After listening to podcasts and talking to people who spent the weekend at San Diego Comicon recently, I can honestly say that I’m so happy I didn’t go and, surprisingly, there are lots of people who agree with me, that they wish they hadn’t gone too. It isn’t that I can’t go, I’m a professional, I get in for free, it would cost me nothing but hotel and travel, but I honestly don’t have any interest in being packed in like sardines with more than 130,000 people into a venue that’s far too small.
Now don’t get me wrong, I still love conventions, I still go to Wondercon every year and it represents a mini-Comicon for me, but San Diego Comicon is far too big for me anymore, far too crowded for me and honestly, it’s in the worst facility and wrong city for what it’s become. I don’t care if they double the size of the convention center like they’re promising, it won’t improve anything. San Diego just isn’t big enough, nor is it set up for an event this size. Back when I started going to Comicon, back in the mid 70s, it was fine. It was great through the 80s and 90s, but once it turned into a giant media clusterfuck, that was it. There just aren’t enough hotel rooms in the city, not even in the surrounding cities, there isn’t enough mass transit, it’s just a mess. When the convention sells out in 72 minutes, something is wrong. When every hotel in the city is sold out in a half hour, there is a problem. When you can literally not move through the dealer’s room because there are so many people packed into the aisles, there’s an issue.
And maybe it’s because I’m older and I’m just not interested in knowing the latest information the first second it’s announced. I just don’t care. I don’t care about the panels, I don’t care about the exclusives, I have patience, I can wait, I don’t need any of the immediate gratification. In fact, people put videos of the panels up on YouTube so I can watch the ones I want to see without having to stand in absurd lines to do it. There’s also no point to the dealer’s room these days since I can get anything I want online with a few clicks of the mouse and have it shipped to my front door. Why bother with the fruitless search through tables you have to fight to get close to? Browse. Point. Click.
In fact, none of the people I’ve talked to who went to Comicon were very happy about it. Oh sure, if you make money there, I’m sure you’re thrilled, but for attendees, it really sucks. They called me from the floor, complaining about the crowds, the difficulty of moving or finding anything or getting into any of the panels, wondering why they bothered. I had one friend whose favorite parking spot got torn out and he had to pay $30 for parking. Parking! That’s ridiculous!
So no, I’m not sorry I skipped San Diego Comicon again this year, I didn’t even consider it and I just don’t care. I’ll stick to smaller venues that are a lot more fun like Wondercon where I can park without breaking the bank, walk around the floor with ease and get into every panel I want to see without spending the entire weekend in line. And those announcements that get made at Comicon? They’ll still be there when I decide to get online and look. It really doesn’t matter that much. I’m not going back to Comicon so long as they are in San Diego and if that means never, I’m cool with never.