Monday, July 15, 2013

Surviving Comic-Con, pt. 2.

...Continued from part one.


A few final points about doing Comic-Con right...

Don't take any. You know who else is going to be taking pictures? Every other human being there!! Hundreds of thousands of pictures will be taken. And you know which ones will be the best? Not the ones from your iPhone - all dark, blurry, with an orange speck in the middle that's supposed to prove you saw Joss Whedon in person. Whatever you think you need a picture of, you can find online later. While you're at Comic-Con, just enjoy being at Comic-Con.

Don't go to Hall H!
Have you ever heard old school Comic-Con aficionados complaining about how the convention has sold out to Hollywood? That real comic book fans have been replaced by pop culture junkies? Have you heard about people getting stabbed in the eye or hit by a car? What you're hearing about is Hall H. And for these reasons and more, you shouldn't waste your time there.

Hall H is nothing but a revolving door of commercials for upcoming movies and TV shows you've already heard about and probably decided whether or not you're going to see. They show "exclusive clips" that then become available online two days later. They trot out actors and directors you might like... but so does every panel, and Hall H is the most superficial, impersonal experience you're going to have with them.

Spending time in Hall H is nothing but a waste.

Only go to Hall H!
Unless that's your thing. Hall H is the place where the biggest companies with the biggest marketing budgets are going to put the most effort into trying to impress you. So if you like the razzle-dazzle, if you like the pomp and, yes, the circumstance, then Hall H may just blow your mind.

I have friends who spend the majority of their Comic-Con in Hall H, and they're not terrible people. Hall H is also a particular blessing to the amateur podcaster who doesn't get all the press access of the high-profile broadcasters and publishers.

And as far as my complaints about Hall H being nothing but a bonanza of commercials... look, I get it. It's arguable that the entirety of Comic-Con is nothing but a giant press junket. Every panel, every signing, every advanced screening is designed to make people spread the word and want to buy things. But the thing about it is...

"...Like we're being watched."
Comic-Con is what you make of it.
Despite those occasional complaints about Comic-Con being too big, too Hollywood, and not enough about actual comic books, I think most people recognize that it's held onto its roots surprisingly well. At its heart, Comic-Con is still about artists and creators reaching out to their fan base and trying to grow their audience in a natural, honest way.

That's true of the comic book people, but it's true of the Hollywood people too. Are they trying to get you to watch their shows or buy tickets to their movies? At the end of the day, yes; that's especially what the studios want. But whatever conspiratorial greed may be motivating the studios back in L.A., the people with boots on the ground at Comic-Con are members of the creative community - the writers, directors, actors and artists who are just as enthusiastic as you, and who are fans themselves. So despite the commercialism, there's still plenty of room for magic to happen at Comic-Con because it's fans meeting other fans, creators meeting other creators, and everybody celebrating the things they love. There's nothing negative about Comic-Con. The only cynicism there is the cynicism you bring with you.

And Hall H. That place is b.s.

Anyway, enjoy Comic-Con, everybody!

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