We may stay in San Diego with or without an expanded center

17 NOVEMBER 2014

For a few years now we've been hearing about the expanded convention center. When would it happen? How many people would it hold? Where would we go if it didn't happen?

We all know the planned expansion is on hold, but the idea that SDCC might just up and take itself to a different city with a bigger venue has always lingered tantalizingly in the air. However, that possibility looks like so much dust now.

CCI has officially said - in the voice of David Glanzer - that an expanded center "is not a must" for staying in San Diego: “An expansion would be great for the city and us, but if it doesn’t happen we’ve been able to make do without it, and if we can mitigate the concerns we do have we’ll be able to stay here.”

What? We're going to struggle through a severely capped Registration Day forever? It's never going to get better??

Some of those "concerns" have to do with hotel room rates and space at satellite venues. Yawn. I do like that San Diego is plotting new ways to hold onto Comic-Con but it's not exactly a surprise - we're an annual summer gift to the local economy and many business owners and politicians are keen to keep us around.

This article details a few of the efforts being made on our behalf:

  • Asking local hotels to keep their rates at 2016 levels for 2017-2018. So far almost 30 of the 50ish hotels in the SDCC block have agreed.

  • "Major waterfront convention hotels" - wild guess, that would be the Hilton Bayfront, Marriott Marquis and Hyatt - will offer meeting space.

  • The convention center will offer a discounted rent, which this year was nearly 200,000. I actually thought it would have been higher.

Okay, so all of that is well and good, but it's not going to admit more attendees. And I found this quote mildly irritating: "Comic-Con has expressed concern over the last several years that it's getting very expensive for their attendees to come to San Diego and while they recognize that they're here at a premium time of year, they feel they're being taken advantage of to a degree. I believe that Comic-Con is ours to keep but we can't get too cocky and create an environment that doesn't work for their customers."

An environment that doesn't work for us? That wouldn't be San Diego at large - I'm fine with the city and I think most other attendees are too. It's the actual policies and practices of the Con itself that we have a gripe with. And money isn't one of them. CCI has frequently referred to the fact that they want to keep badge prices low, but I think this should be a low, low priority on their Fix List. The demand for badges is overwhelming. That means people are more than happy to pay the current badge prices and would probably pay more. Ditto hotel rooms - you don't see the Day's Inn selling out and the most expensive rooms at the Hyatt lingering on the site for weeks. People are willing to spend on Comic-Con and the expense is not what we're unhappy about.

Anyhow, that's the update. San Diego may be our home forever, but that means the current struggles may also be our lot forever. Fingers crossed the powers that be find a way to finance the expansion.


MTV Fandom Awards back at SDCC on 9 July

13 NOVEMBER 2014

It looks like we can expect another MTV rager next year at Comic-Con; the MTV2 Fandom Awards will tape on 9 July 2015 at SDCC. (Thursday, as with other years.) The show will air that Sunday, 12 July.

No word yet on who will headline the show. Is the 2015 show happening at warp speed or is it just me?

Are you thinking about canceling? Don't.

10 NOVEMBER 2014

So the dust has settled since we all got handed our first round results in Pre-reg. Some of us got lucky, some got nothing, and some of us landed in that weird gray zone of ambivalence known as the Thursday/Sunday split.

This isn't the worst thing that can befall you if you're a local. Thursday has plenty of great panels and a well-stocked Exhibit Hall; Sunday has great deals and lots of children's panels if you're a parent. But if you're planning on travelling to San Diego Comic-Con, you now have to decide if it's worth it to spend on four nights in a hotel just to get 2 days at the Con.

