Short Lines at Comic-Con's Hall H on Thursday

Comic-Con's biggest room drew shorter-than-normal lines on Thursday as the 2014 pop culture event began in downtown San Diego

Exhibit Hall H hosts the biggest stars of Comic-Con every year. While the hall is known for its big name stars, best-selling writers and popular events, it is also notorious for its long lines and wait times -- but that was a bit different Thursday.

The 6,500-seat hall is normally filled to the brim with anxious fans but on Thursday -- the first official day of San Diego Comic-Con International 2014 -- there were open seats.

Surprisingly, the line to get inside Hall H was nearly nonexistent. Shocked fans tweeted photographs of the short lines and empty seats, saying they were able to stroll into the building with little to no wait.

Now, normally, committed fans often line up overnight in front of the hall in hopes of seeing their favorite stars and maybe even getting the chance to ask a question during one of the Q&A sessions inside the room.

Still, despite the lesser crowd on Thursday, David Glanzer, Director of Comic-Con Marketing and Public Relations, said a short wait time is not unusual for the first morning of Comic-Con.

He said the most anticipated events tend to be in Hall H because the theater can accommodate the largest number of fans.

“We never know what the big thing is; the fans let us know. It depends what captures the interest of the people,” said Glanzer.

On Thursday, Ballroom 20, another one of the convention center's larger rooms, captured one of the biggest audiences. The tallies will not be in until tomorrow, but the ballroom was packed all day, according to Glanzer.

Hall H events began at 11:30 a.m. Thursday. Events were held for movies including "The Giver," "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" and "SpongeBob Squarepants."

Best-selling author Lois Lowry and stars including Megan Fox, Benedict Cumberbatch and Jeff Bridges were among panel members present at Hall H. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson also made a surprise appearance.

Despite the serious star power, Glanzer said a potential reason for the short lines is the convention's new wristband system aimed at helping fans gauge their chances of getting into the exhibit hall.

“Toucan Trackers” are wristbands distributed in the morning and they allow fans to see how many people are ahead of them in the line to Hall H. The wristbands are divided into four color segments that show people their estimated place in line.

“Fans see signs in line and know, ‘If I want to make the next panel, 1,500 people or 4,500 people have to leave.’ Somebody may decide they don’t want to wait around,” said Glanzer.

Although Thursday's morning lines were short, they began to pick up around 4:30 p.m. in anticipation of the Batman ’66 slated for the evening. Adam West, Burt Ward and Julie Newmar were set to take the Hall H stage to give fans an inside look at "Batman: The Complete TV Series."

And though the shorter wait times were welcomed by fans, most don't believe the short lines will last through the weekend so many have already started lining up for Friday’s Hall H panels.

“The people who wait overnight wait in line to be at the front of the room, not to get in the room,”  Glanzer added.

Friday’s events include panels featuring the casts of popular series such as AMC’s "The Walking Dead" and HBO’s "Game of Thrones."

By the way, to keep up with the latest Hall H happenings, the infamous Hall H line even has its own Twitter account, @HallHLine.

The feed's bio reads: “I am the longest, nerdiest, most demoralizing line at any convention ever made and that's just how you like it.”

The account was opened to provide live updates to Comic-Con fans about the length and progress of the line throughout the weekend.

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