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Comic-Con 2010, Thursday: Hasselhoff, ‘Psych,’ And Weapons

The four day pop culture convention known as Comic-Con started today, which means fans from all over the world have come to San Diego to attend panels, get free schwag, dress up in costumes and scramble to see celebrities.

After picking up my press pass, I wandered around aimlessly with my camera, feeling the overstimulated stupor I experience every year at Comic-Con on the first day. I stayed clear of the convention floor, feeling like I should work up my nerve before I entered the massive core of the Con, where film studios, comic book companies and vendors have their booths.

To my surprise, you actually learn a lot about Comic-Con hovering on the perimeter of the convention floor.

For example, I had no idea there was a weapons clearance center at Comic-Con. Naturally there is! For the cosplayers and costumed at the Con, a fake machine gun can be like a classic set of pearls: a must-have accessory. It stands to reason that all those weapons should be inspected to make sure they are, in fact, fake.

This guy spent a long time at the inspection site:

A Comic-Con attendee's fake weapons are inspected and tagged as safe before he can go on to the convention floor.

Above: A Comic-Con attendee's fake weapons are inspected and tagged as safe before he can go on to the convention floor.

The convention sold out months ago. Since this is my third year attending the Con, I expect the large crowds, but somehow I'm still amazed by the sea of bodies coursing through the downtown streets and convention hallways. All those bodies mean potential consumers, a fact not lost on advertisers as downtown San Diego becomes a marketing mecca during Comic-Con.

Taken from the second floor window of the convention center, this gives you a sense of the marketing campaigns vying for the attention of Comic-Con attendees.

Above: Taken from the second floor window of the convention center, this gives you a sense of the marketing campaigns vying for the attention of Comic-Con attendees.

Advertisements are on buses, pedicabs, banners, and shopping bags. They are there when you look up and even when you look down.

A courier bag covered in buttons advertising the Showtime series "Dexter."

Above: A courier bag covered in buttons advertising the Showtime series "Dexter."

Speaking of "Dexter," I wandered up to Ballroom 20, a large room on the second floor that holds 4,500 people and many of the more popular panels. This is the room where Showtime is holding it's anti-hero panel (featuring the casts of "Dexter," "Californication," and "Weeds.") I watch those shows so I considered attending until I saw the line that spanned the length of the convention hall and then snaked twice around outside - and this was four hours before the panel was to start!

I walked to the very front, curious to see who managed to be first in such a long line. It turned out to be a group of women waiting to see a panel for the USA Network show "Psych." I'd heard of it, but had no idea it had an active cult following.

These women came from all over the country (Pittsburgh, South Carolina, etc) and got in line at 2 a.m. this morning in order to be first to get into the panel. Other fans kindly brought them breakfast from Denny's (well, maybe not so kind) at 5 a.m..

Jamie Chew, Sara Unrein, Denise Forester, and Mindel Hale are fans of the television show "Psych." They wait in line to get into a panel featuring the show's writers and actors.

Above: Jamie Chew, Sara Unrein, Denise Forester, and Mindel Hale are fans of the television show "Psych." They wait in line to get into a panel featuring the show's writers and actors.

These women had never met in person, though they often communicated about their favorite show on Facebook and Twitter. They call themselves the Psych-O's.

A fan of the show "Psych" designed her own tennis shoes.

Above: A fan of the show "Psych" designed her own tennis shoes.

Meanwhile, outside the crowds just kept coming.

Waves of Comic-Con attendees cross the street headed towards the convention center.

Above: Waves of Comic-Con attendees cross the street headed towards the convention center.

But if you looked closely, some faces in the crowd looked suspicious.

A zombie walked the streets in the Gaslamp District of downtown San Diego.

Above: A zombie walked the streets in the Gaslamp District of downtown San Diego.

Rumors were flying that David Hasselhoff was riding around downtown San Diego atop a party bus surrounded by dancing girls to promote a new reality show from A&E. Though many claimed to see him, this is the only sighting I had.

Promoters handed out David Hasselhoff masks in downtown San Diego to advertise a new reality show from A&E.

Above: Promoters handed out David Hasselhoff masks in downtown San Diego to advertise a new reality show from A&E.

It would have made my day to see Hasselhoff (I do love a high cheese factor) breakin it down in SD, but it didn't pan out. On the other hand, this guy got his Comic-Con thrill for the day.

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