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.

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 legitmate 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.

NYCC upgrades their anti-harassment policy

10 OCTOBER 2014

Are you lucky enough to be at New York Comic Con right now? I'm not, but I'm still jealously monitoring all developments from afar. One thing that's new: ReedPOP has embraced the winds of change and has put up "Cosplay is not Consent" posters everywhere. The design is visually arresting (nice job, Amy Reeder) and the wording is clear.

"Please keep your hands to yourself. If you would like to take a picture with or of another NYCC fan, always ask first and respect that person's right to say no. When at NYCC, be respectful, be nice, be cool and be kind to each other."

I've seen people get twitchy about the "asking" part - so let's be realistic here. If you see a cosplayer posing for a group of cameras, and you join them, most often that's not going to be an issue. I've never had anyone say no to me (and I always ask if I can put pictures on this blog - no one ever objects to that either.) I think the subtext here is for those creepers who enjoy filming women's asses and cleavage.

And yes, some will do it anyway, just like some people will continue to make boorish and insensitive comments in a number of areas - disability, race, nationality and so on. The anti-harassment policy covers all of those. (Which incidentally was developed in tandem with the great minds at The Mary Sue.) The point is that the visual reminders do stop some bad behavior, and set the stage for punitive action for those people who ruin other people's Con experience.

We'll see if SDCC remains a hold-out for 2015.

SDCC professional applications close 31 Oct

3 OCTOBER 2014


If you believe you qualify as a Comic-Con professional, and would like to participate in Professional Badge Registration, you have until Halloween to submit your application and materials
There are 2 categories of qualified professionals.
The Creative Badge: this is for you if you have "an active role in the creation, design, writing, editing or production of comics, animation, films, books, video games or toys."
The Trade Badge: this is for "agents, publicists, managers, executives, marketing, sales, business development, advertising, legal representatives, and other industry professionals who need to attend the convention for business reasons." 
A disclaimer: a lot of times I meet first-timers who assure me they don't have to worry about getting a badge because they qualify as a professional. Not to besmirch anyone's accomplishments but these days you can't swing a stick without hitting someone who publishes their own web comic, or has a self-pubbed novel on Amazon, or did some editing on a game. At least in my world, you can't. So just be aware that this isn't a sure thing. CCI makes a point of saying that "not all applicants who meet the guidelines can be accommodated" - probably because they receive more than 12,000 professional applications every year.

Find out more here. 

Did you validate yourself for SDCC Pre-reg?


Guess what tomorrow is? October. That's one month away from the magical month of Pre-registration, and only two weeks from the deadline to validate your eligibility.

That's right - the deadline for going into your Member ID account, selecting Registration Info, and entering the number at the bottom of your badge is 15 October at 5:30 pm PST.  If you don't do it, you can't participate in Pre-registration.

And here's again my caveat to stave off all the confused emails I'll probably get anyhow - Pre-registration is only for people who attended San Diego Comic-Con this past summer. If you were not milling around the convention center with an attendee badge in July 2014, this has nothing to do with you. Ignore anything called "Pre-reg." Your turn will come - assuming you've created a Member ID - next spring, when Open Registration is held.

Sorry to keep repeating myself, but you would not believe the number of people who email me in a panic because they think this is the only badge sale ever for Comic-Con. It's not.

I know Pre-reg might seem like an unfair advantage for previous attendees, but it does ensure that a large number of attendees really enjoy being there and know what they're getting into, as opposed to the first-timers who think it's the biggest hot mess ever. And it's still a lottery, so really it just gives 2014 attendees two rounds at the Comic-Con game of chance. It's entirely possible to not get picked at either badge sale - depressing as that thought may be.

My SDCC 2015 page


Given what a drawn-out process Comic-Con arrangements have become, I created a quick reference page for what you can do now and what you can expect later. Hopefully this will help everyone stay on track.

ECCC press applications are live


If you'd like to become a "credentialed media outlet" at Emerald City next March, press pass applications are now open. You can only have 3 passes per outlet and each team member must apply individually - no generic passes.

This is about more than getting free access; only approved press can conduct on-site interviews. (And those requests must be screened and approved in advance. Strict!) So if you're thinking of cornering whatever celebrities you happen to spot and asking if you can interview them off the cuff, that's apparently not allowed.

Applications close 19 December. Direct your questions to .

ECCC passes are over 90% sold out


As they promised, ECCC has kept us updated on the availability of passes - and they just reported that 3-day passes are more than 90% sold out.

