Why Comic-Con should stay in San Diego
Anyone who follows the politics behind San Diego Comic-Con already knows that the totally awesome geek extravaganza may be moving in the near future.
Officials in both Los Angeles and Anaheim, Calif., are making bids to shift the annual pop culture convention away from the home of the Gaslamp District and to one of their respective cities, where convention space is larger and affordable hotels exist in greater abundance. Between the two, Anaheim is looking like the stronger contender, with more hotels and a larger convention center.
To further make that case, the Anaheim/Orange County Convention & Visitors Bureau recently launched a Facebook fan page to demonstrate how many people are interested in moving Comic-Con to Disneyland Central; so far, more than 201 Facebookers have shown their support. (Also on the pro-Anaheim side: The Wrap made this list of reasons why the convention should move there.)
Meanwhile, there are multiple Keep Comic-Con in San Diego Facebook pages, one of which has amassed 3,257 fans.
Call me old school, or just call me a person who's a huge fan of delightfully pleasant temperatures in late July, but I strongly believe Comic-Con should stay right where it is. Here's why.
Tradition: Comic-Con started more than 40 years ago in San Diego as a teensy little comic book convention. Obviously it has long since morphed into something mammoth that encompasses all aspects of pop culture -- movies, TV, books and, yes, still comics. Diehards often complain that C-Con has gotten out of hand and turned into a marketing machine for Hollywood. Keeping the event in the place where it all began is a way of telling the loyalists that the convention will always honor its roots, no matter how many "Twilight" and "Avatar" panels it books.
The Importance of Being an Outsider: Obviously shifting this thing to L.A. or Anaheim would make it much, much easier for actors and filmmakers to get there, which might increase the high-wattage celebrity factor. But here's the thing: the high-wattage celebrity factor is already pretty significant. Plus, this convention shouldn't be about what's easy for the A-listers. The beauty of Comic-Con is that it's about the fans.
Keeping it as far away as possible from Hollywood reinforces the notion that this event is different from every other hyped-up, choreographed promotion-fest that happens on a weekly basis in the Land of Studio Lots and Power Lunches. When Liz and I attended the Con a couple of years ago, we genuinely got the sense that the talent enjoyed the break from La La-land, and appreciated the emphasis on the regular people who aren't usually part of the pop culture marketing machinery. If Comic-Con ends its stay in San Diego, I fear that will get lost.
San Diego is Prettier: I know this might be a petty argument, but San Diego has to be the most gorgeous city of the three. Yes, Anaheim offers Disneyland and L.A.'s got Hollywood and Vine, but San Diego has the zoo and Legoland and Sea World and Coronado Beach and that beautiful, beautiful bay. True, the city needs to make a greater effort to offer affordable hotels (something they started to do this year) and, ideally, expand that convention center, as plans suggest they might. But either way, if I have to stand in line outside of a convention center while waiting to get into a "Star Wars" panel -- and don't kid yourself, there will be lines no matter where this thing is held -- I'd much rather do it in a place as picturesque as the city formerly known as America's finest.
The Risk: When you move any annual event, you always run the risk that some people won't bother coming anymore. Given the growth of Comic-Con in recent years, it seems unlikely that the convention will ever be hard-up for attendees. But you never know. Does anyone want to run the risk that awesome individuals like these won't show up?
The organizers of Comic-Con -- which, by the way, will still take place this July in good, 'ol San Diego, and is almost entirely sold-out -- are expected to make a decision about all this in the coming weeks. The convention has pledged to remain in SD until 2012, so a move, if one occurs, won't happen until after that. Let's hope they do the right thing and stick with the comforts -- and even, yes, the occasional discomforts -- of San Diego.
| March 25, 2010; 12:44 PM ET
Categories: Comic-Con, Pop Culture
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