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DIGITAL DEBATE WEDNESDAYS: SDCC Paradise? Lost?

It’s time for San Diego Comic Con. The show kicks off today, leading to a week of the biggest show in the world.

Comic Con, if you ask some people, is geek mecca. It’s the biggest celebration of everything we love in the world – the most accepted place we can all go to be ourselves, make new friends, and celebrate a true melting pot of fandoms.

But as we found out last time we brought it up in these debates, it’s a place that holds a lot of bitterness for a lot of people. Comic con, to them, has sold out, moved past its original intent and become a place where we, as nerds, are a commodity to be marketed, not someone to be celebrated.

So which is it, fellow geeks? Is Comic-con a paradise, or paradise lost?

Mike Fatum I fully admit I’ve never been to Comic-con back during the glory days folks have talked about, where tickets flowed like water and you could chat with Stan Lee on the elevator every day while riding a magic dinosaur. But SDCC has been a great, great joy of my life. I’ve been to conventions all over the world, and I’ve never, ever seen anything like Comic-con. It’s a huge melting pot. Fans of every kind, of every age, of every race, of every gender or lack thereof, of every fandom come together and celebrate the things they love. The panels this year cover literally everything – there’s nothing that’s excluded, including and especially comic books.

It’s hard to get into. I get that. Limited space and maximum demand lead to that. I didn’t get to go last year and that sucked. But there’s very little that can be done about that, and what can be done IS being done. This year there’s like, thirty conventions happening around the big one, so even if you don’t get into SDCC there’s tons to do and see. I’ve still run into and had conversations with celebrities like Chris Hardwick, Bruce Timm and John Barrowman just by wandering the floor.

It’s a magical place. Really it is. I love it there, and I’ve never felt like I was being talked down to or treated like a commodity.

If this was Wizard World, where the show is literally designed around getting geeks to pay hundreds of dollars to spend less than half a second with Alan Tudyk, then yeah, I’d understand the frustration. But it’s never felt like that to me. It’s always felt like it was built out of a place of love, of fandom. I feel celebrated there.

Joe Hadsall If people can still celebrate their favorite stories, universes and realms like they did before, then what’s wrong with being marketed to? The next universe we might fall in love with could be introduced there.

Mary Anne Butler SDCC= Geek Christmas. The shopping, the stress, the ‘family’ (because really all persons in a fandom are one big dysfunctional family) all thrown together in a small(ish) space all trying to vie for the affections of mommy and daddy. I could NOT go without having a job, I would end up killing someone by the end of the week.

**bonus** DragonCon = Mardi Gras/Thanksgiving.

MalKontent Blizzard I hope that one day I will be able to attend so I can be qualified to answer this question

• Joe Hadsall You and me both!

• Gladius Mascalus Munchkin +1

Mary Anne Butler I should also say, SDCC is nothing but WORK for me. It’s not my ‘fun’ con, it’s not a show I get to enjoy. I hate all the people who are only there to buy exclusives, they frak up everything.

Chris Brecheen I think it’s a false dichotomy. Both these things are true. Geeks of yesteryear have become one of the largest single demographics of purchasing power in the 21st century and probably will remain so well into the 20’s. Our dollars will be wooed. And that takes the bloom off the rose for some people. But also, it’s not like it ISN’T the place where you get to see previews first or the epicest cosplay or a zillion people who won’t judge you for loving anime-style RPGs more than mainstream culture thinks is healthy.

• Joe Hadsall Brilliant point. The quality of things available for us to buy now is exponentially better than even a decade ago.

Mary Anne Butler Consequentially, SDCC is the MOST judgey of Cosplayers.

• Chris Brecheen Fair. I am not in any way in that culture. I just gasp over some shared FB images from time to time. I’m sure you would know better which venues are more snobby.

• John Garcia I AGREE. I think it’s because there’s a lot of ppl who are not as aware of the “Cosplay is for fun” aspect and think more along the lines of “Those people don’t look like the characters / what are these non cannon creations?”

• Mary Anne Butler This is the problem when the ‘main line’ press invades. You get people who are not as intune to the world of the fans.

• John Garcia I’ve gotten a lot of attention from my costumes but not al of it is positive, sometimes the same costume would get completely different reactions like my Venture Brothers (Two Ton 21) costume, which the creators of the show itself LOVED and even picked as the winner, but the min it went up to be viewed, people just were brutal to me ….yup judgy judgy indeed

• John Garcia Mary Anne, oh yeah! When I got “interviewed” in previous years they’d do a bait and switch and ask benign questions like “so what do you do for a living?” many follow it up with “Oh, so you’re not living in your parent’s basement and jobless?”

One even took a shot at me being a professor because he could not otherwise make fun, so he went “WELL …you’re here cosplaying cuz you’re just a COMMUNITY COLLEGE professor huh?”

Raven Knighte I have never been to SDCC but I have been to the first two Denver comic cons, and a couple in San Antonio. The con scene has gone from being “a thing put on by fans, for fans” to being a thing put together by “big business” for marketing purposes. I can’t afford to go to cons anymore due to costs.

Jarys Maragopoulos
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Jarys Maragopoulos grew up in the suspiciously isolated Ojai valley. Having acted in about a dozen plays as a child, including radio comedy routines, Jarys escaped with a College acceptance letter they had forged out of a hallmark card and octopus Ink. They rode the trains and learned the way of the hobos until arriving at the idyllic city of San Francisco, home to Jarys' dreams. At the University of San Francisco, where they won a Bachelors in History from the Dean in a Kung Fu match, Jarys met their two best friends and stopped blushing when they told people their favorite movie was “Return of the Jedi”. Since that time Jarys has earned their teaching credential (without resorting to thaumaturgy), collected a small library, learned Sumerian, and fell in love.
That list is not causal, they promise.

[Jarys is Genderqueer and, consequently, uses they/their/them pronouns.]

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