Here's my perspective. If the Con was the only thing in play, I'd probably cancel my Sunday badge and just fly in and out on Thursday, or maybe just spend Weds and Thursday night there. But there is so much else to do at SDCC outside the Con proper. You should know this, because you were there last summer - but let me remind you of:

  1. All the cool promotional attractions that it can be normally hard to make time for - like GOT experience, ziplining, all the Adult Swim stuff in PetCo Park, Assassin's Creed this past summer. These get better every year and they can take up a full day.
  2. All the parties that you have every intention of going to, but then miss because you fell into bed after a full day of panels completely zonked. When you don't have to get up in the morning for a panel, you can have a very good time the night before.
  3. Nerd HQ. No SDCC badge required here, and often the best celebrities and coolest panels.
  4. Gam3rCon. Not just games - you have tech launches, bands, comedy shows and rooftop parties to attend.
  5. The city itself. Go to Coronado Island, swim, visit the science museums in Balboa park.

And of course, you can always just relax. I know that's not a word we associate with Comic-Con but when you don't have a Saturday badge, you can spoil yourself. Get a massage. Hang out poolside. Order up room service and lay around in bed eating ice cream and reading all the comic books you bought the day before.

As always, there's nothing wrong with deciding to put your Comic-Con dollars elsewhere. If you haven't been to some of the other big non-SDCC Cons, you might think they're all rinky-dink basement events full of fifth-tier actors and a lot of back issue comics. That may have been the case 5 years ago, but these days these other Cons can hold their own.  I've already beat the drum for Emerald City and Salt Lake in particular, but look around and take a chance. I think purists who will only hold out for San Diego would be surprised at the firepower other Cons can offer these days.

But before you cancel that SDCC badge, hold out for Open Reg. And think outside the convention center walls.

Thoughts on Pre-reg


Now that Pre-reg is over, the usual cries and complaints are echoing across social. This isn't fair; get it together, CCI; the teams and groups are skewing the system; etc.

Here's what I think. One, of course most of us weren't going to get a badge. It's only Pre-reg. That isn't some devious shortcoming on CCI's part, it's basic math. CCI can't let only previous attendees go to Comic-Con, therefore a huge number of us weren't going to get a badge today.

Yes, it went fast. I think it should be slowed down, with smaller groups let in, for Open Reg. I say that because I was one of the people caught on a cusp, and it sucked. I saw Saturday was low, then got in; somehow at that exact second Saturday and Friday sold out; Thursday was marked as sold out too with 0 available, yet it let me buy Thursday badges. Given how fast everything went, I think a lot of people were in the same situation I was - expecting one thing when they got in and finding something very different. It seemed even the system couldn't keep up with itself.

I don't know if fewer badges were sold, as everyone is speculating. CCI may have decided to offer a higher number in Open Registration, but it's more likely they just improved the speed of their network. The team approach also made it go fast. I know that isn't what everyone wants to hear.

As for those groups and teams - this strikes many people as unfair. I'm thinking it might be best to restrict badge-buying to just two people. The most fair method would be one badge bought for each Member ID, but that would force a lot of people to attend without any friends. On the other hand, the current system still leaves some friends and family members in the dust while others get lucky. My vote is for 2 people per registration session.

If you're super angry right now, and are cursing San Diego Comic-Con while stabbing pins into a wax poppet, then I will repeat my suggestion to try other Cons. I know SDCC is frustrating. It isn't worth it for everyone. For comic book nerds, Emerald City still has passes available (and hotel rooms and passes are way cheaper than SDCC); cosplayers have Phoenix Comicon to hit in June; DragonCon is a great choice for sci fi/fantasy fans and general partiers on Labor Day Weekend; Salt Lake City Comic Con in early September is massive and can hold its own with SDCC, with only a slight shortcoming in the Hollywood arena. Don't think SDCC is the only show in town - it isn't.

Overall, there's no perfect solution. I'm sorry for all of you who didn't get a badge today, but buck up - you've still got Open Registration to look forward to. I washed out too today (as an out-of-towner, do you really think I want to pay for 4 nights in a hotel for 2 days at SDCC?) and I still feel confident about Open Reg.

Finally, as I said earlier - be good to yourself today. We all just went through a very stressful morning.

Welcome to Pre-registration



It's all over.

On the whole, today went smooth and fast. It has taken less than half the time to sell these badges than it did last Pre-reg; that could be because they're saving more badges for Open Registration, or it could be that they've juiced up their system. Preview Night went very quickly.

