A miscellany of weekly ramblings on comics, art and film by Ted Mathot, storyboard artist and writer/artist/self-publisher of graphic novels and comics

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

E3 is downsizing...and thoughts on SDCC

I thought this article from the SF guardian was particularly interesting as it relates to my thoughts about this year's Con.


"E3 is not a place where product is sold anymore. The industry is recognized as a big part of mainstream culture, so the need for a big glittering event to validate the industry is not what it used to be," he said. "What is needed ... is to focus on the fact that E3 is much more about media-related opportunities. The question is what is the most efficient way to create those opportunities."

I realize that E3 and the Con are two entirely diffrerent beasts, but "media related opportunities" seems in my mind what the Con is slowly moving towards, and away from what started it all...comics. I've been reading a lot of post-Con wrap-ups and was not surprised to read how many of us were unable to meet up with fellow artits due to being pushed to the four corners of the floor or just not having the time or energy to navigate the crowds. Folks had to wait hours in the blisting heat only to be turned away. Manuevering through "the media gauntlet" was a particularly trying experience. The Con has simply gotten too big. Media Con and Swag Con were two alternate tiles that came to mind as I tried to make my way through the enormous corporate displays choked with throngs of folks clamoring for their free stuff.

A bunch of friends and I met Sunday night after the Con had ended to decompress, drink beer and catch up, and where last year the discussion was mainly of comics, movies and that kind of stuff, this year was mostly talk of dissatisfaction with the overall "feel" of the Con. I of course enjoyed talking to everyone that stopepd by to buy the books or just to talk, show their work, or talk about story, but something just didn't sit right this year.

Is it time for a change?


Anonymous said...

I don't know if this fits, but comic-con is a little like MTV, it started out all about the music, and now look at what its become... Do they even play music anymore?

Scott Sackett said...

The MTV analogy is pretty good. I've gone to SDCC since 2000 and I would love to find a smaller con (Wondercon, maybe?) to attend. I don't care about seeing movie stars and the crowds are getting out of control. I won't even go into the Hotel situation.

pile of poo said...

Do you guys know if there is anything that can really be done about this? Is there a person or office to call and give suggestions? I would have loved to reach out to more artists at the con this year. I just couldn't get to all my favorite artists in one day. Just chiming in.

TSM said...

I heard lots of rumors during the con week, one was that the artists will be moved upstairs and another was
the con may be split into multiple locations (although that doesn't seem very possible to me at all).

I think the best thing we can do right now is band together when we buy or space (prices have gone up again for next year btw); and try to get all the artists in the same area. E-Ville Press is focusing on the 1200-1800 area, although we may try to move towards the smaller numbers to get farther away from the media stuff.

If you would like to make suggestions, I say by all means contact the Con. They need to know what is happening.


Anonymous said...


I pretty much stopped going to San Diego after my last one in 2003. Unfortunately, it has gotten too big as well as expensive. You need to budget approx $700 for hotel, food, airfare, taxi, entrance fee etc. In addition, it is too difficult to compete with the "flipper" collector (guy who gets a sketch and turns it flip on Ebay) as well as comic guy like the guy on Simpsons who will brag endlessly with the acquisition that he got and how much it is worth. (Get a real girlfriend, dude!! instead of a sketch) Pretty much no fun. From my standpoint, I enjoy APE. It is finding a diamond in a rough where an artist put together an artifact. Also, I really enjoy a pace of con where you can speak to the artist/creator about story and art. Ultimately, it is about respecting the artist, enjoying the artwork,exchanging ideas, making friends, and finding inspiration.

I hope that E-Ville will be participating at APE. Spread the word.


Jamie Baker said...

I thought it was working pretty well a few years ago when everything i was really interested in was somewhere between 100 and 1500 or so. Also, in previous years we were always placed next to or near anyone we requested. I dont know what went wrong this time around...

The one thing that I think has actually improved lately is that the SMALL PRESS area is central and in a well trafficked (though not too crowded) area. I think it has been in the 1600 zone the last few years and the people I know who've gotten those tables have been pretty happy with them.

I spoke to the con folks recently about our placement NEXT YEAR and we will likely be roughly where we were this year (1428). We were happy with our spot, with the only downer being that all our plas were so far away and all over the globe... So if you want to bear that in mind for your applications (wite down "near aisle 1400", or "near abismo/nerve bomb" in the preferences section) it would be awesome to have some buds right by us or nearby next time.

OV! said...

i agree man, its just gone crazy. comiccon should be renamed POPcon. cause thats exactly what its turned into. pop culture.
its sad to see comics pushed to the corners of this giant arena and see corp america make its way in. dont get me wrong im all for opening comics to a wider audience but this is just out of hand.

my first SD comiccon was back in 97' and back then it was still a comic con. it had plenty of elaborate displays and what not, but most if not all were comic book related. now its like i wouldnt be surprised to see walmart and 7eleven have a booth. its just too much. its still fun but yeah the vibe is totally different.
i remember standing in a portfolio review line back in 97-98' at the DC, DH, and Marvel booths to talk to editors on a one on one personal level inside the con. now its all been pushed outside and DC and Marvel booths seem to have become just a place to see the latest merchandise. no more heart or character, just cold and corp.

i dont know, maybe its just me, but i doubt it.


Louie del Carmen said...

It's all an issue of money and why should CC turn away big bucks from the big movie/game studios? (they are supposed to be a non-profit organization but we all know how that really works)

I definitely would like to see the big pavillions in the middle removed and push both ends of the convention together... now that's comic-con as we all knew it.

The so-called "new media" is blurring the lines of what can cross-over. As long as comics are being turned into movies faster than they can be printed, I see no end in sight.

That is why APE in the spring is so appealing. That is what a con should be.

Brandon said...

Great commentary on Comicon. I spent most of my energy traversing the expanse of the big booths trying to get back and forth to the artists I wanted to meet.

Maybe I'll give APE con a shot.