Thoughts On SDCC By Proxy

By | Sunday, July 15, 2012 Leave a Comment
Comic-Con International 2012 is winding down as I'm typing this. As I noted earlier, I didn't attend personally, but watched the events unfold online.
Coverage of the event has been fantastic. Between the more official outlets like MTV and G4, and the informal ones like what fans were uploading to Flickr and Twitter, it was easy to get a sense of what was going on, what was exciting people and what was new and different. With the added benefit of not having to deal with the crowds or the financial costs. I spent almost literally the entirety of my Saturday starting a computer monitor taking in Comic-Con, not to mention fair chunks of Thursday, Friday and today.

As I figured, both Marvel and G4 provided live video feeds, as did MTV (which I was not anticipating). Things From Another World didn't do as much video reporting as they did last year, but ultimately provided more valuable (to me) footage by posting the Firefly Reunion and Joss Whedon panel in full. Written reports from Comic Book Resources, Comics Reporter, ComicsAlliance and The Beat all proved insightful. And, again, "citizen reporting" via Twitter and man-on-the-street photos via Flickr were very helpful in getting the tenor of the various events at the show.

One of the interesting things about Comic-Con now is that little news breaks there any more. All of the announcements I saw from Marvel and DC were basically confirmations of what was pretty well guessed already. Most indie creators barely get heard between the big name publishers, who themselves are often drowned out by movie studios, so there's little desire to try to get announcements out amid the hyperbole of... well, everything. It seems to me a little like walking down the boardwalk with carnival barkers all hollering at you to try to win a Kewpie doll.

Ultimately, I didn't watch much of the Marvel feed because of that. Since it was in their own space on their own channel, it came across like those stereotypically cheesy and overly loud used car salesmen ads on television. Guys, you have microphones; you don't need to shout! (I'm looking at Jeph Loeb in particular here!)

G4 was about what I expected, with a parade of mostly TV and movie celebrities (though, to be fair, more than a few comics folks as well) answering very typical questions with very practiced talking points. It was a little useful for picking up on some projects I had been largely unaware of, but very corporate feeling.

MTV Geek did, I thought, the best job with their video coverage. (I should note that MTV actually had its own presence there as well, focusing more on the movie side of things, I believe. I should probably also provide full disclosure that I have a weekly column at MTV Geek.) But they had a good mix of folks they talked to, including Kevin Eastman, some guys from 2000 AD, and the Hernadez Brothers. I have to admit being skeptical of Steven Smith coming to the game -- despite his blog introduction, I was leery of his geek cred. But he pulled out a surprising (to me) amount of trivia in off-the-cuff conversations with a variety of guests, making the interviews feel more "us fans" and less "corporate shtick." Now several of the guests (like Stan Lee and Dan DiDio) still stuck to their typical talking points and didn't provide anything new or insightful but that tends to be what they do anyway.

In terms of written coverage, Comic Book Resources had it down again with any number of reports filed throughout each day. They have, I believe, a larger operation than any of the others, and I think that goes a long way towards making their coverage better. There's so much going on at San Diego that Tom Spurgeon can't hope to cover it all by himself. CBR's having several guys running around affords them not only the ability to be in different places simultaneously, but also the time to write their reports instead of having to race to the next panel.

I'm kind of to the point where I don't know if I really want to go to Comic-Con any more. I mean, the after-hours parties sound cool and being able to have a photo-shoot under three 12-foot-tall ogres would be neat, but I can get the bulk of what I want out of a con at smaller shows. And most of what's specific to San Diego is available online. Heck, I even bought two pieces of original art this weekend to celebrate San Diego while I was sitting comfortably in my office here in Ohio. There's only one panel I'm aware of that I would've liked to have heard what was discussed but hasn't been transcribed or been posted online, but that's hardly worth the time/effort/cost of doing the entire convention.

I still like the idea of the convention experience (I have yet to really execute it "properly" I think) so I'm still planning on attending cons in the future. I'm just not sure if I have any need/desire to go to one that's so well covered online.
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