San Diego Comic Con International or SDCC as the initiated refer to it is THE Comic Con of all cons. There are plenty of cons that take place throughout the year all over the planet, some big, some small, but none come close to sheer scale and magnitude of SDCC. As I pack my bags to head to my 5th SDCC, I find myself thinking about how the term “Comic Con” is no longer the proper way to describe what is going on every July in San Diego. Most everyone has at least heard of Comic Con, and I bet if took a poll, I’d find that most people think that it’s just a bunch of geeks dressing up as characters from movies and comic books and gathering in a sweaty convention center for a few days of nerd-tastic bonding. I’m not going to lie, there’s some of that going on (and some of the costumes people come up with are superior to stuff we see in movies!), but over the years SDCC has changed and the focus on comic books has slowly shifted into what is today – Pop Culture Central. SDCC is where all the heavy hitters from Hollywood come to show off their new movies, tv shows and other projects. On any given day you will have the chance of bumping in to some seriously famous people like Robert Downey Jr., Arnold Schwarzenegger, Hugh Jackman, Kristen Stewart, Jennifer Lawrence and so many others that are there to promote their latest films. Of course you’ll need a ticket to see most of them in the big hall or just take your chances trying to pick them out of the crowd of over 130,000 attendees. Not only to star chasers and movie buffs find themselves crawling over one another, but so do toy collectors that flock to SDCC every year to get a glimpse at what manufacturers are planning to put out over the next year. Companies like Hasbro, Lego and Mattel put up huge booths with impressive displays of their cool products for collectors to drool over with anticipation. These companies usually make the action figures and role playing toys that are tied into movies, so this year we expect to see a lot of Guardians of the Galaxy products along with some glimpses of Avengers 2 merchandise. Along with booths to display upcoming products, Hasbro and Mattel both have separate booths where they are selling exclusive products available only at the convention. Needless to say, both of these booths are very popular and you can plan on standing in line for many hours just for the chance to hand over your money! Popular TV shows are also very well represented on the floor of the convention center with favorites like The Walking Dead, Sons of Anarchy and Breaking Bad having had their share of people visiting their booths in the past. Even kid’s TV is represented with a Disney Channel XD and Nickelodeon presence, usually fun filled booths with activities and giveaways for the kids. But alas, it is still called COMIC Con, and yes, even though it’s not the biggest part of the show, there are plenty of vendors and comic book publishers at the show too. You can visit the Marvel or DC booths which are generally big, but there are plenty of smaller independent publishers and artist there as well. If unique, one of a kind artwork is your thing, you’ll find no shortage of incredible artists waiting to take your commission and draw you something special. Or if you are just there to see the sights and the sounds, be sure to check out some of the rare comic books on display (some of which have price tags of over 1 million dollars!). I better get going if I’m going to make my flight, but check back next week when I’ll share my experiences and pictures from this year’s SDCC!