To compare, here's how last year sold:

Preview Night sold out by 9:32. Saturday and Friday were gone by 10:26, Thursday by 10:51 and then it was all over with by 11:15. 

This year:

Preview Night was gone by 9:25. Saturday and Friday disappeared at the same time, around 9:40. Thursday and Sunday were gone by 9:48.

I know those of us who washed out want to believe there were fewer badges sold today, so we have more of a chance in Open Reg. Whether that's true or not, it's important to stay positive and be glad we have 2 chances at a badge, not just one.


Well, that was a bitter pill. I got picked before Saturday was announced as sold out, and as soon as I got to the badge screen it said only Sunday was left. Somehow it let me buy Thursday badges as well even though they were marked O available.

That was one fast sale.


Saturday is almost sold out.


Preview Night is gone. This sale is moving faster than the last one.


Preview Night is already low.



I know. It's beyond nerve-wracking.


We're just minutes away from getting sorted. So here's my final advice - screenshot the critical pages once you get in. If, god forbid, something happens and you get frozen or booted midway through your sale, you'll have evidence to take to CCI. Traditionally they've been pretty good about compensating people who legitimately got picked for a badge, but got zapped by a glitch.

And if for some reason you haven't done your homework for today, use these final minutes wisely:




Don't forget to hit the bathroom before you settle in. It was 2 hours before they called it last Pre-reg.

Also make sure you've adjusted your power save settings. And if you think any of your badge sale comrades might have slept through their alarm, now's the time for a check-in.


I want to say something about Preview Night. I know it’s the Holy Grail we’re all trying for. That’s understandable for three reasons – it’s your best shot at exclusives, the Exhibit Hall is in its fullest and freshest state, and you don’t have to wait in line to get your badge.

However, some of that’s changed in the last 2 years. While the entire exclusives situation was a hot mess at some booths last summer (hey, Hasbro), many vendors make a point of offering a limited number of the same exclusives each day so everyone gets a shot. As for the Exhibit Hall, if you went to Preview Night last year, you know that it’s almost as crowded as a regular day – CCI is clearly assigning out more PN badges than they used to. It’s not easy to move around and snatch up whatever you see like it was circa 2007.

As for not standing in line, that will forever be a compelling reason for anything – but because more people are going to Preview Night, and we have the Town and Country on Wednesday, fewer people are picking up badges on Thursday-Sunday, and those lines are much shorter and more bearable than they used to be.

Oh, and if you care about the Ballroom 20 pilots, they’re usually shown on other days.

All of this is my way of saying not to feel too disappointed if you don’t score a Preview Night badge. I used to feel like my SDCC experience would be subpar without one, but this year I’m not nearly so hung up on it. I still want one but I’ll be ok without it. I just don’t think it’s the upper-tier experience it used to be.


Not that I expect an answer from them or anything.


The waiting room says at the bottom that badge sale inventory will be held for 5 minutes only. I'm pretty sure that's a typo and it should say 15 minutes. I just tweeted CCI to confirm.


The confused people who see the badge sale talk and ask how they can participate reminds me that SDCC attendance is pretty much an insider's game at this point. It’s an actual skill set where you have to know to get your Member ID and navigate the badge sale - to even get a ghost of a chance at attending, outsiders have to master that learning curve. Usually they find out too late and then they forget about it until the following year when they see more badge sale buzz and it's once again too late. SDCC is definitely not for the casual fan.

(And if you are one of those people - today is only for people who attended San Diego Comic-Con 2014 specifically as an attendee. You can participate in Open Registration in 2015 as long as you create a Member ID.)


It's here. We all know the process and the right approach, and there's nothing to do but wait and see if the Comic-Con gods smile upon us today.

I think the most important thing we all need to remember is that today offers just a fraction of the badges available, and we all get a second chance in Open Registration. (Except those of us who get a Preview Night badge.) The odds are probably against you, me and anyone else getting the perfect badge. Those of us who do will be a lucky minority. So don't feel like Fate kicked you in the teeth today if you wash out - you'll be in good company.

