San Diego Comic-Con Institutes A Wristband System For Hall H Which Doesn’t Really Help Anyone

Do you hear the people sing? Singing the song of angry attendees?

“Oh good,” you think to yourself, “San Diego Comic-Con has finally wised up and thought of a new way to handle Hall H.” But you’d be wrong.

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I really was genuinely excited when I heard Comic-Con was instituting a wristband system. It sounded like just what the doctor ordered. For years, myself and countless others, have discussed different ways to deal with the crowd looking to get into the largest panel room at the convention. My personal suggestion has always been to sell tickets JUST for Hall H. Many con goers wouldn’t step foot in the massive room which almost exclusively features the big Hollywood films and television shows being promoted, but for those who do, it would be nice to know you have a reserved seat.

Normally, entrance to Hall H is only on a first come basis which has led attendees to camp out overnight  (or longer) for the last few years. The issue with Hall H, like other panel rooms at Comic-Con, is the room does not empty after each panel. Attendees looking to see the Marvel Entertainment panel at the end of one day must camp out for hours and sit through every other panel which came before it first. So, Comic-Con is starting “Toucan Trackers” in the hopes of alleviating wait times.

Here’s the official rundown from the Comic-Con site:

Wristbands will be distributed for Hall H ONLY. These wristbands are not guaranteed entry passes. They will be used to gauge the length of the line for Hall H.

You must have a badge or badge barcode to be in line.

Wristband distribution will begin in Plaza Park as people get in line but will stop at approximately 1:00 AM, resuming again at 5:00 AM at the spot where the last wristband was given out.

You will need to have a wristband in order to enter Hall H for the first panel of the day only. If people with wristbands leave the line for the first panel of the day and more seating becomes available, the room will be filled with the first people in line who do not have wristbands.

These are not meant to be entry passes, but a marker for attendees in line. As always for Comic-Con International lines, if you need to leave the line for any reason, be sure a member of your group remains in line or you will lose your place in line.

Wristbands cannot be sold, saved, or traded.

After the first panel of the day loads, the wristbands will not be used and the line will proceed as normal.

The wristbands will be in four colors, each color denoting a section of the line. The first quarter of the room capacity will receive a certain color, the next quarter another color, and so on.

So you get a wristband but it doesn’t guarantee anything and you can’t even use it to leave the line and come back? Pretty much the normal reasons for wristband usage. Well then.

They explain a bit more: “By using these Toucan Tracker wristbands, we hope to alert people to the possibility of getting into Hall H for the rest of the day. We will accomplish this by using the data collected to place color-coded markers along the line route, noting approximately what percentage of the room would have to clear in order for those remaining in line to enter. Although we can never guarantee entry, this hopefully will help people determine if they want to continue to wait in line or go do something else.”

I’m not the only one who thinks this is a colossal waste of effort right? Even after all the complicated explanations they still toe the line: “If I have a wristband and stay in line, I’m getting in, right? Pending any unforeseen circumstances, you should get into the room. However entry is not guaranteed.”

I can’t help but feel these bands are more to help con staff than attendees but what’s your opinion?

(via Collider, image by Jill Pantozzi)

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Jill Pantozzi
Jill Pantozzi is a pop-culture journalist and host who writes about all things nerdy and beyond! She’s Editor in Chief of the geek girl culture site The Mary Sue (Abrams Media Network), and hosts her own blog “Has Boobs, Reads Comics” ( She co-hosts the Crazy Sexy Geeks podcast along with superhero historian Alan Kistler, contributed to a book of essays titled “Chicks Read Comics,” (Mad Norwegian Press) and had her first comic book story in the IDW anthology, “Womanthology.” In 2012, she was featured on National Geographic’s "Comic Store Heroes," a documentary on the lives of comic book fans and the following year she was one of many Batman fans profiled in the documentary, "Legends of the Knight."