19 JUNE 2023
Happy Juneteenth! We're in a very special time of year when one half of us pays heed to Father's Day, the Summer Solstice, Juneteenth, the Fourth of July, and goes to barbecues and whatnot - and yet the other half lives in a ghost world waiting for SDCC announcements to bring them back to life. It's SDCC Ghost You I'm talking to today.
A month from now, we will walk into the convention center for Preview Night. (Well, some of us will.) And we kind of know what to expect. Those of us who've been to our share of San Diego Comic-Cons know how they can vary from red-hot to middling, depending on the year. And we know how the pandemic changed things for CCI (witness the badges we're receiving this year compared to the boxes and pins of yesteryear.) We know inflation has reduced the circumstances of many a would-be swag offerer and elevated the costs of even a basic burrito or bottle of sunscreen. And of course, most of us are thinking about the writers' strike.
So I think many of us are entering into SDCC 2023 with the understanding that it may not be the lavish spectacle of our dreams. That said - we're all hoping for something or we wouldn't be going. So what are you hoping for? And what are you worried about?
Let's start with the #1 anxiety I hear from attendees. Has the writer's strike wiped Hall H off the map?
.....No, not entirely? I guess that's my prediction. Yes, I think we'll feel the strike. I think we'll all face easier choices when it comes to investing in the Indigo Ballroom vs Hall H vs that special offsite your friends got tickets to. But I'm sure there will be some trailers and panels worth seeing.
Or maybe not. I don't know. My only small but fervent wish was to see a Salem's Lot screening this summer but I doubt that'll happen. I think we'll just have to wait and see and give the panels a chance. Because the overcrowded offerings of previous years often did eclipse some serviceable shows/movies that never got the fuss they deserved.
Remember last year how we only got two bag designs? I'm expecting the same this year. We know there won't be carpet in the Exhibit Hall. I'm hoping desperately they bring back the paperback Souvenir Guide but I doubt we'll get it.
But one place SDCC could shine is by putting fresh designs into their merchandise. This has varied in the past - but maybe they'll bring their A game this year.
There are levels of events, from dance parties and cosplay contests to really good shows and screenings to invite-only parties. I'm guessing all of these will be reduced but we do have a few good options already. I think this might be an excellent year to put effort into creating your own events. I don't mean just a party in your hotel room but organizing meetups for your digital communities and fan bases.
I accepted the loss of my own favored retail booths years ago, those being the more offbeat oddities that used to reign supreme at SDCC. In my impoverished youth, I spent ludicrous sums on the floor; now that I'm older with far more discretionary income, I can't find anything I want to buy. I know other people feel the same way, but obviously someone is buying all those little light-up dragons and voodoo dolls and fantasy paintings. If that's you - I think you can look forward to more of the same.
We know Sideshow Collectibles is not returning and probably some other former mainstays, so it will be interesting to see the new layout.
Will A-list celebrities be there if they have nothing to promote? Will C-list, for that matter? I'm sure we'll all still have elevator run-ins with someone who looks famous but we can't think of their name, while our favorite actor appears on a Gaslamp sidewalk at the same moment we're in Ballroom 20.
Overall, I think we may get a little less star power this year. I'm okay with that. Maybe it's a chance for emerging talent to shine. That used to happen a lot more at SDCC - remember?
Okay, I feel like I've just described a poor man's SDCC when really, I think we'll all still be thrilled and surprised by something unexpected. That's part of the Comic-Con magic. I remember the year when everyone talked about the Orphan Black panel and most of us were like, "Orphan who? Tatiana what?" and it ended up getting more intense buzz than big studio rollouts.
That seems to happen with some graphic novel or TV pilot or video game every year - and it will probably happen this year. So I suppose our best approach is to just go in without expectations, except the expectation that we'll all find something to love.