Until this yr, I’d by no means been to San Diego Comic-Con. I used to be all the time conscious of it, thanks in no small half to the quantity of media consideration it each receives and exudes. Growing up, my solely context for San Diego was that the most important Comic-Con came about there. Over time, phrase of mouth advised it had drifted farther from the love of comics, and I ended up being of two minds about the entire thing. However, deep down, Comic-Con remained on my listing of “Things I Will Never Experience But Desperately Would Like To,” which additionally included procuring at Mile High Comics, assembly Kevin Smith, and feeling the feeling of falling via a cloud. I’m pleased to report that every one however a kind of has been struck from the listing, and I’m pleased to depart that cloud one on the web page the place it belongs.
One of my first indicators that this was going to be a distinct sort of expertise was within the San Diego International Airport, the place I used to be met with a digital billboard promoting the Paper Girls comedian e-book collection, which was superior. The effort to promote a comic book e-book to basic audiences in an enormous setting like an airport gave an instantaneous impression that San Diego fully embraces comedian e-book tradition, a minimum of 4 days out of the yr. Many of the eating places within the space have been festooned with cardboard cutouts of actors from the Avengers motion pictures, superhero stickers on the partitions, and superhero motion pictures taking part in on each tv.
I’ve attended New York Comic Con because it launched in 2006. I really feel that it is a fairly first rate foundation for comparability to San Diego when it comes to dimension, scope, and affect. Where San Diego appears to embrace Comic-Con and capitalize on it, New York is one other story. Indeed, at any level through the conference, for those who resolve to depart the confines of the Jacob Javits Convention Center, you will be met with a combination of concrete, metal, exhaust fumes, and chilly, New York City indifference. Certainly, that is one thing I’ve observed after New York Comic Con concludes, because the nightlife is completely dependent in your information of the town and your potential to navigate it. You could also be there for the conference, however you are by yourself with regards to something exterior the present. Nestled in Hell’s Kitchen, one cannot merely duck out for a couple of minutes to have a enterprise assembly or seize a drink poolside proper earlier than a signing or panel.
One of the most important (and truest) gripes I hear about Comic-Con these days is the shortage of give attention to comedian books and their creators. While that may be a true disgrace and a detriment to the business that spawned this complete enterprise, it occurred to me that it may also be leveraged into a chance for these intrepid comedian e-book followers who ended up going to the conference. For occasion, as an example nearly all of your attendees are going for Hall H panels and unique merch. This would imply if a outstanding creator like Jonathan Hickman have been exhibiting at his personal sales space, say, selling his newest Substack comedian e-book 3W3M, there won’t be a lot of a wait! And positive sufficient, there he was, pleased to speak about initiatives previous and current. Considering that comedian books are largely secondary at this mass-media present, a comic book e-book fan may need distinctive alternatives that in any other case would not be attainable at a real comedian e-book present.
There was a prevailing vibe buzzing beneath the floor all through the weekend at Comic-Con. And whereas some bigger conventions did return after the COVID lockdowns lifted, no different present had the identical, seemingly indomitable feeling. I might ultimately be capable to determine it after the Eisner Awards ceremony, as I sifted between legends whereas sipping my nine-dollar Diet Coke. That buzzing was generated completely by the creatives on the present, and it represented a basic feeling that issues have been lastly “getting again to regular,” and a real sense of individuals simply pleased to be in one another’s presence once more. This is the language a lot of the leisure business speaks; cocktails, late-night events, shoulder clasps, and overly aggressive handshakes born of incidental meet-ups on the ground earlier that day. I bought a way that an awesome quantity of hasty enterprise choices have been made that weekend. One might promote something to anybody that night, and each night, simply because we have been all in the identical place on the similar time.
Now weeks faraway from Comic-Con, my authentic pleasure and veneration have begun to wane. But I do vividly recall how rapidly I used to be satisfied of the particularity of the occasion and the way unsuitable I used to be to dismiss it for thus a few years. I’ll be evaluating this expertise to future conventions I attend. While the general vibe might have been inflated because of the gravitas of Comic-Con, I believe the sentiment of camaraderie should not be ignored. Whether it is for the love of comics, media, or just being amongst your friends, there’s a pleasure to be discovered at Comic-Con. Remembering that reality would possibly simply assist to make your subsequent conference expertise a bit extra magical.