Now that Comic-Con is slowly retreating into a large, monolithic entity in the memories of all who attended this year, it’s worth looking back and thinking: Was it all worth it?
Various, smarter, people have already done the math about how much companies attending Comic-Con International will have had to pay per attendee in order to really impact people’s consciousness, but even that seems like a shot in the dark to me – CBS’ booth, for example, was bigger than most, but I couldn’t tell you anything about any of their shows that were showing there – In comparison, AMC’s The Walking Dead booth was much smaller and, presumably, cheaper, but it grabbed your attention and got people talking (Similarly, the No Ordinary Family booth was tiny, but had people lining up all weekend to lift the hydraulically operated car and ogle the booth babes). My concern isn’t really anything to do with cost, but more – At what point does Comic-Con become complete overkill?
To put things in some kind of perspective, on the Thursday evening of Con, I saw Scott Pilgrim Versus The World; it was, genuinely, everything I had hoped it’d be – Not least of all because it was different enough from the books that it felt like a complete movie in and of itself, as much a movie that celebrates movies as the original books celebrate comics – but the euphoria from that experience was shortlived; within minutes of leaving the theaters, people were trying to grab me to go to the opening of Flynn’s Arcade that night, or to head to some party where some celebrity might’ve been showing up possibly. That’s what the entire con was like: every cool thing you saw was immediately followed by a hundred different things that wanted you to know that they could be just as cool if given the chance.
It’s easy to talk about the winners of Comic-Con – Those who managed to get people most excited about their comics, their movies or shows or whatever (For my money, Scott Pilgrim, Walking Dead and Tron Legacy were the biggest things there) – but what seems to missed in all that commentary is how arbitrary that genuinely ends up being. For all the money that is spent, what catches people’s attention is what catches people’s attention; something that cuts through all the noise and sticks in the brain, and that’s something so independent of money or even quality, that it almost becomes magical. With so much begging for your attention to Comic-Con, with so much potential to get lost amongst everything else, I can’t help but feel that the real value of going to Comic-Con isn’t to let people know about your work, but instead because it’s too embarrassing not to go, these days.
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