I really miss those sweet, sweet days when Pre-registration meant walking up to the Sails Pavilion, filling out a piece of paper and handing it with your credit card to a bored-looking lady behind a terminal.


Final Pre-reg reminder


It's Pre-reg Eve. By now you've tested your browser, swapped info with all your badge sale comrades, and set aside a credit card.

But don't forget to also retrieve your Badge ID number. Just go in your Member ID account and click on the Registration Info tab. People keep saying the process is the identical to last year's and it isn't exactly - it's almost identical, but you do need your Badge ID number to access the waiting room.

Good luck. I'll be live-blogging and Tweeting the sale tomorrow like always, and will keep everyone posted with updates as soon as I hear them.

More Pre-reg info from CCI


CCI's Toucan blog came out with advice today on Pre-reg. It's worth reading, although a lot of it is the same question with different people involved. ("Can I buy for my husband/friend/give my Badge ID to another Member ID/etc?" NO is the answer to everything.)

What I found most salient: the fact that we will NOT know our place in line. While that was kind of expected, the explanation was interesting. "There is no virtual line. The line was removed when we went to the random selection process. Members are randomly selected in groups from the waiting room for their registration sessions. Not only are you assigned randomly to a group, but those inside the group are sorted at random." Then they go into a cereal metaphor in which we're all Cheerios waiting to be eaten. They don't draw a parallel between soggy left-in-the-bowl cereal and not getting picked/eaten, but I'm sure we're all thinking it.

What else matters - and I'm going to strongly suggest everyone read this directly - is their advice on running multiple browsers. I personally feel separate devices are the way to go, rather than Chrome and Firefox on the same laptop, but I recognize not everyone has that option. So here it is - you can't run multiple tabs of the waiting room in the same browser, but you can use different browsers on the same device. Again - I think it's safer to use different devices.

I feel very detached about Pre-reg being in 2 days, which might mean my badge-mojo is weak and I'll wash out. Or maybe the randomness of it all removes the anxiety. Not sure, but I've noticed people seem pretty calm in general about it. Probably that will all change on Saturday morning.

$178 million is the magic SDCC number


Have you ever wondered how much money we pour into San Diego each July? Wonder no longer: San Diego Workforce Partnerships has calculated that San Diego Comic-Con made a $178 million impact for 2014. And that's eliminating some factors, like, say, the money a studio spent to have a giant sign hung off the Hilton Bayfront. So the final tally is probably higher.

You can read the whole article here (fun fact: the average convention center employee makes $13.36 an hour) and see the breakdown of wages and business. As the article concludes, "Clearly Comic-Con’s impact is far-reaching—beyond the outlandish costumes and celebrity sightings." We already knew that, of course, but it's always good to put a dollar sign on it.

My advice on 2015 Pre-Registration




By now you should have familiarized yourself with the Pre-registration process we'll experience Saturday. It's very close to last year's and all pretty simple, and mostly comes down to luck. Here's my advice anyhow on how to manipulate whatever luck you're given and maximize your chances for attending San Diego Comic-Con 2015.


Use the right strategy. Remember, this is the era of randomization and one Member ID/one device, so trying to use 7 devices at once won’t help you. If you can team up with a large group, that’s in your interest, statistically speaking. Have everyone's Member ID and last name ready to go and be very clear on who's buying for who.

Remember that your browser should be Safari, Chrome, IE or Firefox, and that your device should be a desktop or laptop - not a mobile device.

Once inside the waiting room, don't refresh. A yellow status box will keep you updated every 120 seconds during the sorting process. Make sure your computer doesn't go to sleep while you're waiting. Adjust the power save settings if necessary. Don't ever use the back button.

Have your credit or debit card ready. It can be under someone else's name; that's fine. But you can only use one card to pay for everything and you can't use Paypal. You don’t need to show this credit card at a later date, which means you can use one of those store-bought ones if you need to.



