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Posts Tagged ‘Comic-con’

It occurs to me that except for blaming the lost weekend for my lapse in productivity (yeah, like that’s the only reason), I have said very little about Comic-con. This seems odd, since the very scope of Comic-con would presumptively lend itself to having a great deal to say. This is true, and yet not.

Let me emphasize here that I like the idea of Comic-con. I grew up with comics. I own a lot of them (and the ones I’ve lost that would be worth a fortune today?–don’t ask). I love that they’ve finally hit the mainstream.

But.

My personal experience inside Comic-con was largely limited to one room (Hall 20), which in and of itself does speak volumes about the event. We were only there one day, and we were there to see a particular panel (Outlander), which did not premiere until late. Under the rules by which Comic-con operates, however, this meant we had to sit in the room all day. And that is where the concept of blame, of which Comic-con bears much, comes in.

You see, Comic-con’s large halls (H and 20) feature panel discussions all day. Hall H is where the infamous “movie reveal” panels happen, where you can see the entire cast of “The Avengers,” for example, on stage. Hall H holds 6000 people. It caters to movies and some very popular TV shows (like The Big Bang Theory). Hall 20 is the smaller venue for TV shows of somewhat lesser, but still significant, popularity. It holds, if memory serves, 4800 people.

The problem with these rooms (and thereby hangs the blame), is that they are not cleared after each panel. Once you get in, you stay. You can try to maneuver your way to a seat closer to the stage once people vacate on their own after seeing the panel that they came to see, but given the high standard of events in Hall H, I doubt that happens much. (It did in Hall 20.) This is why people camp out all night to get into Hall H. (Kind of a waste of a hotel reservation, wasn’t it?) In our case, it meant sitting through several hour-long panels we cared nothing about.

Now I understand that clearing a 6000-seat (or even 4800-seat) auditorium and re-filling it every hour would be a mammoth task. Notwithstanding, this policy is garbage. If you don’t want to empty the hall six times a day, do it once. People can come in for the morning sessions, or the afternoon sessions. Force them to choose what they want to see, and give twice as many people the chance to see something. At least allow people to pre-register for Hall H the way they pre-register for the convention so that they don’t have to camp out all night.

Comic-con is big. Really big. It shows no signs of slowing (to my knowledge), but a lot of events now happen outside the convention center. I saw Star TrekBladerunner, The Walking Dead, and Game of Thrones events, among others. This trend will grow. Exhibitors are already complaining that the traffic in the dealers’ room is declining. Part of that is the outside events, and part is because anybody who wants to see a panel in the latter part of the day cannot do anything else that day. You want to see a 4:00 panel in H or 20? You’re stuck from 9 to 5. (And for Hall H, that’s 9 PM.)

Like any monster, Comic-con moves slowly. And like the dinosaurs, even if it lasts millions of years, it carries the seeds of its own destruction. “Really big” is only a short step from “too big.”

And who would be to blame for that?

#SFWApro

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The storm of events that seems determined to sabotage The Experiment has continued–which is a non-self-accusatory way of saying that progress on the novel this week was almost non-existent. I am at 39,831 words, which is about 2,000 words ahead of last week (as opposed to the planned 6,000). The culprit this week, as you might have noticed, is Comic-Con.

We hadn’t been for several years, but when The Better Half managed to snag tickets (no mean feat), we decided we really had to go. So we went down to San Diego on Thursday morning. This meant, for the purposes of this post, that Thursday was a non-writing day; since I knew there would be no chance to do anything useful, I didn’t even bring the laptop. But it also meant that we had to pack on Wednesday, so that night was lost, too (as was Tuesday, for other pre-event reasons). Ergo, the book was pushed back essentially another week.

I don’t blame Comic-con for this; I was the one who agreed to go, after all. And I thought it might present a marketing opportunity for The Invisible City, currently available for free on Smashwords (hint, hint). Comic-con has rules about these things, however, so our efforts were constrained. (All credit to The Better Half, though, who is far better at getting people to take promotional postcards from strangers than I am. Of course, she’s better-looking, so that helps.)

Comic-con itself was pretty much what I expected, crowded and full of long lines. I was surprised to see how it’s spilled out beyond the confines of the Convention Center; there were some interesting things that you could get into even if you weren’t a member. I had my first taste of VR over the weekend, for example. It needs work, but it’s intriguing.

And it’s one of the few places you can wear a kilt and not be stared at. TBH is a rabid Outlander fan, and I volunteered to attend the panel she wanted to see, in a kilt. This meant wearing the kilt all day. They really are quite comfortable. I might incorporate it into my convention persona.

Okay, yes, there are pictures.

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This week there’s no Comic-con, and no excuses! Full speed ahead! Six thousand words or bust! We have a book to write.

#SFWApro

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Vampires. Ghouls. Zombies. Donald Trump.

Sexy vampires. Sexy ghouls. Sexy zombies. Sexy–oh no, not going there.

This is the time of year that boys and girls, men and women of all ages dress up like their favorite fantasy (or fantastical) characters: the kids for candy, the adults for parties. And everyone does it; no matter how much they eschew fantasy and make-believe the rest of the year, virtually everyone dresses up, or has, or caters to those who do.

Why then, do people who have no trouble making themselves into something they are not have so much trouble reading about something that isn’t? Why are SF and fantasy still looked down on–except on Halloween, when horror gets a pass? And it’s not like people don’t like this stuff. How many of the top-grossing films are SF or fantasy? How many TV series? How long have commercials used fantasy trappings to sell cars and soap? It’s the books that are suffering.

Is it reading? Because a lot of today’s young adults grew up on Harry Potter, so they have read for pleasure. Was Harry Potter simply an anomaly, accepted because it was popular, like a Kardashian?

Maybe it’s the conventions. Maybe all those pictures of kids dressed up like anime characters and Batman and female Thors are giving the field a bad rep. Hey, I’ve got news for you–they’re only doing in July what you’ll be doing in October…

Yes, SF and fantasy are more popular than ever, if you go by movies and TV. But while it’s quite normal to see adults in Avengers t-shirts, ask one of them if he reads the stuff. Any SF, not just comics. Because he probably doesn’t. Reading this stuff is for kids, or grown-ups living in their parents’ basement. (Okay, most kids today come back to live in their parents’ basement, but that’s not the point.)

It’s well-known that fantasy thrives in times of economic turmoil, which explains why it’s so popular today. But other than Harry Potter and the Avengers and Star Wars, it’s still not considered grown-up entertainment. We who know the field know this is ridiculous. We’re past ray-guns and BEMs and Mars Needs Women. We deal with climate change and gender roles and politics. We write romances and mysteries and westerns. We just throw in a few aliens now and then.

Do we need better marketing? Do we need more Lucases and Rowlings and Spielbergs? Or should we simply be thankful for our gains and go on thinking we know something other people don’t know?

It should not be difficult to get other folks to read what we like, just to see if they like it too. I mean, if people will accept this current crop of presidential candidates, they’ll swallow anything.

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