see the panels. So all those who waited to see celebrities and movie previews are now walking around the main halls. So this year it's super packed, and I feel bad for the cosplayers; they are the ones passing out."

Cosplayer Eduardo Lopez agreed with Peter. "Some of the cosplayers are walking funny like they are dizzy," he said. "You gotta pace yourself."

Lopez dressed as a Shadow Company character from the Call of Duty franchise; he had layers and layers of clothes. "I'm keeping hydrated, look." He dropped his toy gun, lifted part of his ensemble, and exposed his hydration pack.

To help assess the distressed comic conners and unprepared cosplayers, Marquis "stocked up on electrolytes and ice packs available, and we have cool water. And depending on the severity of the patient, we can lay them down to cool off."

Peter noted that since the main halls were more packed, so was the "thievery. They work in packs; one person will distract you while the others in their group rob you blind. Stay classy, San Diego; we are broke comic nerds. Why would you wanna steal from someone trying to make the booth money? This year they raised our booth price by $300."

"I must've heard people yelling 50 times, asking people to move out of their way as they took photos."

Newbold, the other comic dealer, set up two extra guys to watch the outside of his booth. "We weren't prepared for the temperatures, but we are prepared for the thieves."

Newbold, a retired San Diego Police Department officer, was interviewed by the New York Post and several national news outlets recently after actor Ray Buffer "stole comic books" from a Southern California Comics store. "We got him (on video), and now it's all over the internet. People aren't going to steal from us here at Comic-Con."

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"The AC is not blowing enough cold air for the people." - Image by Ian Bogan
"The AC is not blowing enough cold air for the people."

According to longtime dealers and cosplayers, the 2023 Comic-Con International, San Diego was hot. The people I interviewed on location on July 22 blame the heat inside the main hall on the SAG-AFTRA strikes — on top of other factors, including the 89-96 percent humidity on the five days of the annual show, July 19-July 23. Greater than or equal to 65 percent means more than usual moisture in the air, "becoming oppressive," says the Nation Weather Service site.

Inside the main hall, where hundreds of vendors and companies were set up, the temperature was building up during some periods of the five-day show.

Jaime Newbold: "We weren't prepared for the temperatures, but we are prepared for the thieves."

"On Wednesday and Thursday, there was an abnormal number of bodies at my end where all of the comic book guys are," said Jamie Newbold. "It was unusual."

Newbold of Southern California Comics on Clairemont Mesa Boulevard was set up towards the north side in the center of the massive hall; he's been attending the show since 1972 — two years after the show went live.

Sponsored
Sponsored
Eduardo Lopez: "Some of the cosplayers are walking funny like they are dizzy."

Peter S. was set up a few rows away from Newbold. "I'm sweating - and it's not because of the Human Torch or Firestorm cosplayers running around," he said. "It's the AC; it's not blowing enough cold air for the people."

Peter's been selling at the annual show since the 1980s. "I had trouble breathing," he said. "There are too many people in the dealers' room, plus many people yelling like Bruce Banner (The Incredible Hulk). I must've heard people yelling 50 times, asking people to move out of their way as they took photos, and telling the photographers and posers to hurry it up because the masses were stagnant. TBH, when people get mad, their body temperature rises too."

McKenna Marquis, the owner of Event Response Services San Diego, noticed more people complaining of the heat. "We've seen 20 people with minor syncopal episodes, dizziness, dehydration, and a few patients who have had heatstroke symptoms," she told me outside their medical tent. A patient half sat and lay on one of the chairs by us. "There's definitely a little bit more of the heat-related illnesses compared to the last time we were set up here."

What's the cause?

"So we knew there were the [writers and actors] strikes going on," Marquis continued. "And we anticipated that a lot more of the patrons would be pushed into the convention center exhibit hall and hallways, rather than usually going to the usual Hall H where they are at."

"We anticipated that a lot more of the patrons would be pushed into the convention center exhibit hall and hallways."

At the Comic Con, Hall H usually seats 6500 people to its capacity; then another 6500-plus people wait outside the hall underneath the tents.

And because of the SAG-AFTRA strikes and the actors and actresses supporting the strike — many Hollywood folks did not attend Comic Con. And the panels this year were not as impressive. Peter continued: "At Hall H, there's no wait whatsoever; in previous years, some of us would camp overnight to see the panels. So all those who waited to see celebrities and movie previews are now walking around the main halls. So this year it's super packed, and I feel bad for the cosplayers; they are the ones passing out."

Cosplayer Eduardo Lopez agreed with Peter. "Some of the cosplayers are walking funny like they are dizzy," he said. "You gotta pace yourself."

Lopez dressed as a Shadow Company character from the Call of Duty franchise; he had layers and layers of clothes. "I'm keeping hydrated, look." He dropped his toy gun, lifted part of his ensemble, and exposed his hydration pack.

To help assess the distressed comic conners and unprepared cosplayers, Marquis "stocked up on electrolytes and ice packs available, and we have cool water. And depending on the severity of the patient, we can lay them down to cool off."

Peter noted that since the main halls were more packed, so was the "thievery. They work in packs; one person will distract you while the others in their group rob you blind. Stay classy, San Diego; we are broke comic nerds. Why would you wanna steal from someone trying to make the booth money? This year they raised our booth price by $300."

"I must've heard people yelling 50 times, asking people to move out of their way as they took photos."

Newbold, the other comic dealer, set up two extra guys to watch the outside of his booth. "We weren't prepared for the temperatures, but we are prepared for the thieves."

Newbold, a retired San Diego Police Department officer, was interviewed by the New York Post and several national news outlets recently after actor Ray Buffer "stole comic books" from a Southern California Comics store. "We got him (on video), and now it's all over the internet. People aren't going to steal from us here at Comic-Con."

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