I’ve posted in the past about Comicon, although this is the first SDCC on the new blog so I suppose it’s unsurprising if people haven’t seen it before. This weekend is the 43rd annual convention in San Diego, California and I attended it from 1974-2009, that’s 35 years straight.
However, when people hear that I don’t go anymore, especially that I don’t go by choice, they always act surprised. It’s not like I stopped liking all the geeky things that happen there, I even get in for free as a professional, I ought to be really excited about the convention, I have to miss going to Comicon every year, right?
The answer is, no. I don’t miss Comicon. I miss how Comicon used to be. I don’t care about it now, it’s a horrible place to be. I don’t want to be packed in like sardines from the moment the con opens to the moment it closes, I don’t want to worry about the tons of dog and pony shows in the exhibit hall, I don’t give a damn about Hollywood and I think Hollywood destroyed Comicon. I don’t want it to take 3 days to get through the dealer’s room. It’s not that they have that many worthwhile dealers to begin with, it’s just a fight against the tide of smelly humanity, trying desperately to swim upstream to actually get to a table to see what anyone has. You can’t shop at Comicon because you can’t actually move or do anything. And forget about getting into any of the panels you want to see, at least if you’re not willing to give up half of your day to stand in line. Mostly, you have to try to get into a room early in the day and then sit through a couple of panels you don’t care about in order to get to the one that you do.
Seriously, as much as I hate to think about the “good old days”, I’d much rather go back to a smaller Comicon, such as in this picture from the 1985 Comicon. This convention was at the old convention center and only 6000 people showed up, as opposed to the 130,000+ they expect this year. Yes, that’s probably too small, but I’ve really been loving Wondercon the last couple of years because it’s really sized at that butter zone for Comicon, in the 50-60k attendees. It’s fun, it’s enjoyable, it’s not wall-to-wall, packed in like sardines annoyance. It used to be about comic books and action figures and having a good time being a geek. Now, it’s Hollywood-centric crap. No thanks.
Alright, to be honest maybe the only thing I miss are seeing friends that I rarely get to see otherwise. I miss bumping into Ray Bradbury every single year in the same spot in the exhibit hall, although I unfortunately can’t do that anymore. I miss talking to all of my writer and artist friends, but most of those have been pushed aside by Hollywood anyhow.
So I guess that somewhere deep inside, I’d love to go, but it isn’t modern Comicon I want to go to, it’s a place that just doesn’t exist anymore. Because I could never be anything but disappointed with what Comicon has become, I’ll just stay home.