From 21st to 24th July, 2011, the world’s largest convention for comic enthusiasts will take place in San Diego. You may have heard of it – the San Diego Comic Convention – SDCC. When this convention originated in 1970, it was attended by a few hundred fans of comic books and science fiction – Batman, Superman, The Avengers, Spiderman…you get the idea. Of course, we cannot forget the Trekkies and the Star Wars fanatics. You couldn’t consider yourself a true comic enthusiast unless you could speak Klingon.
I don’t pretend to know anything about this event except that over the years, this gathering of “comic geeks” has grown and now includes a galaxy of stars from the small and big screens. Tickets were so in demand that the online sales service was not able to cope with the surge of orders when they were first released. The server crashed, although this might say more about the event’s lack of organisation than anything else, but tickets were released again a few months later. Still, to the fans who desperately wanted to attend, tickets were hard to come by. Even the process the press has to go through to get their passes seemed ridiculously complicated, but I have been told it is worth the effort.
Dressing up as your favourite comic book/TV show hero or heroine is almost a “must”. Someone said to me that you’re not serious about Comic-Con unless you dress up. So if you bump into another Harry Potter or The Flash, you are absolutely in the right place. If you are not dressed up as someone from Stargate then you can probably expect a few awkward stares. Given the numerous Star Trek movies that have been released over the years, I’m not sure if it is still considered a good costume or not if you turn up as Spock but I do know the original Captain Kirk himself, William Shatner, will be at SDCC.
Film distributors use the convention as one of their many marketing platforms to promote upcoming action blockbusters such as The Avengers franchise (Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, etc) and Twilight. Television networks also love SDCC and it would seem your show doesn’t have to have anything to do with comics or sci-fi – if your characters are comic geeks then you can expect them to be well represented in San Diego as well (eg NBCU’s Chuck and USA Network’s Psych). But even if your show has nothing to do with comics or science fiction, you might find yourself in one of the many big halls for a panel appearance.
Based on tweets and web reports from the 2010 SDCC, it looked like the some of the most popular panels featured stars from shows on the USA Network. Psych had a surprise guest in the form of Curt Smith (yes, he’s one half of the 80s duo Tears for Fears) who had appeared on the show and of course, my favourite show, White Collar, whose panel was crashed by rival showrunner of Burn Notice, Matt Nix, challenging the writers of White Collar to a paintball war with the writers of Burn Notice. But what was probably one of the funniest moments of the SDCC for the non-geeks like myself, happened at the booths when the two stars of White Collar, Matt Bomer and Tim DeKay, took to the dance floor at the Wii booth by having a dance-off! Even if you are not a fan of the show (why not? just kidding…not really :)) I’m sure you would find this quite hilarious.
Although I may never have the opportunity to attend SDCC in person, I can be pretty sure of a few things:
- SDCC is no longer just for the comic geeks – there’s something for everyone
- all attendees – fans, artists, press – will be living off a steady diet of caffeine over the four days of the convention
- there will be a lot of queuing – to get into a hall for panels, to get food, to autograph booths and probably to restrooms
- the press room will be crazy
- there will be a lot of people sleeping the whole way home when they leave San Diego on Sunday or Monday – hopefully not if they are driving
If you are attending SDCC this year, or have been in previous years, I’d love to hear your stories. Maybe you are reading this post as you’re standing in line to get into a panel? 🙂 Leave a comment and share the love 🙂
I leave you with this: “Live long and prosper!” xox