Don't get rattled by the hysteria on Twitter and Facebook. People will post completely untrue things like "Friday's gone! Only Sunday left!" that spread like wildfire. I used to think they did this for attention; now I think it’s a strategy aimed at demoralizing contenders and driving them out of the waiting room. Yeah, we're all nice to each other once we're at the Con but on badge sale days some people grow claws and fangs.

The one thing that drove people crazy last time was not knowing where they stood in line. There were a few years where CCI used a numbering system that told people just that, yet it was missing for 2014 sales. Will that be back? Probably not, but you still shouldn't give in to your rising despair as the minutes tick by. Hold on until the bitter end. True story - I had a friend who an hour into the last badge sale texted me that he didn't have a shot and was going to log out. I persuaded him to hang in there and within minutes, he had all 4 day badges.

On that note, let's review the stats from last Pre-reg: Preview Night sold out by 9:32. Saturday and Friday were gone by 10:26, Thursday by 10:51 and then it was all over with by 11:15. Yes, it went that slow.

If you do get picked late, remember that you can always try to upgrade during Open Reg. Don’t stomp off in a huff because Saturday is sold out. And if you’re not picked at all - don’t lose hope. There’s a limited number of badges in play, and you get a second chance in Open Registration.

I have to say it - don’t be hungover during the badge sale. I know Saturday 9 a.m. is not everyone’s best hour, and that the process is fairly simple, but every year I hear about someone who slept through the sale or was indisposed and made a critical error. Every year. Maybe I just have irresponsible friends.
And if you're emotional or obsessive about SDCC at all, build room into your day to recover from whatever failure might befall you. People can get seriously enraged on badge sale days and it doesn't dissipate quickly. I know I've felt exhausted for hours even after scoring a Preview Night badge - the process is that stressful for me. And the emails that flood my inbox indicate a lot of you are the same way. Make Saturday a day when you can be good to yourself.

Finally, despite numerous blogs posting numerous posts on Pre-reg, and CCI churning out videos and painstaking instructions, some people effed it up last year by trying to do it on their iPhone or using some esoteric browser. If you’re prone to acting randomly like that, get it together. There’s no room for individuality when it comes to an SDCC badge sale – you have to follow the process by the book.

And that's my advice. I will say that I haven’t seen too many complaints or accusations since Pre-reg was announced. Were there snafus last time? Yes, of course. Sessions closed prematurely; some people were told their Member ID had already bought a badge (which could make for a cool alternate universe/SDCC conspiracy story); sometimes the blue circle stopping spinning and just froze, truly a sign of doom.

However, I do feel that this is superior to the years when we all stormed the digital Bastille at once and crashed the system. And I think most people agree with me. The lottery system has its drawbacks, but at the end of the day it only devastates some of us, rather than frustrating all of us.

The Pre-registration Process


First of all, my usual caveat – the below only applies to people who attended San Diego Comic-Con 2014 as an attendee. If this isn’t you, you should ignore all things pertaining to Pre-registration.

For everyone else – this is going to go a lot like it did last year. (Actually, earlier this year – Pre-reg 2014 was in February.) Hence my using the 2014 video above. If you didn’t participate in that one, it wasn’t terribly different from Open Reg, which I’m assuming you did participate in. Lots of long minutes waiting to be chosen and watching everyone else brag about their Preview Night badges on Twitter. A blue spinning circle. A growing sense of disbelief that you weren’t getting picked. And then – getting picked and buying a badge.

So yes, it will be much like that Saturday. Here’s a refresher:
Sometime in the next few days you'll get an email from CCI with the link to the EPIC waiting room. If you haven't received an email by Friday, email CCI. (And if you didn’t get an email from CCI today telling you about Pre-registration, check your Member ID account and see if you're eligible.)

In the meantime, map out your game plan with your friends. You should have each other's Member IDs and other information. Test your browser with CCI’s handy little gizmo to make sure your browser has JavaScript and cookies enabled.

Saturday, Pre-Registration Day

7 am - 9 am PST: You'll use your Badge ID to get into the EPIC waiting room. You'll do this using a Chrome, IE, Safari or Firefox browser, NOT on a mobile device. You will only use one computer, because if you try to log in on a 2nd device with your Member ID, it'll just cancel out the previous one. According to CCI, it doesn't matter when you get into the waiting room.

