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How To Save Comic-Con

San Diego’s own Comic-Con International returns this week, hot on the welcome news that the show will be staying in town through 2018.

San Diego Comic-Con

I’m delighted that the show is staying in San Diego. I share the opinion that moving Comic-Con to Los Angeles or Las Vegas would rob it of it’s very specific charms. Comic-Con is more than just the show — it’s also the climate, the Gaslamp, and the decades-long tradition of fans flocking to San Diego to get their geek on and reaffirm old friendships.

Unfortunately, Comic-Con is also crazy crowds, an impossible ticket, impossible hotel reservations, and endless hand-wringing over what does and does not belong at the show.

Fortunately, there is a solution. And unlike the on-again, off-again plans for San Diego’s Convention Center expansion, this solution is entirely within the control of the Comic-Con committee.

It all comes down to … programming.

not that I agree ...

I actually think Twilight was a net gain for Comic-Con, as it introduced a new generation of fans to the show, but I understand why some feel differently.

But I do think the pendulum has swung too far away from comics at Comic-Con. With WonderCon recently departed for Los Angeles (alas), the opportunity exists to kinda-sorta restore Comic-Con’s comic book roots. Gradually upping the non-comics media content at WonderCon — while reducing the same at Comic-Con — would allow the two shows (run by the same committee) to approach a kind of crowd equilibrium.

As a Spring show in Los Angeles, WonderCon seems ideally suited to the kind of big media movie and television presentations that have (frankly) overwhelmed Comic-Con. WonderCon’s new Los Angeles location makes it more convenient for Hollywood to attend, and WonderCon’s Spring date is better suited for promoting that summer’s movies (the summer movie season is half-over by the time Comic-Con rolls around in July).

Avengers in Hall H

Comic-Con should keep a hand in the big media events — which are after all as much a part of this show as Artist Alley or the Eisner Awards — but adjusting the programming balance by 20-30% in favor of comics or nostalgia media at the expense of current TV and movies would go a long way toward changing the character of the show, and I think for the better.

Over time, Southern California could have two powerhouse shows — a Spring show in Los Angeles that is about film/TV and pop culture and also comics, and Summer show in San Diego that is about comics and pop culture and also film/TV. WonderCon in L.A. gets the big movie announcements and the fans swooning over TV heartthrobs, while Comic-Con in San Diego gets the big comics publishing announcements and one or two big media moments from studios still looking to build that Comic-Con buzz.

And the 501st Legion would fit in fine at both events!

501st

What do you think? Would gradually re-branding these two shows prove a benefit to all? Am I just a cranky old guy who wants Comic-Con to pointlessly reverse the hands of time? Let me know your thoughts, in the comments section, below.

And enjoy your time at Comic-Con, if you are fortunate enough to go! (I will be there Saturday, grumbling about the crowds, no doubt!)

The Mighty Bedbug

Last Friday I made a stealthy, solo trip to San Diego Comic-Con, and was delighted to reconnect with my old friend, Scott Rogers.

Scott’s had a crazy year … fighting cancer, and shipping issue #1 of his creator-owned Mighty Bedbug comic book!

BedBug #1

The Mighty Bedbug is a single dad who overcomes a crippling childhood injury to defend the streets of Silicon City and (just as importantly) be a good father to his daughter, Elvira. It doesn’t require the intellect of The Boogeyman to see the parallels to Scott’s own life, where Scott has thrust illness aside to create art and continue to be a wonderful husband and father to his own family.

Bedbug & Skulls

Scott, The Red Skull, and me (you will have to work out who is who on your own!)

Scott and Bedbug both are super-heroes in my book!

Learn more about The Mighty Bedbug at Scott’s blog. Tell ’em Longbox Graveyard sent you!

The Longbox Graveyard Podcast Returns!

The Longbox Graveyard Podcast Returns!

It’s the third Tuesday of the month and that means it’s time for another Longbox Graveyard Podcast! Hot on the heels of last month’s inaugural installment of my new podcast comes this month’s report on the just-concluded San Diego Comic-Con, and my own probing, soul-searing self-examination of why we fans consent to “The Ritual” demonstration of nerdly affection demanded by these big events.

exploring the incomprehensible rituals of comic book fandom!

You can find the podcast at iTunes or the We Talk Podcasts site.

Thanks for listening — I hope the Longbox Graveyard Podcast becomes a “Ritual” of it’s own! Please let me know what you think of the podcast and I’ll see you again next month for another edition of the Longbox Graveyard Podcast.


Longbox Graveyard Podcast on iTunes

Longbox Graveyard Podcast at We Talk Podcasts site

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