View Full Version : The Value in Comic Con's Decline

03-06-2008, 08:01 PM
I live in San Diego. Getting to Comic Con, and arranging accomodations is all a non-issue for me.

This is the issue:

Comic Con has sold out beyond the fire-marshall's safety capacity now (in general, 2008 tickets will still be available for a while, I'm sure), and it looks like it is so popular it will continue to do so for the conventions in the near future.

It's so busy, that I'm very serious - you book your hotel reservations a YEAR in advance or you chance not getting a room (by 6 months out, it gets pretty hairy). And I'm talking that hotels out of town, 20-30 minutes drive into to the Con every day are booked up. It is the single, largest draw to San Diego (all at once) for any event, all year - based on our Chamber of Commerce business review reports.

That's all well and good for my hometown's economy, but what about myself who just wants to enjoy a lot of the panels? I got the latest edition of the Comic Con magazine that interviewed one of the fans who started a line for an event at Comic Con the night before!

Let me tell you, I got into Paramount's panel that had Leonard Nimoy and the new guy playing Spock, JJ. Abrams, and by satellite, Harrison Ford, George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Shia LeBouf, Karen Allen, and so forth - all live for the Star Trek / Indiana Jones panel.

I did so by cutting the line and faking out a security guard. The shut the doors on a lot of people who spent their day at Comic Con waiting to get into that. I got this cool Indiana Jones poster book for attending. But I didn't know it was going to be that hard to be seated in an event with chairs for possibly several thousand, and I made the most of my opportunity having already gotten down there (to the Con) in the first place.

But I have no desire to hang out all night in line to see Michael Bay and a test shot from Transformers 2 or whatever they might do down there next summer. What about Star Trek, as it should have been mostly filmed by then?

Well, I'll see the whole movie when it comes out. At the Star Wars C3 event, I really loved going to see the movie previewed (before E3 came out) and a lot of it was shown - in film sequence even - put to music very close to John Williams' style. That was awesome! And the forum filled and over-flowed. But I had to wait in line for maybe only an hour or so to get into that and I could go to other events.

As it is, I barely have time to wander the dealer floors at these things and I never feel like I get to stare and gawk at Hasbro's showcases enough.

I just might not bother with the struggle for a while.

That being said, I way take a ride downtown for lunch or dinner each day, to meet as many SSGrs as I can. That's a great part of every con - seeing many of you!

I haven't decided yet, but I know that unless I cheat lines and take advantage of others who have waited patiently for events they arrived at from out of town, hoping to see, I'm not going to get the most out of Comic Con. I don't think I really want to play that way if I know now that I can avoid it.

El Chuxter
03-06-2008, 08:27 PM
Damnation! I haven't ordered tickets yet, so I'd better do so quick!

03-06-2008, 08:32 PM
I didn't make it last year because I was in Prague working on that movie WANTED.

I was there the year before, but I really can't stand being there for more than an hour or so. There are SO many people and WAY too much to see. Maybe the young kids can handle it, but the overstimulation is too much. Rows and rows of "stuff." People everywhere. It's impossible to concentrate on one thing because the visual and audio assault is overpowering.

Having said that, for anyone who's been to E3 knows that Comiccon has nothing on that debacle. But ComicCon has overgrown itself. Too much. Too many. And yet, not enough actual content. I go to see the Star Wars related stuff and that's about it. Hasbro. Gentle Giant. Topps. And anyone else who happens to have some SW related junk to look at. As far as the rest of it goes, it's overpowering. Small doses are all I can personally handle anymore.

Don't get me started on the parking.....

El Chuxter
03-06-2008, 08:45 PM
All righty, I've got my tickets now!

I'm lucky enough to have family in San Diego, so I don't have to worry about parking or lodging. Or dinner. Just lunch.

I wonder how Comic-Con was when it was actually a comic convention? It certainly isn't "just" that anymore. But you can still find some amazing deals on paperback collections on Sunday. :thumbsup:

figrin bran
03-06-2008, 09:30 PM
Tycho, I really hope that you end up going. I'll try to be there for 2 days this time and I guess I had better buy my ticket in right away!

