Comic-Con No More!

Pop quiz, hot shot.

For those attending San Diego Comic-Con 2009 (SDCC), name one special guest at this year’s Comic-Con?

Here’s an easier question.  What comics are you bringing with you to get signed at the show?

OK.  Those are difficult questions.  I’ll go easier than that.  What day are the Eisner Awards on?

The majority of the 125,000+ attendees to this year’s SDCC have probably given up on answering the questions above.

(For those playing at home, the answers are Geoff Johns, Blackest Night #1 (among others) and Friday night.)

Here’s the thing.  I don’t blame the attendees.  I don’t know who I “blame” necessarily.  But one thing is for certain.

SDCC has stopped being about comics and has now become “Demographic-Con.”

Brian Michael Bendis Twittered about an excellent Hollywood Reporter article (more on that later) where reporters Borys Kit and Matthew Belloni point out that Fox is promoting the show “Glee” at SDCC.  Without any attempt to find a fit with the genre.

I don’t have a problem with “Demographic-Con” but just don’t call it Comic-Con.  That’s all.

I mean.  Here’s where it gets frustrating for me.  The USA Today article on Comic-Con, “Films, actors, thousands of fans ready to roll at Comic-Con” makes no mention of comic books.  Not one.  Instead, they talk about the influence of SDCC on television and film projects, and then talk about Iron Man 2.

I loved Iron Man.  I like Fringe.  I’m all about so many of the things that are being promoted at Comic-Con.  But there needs to be balance; and by “balance,” I mean that there needs to be a heck of a lot more focus on comics and a lot less focus on the other stuff.

I mean.  The show has the word “comics” in the damn title.

I know that SDCC has a long history of being about more than just comics.  In 1976, the 3,000 attendees of the 6th annual SDCC got the privilege of a first look at Star Wars, followed by Roy Thomas and Howard Chaykin going on stage to talk about the upcoming Marvel comic book.

That’s the balance I was talking about.

Contrast that with the story that David Goyer tells in The Hollywood Reporter article, “Industry insiders talk Comic-Con“:

Goyer: People will remain nameless, but a couple of years ago, I was down there promoting a project, and the studio threw a big party, and it was involved with a comic book. And one of the creators of the comic wasn’t on the list and couldn’t get in. I had to vociferously argue with the publicists to get this person in.

SDCC is the event where comic book creators should be celebrated as “rock stars.”  And yet, the Eisner Awards, the top honors of the industry, are being sponsored by “Darksiders, the upcoming video game from THQ.

Nothing against THQ or their product.  I’m sure it’s a fun game and whatnot.  But for the millions (billions?) of dollars Hollywood studios have made off of comic book properties, the least they could do is write a small check to sponsor and televise the awards.

Then again, these are the same people who didn’t lift a finger to fix the Superman house either.  They take take take.  But they don’t give back a thing.

I don’t blame the SDCC organizers.  The growth rate of the show is beyond their control and they do their best to strike the right balance (as noted by the fact that their special guests are not studio shills).

SDCC organizers try to highlight the comic book aspects of the show as much as they can and I don’t know that there’s anyone to “blame” (OK, maybe the mainstream media…but they’re too easy of a target).

There will always be smaller shows.  Heroes-Con.  Baltimore.  Etc.  And creators will attend those shows and real comic book fans can meet them at those shows.  I suppose.

But there is/was something magical about SDCC when it was in balance.  Where someone could walk into a panel without having to camp out.  Where you could buy bootleg copies of Roger Corman’s Fantastic Four, talk to a Klingon (Kerplach!), meet great artists in Artists’ Alley (don’t even get me started on that subject) and then go and buy old issues of Marvel Two-In-One.  All under one roof.

I’m frustrated.  I have no solution.  I’m venting and I realize I’m coming across as “grumpy old man.”  And I suppose that’s what this is about.

Like I said.  I like the Hollywood stuff.  Sure.  But it’s about balance.

I suppose my message is that this is all a sad state of affairs, but it’s our new reality.

There’s all this talk about “geeks inheriting the Earth” and how we’ve finally “won.”

So this is winning?  At what cost, victory?

And if this is winning.  I’d prefer to be a Comic Book Loser (Captain Storm, to be specific).

PS I was somewhat encouraged by Natali Del Conte’s Twitter post where she said, “Lots of people reading comic books on this flight to San Diego.”

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2 Responses to “Comic-Con No More!”

  1. This Is What Comic Conventions Are About « Noah Kuttler’s Blog Says:

    […] Noah Kuttler’s Blog This is my blog! There are many like it, but this one is mine! « Comic-Con No More! […]

  2. The San Diego Comic-Con Media Bubble: No Comics Allowed « Noah Kuttler’s Blog Says:

    […] No Comics Allowed By Noah Kuttler Last year, I wrote a blog post rant about the “new reality” of San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) and how the news media and Hollywood studios have taken […]

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