With the 2010 San Diego Comic-Con having closed its doors, of course I’m going to have to write it about it for Boiling Point. Now, I’m a fan of Comic Con and don’t want to take a few of the obvious roads, especially ones that don’t apply to everyone. Many of us in the press industry had rough times getting into many panels, though how interesting is that to the readers? Not very, I’d reckon.
I’ve also already talked about how we shouldn’t make fun of Con goers because not only do most of them smell just fine but for most of my life I was a fan and not a writer. There are plenty of complaints about Comic Con (we’ll focus on the positives later), but for me, ignoring press/job related issues, the one thing I don’t like about SDCC is the kind of non-comic related bull that gets shipped down there every year.
I think it’s become fairly obvious that Comic Con is basically four days of advertising. It has long ago stopped being a place that people went to buy stuff and hear people talk about comics. Now its a non-stop barrage of advertising, commercials, news breaks, and all sorts of stuff. There are fans who are rewarded for their dedication, but mostly studios and exhibitors are trying to woo and wow people into spreading the word. This is capitalism, after all, so I don’t fault them for wanting to do this.
I do think that the Comic Con organizers need to set more stringent rules for who is allowed to come down to Comic Con or studios need to be more respectful of the what the Con is actually about. It would be kind of ridiculous for Con organizers to say “This can’t be shown here.” That’s a bit too much like a dictatorship – but then again, do we really need to see Salt at Comic-Con?
Ideally Comic Con as it stands would be split into Comic Con and Movie Con, that’d be cool. But the odds of that are virtually zero. So whatever the answer is, whoever the responsibility lies with, one thing is for certain – the films being shown at Comic Con are bullshit.
First and foremost, there are films being shown at Comic Con. Granted, many are movie related, or at least fantasy, but SDCC has become known far more for its Hollywood connections than its print connections, and something about that just doesn’t sit right with me.
With the word ‘comic’ so prominently in the title, any film shown should be of a certain sort. Most definitely comic book movies should be shown and celebrated – Green Lantern, Cowboys & Aliens, Thor, Green Hornet, and Captain America are all perfectly logical to appear at Comic Con. Further, properties that are in that sort of nerd genre-ether are more than welcome. Supernatural, Skyline, Battle Los Angeles, and even Harry Potter are acceptable to me. I might even grant The Expendables a reprieve from this, because there is just something fun and genre about that.
What doesn’t fit in? Salt, Glee, Burn Notice, Psych, White Collar, and things of that nature. Don’t get me wrong, I f*cking love the USA Lineup, but it doesn’t really belong at SDCC no matter how entertaining and great they are. The trailers shown for crap like Gulliver’s Travels or Charlie St. Cloud can also go eat a pile of d|cks and not just because they’re crappy films.
Like I said, I don’t fault the studios for wanting to show us this stuff – you’ve got 130,000 or some odd people moving through the Con over four days and in any of the big halls you’re going to directly reach between 1500 and 6000 people. With the Internet and Twitter firing at full force, we’re talking about those 3000 people easily reaching a million people – and that’s if each person only has 300 followers. So yeah, basically, a huge audience of the people who want to see your movies.
So while I’m not certain how exactly we fix this, or who can fix it, but Comic Con hasn’t gone too commercial (it’s been commercial, and will be, for years), it’s gone too far from where it once was – a place for and about comics. Which became a place for and about fans of comics and the related properties. Now it’s a place for studios to show whatever they want – and that process has got to stop. Let’s put the comic back in Comic Con. Let’s focus on the books, the characters, the movies they inspire, and the general genre. But let’s say no those unrelated films which ride the relevant coattails.