03-06-2008, 11:36 PM
Figrin, even if I decide NOT to go, I'll be coordinating with you and everyone else so I can come down and join you for lunch etc.

Honestly, as I've been thinking about it, I AM likely to go, as I can still get in to all the things on Friday (Star Wars day) and it's just the struggle to attend things like Indiana Jones or Kevin Smith, Smallville, etc. that ticked me off in so much as they threatened to prevent me from getting my money's worth if I was denied access to any of them because the darn Con was so over-crowded.

But whatever I decide to do, we'll coordinate lunch with yourself (Figrin), SirSteve, JediTricks, Deoxy, you, BlueSnags, Turbowars, JabbaJohn, El Chuxter, Stillakid, and everyone else I appologize for not mentioning at the moment. I don't want to miss hanging out with everyone. Dealing with the overcrowding is another matter.

03-06-2008, 11:56 PM
I've been thinking about this since you mentioned this to me last week Tycho, and I think that woman's full of crap about staying overnight. There's NOWHERE to stay overnight, they street you around 12:30am, about half an hour after the con closes evening events, and you're not allowed to queue up anywhere in front until the next morning. Moreover, there weren't panels THAT busy there last year, even the full panels only had like 2 or 3 hours lines generally for seats.

Yes, "good" seats take longer, but who really gives a crap about "good" seats anyway? And you remember how I got those primo seats for the Sarah Silverman Show panel? That was a full house, yet I got us close enough to look into the actor's eyes and see the pain. :p

You got into that Paramount panel last minute because of sneakiness, but if you had showed up an hour early you still would likely have gotten in. (And you with your PKD can get a wheelchair if you want, tell them to F their stupid lines). Or just stay through the previous panel. You have no idea how long those folks who didn't get into the panel were in line - when I did the Smallville panel (which suuuucked), I got into line half an hour early and the line EXPLODED 10 minutes later, people show up late for this stuff.

I did 5 panels in larger rooms and none of them were major line problems, just a little planning and patience, and it was all good. In fact, every panel that I missed was due to scheduling conflicts, not capacity. Hell, Friday I did 6 panels and 2 nighttime panels, half of those were HUGE panels too, second-largest and third-largest capacity panels of the whole show, none of which were major line issues. It all comes down to scheduling and priorities and perseverance and not trying to do too much.

The best hotels ARE taken up on SDCC hotel morning, that did suck, but with a little research, I was able to find a decent hotel for a great price just 10-15 minutes out on the freeway, and there were tons more hotels left that were just a little more - some were quite a bit closer too.

I get the feeling you're kind of working yourself up on this issue to make it out to be something it wasn't - don't get me wrong, it wasn't golden for me either, but it wasn't as bad as is being made out.

Also, keep in mind you may not be able to trolley out to meet up with buddies every day if it's just a meal for you, there are several unknowns at this point for you which could keep that from being realistic (not the least of which is you might move away from the trolley), so it might make more sense just to get the all-access pass so you will have a better use of your time. 4-day passes are still available now, and you can afford it, just look at it as 7 more background nobody figures you'll put off buying. ;)

BTW, if anybody's going for multiple days and wants to do reporting for the site, send me a PM and let me know what your schedule looks like, we might be able to work something out.

Also, I could use info on the parking situation. Turbowars gave me enough info to look into it but I didn't get enough personal stories of horror. And how stupid are the owners of the SD convention center? It holds 30,000 people but they only built 2,000 parking spaces?!? LACC holds around the same amount and has like 7 times that many!

I wonder how Comic-Con was when it was actually a comic convention? It certainly isn't "just" that anymore. But you can still find some amazing deals on paperback collections on Sunday. :thumbsup:I kinda bet it was a lot like WizardWorld LA will be next week - kinda small and boring. :p

Sunday last year's con was a day for NON deals, I tried to do some deal hunting, you'd think these guys expected 4 more days of show or something. I didn't buy a damned thing that day.