Shortly after 9 am PST: Pre-registration will go live. We’ll all be randomly sorted into a line for registration sessions. Don't refresh or you'll go to the back of the line. This can take 10-15 minutes to complete. Watch for a spinning blue circle on the page that indicates your page is still active.

Once/if you're selected, you'll enter the number of people you're buying for, then your name and their names and Member IDs, then go into the badge screen. Check Preview Night, and every box is checked for you. Otherwise, just check the dates you want. You have 15 minutes to complete this phase.

Payment: only American Express, Mastercard or Visa are accepted. No Paypal, no multiple cards.

Quick Links:

Member ID
Instructional Video
CCI's Pre-registration page

I'll post my advice on navigating a successful Pre-reg session tomorrow.

Pre-reg is 8 November


At last we know - Pre-registration for San Diego Comic-Con 2015 will be on Saturday, 8 November. That's right - THIS Saturday. It's probably best that we don't have too many days to get anxious and worked up about it.

The process will go mostly like it did last year, although this year you'll need your Badge ID. Don't freak out if you tossed your badge after validating it; you can get your ID in your Member ID account.

I'll post actual instructions and advice in a bit. For now, clear your calendar on Saturday morning.

Apply now for your SDCC press pass

30 OCTOBER 2014

It's that time of year when you offer up your press credentials to CCI and hope that they find favor with them.

If you've never applied for a press pass before, take a look at the instructions and checklist and figure out if you qualify. If you're returning press, log into your Member ID account and see if you need to re-verify - you will see DUE or NOT DUE.

The deadline is 12 December. I'll say what I say every year - despite what you hear about anyone being able to get a press pass, you do need solid credentials to qualify. That said, I've seen people from obscure magazines and outlets get press passes and other people from bigger outlets get denied, so go on and roll the dice - maybe you'll get lucky.

3-Day ECCC passes are about to sell out

29 OCTOBER 2014

Everyone who predicted all 3-day passes would be gone by Halloween was right: ECCC has just reported they're about to sell out.

I think if you're serious about going to Emerald City, you've already snatched yours up by now - but consider this a final warning.

ETA: All gone! But single day passes are still available.

The first SDCC 2015 news is grim

28 OCTOBER 2014

As we all know, San Diego Comic-Con 2015 will be held 8-12 July next summer. Guess who's going to be in town on 9 July? One Direction. Yes, the boy band with the global army of Tiger Beat fans. All of those fans will be swarming into town and mixing with SDCC fans, and the possible traffic/hotel overlapping chaos is already making my head hurt.

I don't know what person allowed this to happen, but they should be fired immediately.

ECCC Minion applications are open

27 OCTOBER 2014

If you want to volunteer at Emerald City Comicon, applications are now open.

Given the speed at which badges have been selling (and have sold out in some cases), it's probably smart to move fast on this. No, it's not hypercompetitive like SDCC volunteering is, but it's still a highly popular option. And there have been a lot of people asking about it, which indicates high interest. Also, if you're a high-level Minion, you get an extra free day - not just the day you're working.

Applications are reviewed every 3 weeks, so don't get nervous if you don't hear back right away. Please note that you must be 18 as of the Con (27 March 2015) to qualify.

Good luck.

Apply for a ECCC Professional Pass

24 OCTOBER 2014

The ECCC team is currently reviewing applications for Professional Passes and Tables. They're halfway through table space, so hurry up if you intend to submit; be aware that only "industry professionals with relevant work experience will be considered." Applications are reviewed every 3 weeks. One benefit of acceptance besides the free pass: you can submit your work for the ECCC charity art book, Monsters and Dames.

Still no word on Minion applications yet, but they're supposed to go live this month. We'll see.

ETA: There will be a Minion update within the week.

No date for SDCC Pre-reg yet

21 OCTOBER 2014

In these final days before Halloween, every 2014 SDCC attendee is haunted by two questions:

1) When will Pre-registration be?
2) How far in advance will they announce it?

