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.
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.
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).
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!
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!)