San Diego Comic-Con seemed crazier than ever this year. The list of panels to go to, booths to stop by, parties to attend, and people to see gets longer and longer each year I attend. The lines for most of those activities get longer, and I feel like I need another few days just to see it all. When I have a few moments after the convention to catch up, I’m always surprised to see what I missed. Apparently, I completely walked past the tent on the exhibit floor that was a preview area for the new Star Wars Blu-ray.

You probably heard that Hollywood cut back its Comic-Con presence this year. While that was definitely noticeable as far as the major movie studios were concerned, television shows were represented in force. Lines for almost any panel were impressive and reaching. Twilight saga fans started lining up more than 24 hours in advance for the Breaking Dawn panel Thursday morning. Doctor Who fans got in line six hours before that panel was scheduled. The line for Game of Thrones was also winding. It’s shockingly easy to spend most of the convention in a line. I find that I have less and less patience for that every year, so my panel schedule was limited.

The exhibit hall floor was crowded, but I didn’t expect otherwise. The big booths like Lucasfilm and LEGO brought standard fare. One of the neatest things on the floor this year was a little off the beaten path. Quantum Mechanix had a full size TARDIS. There was almost a constant line to take photos. Walking around the exhibit hall, though challenging, is the best place to see and photograph costumes. As you can imagine, the parade is endless.

I walked through the main exhibit hall, but most of time down there was spent checking out the work of independent artists. To those who say that Comic-Con has become too “commercial,” and it’s all about Hollywood – maybe, but you can ignore any part you don’t care about. It is all too easy to spend the four days of the convention in Small Press and Artists’ Alley and attend a plethora of panels that are just about comics. Sure, you can’t entirely block the glare of the big booths from your sight but it’s easy to make the convention into whatever you want it to be.

I enjoyed many parts of Comic-Con, but the highlight was having lunch with ‘Star Wars’ author Timothy Zahn (the ‘Thrawn’ trilogy). I was one of three people who won a contest held by Suvudu. We got to sit down with Mr. Zahn and Del Rey editor Shelly Shapiro. It was an amazing experience to talk to them about ‘Star Wars’ and the novel portion of the ‘Expanded Universe.’ We were even joined by Leland Chee, Keeper of the Holocron at Lucasfilm, for the last few minutes. Once in a lifetime experiences like that make Comic-Con a must-do on my list every year.