OPINION: Is Comic-Con Worth the Trek?
The Pros, Cons, and Geekdom...
By C.J. Stunkard
A month ago this week, thousands of pop culture fans descended on the city of San Diego for the annual Comic-Con International. Real time news from varied halls and interviews hit the web from countless sources, and fans of all manner of media received weeks from the anticipated event. While the most devoted members of fandom found themselves in long lines and crowded floors, millions of us enjoyed the revelations from comfort behind our computer screens. Though attendees sat in the same rooms with the likes of actors, directors, and pop culture heroes, many would say that those who stayed at home were the lucky ones.
An argument can be made that the naysayers are right. For all the pomp and circumstance surrounding the so-called “Mecca of Geekdom”, many complain that the con is hardly an enjoyable experience. For one, the pilgrimage is an expensive affair. Not only will the con itself set the attendee back a hundred-plus bucks, but one must also consider travel, local accommodations, and the expenses for celeb photos, autographs, and exclusive souvenirsnot to mention food if one wants the energy to enjoy the day.
Of course, one can offer a single, valid counter-point: you cannot put a price on the experience. And make no mistake; if Comic-Con can be classified as anything, it’s an experience. Seeing celebrities in person, even from the back of a crowded hall, creates a very different memory than seeing them on Youtube; and it’s hard to put a price on watching one’s pop-culture hero sign a personalized autograph.
Celebrity appearances, however, are only part of the comic-con pie. Exhibitors of all manner of pop culture wares put their best face forward in San Diego, teasing the waves to come that inevitably will separate fans from their hard-earned cash. Despite the fact that the floor is crowded and smells like an unkempt high school locker, fans clamor at seeing something first and in person, plus the added benefit of being able to ask the folks behind it the where’s, when’s, and how’s of getting these new goodies. Sometimes, they are only available at the show (and may have even sold out the day prior); and thankfully, not every coveted treasure on display has a price tag, as companies come ready to pass out swag each and every day.
On top of these two factors is a third that really cannot be quantified in dollars , and this is the in-person discussions and late-night dialogues about the countless reveals, when fans bear their souls to one another about their experiences from not only the convention but the hobbies themselves. Chat rooms, forums, and e-mails are a wonderful tool for bringing fans together, but something about the con itself changes the conversation. Emotions are heightened, tensions rise, yet folks also get the benefit of seeing each other in person and putting a body behind a comment, leading to discussions that are oftentimes not only more civil but more enjoyable than they tend be when tagged onto the back of articles or on boards.
Six years have passed since I last went to San Diego, and I have to admit: every year since I have my moments of wishing I was there. See, I was spoiled because I attended as a member of the press, and inasmuch as I had to hustle on the floor and work more than play, I experienced the best of the above-outlined benefits and at lower cost than I would have had to pay as an attendee. But looking back at the show, even had my years there cost me the few grand to attend, I’d probably still think it was worth it.
All that to say fellow fans, regardless of the murmurs you hear online, San Diego Comic-Con is worth the trek, at least once if geek culture is your present hobby. It’s Disney world for the subculture of geekdom.
Sure, it will cost you; the floor will be crowded. You’ll have a hard task deciding where and how to spend your time, and you’ll have a disappointment or two along the way. Of course you may also get to shake hands with that one actor whose work helped you in life; you may get a first glimpse at an upcoming collectible you know you’ll want or your shelf, and you may even meet some fellow fans with whom you become fast friends. And that can be priceless.
Comic Con International 2015 wil be held from July 8 – 12, 2015. Start saving now!
By C.J. Stunkard
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Last edited by JeffSaylor; 09-04-2014 at 02:55 PM.