03-07-2008, 01:40 AM
Parking: There is a trolley station, San Diego's main transit headquarters btw, where the geniuses that think of the trolley schedule work, at about 15th St. (the Convention Center runs perpendicular to 4th & 5th, etc.) You can park in their transit tower parking garage and taken the trolley west for about only 2-3 stops and you're there. You can also park at Old Town off the I-5 freeway, or at three of the shopping malls that are inland, sort of off of I-8, and catch the trolley in there. The difference? You won't have to pay as much or ANYTHING to park, and have a lot less competition. In the 6-7-8am time, you can find parking much more easily. Later on, you have to just get lucky. But I'm sure you can find $30 parking as well (with no in-out priviledges *sigh*). I live along the trolley route at present, and can get a couple parking permits for guests who want to park at my place and ride some free parking permits, or you can park at Sears, across the street from me. It's a nice area that you wouldn't be afraid to leave your car.

If I get to move between now and the Con: my ideal location to buy my dream house would be Del Mar. If I move, I won't live right on the tracks, but in single-family homes. However, at the beach in Del Mar, the coaster train stops. There is public parking there - some I think you pay for, but it costs a lot less than downtown, or it's comparable. I might use that option. Riding the Coaster in to San Diego's main train station, I can hop off and take the trolley for 3-or-4 stops and be right at the Convention. I don't know how long the Coaster ride takes, but by car it's only about 25 minutes or less. I didn't think about the Coaster before. But I seriously have to have some success with my novel and find quite the "fire-sale" to afford a single-family home in Del Mar. My cousins got a house there for $900,000! Prices have probably dropped at least $150,000 for the desperate-to-sell by now, but it still might not be pretty - or even impossible. If my family helps me arrange a deal, I will take it. Being on a trolley route to Comic Con is hardly a priority next to that. And yes, I would have the Coaster. Forgot about that.

03-07-2008, 02:29 AM
What a surprise, Tycho's suggesting the trolley. :p I already know how THAT goes.

I can't count on your parking passes since I won't know if you'll actually live there by then, and I'm not sure on heavy-stuff days that I'll want to not have a nearby auto to drop goods.

I'd never EVER leave my car in a private parking lot like Sears where they could tow it away after 2 hours and I wouldn't even know for another 8.

The Coaster's like $6 and only runs every 2 hours, for me it'd be about as inconvenient as it can get, PLUS I'd have to buy parking there AND a trolley pass since the Coaster flies right by the convention center but doesn't stop there. The drive from Del Mar is 30 minutes according to what I've read, and the Coaster trip is only a little less.

I'm talking about parking local to the con itself.

03-08-2008, 12:53 AM
Hey Tycho. If I ever do make it out there to Comic-Con, I'll just camp out on your porch. That'll take care of the accomodations.

03-08-2008, 03:56 AM
I drove from my hotel to Old Town, took the trolley as Tycho suggested. This was two years ago, but it worked out the best for me. Never had a problem with parking or finding a spot at all it was a breeze. Of course I went fairly early but not too early both days I was there.

Spent the third day at Pacific Beach body surfing. I was suprised how few people were at the beach. Had a great time, but the drive back to Albuquerque was agonizing because I was so sore from swimming so much.

03-08-2008, 11:10 AM
At least parking is better these last two years than it used to be. I've done the trolley from Qualcomm before and that works well...as long you aren't carrying half a ton of toys. To that end, I try to get all the exclusives on the first day, but I can't remember when that ever happened. So having a car nearby helps when you want to drop things off instead of carrying them around or placing them on the seats next to you during panels. For the most part, my Fri's and Sat's are spent in Hall H, with exceptions here and there. By the response to last year's Thursday Hall H panels, I suspect there will be programming on Thursdays from here on out, which hopefully will thin out the competition lining up in front of me.

Bel-Cam Jos
03-08-2008, 06:10 PM
All righty, I've got my tickets now!

... so I don't have to worry about parking or lodging. Or dinner. Just lunch.

