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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!)

Off To WonderCon!

My 2015 convention season gets under way this weekend as I attend WonderCon in Anaheim.

WonderCon 2015

I have a room at the show and will be attending all three days, though scheduling conflicts ensure I won’t arrive until late on Friday night, and will have to miss most of Saturday at the show, too. Still, Longbox Graveyard readers who would like to connect should email me or ping me on Twitter — maybe we can work something out!

See you at the show!

Longbox Graveyard Is At WonderCon!

I am attending WonderCon in Anaheim, California this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, March 29-31, 2013!

WonderCon Superman by Jim Lee

Unlike last year, I’m not putting on a panel, and I’m also staying all three days — which means more time for mingling and meeting with Longbox Graveyard readers.

If you’re attending the show, be sure to look me up. (And if you aren’t attending the show, keep an eye on my Instagram feed for pictures from the con).

You can email me — longboxgraveyard (at) gmail (dot) com. You can ping me on Twitter as @LBoxGraveyard. You can even leave a reply to this blog entry …

Hope to see you there!

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