San Diego Rumored to Be
Moving Wondercon to Anaheim

Howdy!

Seventeen year-old Povi Romero was sobbing uncontrollably yesterday afternoon in our booth here at the 2011 San Diego Comic-Con international. Povi's tears were not motivated by sadness or despair, however, but rather by uncontrollable joy and happiness. After traveling 800 miles to be here from her home near Santa Fe, New Mexico, Povi accidentally ran into Alexander Skarsgard, the luscious vampire Eric Northman from the HBO series, TRUE BLOOD. Despite having just participated a wonderful presentation, he graciously signed Povi's convention badge for her, and then signed her mom's badge, too. Povi was still so overcome and shocked at her unexpected good fortune that, even ten minutes later, she was still trembling, had tears streaming down her cheeks, and could barely speak.

I am passing Povi's wonderful story on to you because I think that it clearly illustrates that San Diego Comic-Con is a place where even your wildest dreams can come true. Your personal interests may be vastly different than Povi's, but I'll bet that you would at least take a passing interesting in the stunning GREEN LANTERN sketch that Neal Adams drew for Povi's dad, Mateo Romero, or running into Stan Lee, Joss Whedon, or Lou Ferrigno walking to a panel. Whatever your personal tastes and/or fan enthusiasms, San Diego has it for you!

All of the above having been said, there are some changes afoot as regards the convention. I have already mentioned in my previous newsletters from this week that obtaining tickets for next year's show has become quite difficult. In effect, there is now a savage battle underway between very powerful forces over who can obtain easiest access to the tickets. The current victims of this conflict are comics fans, while the winners are the local hotels (who are reportedly demanding tickets to sell as a part of expensive vacation packages), local media outlets, and members of Hollywood. With fewer and fewer comics fans being able to gain access to the convention, I was not at all surprised to hear from the dealers in the Golden Age and Silver Age comics pavilion that business this weekend has been mediocre, at best.

Many folks with whom I have spoken here at the show have suggested that I should write these changes off to a natural evolution away from print media. I disagree. Plenty of comics-only shows around America are doubling in attendance this year, so there is clearly still a great deal of interest in comics. Comics do still have a vital contribution to make to our popular culture, and this convention in San Diego, above all others, needs to make certain that comics remain an integral part of the show. That will, however, require some preferential pricing of booths for comics dealers, and guaranteed continued access to the convention for comics fans who have been long-time supporters. Otherwise, this gigantic place becomes only an annual pop culture flea market, and an event that ultimately benefits only Hollywood.

With that thought in mind, several prominent comics creators (including HELLBOY creator Michael Mignola) created TRICKSTER, an independent comics convention in a culinary arts school directly across the street from the convention center. TRICKSTER is presently extremely small, but it represents a beginning of a response to the current practices of the convention. Even in its present size, TRICKSTER has been very popular as the convention for the "cool kids," and was thus quite well-attended.

There is quite a bit of talk among the comics dealers, too, of creating an entirely separate comics convention in San Diego, during the same week as "Comic-Con." I used to think that kind of talk was just a bunch of hot air, but after feeling the rage of so many comics fans and dealers first-hand, I now sense that there is enough seething resentment of the status quo that an actual revolution may well be at hand. Do not be at all surprised if the San Diego convention experiences an internal fragmentation next year, which acts to break comics fans and creators completely away from all this suffocating Hollywood domination. I don't want to believe this disintegration of such a wonderful event may already be underway, but when those in control of a society fail to adequately consider the needs of their constituents when establishing policy, they are asking to be overthrown. No one here can actually fire the leaders of Comic-Con, but we can just leave and set up our own show. As crazy as it may seem, that incredibly radical schism is now far closer to becoming possible than at any time in my memory.

I will close today's newsletter by passing on that Wondercon, which San Diego purchased several years ago, has reportedly just lost their annual dates in San Francisco's Moscone Convention Center (due to remodeling?). The reported solution (confirmed separately by two senior officials of the convention) is that Wondercon will be held in Anaheim next year on a date yet to be announced. While this change will in some measure act to blunt Disney's current competitive thrust against San Diego (not to mention seeking to block further expansion by WIZARDWORLD...), I will be very curious to see how this new Southern California convention will impact San Diego. With little warning massive revolutionary change is now at hand, and our world may never, ever, again be the same. I just hope that enough magic remains when the dust settles to keep making all of us cry sometimes with joy, when our most beloved of dreams come true in San Diego.

Happy Collecting!

Chuck Rozanski,
President - Mile High Comics, Inc.
July 23, 2011
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