The biggest heroes of Comic-Con International aren’t the Defenders, Guardians of the Galaxy, or Justice League: They’re the secret security teams who silently patrol the halls of the San Diego Convention Center, protecting more than 150,000 fans from the forces of evil.
One insider with knowledge of Comic-Con’s massive security detail shared some of its secrets with TheWrap — without revealing anything that might tip off supervillains.
The insider said that last year, some real heroes — Navy SEALs from the nearby Coronado naval base — dressed up as comic-book heroes — like Superman and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles — to conceal themselves.
“Problem is, they wanted to blend in, and people kept wanting pics,” the insider said. “Made it hard on them.”
That’s right, the insider said: They really are so bad-ass that they used superheroes as their secret identities.
The superhero costumes are out this year, since they provided more distraction than disguise. This year’s security team includes more SEALs, the FBI, and a Department of Homeland Security counterterrorism team, in addition to state and local law enforcement. Some are in uniform. Some are not.
While there have been no specific threats, they want to be prepared if anyone thinks the Con looks like an easy target for terror. Secrecy is still the name of the game.
“Security is extremely tight and planned at all levels,” the insider said. “But you may not notice it, beyond the uniformed law enforcement presence. Security works best when it’s undetected, and some of the world’s best are here to ensure a safe Con for all.”
One of the best examples of the strong security presence is one most attendees barely noticed, the insider added.
“There was a false alarm on day one when the fire alarm went off, but the security teams here responded as though it was a real world incident, and the majority of convention-goers were unaware of the incident. The response was swift and normal activities were resumed with almost no interruption — that’s how you know it’s working.”