Hollywood Crashing Comic-Con? I'm Saving Them A Seat.

 

Comic-Con is dead. Long live comics.

 

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“So, how was Comic-Con?”

 

The question was as common as a greeting when I did my tour of Los Angeles last week. Everyone wanted to know what myself and Kill Shakespeare co-creator Anthony Del Col had seen.

 

“Was there a hidden gem you noticed?”

 

Not really.

 

“Did you catch a glimpse of anyone famous?”

 

Not unless a 60-yard glimpse of Ryan Reynolds on the big-screen counts.

 

Ryan Reynolds Green lantern

And then the question was asked, in a serious tone, from one “true” comics fan to another: “Isn’t it a shame that Hollywood is taking over San Diego?”

 

Actually? No.

 

Sorry, but I just don’t get all the angst. Admittedly, while I am a life-long comics reader and even briefly managed the largest Comic shop up here in Canada, I am a newbie to San Diego.

 

This was just my second Comic-Con; and my first was the infamous “Twi-Con” where the San Diego convention centre’s floor was awash with “tweenage” girls all jonesing for a glimpse of Robert Pattinson and Kristin Stewart.

 

But that didn’t bug me at all. What disturbed me is the people who wanted to chase out those elements, those who felt that those young girls and their Mum’s ruin Comic-Con.

 

Ladies and gentlemen, I hate to break it to you but San Diego is all grown up and she has been for years. Now true, Nurse Jackie has barely a tangential relationship to anything traditionally “Con-like”, and the big game and movie studios become ever more aggressive in trying to steal our eyes and ears while we walk the floor, but so what?

 

Edie-falco-nurse-jackie-1

I love comics. I love sci-fi and fantasy. I played role-playing games. I built numerous Games Workshop minature armies. Hell, I even LARP’ed… once. And the best part of all those experiences to me is the community. Comic-Con is growing and that means a different community. It isn’t just about comics anymore. And that’s sad in a way, but its also a good thing. It means new people are going to be exposed to stuff you dig. Sure, some of them might think something you like is stupid, but screw them, that’s their baggage.

 

Me? I want to go to San Diego and find a community. And I want to be able to introduce new people to my communities and to be introduced to something I wouldn’t have tried otherwise (see: Galactica, Battlestar).

 

Cultures thrive by spreading (can you come up with a better word – expanding, growing?). And inclusive cultures spread the fastest – it’s why we can eat McDonald’s in Moscow, but Borscht King still hasn’t grabbed a foothold in Cleveland (use a different example than Borscht King, I thought you were trying to make a joke about Burger King and it stumped me for a sec…) . If Twilight and Californication and  Eastbound Down and Bound bring new people to the convention, that’s a good thing. Eastbound

 

The more people who can self-identify as part of geek culture the better. The more inclusive and pervasive geek culture seems the better. And, as a side-note, doesn’t more big-money exposure mean more opportunities for the creators you love to earn more for their craft? And maybe more exposure means shows like Firefly are saved from the chopping block.

 

Look, we all know that Geek culture is expanding and as a result San Diego has expanded with it.

 

“But”, I hear people protest, “It’s not really a comics show anymore”.

 

Yep, you’re right. San Diego is no longer a comics’ show. Losing SDCC as a comic show would be a problem to me if not for one simple fact: the comic convention scene is enjoying a renaissance right now.

Avengers1
Across North America, Europe and Asia comic shows are popping up like mushrooms. My hometown, Toronto, has at least three; plus a couple of Anime shows, a Transformers festival, a horror festival… the list goes on.

 

If you want to find a show where you can just talk comics you can. Hell, branching out to one of these smaller cons might actually mean more to you than going to SDCC because these little shows could really use your support, and, I can only speak for myself here, but there is an entirely different opportunity to connect with people in those smaller settings.

 

Maybe the real problem people have with SDCC is one of perception. Maybe it’s time to rename the grand old gal?

 

What if we called it “Pop-Con”? It’s a clear inclusive name and it shows that SDCC truly has grown into something different - not better, not worse - just different.

 

Pop-Con. It’s a name that lets everyone know that anything they’re into in pop-culture can be found within these four walls. That name could open the gates even farther inviting new art forms to take part. And it might help you and I find new communities, to share our old favourites and find our next best thing that much more easily.

 

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Pop-Con lives. Long live Geek culture.

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