San Diego 2014: The Last Stand of the California Browncoats
Publication Date—Jul 11, 2012
It was the summer of 2014, and the true horrors of the Rising were only just beginning to reveal themselves. Fans from all over the world gathered in San Diego, California for the annual comic book and media convention, planning to forget about the troubling rumors of new diseases and walking dead by immersing themselves in a familiar environment. Over the course of five grueling days and nights, it became clear that the news was very close to home…and that most of the people who picked up their badges would never make it out alive.
The San Diego International Comic Convention was an annual event which drew hundreds of thousands of comic book, science fiction, fantasy, and horror enthusiasts from around the world. For a week every year, San Diego’s Gaslight District would be transformed into a strange new country, one with its own traditions, rules, and hazards. It was a golden age for what those enthusiasts called “fandom,” and as with all golden ages, it was not properly recognized until it was over. It’s easy to look back on July of 2014 from our modern perspective, with our full knowledge of what was already happening to the world, and condemn the people who chose to attend that year’s comic book convention, or “Comic-Con.” We tell ourselves that they should have known better. But why should they have known better? It was a different time. It was a more innocent era. And the fans of the world were descending, as they always did, on San Diego, California. The following narrative has been assembled from eyewitness accounts, security footage, social media updates, and various other sources that I am not currently at liberty to disclose. Some of the events described may not have happened in this exact fashion, but for once, I have put aside the goal of absolute truth in favor of a greater goal: understanding. To truly understand what it was like for those brave souls who died in the first major San Diego outbreak, we must first understand what it meant to be them… —From San Diego 2014 by Mahir Gowda, June 11, 2044.