Thursday, July 29, 2010

A Comic-Con Post-Mortem

Hi everybody who I met at the con!  If you're looking for the Handouts from the Graphic Novels 101 panel or the Graphic Novels in Libraries panel, you'll find them under "pages" down in the sidebar. 

So, Comic-Con.  Most of the blogosphere has moved on, but I needed some time to let my synapses recover and the overcooked oatmeal that was my brain return to something resembeling a thinking apparatus.  This was a different con for me.  Number 1, I didn't go last year, so I had a longer break than usual between Nerd Proms.  Number 2, it was my daughter's first con, and a lot of my time and energy was devoted to making sure she had an enjoyable experience.

Comic-Con isn't about comics anymore, and it's too damn big.  This isn't exactly news to anybody, but this year, it really struck me.  I had a really good show, but I had a good show by making the concious decision to avoid all of the movie and TV presenations and to avoid the end of the hall where there booths were.  As such, I missed out on some of the "big" moments from the event.  And I'm O.K. with that.

However, I do think that the Con organizers need to get on the stick and figure out a more fair and equitable way to get people seated during high demand programs.  I am guilty of seat squatting, I admit.  I try to at least be a quiet, well behaved seat squatter.  I always feel... guilty about doing it though.  As a panelist, I can tell you that there is nothing more exasperating than being on the platform, talking to a room full of people who aren't listening at best, and at worst who are carrying on their own conversations and making a ruckus.  My panels are small and ill-attended.  If I were a marketing rep from say, DC/Warner Brothers, I might be a little more than annoyed about people who just want to see Thor footage snarking and hooting their way though my Green Lantern presentation.   The people who run the con are bright, they can work this out, and they need to, before people decide it's not worth the trouble to go to see a panel that somebody else is going to get up on YouTube before the day is out anyway.

While some elements of security and staff were much better run this year, it just made those that weren't stand out more.  I can only imagine the amount of coordination and planning that goes into an event of Comic-Con's size, but often, it did seem that Hand A didn't know what Hand B was doing.  For me, this was best exemplified by the Masquerade, where after being told to stand in 4 different lines, loosing my temper and getting shouted at by other attendees, a blessed staff person took pity on my daughter's aching feet and puppy dog eyes, and got things straightened out.  Unfortunately, this wasn't an isolated incident.  There were panels where I wasn't allowed back in while going to the bathroom, panels where my daughter was elbowed in the face, and panels where my husband was cursed (in my 8 year old's hearing) at for having a better seat.  Happily, those were the minority, but they shouldn't be happening at all.  Get 100,00+ people in one space and there are bound to be some jackasses.  Get 100,000 people in one space and start jerking them around, and the jackass proportion skyrockets.

The rest of my thoughts will go into list format, since I am still too brain dead to be that articulate.
  • The attitude in downtown different this year.  It seemed like the Comic-Con attendees were actually welcome.  It was nice not to feel like a freakish drain on the local economy.
  • Gina from First Second is the nicest person in the whole world.  Thanks for organizing a great panel Gina!
  • Kidlet had 3 wishes for this con.  To meet Jeff Smith, to see Rick Riordan and to see the Masquerade live.  Thanks to some very nice staff people, all three came true.
  • To whoever the genius is that decided to show fan movies over the Lucasfilm pavilion, I hope you get stuck in traffic and your air conditioning breaks.  That freakin' screen nearly got my kid trampled.
  • To all the publishers who gave me ARC's, I promise to read and review them.
  • It seemed to me that the issue of Women and Geekdom got moved into the spotlight a little bit this year.  I feel like I need to thank the Twilight girls for that, although I don't want to.
  • To the guy at the Star Trek booth who assured me that Shirtless Kirk cologne doesn't smell like ham, thanks for having a sense of humor.
  • Do you think that pulling Comic-Con duty is a punishment or a reward for the San Diego PD?  The officers I spoke with were split pretty much even. 

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