If you have your heart set on a 3-day badge and can't come up with the $85 right now, you can still buy individual day passes. You'll end up paying more, but you will be able to attend all 3 days of Emerald City. But I'm guessing that even those single day badges, especially Saturday, will start moving fast once the news hits that 3-day badges are gone.

Last year people were stunned by the news that 3-days sold out in January - so I would imagine there's a fairly large contingent of people who haven't even bothered to think about getting their ECCC badge yet, and so they haven't checked Twitter, Tumblr, etc, to find out how dire the situation is. But since you're not that person, and are a good little attendee on top of your game, you either already have your pass or are borrowing someone's credit card right now, today, to get it. Right?

Next year is going to be so brutal.

SDCC Int'l Film Fest entries open in October


It's time for all you aspiring filmmakers to start thinking about next summer: the San Diego Comic-Con International Independent Film Festival will begin accepting entries for 2015 as of 1 October. Same categories as always - animation, comic book-oriented, pop culture documentaries, horror/suspense, sci-fi/fantasy, action/adventure and humor.

If you're not familiar with the IFF, it offers several elements rolled into one cinephile dream. There is the chance to have your film screened and possibly win a prize; there's also the opportunity to network with industry professionals; and finally, there's a daily film school for emerging artists. And of course attendees get to watch indie films they might not see at other festivals. If you're serious about your career in film, you're probably all over this already - but just networking at the IFF can be an entry point for beginners who aren't sure how to get started.

The deadline is 2 February. Take a look at the rules here.

James Spader explains the SDCC experience


You know how sometimes you go to San Diego Comic-Con full of anticipatory energy - and yet at the end you feel vaguely dissatisfied and incomplete?  Last night on the Tonight Show, James Spader found the words we've all wanted to say.

Get your SDCC Member ID now or else


A word of caution to SDCC hopefuls still in the embryonic stage of Comic-Con life. On their Purchase Badges page, CCI has a special section that addresses those of you who have never signed up for a Member ID.

It goes through the usual yammer about signing up, but then it says - pointedly - "We strongly suggest that you sign up for a Member ID now if you are interesting in attending Comic-Con 2015." Later it mentions that the Member ID system will close "without prior notification" in advance of any badge sale event.

I doubt it's going to close next week or anything, but since they probably wouldn't mind capping the number of badge sale participants (and neither would we) I fully expect them to seal that portal at some point well before next spring's Open Registration. So go ahead and get your Member ID if you're one of those procrastinators who just hasn't yet for some reason.

You're not obligated in any way by doing so - if you decide you never want to have anything to do with San Diego Comic-Con again, you can just leave your account hanging. But it's a good thing to have on the off chance you might want to try for a badge.

ECCC 3-day badges are almost sold out


I know this isn't the most welcome news, but here it is: ECCC 3-day passes are more than 2/3 sold out. The Celebrity Fast Pass has sold out completely (as the Deluxe Pass has been since the third minute of the sale.) Single days are still ripe for the picking.

There has been some ire around the fact that the badges are selling so quickly (they've been on sale for 2 weeks - last year they took until January to sell out) and that they are only available online. I kind of get it. And I do feel bad for people who are watching their comfortable local Con grow like a radioactive monster.

But mostly I feel bad for future us, because this is how it all starts. Last year it sold out in months, this year it's selling out in weeks. Next year it'll sell out even faster and the year or so after that we'll be yelling at our computers in an online sale that seems impossibly fast.

Get your 3-day badge now.

Cosplayers, your ideas are requested


The ECCC team has asked for suggestions from the cosplay community. (I do admire their collaborative spirit.) They want to expand the cosplay aspect for both cosplayers and their fans in what sounds like a designated area - perhaps like NYCC is doing.

I don't think you have to be going to ECCC to contribute your ideas - your general expertise as a cosplayer is enough. So if you have thoughts on how cosplay could best be showcased and enjoyed at Cons, go ahead and contact ECCC.

Help CCI fight censorship


No one wants their comic books taken away, right?  Or to be told how to think?

The tentacles of censorship spread in many directions - violence, sex, politics, religion - but they all grow out of one central tyranny: the need to control. Over the years, comics and graphic novels have been subjected to this as much as any other art form, with both consumers and governments trying to restrict the availability of "subversive" material.

Creators like Neil Gaiman, Alan Moore, Alison Bechdel, Jeff Smith and Marjane Satrapi have all had their work attacked - and those are just the top names in the field. Plenty of emerging writers and artists are silenced before they can even break into the public eye. While we can fight to preserve the availability of popular material, we'll never know what potential masterpieces are strangled by censorship in their infancy.

