Mile High Comics, a Comic-Con International in San Diego staple, has announced to its fans that the company will not make a showing at the popular annual event for the first time in 44 years. According to Mile High Comics president Chuck Rozanski, high costs and issues with Comic-Con management have prevented their return.
In a newsletter, Rozanski wrote that he wished the circumstances were different. “San Diego [Comic-Con] has grown far beyond its original premise, morphing from what was originally a wonderful annual gathering of the comics world, into a world-renown pop culture and media festival,” he explained. “As such, it has seen rapidly escalating costs, and also a dramatic change in the demographics of is attendees. Neither of those changes worked to our advantage.”
Rozanski illustrated his point by comparing booth costs from 1973 to today. In 1973, he wrote, his one-table booth cost $40 for the entire weekend. As of last year, his 70-foot-space totaled $18,000. The year before, Mile High Comics paid $16,500. Coupled with decreasing foot traffic in the exhibit hall due to off-site events highlighting major properties, Mile High Comics has received diminishing returns.
Even with all of those factors, the final straw was “the utter indifference of the San Diego Comic-Con management to the fiasco that we endured at the beginning of last year’s show, when the freight handlers that they hired failed to deliver our comics to our booth.”
“After 44 years of my supporting them through good times and bad, that was just too much indifference to endure,” he wrote. “When you are in a relationship out of love and passion, but the other party could care less whether you live or die, you have to realize that it is time to move on.”
Rozanski wrote that he loved showcasing Mile High’s wares to the public, and his story could be viewed as an allegory of sorts for how Comic-Con might have lost much of what originally made the event popular, as much more of the focus -- both in the convention's exhibit hall and in the press surrounding the event -- is now on the film and television industry, rather than comic books themselves.
“I will very much miss San Diego [Comic-Con], but I doubt if the convention management will even notice that I’m gone,” wrote Rozanski. “Such is life.”
This year, Comic-Con International in San Diego runs Thursday, July 20 through Sunday, July 23 in the San Diego Convention Center, with preview night on Wednesday, July 19.