Monday, July 24, 2006

A Call for... Something...

In a post-SDCC fog at work today, I ran accross some ideas floated about moving it from San Diego.

Call me a sentimental old fart, but I don't like the idea a bit. San Diego is an ideal setting, and over the past two decades I've seen the area flourish around the Con. It is just right, in my opinion. Sure, every year, it gets more and more crowded as it increases in general popularity, and a more diverse set of exhibitors flock to take advantage, but I can't think that a change in location would even help ease that.

The alternate locations floated were Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Both, in my opinion, would be disasters. Think of all the problems one has with driving, parking and available hotel space now in San Diego, and multiply those problems by ten... that's Los Angeles. I live here... and I wouldn't go to a Los Angeles show.

And Las Vegas... Las Vegas is the only place I can think of that is less attractive than Los Angeles. My girlfriend's mom lives there and we visit her often, so I speak from experience when I say: Las Vegas is a s**thole... there, I said it. Call me a prude, but I can't think of a less family-friendly place to host something like the ComicCon... You can't drop a majority of the geek population into a town like this. They would eat us alive there.

"But MD... Las Vegas has rehabilitated its image... It's family-friendly now." I hear you say... I say, "Bulls**t, no it's not. Go there and see for yourself." I've never been somewhere where the desperation of people hangs in the air like a smog so much as it does in Las Vegas. Never have I seen the disparity between garish opulence and abject despair so cleanly and expansively as I have in Las Vegas. It's an okay place for mature, confident adults... but not the best place for geeks, who I love in my heart, but aren't always the most sophisticated of souls, and could be easily harmed by a place like Las Vegas.


What worries me is that the thing can get bigger than it is now. I've seen the Con go from a virtual basement to the Convention Center, and then watched as that Convention Center had tripled in size. How much bigger can it get? Would that even be an attractive thing? It barely is now.

As it is now, it's a monster. The last few years, I've limited my attendance to a single day... there's only so much moshing about, elbow to elbow, all day, that I can take these days. And the payoff... well, it seems like there's a lot less actual comics around. Sure there are huge multimedia exhibits for the latest movie project and/or video game, more collectible ephemera than ever, and more panels and screenings to attend... but where are the comics? I truly miss the days where I could leisurely peruse the wares... now the experience is akin to planning the Normandy invasion, and excuting it.

What worries me is that all these big spenders are going to price the Con right out of business. I'm waiting for that downturn, and it may not come I admit, that will cause the movie studios, gaming companies and even comic companies to scale back their presence... what would happen? I can't help it, but I smell a bust coming... there's just too much floating around, vying for my dollar. How thin can a geeks dollar be stretched before it snaps?


I don't know where I was going with this. My feelings about the Con run deep, and every year it becomes less and less a pleasureable experience. This year I went more to meet up with old friends than to see the Con itself. I bought a small present for the girlfriend and a few independent comics from a friend... and as soon as the after-Con get-togethers ended, I got the Hell out of San Diego. It shouldn't be that way, but it was the only affordable and sanity-retaining for me to be there at all, and that's not right. It's frustrating... and makes me pine for the years of my obscure and weird hobby, where we would all get together in a hotel basement.


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