18 APRIL 2015
Maybe you'll have a feeling about this and maybe you won't. Disparate forces such as Stan Lee and Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak have commingled their powers and created Silicon Valley Comic Con.
It will burst into life on 19-20 March 2016, and will probably be exactly how you envision a Con in Silicon Valley. Described by Wozniak as "the place to experience all your favorite things at one great show," SVCC sounds at first like a rising upstart and competitor to SDCC. But then he clarified, "Technology is pop culture in Silicon Valley and around the globe. Entertainment and innovation inspire and bring so much joy to the world, and I'm so excited that we will showcase both at Silicon Valley Comic Con. It's finally the Age of the Geek and we're ready to celebrate!"
So... Silicon Valley Commerce Con? Obviously Stan Lee will bring his magical comic book prowess to the event, and it'll do healthy business considering San Jose and San Francisco don't have WonderCon anymore. When it comes to delivering up the promised "Hollywood celebrities and various tech leaders," Wozniak and his Apple connections will no doubt import the very best. Who knows, maybe they'll throw in a few bands and film fests and call it South by Silicon West CES.
But will it have that nerdy Comic Con feel? As big as SDCC has gotten over the years, I think CCI has done a good job at preserving that original ambiance of wandering through aisles of random wonders. Yes, it's much more bombastic and corporate in parts, but its basement origins are still palpable in places. Somehow I can't imagine a Comic Con created by the man who created Apple - a sleek design-driven brand - to deliver that lovably shabby feel.
But maybe that's what people want. While some attendees enjoy pawing through cartons of back issues and weird DVDs and bizarre art, knives and jewelry, maybe other attendees long for streamlined tables of well-preserved comics and elegant demos. This could be right up their alley. Maybe there will be Eric Schmidt cosplay and photo ops with IPO jillionaires. It's Silicon Valley! Those innovative boy kings can do anything. I bet they won't even get sued by CCI.
We already knew that corporate entities like ReedPOP and the people behind Salt Lake Comic Con embrace the business side of Con popularity, and it's clear that every town with two or more zip codes is determined to have its own Con. But to nostalgic purists like me, the idea of corporate megalodons taking over the Con universe is just a bit cringe-worthy.
Still, this could be - I'm being genuine - a really satisfying Comic Con. If it can blend Hollywood, comics and tech (and obviously the networking will be killer), it's going to appeal to many current SDCC attendees. And I'm curious to see how that Apple touch can technologically revolutionize Con bureaucracy. Maybe Wozniak can put a ding in the badge sale universe or something.
Wozniak did say, "In life, the most important thing is to have fun" - and while fun is maybe not the first word I'd associate with the workaholism capital of America, he obviously cares about creating an entertaining experience for geeks. And he's right in that tech, geek, nerd and pop culture circles are all blurring together. So will Silicon Valley Comic Con be worth attending? I doubt it will persuade too many people to opt out of SDCC. But between Wozniak and Stan Lee, it's probably going to be one interesting show.