San Diego Survival isn’t how I’d spend a weekend.
One of the biggest events of the Geek Calendar will soon be upon us – no, my birthday is in February – as thousands of people converge in California this upcoming weekend for a 4-day festival of epic proportions.
San Diego Comic-Con International started out in 1970 where, after a successful one-day trial, founder Shel Dorf and his comic-loving friends put together an event known originally as the Golden State Comic-Con; it lasted three days and attracted 300 attendees to see special guests including author Ray Bradbury and comics legend Jack Kirby.
As attendances grew during the mid-eighties – hitting five digits in 1989 – the top-billed appearances from the comic and literary world began to be outshone by their contemporaries in Hollywood; actors and directors keen to promote their latest geek-inspired feature films and TV programmes.
Before its steep drop in value caused the crash of the comic book collectors’ market in the mid-nineties it could be argued that ‘The Death of Superman’ had brought sequential art back into the picture, but it would again soon fall away to be replaced by previews of films and programmes commissioned by studios trying to cash in on the rising popularity of Geekdom; and buying up all the floor space as a result.
That said, SDCC has brought some huge stars to its panels in recent years, but with comic creators like Jeph Jacques lamenting the shift in focus from comics to general geek culture, it’s hard for them to get a break when there’s a big movie star just down the corridor to promote his latest venture.
After all, once you’ve spent hours queuing to get into a panel discussion and spent too much money on sub-standard food (just ask the guys from TESD about what Ming ate), you probably don’t have the time or the cash to spend on the actual con floor, meeting artists and writers who don’t have the benefit of a panel or a huge web presence to show off their stuff to enough potential customers, it must be rather discouraging to sit there – in California in July no less, imagine the cramped sweaty conditions in that hall! – and not get the return you hoped for on what was doubtless an expensive booth reservation.
And that, good people, is why I couldn’t imagine myself jetting off to San Diego Comic Con any time soon – overwhelming fan demand for expensive tickets in without any of the actual physical souvenirs afterwards. It’s fine to say you were there for the world premiere of a new film trailer – but to be fair, those of us online will be able to see it just as quickly from our living rooms and mobile phones. The reportage of dedicated nerds will ensure I hear the latest announcements just as quickly as you do.
Are you heading to SDCC this year? Who are you looking forward to seeing?