For those who didn’t get badges for this year’s Comic-Con International (or at least didn’t get all the badges they wanted), good ol’ Palpatine might very well personify the event. Bloated… sunken… gloating over their misfortune…
The thing is, Comic-Con is still at its heart a non-profit organization, and a fairly well organized and forward-looking one given the explosion of its size in the last decade. It doesn’t excuse the online sales debacles that led to so much frustration and disappointment this last year, but they’ve shown a track record of learning from mistakes and improving what needs to be improved. There is still good in them. I feel it.
Maybe I’m just saying that because earlier this year I ran across a set of plans from the city of San Diego for expanding the Convention Center. They have a whole website now, at http://www.conventioncenterexpansion.com/. Rooftop park, marina expansion, blah blah blah skyway walk to 4th street blah blah.
Wait, skyway walk to 4th street? You mean my completely impractical suggestion may not be considered so impractical after all? That judging by this PDF, they already had a diagram and cost studies in place in 2009? Hang the rest, just skip to page 35 and dream of crossing directly from the Convention Center to the Gaslamp without traffic cops and trains in the way.
Now in the latest plans on the expansion site the pedestrian walk is merely “recommended” rather than diagrammed, but they better not be teasing me on this. Do you hear me, San Diego?!
Is Comic-Con International responsible for building this proposed bridge? No, but you better believe this whole expansion wouldn’t be happening if not for their annual presence and the threat of them having to pack up and leave San Diego as the attendance outstripped capacity. I’m 99% sure the expansion of the hall is going through regardless of whether a new bridge is greenlit, but if they’re also going through with this revitalization of the waterfront, it only makes sense to give foot traffic better ways to get there after they get off the trolley.
So that’s a change for the better, even if the rooftop park will probably only benefit the LARP crowd. Let’s move on to other things I learned this year that I’m not so enthusiastic about, or at least don’t know yet what effect they’ll have.
First up: http://www.comicsbeat.com/2011/07/13/san-diego-comic-con-changes-2012-preregistration-procedure/
Here’s what’s funky about this article. So far as I can tell, it’s legitimate, but as of my writing this none of this information is on the CCI site itself yet. Nothing on the facebook page or twitter feed yet either, and even if they do get on the ball this is such a last minute announcement that I foresee that a lot of people are going to be milling around in the Sails Pavilion on Thursday wondering where the pre-reg area went, and probably missing out on at least an hour or more of selling time while they’re waiting in line at the Convention Center. [UPDATE: It’s now official, and pretty much exactly as Comics Beat reported]
If you didn’t click that link, you really ought to go back and do so, but I’ll summarize. This year, the pre-registration passes for Comic-Con 2012 will be sold off-site at the Manchester Grand Hyatt a couple blocks up the street from the Convention Center, rather than at the Convention Center itself. Veteran attendees may also want to steel yourselves for a bit of sticker shock, as there’s an across the board price jump and for the first time ever, SDCC will be charging extra for Preview Night. The badges are not being sold all day, either, but only from 8am-11am every morning, starting Thursday.
Lest your heart may lift at the thought an off-site location affords the opportunity for those who missed out on attendance this year to get in for next year, I’m afraid I must crush your dreams. You can only pre-buy for next year if you show a valid pass for 2011. I don’t know if that means someone who only has a Sunday pass has to wait until Sunday for a pre-buy, but I wouldn’t be surprised.
Also, Comic-Con next year will be from the 12th-15th of July, but the badges are the big story here. Be prepared. So far I only know the Hyatt as a place where I buy one or maybe two overpriced drinks as I hang out with friends, but it’s now become Ground Zero, at least in the morning.
It’s a bit surprising that Comic-Con yoked its horse to the Hyatt. Yes, the Hyatt traditionally has been a place where the comics pros go to unwind and network after hours, but the Marriott was always the CCI HQ. Also, the Hyatt’s had some controversy in recent years after it came out (heh) that the owner had contributed money in support of Proposition 8.
Now I was ignorant of this until recently, and though I’m no fan of homophobia, I have to be honest and say any moves of venue on my part would have more to do with wanting to find someplace with a late night happy hour in effect. If I was that principled about where my money goes, I wouldn’t be drinking Coca-Cola or eating at Carl’s Jr. Then again, paying $12 a cocktail would probably be more palatable without the idea that it’s also funding anti-gay legislation. In any case, it seems like a lot of pros took themselves elsewhere after 2008, leaving the Hyatt a comparative ghost town to previous years and setting up alternate venues, whether it’s BOOM! hosting parties at the Bayfront Hilton or… this.
“This” would be Tr!ckster, a gathering from Tuesday-Sunday night hosted at the San Diego Wine & Culinary Center directly across from the Convention Center and featuring events and appearances from well-known creators such as Mike Mignola, David Mack, Greg Rucka, etc. etc. There will supposedly need to be tickets bought to get in(?), but it seems set up to be a mini-convention complete with full service alcohol and what looks like some very nice places to sit and chat.
If I can manage to do so, I might very well give Trickster a whirl, but we’ll have to see how my time plays out what with the exhibiting, attending the Eisners, etc. etc.
Which is to also say, you probably shouldn’t expect a blog from me next week. If one does get posted, I make no promises about its coherency.