Friday, July 10, 2009

CCI By Proxy

I have never made it out to San Diego for Comic-Con International. As it has been, for at least the past decade, the event in which publishers release a great deal of news, I have always been forced to retrieve news and information stemming from the event third-hand through various news outlets. For the past ten years, my primary source for that has been the Internet.

I recall that, during the 1998 show, one of the exhibitors (I want to say it was Wizard) set up a live webcam at their booth. It consisted of jumpy video (something like 1 frame every 5 seconds) and no audio, but it was the first time I got any real sense of what the convention was like. I watched as people meandered by, some in costume. Sometimes someone would stop by the booth and present some of their recently obtained swag to the camera. It was very exciting for me, stuck at the time in Ohio, to even participate that tangentially.

Connection speeds and general 'net savvy have improved greatly since then. Like many comic fans who aren't able to attend CCI, I rely on comic news sites for not only after-the-fact reports but also near real-time coverage. In 2007, the G4 network even set up shop on the convention floor and broadcast live for two hours during the show. Last year's coverage was increasing to four hours, and I believe this year is scheduled for five.

Of course, I don't have cable any more, so I won't be watching that.

Which led me back to the internet. Surely, with the popularity of video sites like YouTube and Hulu, there's bound to be more video coverage online, right? Maybe so. As I just discovered that NBC actually posted a couple hours of footage on Hulu last year, I'm hopeful that will bear something of a repeat performance this year.

Comic Book Resources has also provided a decent amount of coverage in the past, and will likely to continue to do so. They have the further advantage -- from my perspective -- of focusing on the actual comic industry moreso than the general geekery-at-large that's provided by more "mainstream" outlets.

But the reason why I bring it up is the curious phenomenon I found myself staring at. "Mainstream" coverage of CCI is only a few years old, and I'd already gotten accustomed to it. I found myself disappointed that I don't subscribe to cable any longer, having decided last year that just about anything I would watch is available as a download or via DVD. But here is a situation in which the incomplete convergence of TV and the Internet left a gaping hole in my comic news milieu.

Which brought on a second phenomenon in that that was a hole I wasn't even aware of two years ago. The gap between what TV and the Internet provided was still so large that I found it impossible to even consider bridging. Nevermind that it wasn't much more than a decade ago when comic news would take weeks to filter back from San Diego.

I don't really have a point to this post, other than to point out the change in expectations. It will be curious to watch how that further evolves over the next year or two, as well as seeing how the lines between outlets continue to blur.

(As something of a sidebar, I actually will be largely off the grid that weekend anyway and probably won't be able to read/see much of the coverage until early August. Which, as something of a second sidebar, is perfectly fine with me since I've lost much of my fan interest in CCI -- given the increasing prevalence of non-comics media -- and would much rather put my focus on the New York Comic-Con, where the focus still seems to be on comics.)

1 comment:

Chris Crosby said...

Starting with last year's con, Keenspot has broadcast live video (with audio) from our booth every day of the convention. There's an attached chat room allowing viewers to interact with what's happening. Check it out at keenspot.com.