San Diego Comic-Con 2011: “Three Things I HATE About Comic-Con”

So, tonight is Comic-Con preview night. And though I’ll be unable to attend thanks to the Con’s new “Preview Night tickets only on sale onsite last year” policy, I thought it would be good to post a couple of posts to get everyone in the spirit.

I’m prepping these two articles at home before I leave, but there’s a good chance that by the time you read this, I’ll be in the air on my way to San Diego.

So without further ado, I present to you the “Three things I HATE about Comic-Con”

Lines

You have to wait in line for everything at Comic-Con.

In fact, you had better incorporate that into your scheduling.

If you don’t give yourself at LEAST an hour before the panel, you may as well forget it. And sometimes that’s not enough. I got in line for Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland” At like 6 am and I was wayyy the hell in the back (That had the Twilight effect going on though). I got in line for a Battlestar Galactica panel an hour in advance and didn’t get in at all.

There’s 125,000 people at this thing and the biggest showcase only holds 6,000 of them. At any given time there’s at most like 3 really big panels happening, and the rest are niche. So you know what? For those 3 big panels, there’s going to be competition for those seats in the form of “Who wants it most?” And that’s an issue that only gets settled by “Who shows up earliest”.

You’ve really gotta be hungry for it.

Scheduling

I understand that part of the goal of Comic-Con scheduling is to clear the floor. With 125,000 people in attendance, you need to insure that they’re spread out. End of story. At New York Comic-Con, they admitted almost as many people, but didn’t have as many events, and the result was sardine city. It was hard to move…

But do they have to pit all the good stuff against each other? I realize that everyone’s going to have a different opinion of what the “Good Stuff” is, but they’ve got to do better than this.

Thursday’s offerings are weak, to say the least. So why stack them against each other? Why do you have nothing in Ballroom 20 all day long, and then Game of Thrones, just when Hall H finally clears of twi-hards? Just when the Major Studios start to present… NOW you have Game of Thrones. Oh, and it’s up against “Archer” too.

(exasperated sigh)

Friday morning is even worse. “Tin Tin”, which suddenly looks super exciting now that the trailer has been unveiled, starts the day off for Hall H. It hasn’t officially been announced that Steven Spielberg would be there, but I’d say there’s like an 80% chance. The only reason it hasn’t been announced is “Steven Spielberg Surprises Fans at Comic-Con” is a much better, splashier headline than “Spielberg promotes Tin-Tin at Comic-Con”. I mean, if he’s not there, who’s going to build the excitement for this thing? They just going to show the trailer and have some random studio exec speak?

I don’t know. I probably won’t see it. It’s in direct competition with “The Walking Dead” in ballroom 20.

Which I probably won’t see either, because they’re both in conflict with a panel featuring William Shatner, moderated by Kevin Smith.

Honestly, there’s times when I think they do this just to screw with you. It’s always like this, it was this way the first time I went too. The biggest issue I have this year is, the schedule’s not that deep. My first trip there I was like, when the hell am I going to hit the floor? Now I’ve got entire days when I’m like, well, I guess there’s nothing til 3 O’clock.

They could do a better job of spreading out the big draws.

Regardless, even if they didn’t Comic-Con will always make you make tough choices.

“Being Branded for Life”

Going to Comic-Con programming is a powerful experience. Now, I’m sure there are bloggers or film fans who have done this convention stuff many more times than I have or maybe even get to do interviews, that sort of thing, and they’re maybe more jaded than I am about it. It’s not that big a deal to them anymore.

But to me it is. I still can’t get over seeing some of these Celebrities in person. These actors and actresses and directors who have created some of the film and tv you love. It still awes me.

But the drawback is, when you leave, you’ve had such a powerful experience that from there on out, whatever piece of entertainment you’ve seen is welded to your Comic-Con experience forever. You’ll never have another discussion of that property without at least thinking “I saw that at Comic-Con” and it takes a lot of restraint not to SAY “I saw that at Comic-Con”.

In 2009, I attended the “Avatar” panel. James Cameron and the cast of the film presented 25 minutes of footage, prior to anyone in the World seeing any of it. I don’t even think the trailer had released yet. I know this for sure, when I came back from the convention RAVING about it, people were like “Avatar? Huh? What?”

Well, as we know, “Avatar” went on to become the highest grossing movie of all time. My MOTHER saw it in the theatre more than once (actually, not that big a deal, Mom’s a movie fan, too). So… it came up in conversations A LOT. You don’t think my friends got sick of hearing me tell people “I saw that at Comic-Con” or, “Oh yeah, I saw 25 minutes of that 6 months before it was in theatres, presented by James Cameron”? Of course they did.

The thing was, it was INVOLUNTARY. I couldn’t help it! That’s what I’m talking about. Your association with whatever it is is always going to have that “I saw them in person” element to it.

Now… Of course, these are all what they call “Good problems to have”. Don’t get me wrong, I love Comic-Con. Find out why in the next post!!

 

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