A couple weeks ago our family may have traveled a mere hour and a half, but we arrived among inhabitants from other worlds, or other universes, to be more exact. It may have been in part for an article for this newspaper, but the summer was nearing an official end and we had yet to pack our bags and travel for a weekend away as a family. A two-night hotel stay — no visiting relatives, no birthday parties, no battling traffic in between attractions — and the promise of pool time and Pokémon play and each of us relished the thought enough to make it a reality: Comic-Con Palm Springs or bust.

From the moment we were greeted by valets dressed in Comic-Con attire, I knew we had made the right decision. It’s the premiere year and I’ll admit, we were both a little wary of committing to accompanying three school-age children to an event the likes of which they could not imagine. My husband introduced me to Comic-Con International: San Diego years ago. It was popular back then — more so than when he had first began attending — but the rise in visitors and increased ticket costs led to our last visit in nearly 10 years. I sported our then-only child in a carrier in front of me (I have the photos of the storm trooper beside me to prove it) but as much as I enjoyed our meet-and-greets with stars of our beloved sci-fi favorites, navigating the crowds with one, let alone three, child prevented us from returning and left us ogling the posts from others each year.

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