24 JUNE 2023
Hello, fellow pallbearers! Did you hear the news? This is going to be a funereal San Diego Comic-Con, according to fans and nerds everywhere.
But don't send out memorial cards yet. Yes, many studios are sitting this out - that would be Marvel, Sony, Netflix, Universal, and others - but there will still be plenty to look forward to. And no, I'm not just putting a brave face on it.
The reality is, you could never see every panel worth seeing anyhow. You couldn't do Indigo Ballroom, Hall H, and Ballroom 20 all at once, most of us have failed to access at least tasty offsite due to lines/schedules, and - this is crucial - most of us have invested hours waiting for big-ticket panels that wound up being utter duds. It's fine to be disappointed that you're not going to get the panels and celebrities and trailers you hoped for, but there will be other things to captivate you.
I suppose I'm less than sympathetic to everyone's moping because I already went through this years ago with SDCC - my SDCC, that is. The elements that I liked most died off and I did caterwaul about it a bit, including on this blog, but then I got over it and learned to enjoy other things about the Con.
You will too! Here's how I know:
1) SDCC attracts scrappy innovators and entrepreneurs. Right now, greater minds than mine have observed the starpower vacuum at the Con and are cooking up events and screenings and offerings to take their place. Every savvy marketer knows the end of July plants a big group of zealous fans looking for their next passion in San Diego. Someone is going to capitalize on that opportunity.
2) Some of the best discoveries every year are from smaller studios and companies. I'm not downplaying the magic that Marvel or Sony might have brought but the thing is, you're going to hear about their releases anyhow. Now you'll have the space for those equally good but often overlooked projects.
3) You can - depending on your inclination - party a little harder or relax a little deeper this year. Or do both. Maybe you'll have time to sleep in, get a massage, go to the fancy sauna at your fancy hotel. You'll have time to linger over good meals at good restaurants. And if you have Con friends, you'll be able to really catch up over drinks instead of just briefly hugging it out in the convention center lobby.
4) If you don't have friends, this is the year to make them. No more shyness. No more crippling sense of inadequacy or social anxiety. No one cares! It's Comic-Con, we're all weird, so just be friendly, ask if people want to hang out, and see where the day or night takes you.
5) This could be the birth of your next passion. SDCC offers exposure to anime, tabletop games, independent films, lesser-known artists, obscure comics, cosplay, science fiction, collectibles, and so much more. If you're interested in some Con elements, chances are you would be fascinated and fulfilled by others - but previous years have just been too busy for you to really check them out. This is your chance to try out new interests and see what catches your fancy.
6) You can enjoy other parts of San Diego. You do want to check out the Comic-Con Museum - that's not even a question. There's also the beach. And there will be events across town that might be distant from the Gaslamp but are still worth attending.
I don't want to downplay the emotional importance of what feels like a loss for many of you. I really do get it. But I think over the next few weeks - especially once the official schedule comes out - we'll all find panels and events to get excited about. So take off your black armband, come out of mourning, and put on your explorer's hat. You're going to have a more adventurous Con this year and it's going to be a good thing.