Saturday, August 09, 2008

Post-San Diego Post

Time has really slipped away from me since returning from Comic-Con International: San Diego, the lovable behemoth of comic book conventions.

I've been asked for my thoughts about the con dozens of times since I returned to Flying Colors. Truth is, I didn't see much of the craziness of the convention this year.

I was so jammed with meetings with publishers and other retailers, Libby and I wound up having only about three measly hours to see the 500,000 square feet of exhibit hall space. No way we could we even make a dent in all the pop culture eye candy that awaits at every turn in the convention center.

When we walked by the DC Comics set-up, though, I took the photo you see here of some cos-players doing their renditions of mostly recognizable characters. Although, as I told NPR's "Marketplace" host Kai Ryssdal, costumers only make up a very small percentage of con-goers, they are a very visible minority. I think it's great these folks have an outlet for their costuming skills, if not their acting abilities.

Friday at the San Diego Con was one long day! It started with a meeting at 7:45AM, which melted into retailer programming that lasted until 6PM, which was followed by the Eisner Awards ceremony at 7PM and we didn't get out of there until 1:30AM (there was short after-party). At the Eisners, I gave a tribute speech for my fallen friend, Rory Root of Berkeley's Comic Relief .

Make no mistake about it, the job done by the San Diego Comic-Con organizers is nothing short of herculean. Take 125,000 fans, add something along the number of 20,000 "professional guests", another 3000 media reps, maybe 2000 total "exhibitors" and you've got a recipe for one huge log-jam. That said, I had no troubles getting to where i wanted, other than the pleasant diversions created along the way by running into friends and colleagues I see only once or twice a year.

As for all the talk about Comic-Con moving to another city, don't believe it. San Diego is the only city in the U.S. that could host this convention as well as it does.
Sure, there's the possibility of having more events away from the main convention center, like last year's viewing of the "300" movie at the Padres' Petco Park. And there are lots of meeting spaces in nearby hotels that could work for some programming. But to think of moving this great event to ---where? Vegas? In late July? Anaheim? During Disneyland's busiest time of the year? Los Angeles? To that less than adequate convention center with stifling traffic all around?

No, no, no, no, no.

It's San Diego for the long term. And that's really how it should be. Temperate weather, nice people, a Comic-Con staff that is mostly from San Diego, a very good facility (even if it needs even more expansion!), proximity to Hollywood.

Look, the bottom line is that there have been comic-cons grow into pop culture media cons all over the country, but none have ever come close to all that San Diego delivers.

Congratulations to the Comic-Con staff on another stellar year!



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