This year, for Banned Books Week, CCI is teaming up with the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund to present Beware of Comics! - what they're calling "a lively conversation about comics, censorship and what makes the medium so dangerous in the 21st Century." Scott McCloud and Larry Marder will lead.

When: 25 September at 7:00 pm

Where: San Diego Central Library Auditorium - 330 Park Blvd, San Diego

Cost: Free! Donations welcome, of course, to help fight the good fight.

I feel like most nerds have a maverick heart - generally speaking, we tend to be the nonconformists of society. So consider supporting CCI and the CBLDF if you can, or fighting censorship in whatever way is expedient for you this September.

ECCC Minion applications bumped to October


The application process to be an ECCC Minion - i.e., a volunteer - has been bumped to October. Does that matter? Maybe a little if you were waiting to see how your application panned out before buying your badge.

(FWIW, I'm amazed at how bitter people are over the idea that the 3-day badges are already more than half sold out. Shows you how jaded SDCC has made me. I don't even blink when something seems inconvenient now.)

The Minion launch has been delayed due to "some internal development" which for now is partially a mystery. What has been shared: every Minion needs to be 18 and up as of the Con, 27 March 2015. Sorry, minors.


Yes, SDCC prices went up - and that's okay


Remember when San Diego Comic-Con cost $35 all those years ago? Yes, so do I. That was in the time of wandering upstairs to the Sails Pavilion and pre-registering at your leisure. The era of being deeply annoyed that you had to wait 90 whole minutes to get into Hall H on Saturday.

Times have changed and badge prices have risen every year. And they have done so once again to the outrage of many Con attendees. It's not a huge difference when comparing 2014 to 2015. But I know many of you thought prices were already outlandish - and that these new rates are a crime against nerddom.  

Here is what it will set you back to buy your SDCC 2015 badge.

For regular attendee badges:

Preview Night: $35
Thursday, Friday and Saturday: $50 each
Sunday: $35

For Junior, Senior and Military badges:

Preview Night: $18
Thursday, Friday and Saturday: $25 each
Sunday: $17

Remember that if you buy Preview Night, you buy it all. So the ultimate Comic-Con badge will cost you $220.

Now I'm going to say something that may sound insensitive and economically tone-deaf. I don't have a problem with the badge prices going up a bit. We put immense demands upon CCI and the convention center. The need for increased security is just one example. Our incremental spread into other facilities is another. This past summer CCI added programming in the Horton Grand Theatre. Possibly next summer they'll be using yet another new building.  While I haven't always been their biggest fan, I do believe them when they say they are looking for ways to improve the Comic-Con experience. We all want that too, right? Easier badge sales, better line management, security guards who are actually helpful?

Ultimately you can't go to the biggest and most popular Con in the world and expect prices to stay the same forever. I think $220 is an incredible bargain for a 5-day show when many people blow way more than that on tickets to a single basketball game or concert. I know that's a lot of money for some people and I do empathize - I was beyond broke my first few Cons. I remember those days clearly. But given how much Con attendance costs overall - hotels, meals, parking, events, whatever you buy on the floor - an extra $20 this year probably won't stop many people from going.

Personally I wish CCI would introduce a Fast Pass/VIP badge that was priced high enough to keep the rates low for everyone else. I would happily pay more for, say, an accelerated badge pick-up process, or some kind of special screening/swag bag/event/other incentive. I'm sure other attendees feel the same way. But I'm not crossing my fingers. For now, this is what we have.

ECCC passes are going fast


A few years ago, Emerald City Comicon wasn't nearly as well known as San Diego Comic-Con or New York. Then comic book fans started talking it up as their favorite Con destination and nerds caught wind of the fun to be had in Seattle, and now passes are selling fast fast fast.

How fast? Last year 3-day passes sold out in January, after months of availability; this year more than half are gone after only a few days. I cannot emphasize this enough: buy soon if you want to go to this Con. It really is becoming THE Con to go to and 2 years from now, ECCC passes may be a lot harder to get. Enjoy the relative peace of buying a pass while you can.

Deluxe passes sold out on the spot (and ECCC has confirmed they won't add more ) but everything else is still available. 3-day passes are only $85; the $295 Celebrity Fast Passes are still available and include 3-day access as well. No doubt people are waiting to snap these up due to ECCC's leisurely pace of announcing "one celeb and at least five comic guests per week." Single day badges are also available.

As for hotels, the Sheraton is already sold out but the Grand Hyatt is close by and still available. So are the other hotels.

ECCC has suggested they will provide updates on when badges look close to being gone, which is a help. But I still say don't wait any longer than you have to. Beg, borrow or steal that $85 and buy your pass.