The collective wisdom/speculation of the Internet seems to have selected 15 November as the most likely day. I can kind of see this, because I have 6 events already on that day. There seems to be some bizarre astrological magnet on that Saturday. However - CCI has always marched to their own drummer, so maybe it will fall a week before on 8 November (my second choice) or a week later on the 22nd. (My preferred date.)

I doubt it will happen the Saturday after Thanskgiving, the 29th, or the day after Halloween, 1 November. Forcing us to get up early the morning after Halloween parties or Black Friday seems especially cruel, even for CCI. But we must always factor in the strong possibility that CCI's original target date could be postponed over some kind of internal development snafu. They seem to be using the same lottery system as last year, but there's always room for delays and problems when it comes to a CCI badge sale.

So my overall conclusion is - this is hard to predict accurately, so keep your Saturdays clear. Sorry, I know this wasn't very helpful.

It's official: NYCC is bigger than SDCC

13 OCTOBER 2014

We don't know exactly how many people wandered through NYCC this weekend, but SVP Lance Fensterman tossed out a number in the 150K ballpark. Those are unique attendees - not vendors, not professionals, not people affiliated with New York Super Week.

Whether that makes NYCC the new King Con or not is your call. We all know San Diego's attendance is capped for the time being, but there's no denying SDCC still boasts the biggest Hollywood presence and greatest cultural mystique. Is NYCC is a major Con? Undoubtedly. But its numbers reflect the area population and accommodations as much as ReedPOP's deft organizational maneuvers.

Back when I was a young comic book fan, I was living in NY - and all I could think about was going to SDCC once I moved west. Frustrated as I get sometimes with its limitations, I do think it still offers a unique experience to attendees. One part of it: the complete 24/7 immersion in nerdiness and pop culture. Once you walk outside the Javits Center at NYCC, you lose that sense of being in a temporary world designed just for you. But NYCC is obviously popular for many legitimate reasons - and in the next few years, while San Diego fights its expansion battle, I predict we'll see other Cons surpass SDCC attendance.

You validated your badge, right?

13 OCTOBER 2014

Final reminder - you have until 5:30 PST on 15 October to validate your badge for Pre-registration.

I'm pretty sure 98% of us did this within days if not hours of the initial email, because that's who we are. But if for some reason you've dawdled, do it now. Otherwise you'll be shut out of November's sale.

Phoenix Comicon adds a December Fan Fest

10 OCTOBER 2014

In the last year, we've seen a pattern of Cons hiving off other events within their own city. New York Comic Con (or rather its organizers, ReedPOP) created Special Edition, a comics-focused event in June, and Salt Lake Comic Con created the Salt Lake Comic Con Fan Experience, as two examples. Sometimes it's a way of catering to special interests and other times it's just recognizing an opportunity: people really like going to Cons, so why not hold them twice a year.

Now the very popular Phoenix Comicon has done the same. Phoenix Comicon Fan Fest will be 12-14 December at the University of Phoenix stadium in Glendale, AZ.

What it is: "comic books, costuming, kids and actors."

Selling points: the beautiful Phoenix winter, a chance to do Christmas shopping for the nerds in your life, and free parking. Also, the Artist Alley will be placed on the concourse ringing the field, which can accommodate a large number of artists.

Price: Right now full memberships are only 30. See full prices here.

If you couldn't handle the heat during the regular Phoenix Comicon, this might be an appealing option for you - but if you couldn't handle the heat, you're probably from out of town, and I don't see a lot of people traveling that close to the holidays. Regardless, this will probably draw quite a crowd.

PCC organizers have said they are planning for controlled growth and want to retain a small Con feel, even though they passed the 77K mark this summer. This makes sense as a strategy - if people have biannual (or more) event choices, they might feel less urgent about making every single one. No doubt other Cons will follow suit and begin spawning off more versions of themselves, until going to the Con is like the carnival coming to town - fun, but no great shakes if you miss it.