Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Over the Lines: Reflections on Comic-Con International 2013

Yet another San Diego Comic-Con is in the books, giving geeks a whole slew of new movie announcements to pontificate and argue about until the smaller-scale hysteria of NYCC hits the Big Apple in October. From huge Marvel Studios reveals to the announcement of a Batman/Superman team-up film to the surprising buzz swirling around Legendary Pictures’ Godzilla, many of us — especially those of us who attended the chaotic convention — are experiencing the kind of sensory overload that’s usually impossible to attain legally.

Is SDCC fun and exciting? Absolutely. However, as awesome as it might be to be crammed into a convention center with 135,000 like-minded weirdos, Comic-Con in San Diego can also be one of the most frustrating experiences for a fan … and this is coming from someone that’s been to three of them in a row.

Part of that frustration — if not all of it — stems from the fact that SDCC is just too damned crowded. Getting where you want to be is an arduous task even for the most seasoned of convention-goers, and formerly mild-mannered funnybook fanatics can become downright rude in a tightly-packed swarm, especially when exclusive goods are at stake (more on that later).

In a span of five days, I’d been pushed, shoved and otherwise displaced far more often than I would have liked by those who’d neglected to pack their common courtesy in order to fit those exclusive Star Wars Angry Birds in their carry-on bag. There were innumerable kind and courteous people sprinkled throughout San Diego last week, but it’s the rude geeks that threaten to ruin a good time for everyone else.

Perhaps, though, the reason so many of us are so pushy and/or shovey at Comic-Con is the fact that full enjoyment of everything the event has to offer requires the kind of line-waiting that would make Walt Disney blush. Want that SDCC-exclusive action figure set? Well, you’d better be prepared to sleep on a sidewalk so you can wait in a line for another line that earns you a wristband that grants you access to a third queue to obtain said product if supplies last. Phew.

Oh, and forget about witnessing those aforementioned big studio announcements … Hall H is as impenetrable as Wonder Woman’s corset. In other words, don’t even think about it, fanboy.

As SDCC grows and transforms into more of an entertainment juggernaut, it’s worth asking: Is Comic-Con getting too big for its own good? This is the question that I’m mulling over as I thumb through my new stack of comics: those paper things that brought us all together in the first place.