San Diego Rumored to Be
Moving Wondercon to Anaheim
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
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.
President - Mile High Comics, Inc.
July 23, 2011
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