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Monday, July 7, 2008

SDCC 2005--2008: Changing for the ...better?

Monday, July 07, 2008 Posted by Chris Tung No comments
It's about 17 more days until the convention, and I'm [im]patiently waiting for the official schedule to come out. But after going to 3 SDCC conventions in the past (and 4 Wondercons, and 2 Supercons), I've come to learn that the information given in the programming still isn't enough. There are so many secret signings, new artists put into Artists' Alley, and other types of "hush-hush" type of events that if you were to only go by the book then you'd only be rewarded with half of the fun.

However, as I look through all of these sights to find out what the rumored panels are going to be, what special screenings the convention will have, etc. I'm starting to realize that the convention has changed so much since I first began and since it was first created in 1970, and although sometimes change can be a really great thing, it can also be have detrimental ramifications to the event.

Yes yes yes, I probably wouldn't have known about the convention if it didn't grow since it's humble beginnings in the '70's, but after attending 3 cons and walking the massive 9-ish acre convention center 3 times, you start to notice how much more cramp things are getting.

Walking with the girlfriend and friends at Supercon was a great feeling. I could actually extend my arm without having to touch a large mass of sweaty people. I could talk to an artist that I really admired without feeling rushed by the guy breathing on me only inches away from my back. And heck, I could even talk to Adam Hughes for a bit without having a large crowd listening in on our conversation.

SDCC is the complete opposite now. It's bursting at the seams. The creators and artists have mile long lines, and the entire intimacy created with Supercon is completely removed. Instead, SDCC has become a huge success but having to sacrifice the closeness with the attendee. I'm not saying that I couldn't talk to Adam Hughes, Jim Lee, Ray Bradbury, or Stan Lee but the people that you have to jump over just to say, "Hey" is well...astonishing (in a bad way).

And unfortunately, the convention is only growing. With Super hero movies becoming a genre of film all of there own (come on...you know that everyone and their grandma is going to watch The Dark Knight) and when producers and marketing all know the massive event that is SDCC, it is only logical for them to plug their product their for all the world to see. These products tend to involve the likes of Christian Bale, Jessica Alba, Milo Jovovich, James McAvoy, etc. and because of their fame people are willing to spend the $25 to just see their idol. But the question I ask is, what does this do to the dedicated fans?

We're slowly getting muscled out by hypebeasts who are trying to get the newest apparel (no joke, the con has some great clothes), celeb-hounds who are shelling out the money in order to take a peak at a movie they hear great things about but have no idea of the history behind, scenesters who flock to an "anti-conformists" medium to boost their scene status. All of these and more are changing the way SDCC is being run, but still one thing that goes through my mind is: "Is change good?"


A part of me says yes. It opens up the medium to people who don't normally understand it, and it provides work and money flow to an industry that no more than ten years ago was about to call in the towel. It creates appreciation for a medium that was attacked by Congressmen and forgotten by children. It creates meeting and greetings for people who want to break into the industry (points to self) and with the increased size, it only provides more opportunity.

But their is always the cons. It's creating the debate for a future Las Vegas Comic con. It's forcing people to have to burn their foul smelling clothes after the convention because of the amount of heat that the MAXIMUM air conditioned room creates during this 4 day extravaganza. And to be totally honest, it's altering the relationship between the devoted comic book fan and the convention itself.

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But I guess I'll just see how the convention is in a few weeks and I'll report my findings.

Take care.

-Chris.

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