COMICS PORTAL: The Calm Before the SDCC Storm

by

You may have noticed that there’s been a reduced amount of comics news happening recently (the BOOM!/Archaia merger notwithstanding), but the flow of information from many comics companies seems to have slowed down significantly.

Why is that?

There’s this “little” event called the San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) happening from July 18 to 21, and it’s to blame!

Most comics producers try to hold back the really important news until then to make sure they get as much coverage as possible during SDCC, to receive as many “column inches” as they can. After all, thousands of fans and members of the fan press (not to mention the “real” press) will descend on the Convention Center, hungry for news to send back to their constituents and readers who couldn’t brave the crowds (or find a local place to stay)!

Expect the day or two before the doors open to be big ones as people try to beat the news rush, but once SDCC is underway, look out! There’ll be more information coming our way than many casual fans can digest! (But be sure to check in regularly here at MajorSpoilers.com to get the best and latest coverage around!)

How do I know all this? Because I had the chance to go to SDCC a couple of years back. It was quite the experience!

Some locals hate the crowds (the lady at the local transit company told me she did when I bought a train pass upon arriving in San Diego). Others were grateful the folks arrive as they do, as people who worked at the food booths in the Convention Center told me during my commute! It’s often the most they’ll earn all year!

DC Comics, Marvel, San Diego Comic-Con, SDCC, Syfy, Superman, Silver Surfer, Judge DreddOf course, getting around downtown San Diego can be quite the beast! I attended several panels and functions outside the Center that took me a long time to walk to since I was in the flow of foot traffic that just wouldn’t stop.

I was there representing a pop culture web site, and was part of the fan press. There was a lot of us there, to be sure!

Still, I did get to interview people from many Syfy shows, including Warehouse 13, Lost Girl, Being Human (the U.S. version), Eureka and Sanctuary, may those last two shows rest in peace!

I found that people hundreds of miles away knew more about what was happening at the SDCC than I did, and I was in the Convention Center all day! In the old pre-website days, people handed out paper copies of news releases. However, I didn’t see a single one of those the entire time I was there. Instead, news items went out over the Internet faster than my poor little iPad could keep up with them!

If you want to read my survival tips, check out my previous column called “Getting More Out of My Comics Convention” at this link.

The thing that bugged me most about SDCC is that the media portion of the show has pretty much overwhelmed the comics part. Yes, there are still a lot of comics panels and booths to get to, but they’re now just a fraction of that entire convention experience. And I’m sorry to see that happen.

These days, most “cons” (short for “conventions”) consider television and movie stars their biggest draws while the comics folks seem to be only add-ons by comparison. Luckily, there are several notable exceptions to this rule, including Baltimore Comic-Con, Emerald City and the Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find con. Since I’m not far from Baltimore, I love going there and seeing all the wonderfully talented comics creators, buying some of their wares and even telling them how great I think they are!

I always mention to con organizers, if you don’t have comics as the main part of your convention, call it a “Media Con” instead of a Comic-Con. Truth in advertising, I always say!

As I mentioned previously, I won’t get to attend SDCC this year, but am aiming to go again in the years ahead. If you haven’t gone at least once, I recommend you make the effort to do so. You’ll get those huge convention bags to carry things around in. Also, you’ll want to see the wonderful costumes, the downtown turned into a Syfy “village” and bump into the stars you always liked. But after a few days, even I, a confirmed comics geek, was freaked out by the sheer volume of people dressed up as Superman, the Silver Surfer or Judge Dredd, among others. I actually longed to walk through a “normal” crowd, believe it or not! (I was particularly disturbed by those people who were too “jolly” to wear their costumes! Yuck!)

Then, too, you just might get to go to a comics panel or two, as long as you get a seat in that room several hours before the one you want to attend starts! When you do that, be kind to the people in the audience who actually WANT to listen to the people on that panel even when you don’t care at all! It’s good to be kind to other comics fans because, we’re all family, after all! And they might be sending out news releases over the Web that you’ll want to read later!