I really wasn’t going to write about this again this year.
In fact, I made a pact with myself that– other than a few errant tweets– I was going to stay far away from this subject… But the AP (Associated Press)– specifically reporter Sandy Cohen– in a sense, forced me do it.
Before I get started, I want to freely admit I unequivocally respect and admire Sandy Cohen’s Hollywood reportage… And I also feel the AP– a venerable, long-standing news agency– does its absolute best to present truly fair and balanced reporting. (Unlike, say, Fox News.)
But this is Comic-Con, not a world crisis. It’s not political (in any meaningful sense of the word) and no one at this gathering is curing cancer… At least not while they are geeking out in San Diego.
And Sandy? Ms. Cohen’s just doing her job– and, as always, doing it well. She’s also doing what every good reporter does… Commenting on what she sees. It’s not her responsibility to be a shill for the comic book industry (like so many soulless comic websites famously are already)… And if her reports lean heavily on Television Panels, Film News and Toy Releases– it’s because they’re what’s news at SDCC 2012. Whether or not Marvel is rebooting/rehashing/redesigning a group of their characters doesn’t interest the writers (or readers) of most of the mainstream press.
But my problem is, the San Diego Comic Con used to be a COMIC BOOK convention… A really cool one too. And despite what other comic-centric columnists are saying (I suspect, so their employers will continue to fork over large amounts for free airfare and lodging so these sad corporation-bought souls can have an excuse to geek-out on the company dime)– San Diego it is no longer the site of a comic convention. It is a Movie/TV Con… With some toys, video games and, Oh Yeah!, comics thrown in. Or, as Sandy puts it best in her great series of articles, SDCC is now a “pop-culture” event.
Here’s a few excerpts from one of Cohen’s first pieces on this year’s San Diego Comic Con. Tell me how many references to comics you see. Please note, references to the name of the convention do not count:
To be fair, Ms. Cohen does mention in this same article that Robert Kirkman has 900 exclusive hard-bound copies of The Walking Dead Compendium for sale at the Con… You’ll see it referenced below– at the tail end of a long paragraph about movies and toys:
And that’s it.
I could rave on and on… But what’s the point? Sure, San Diego has lots of comic news too… But do you see hardly any of it on mainstream entertainment sites? No, you don’t… Unless it’s related to a Movie, TV Show, Web Venture or a Toy. And now, with the realization many Movie Studios have eschewed the Comic-Con experience this year (fearful their upcoming product may be derided by geeks, perhaps?)… There’s an even bigger danger that SDCC will soon become a TV/Toy Con.
And the reality is, there’s nothing wrong with that. Everything evolves– or dies. It’s just, again, SDCC is no longer a comic con… Hasn’t been one for a long time– and that makes me sad. (I’m not alone, many Comic Pros and Fans also seem to agree.)
So what to do? Well, as the title of this column suggests– maybe a name change. In keeping with Cohen’s columns… How about the San Diego Culture Con?
That way, SDCC can keep the same initials… And maybe, just maybe, we can get on with the mourning process and start to accept– as a whole– that our once thriving passion is swiftly turning into nothing more than a proving ground for TV/Motion Picture companies and Toy manufacturers.