I wonder how Comic-Con was when it was actually a comic convention? It certainly isn't "just" that anymore. But you can still find some amazing deals on paperback collections on Sunday. :thumbsup:My first Con was some time in the mid-'90s, and I could navigate it fairly easily. The last two times I went, it was by myself. I leave home around 5am (I'm about a 2-hour drive north of SD) and find parking pretty easy. I then break out a SW book (there's always one out around that time of the year :D ) to wait in line before they open the doors. And I always bring a snack, that lasts me all day, until I drive back home and snag a fast food drive thru.

But my interest has waned a bit lately. :( Tycho, you have been the only confirmed SSGer I've met, and that was at a Con within the last 5 years (when the panel spilled the beans about what has become the 9-book Legacy novel series).

03-08-2008, 06:37 PM
I am not an early riser, so the prospect of going extra early just for a parking space holds no appeal for me. I'll drop the extra $8 for an extra 3 hours in bed. :D

03-20-2008, 01:47 AM
I got my tickets to the New York Comic. However Im not very happy about it. There seems to be a an overall lacking in the Star Wars department, which is my main reason for going in the first place. Last year there were a few celebs doing autographs and photos (Ray Park, Mayhew and Dan Logan). Nothing has been mentioned thus far about anything like that. I also had the chance to meet Jan Duursma who does alot of work on the Legacy comics. She did a wonderful sketch for me. I recently emailed her, and it does not look like she will be there this year. ast year the NY Jedi were out in full force with demos and lightsaber battles in the main entrance.

In recent weeks I have not come across any news of anything Star Wars taking place at this years Comic Con in NY. Im totally bummed about this. $35 bucks a ticket, the ferry to NY from NJ, parking. It all adds up. Its as stated before that they are cramming so much other crap into this thing and not really programming to entertain the guests.

The first Comic Con had Kevin Smith and the great Stan Lee. This year. zip. Unless you want to consider the preview of Hellboy 2 by director Guillermo del Toro and Ron Perlman. But as compared to years past, this years programming is a total waste. I sense that this could in fact be my last East Coast Comic Con.

If SirSteve or anyone at the site needs any kind of coverage at the NY Comic Con, please let me know. I will have camera in hand and am willing to do whatver you need.

03-20-2008, 10:40 PM
Ray Park and Daniel Logan were at Wizard World LA last weekend, I got to meet them, say a few words and shake Park's hand (Logan was signing some stuff). I can't imagine them not doing NY CC if they'd do Wizard World LA, a smaller con.

I think Steve's doing NY CC, but I'll pass that info along.

03-20-2008, 11:35 PM
Please do. Would love to help in any way for you guys.

03-24-2008, 01:32 PM
Ok, email SirSteve on that: sirsteve@sirstevesguide.com

Darth Cruel
04-05-2008, 03:11 PM
Almost forgot to get my ticket. This will b e my first time going to the press night. I am looking forward to that. I will likely be down there all 5 days. Despite the madness...I still very much enjoy the con.

04-05-2008, 05:26 PM
I LOVE IT! This will be my 8th year and it IS the one thing I look forward to for my yearly vacation, with a vacation after :thumbsup:

But I do understand the frustrations of not being able to get into certain panels. Two years in a row my friends and I went to the Battlestar Panel, only to be denied last year after waiting in line for about an hour :( Maybe things will be situated better this year.

04-06-2008, 06:25 PM
The problem is that SDCC, unlike CIV and other conventions, doesn't kick the room out at the end of a panel, you can sit in a room seeing stuff you're not into all day waiting for your thing, and they can't be sure who will leave and who will stay. It's a wonky system but it's way better than CIV's system which led to immense schedule overruns and heavy line confusion.

04-06-2008, 07:18 PM
The problem is that SDCC, unlike CIV and other conventions, doesn't kick the room out at the end of a panel, you can sit in a room seeing stuff you're not into all day waiting for your thing, and they can't be sure who will leave and who will stay. It's a wonky system but it's way better than CIV's system which led to immense schedule overruns and heavy line confusion.

...and the loss of commemorative medallions in the collector panels.