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Comic-Con Goers Brave Long Lines At Annual Pop Culture Convention


Comic-Con, the annual pop-culture convention, is underway in San Diego, Calif. There's one thing that almost all the 130,000 people attending will get to do there - stand in line for badges, to get in and to buy exclusive toys, see movie trailers or get a comic book autographed. NPR senior arts editor, Nina Gregory, is there standing in some of those lines and talking to people doing the same.

NINA GREGORY, BYLINE: The convention center sits on the waterfront in San Diego Bay, and each day of comic con, new lines form in and outside of the building. Yesterday, in the longest one, they were waiting for one thing.

ALEX WASKIEWICZ: I'm here for Star Wars.

GREGORY: Alex Waskiewicz is an engineer from Colorado. He's hanging out with friends in a very long line.

WASKIEWICZ: Well, there's several thousand of us camped out on a boardwalk with camping chairs, camping mats, water bottles.

GREGORY: He waited at least 36 hours for today's Lucasfilm presentation - a preview of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens." The movie opens in December, but director J.J. Abrams is on hand for a panel discussion. So is screenwriter, Lawrence Kasdan, and Lucasfilm President, Kathleen Kennedy. Fans also hope to see Harrison Ford and Lupita Nyong'o. But Star Wars fans aren't the only ones waiting in line at comic con. Let's step inside.

HANNALOR JOCOSING: My name's Hannalor Jocosing. I'm from Oceanside, Calif., and I'm here waiting in line to get a drawing from the illustrator for Hello Kitty.

GREGORY: While she's only been in this line for 15 minutes, it's not her first line to get that illustration.

JOCOSING: I had to come here at 9:30 right when it opened to get a ticket. So that was about a 20 minute wait.

GREGORY: And there was an hour wait just to get in right when it opened so she could get to the Sanrio booth to get the ticket to get her drawing - an hour and 35 minutes for one drawing.

JOCOSING: Actually, I think that's what you sum up the convention as - lining up a lot.

STEVE CHU: My name is Steve Chu. I'm from San Diego, and I've been standing in line since 2 a.m.. I slept on the grass this morning. I've been waiting here for Hasbro to buy some of the exclusive Transformers, G.I. Joe toys for friends and my family.

GREGORY: Chu is a 38-year-old assistant U.S. attorney, and to be clear, he's not here on government business. I met up with him as he approached the final leg of his line.

CHU: We're almost at the end of this long journey. One of my English professors wrote about that - what was it? - "The Canterbury Tales" because it was an uncompleted work of literature. But his thesis was that it was the journey not the destination that matters. Unfortunately, I have to say that when you're hunting for exclusive toys at a convention, the destination does matter because if you spend all this time waiting and you come away with nothing or you don't come away with what you want, it's a pretty tough feeling. Many of us say we'll never come back again, and yet we're here year after year.

GREGORY: Chu got all of his toys. We parted ways, and I headed to the line for nachos. Nina Gregory, NPR News, San Diego. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.