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Posted at 10:40 AM ET, 07/23/2009

Comic-Con: No One Knows What to Call This Thing

By Michael Cavna

San Diego Comic-Con International suffers from an ailment, a nagging symptom, a tsetse fly in the ointment. Call it the Curse of the Lame Name Game. Comic-Con -- as great an event as it is -- cannot seem to land upon a good, vaguely rockin' nickname. Even 40 years on, the deed has proved as elusive and disheartening as San Diego Zoo pandas trying to produce a marquee spawnlet.

As I strolled the Preview Night halls last night, I heard valiant but doomed attempts to peg that nickname. "SDCC," ventured one dude. (Round these parts, that long meant San Diego City College.) "CCI," uttered another. (Not only non-catchy, but it's the name of the publishing platform that such clients as The Post use.)

A GOOD NICKNAME, IT IS: Jedi knights began appearing on the "Con" floor Wednesday night as Preview Night got under way. Unfortunately, a search for a catchy new nickname for the event turned up as dry as Anakin's home planet. (Michael Cavna/The Washington Post)

Back in the day, many of us just called it "The Con" -- that's even how Stan Lee referred to it the other day to Comic Riffs. (Which in the '80s led to far too many "Wrath of 'Con" headlines.) But given the sheer volume of high-end merch on the floor now, "the Con" as a term takes on more nefarious overtones.

Some will say that the event is so mega, it has outgrown the need for a catchy nickname. But that's precisely why this still-wacky event needs a nickname now: To at least maintain the illusion of approachable friendliness.

The "Connie"? The "Commie"?? Surely you can do better than I. So the Official 'Riffs Question of the Day is: What would you nickname San Diego Comic-Con International? Your suggestions are invited.

By Michael Cavna  | July 23, 2009; 10:40 AM ET
Categories:  San Diego Comic-Con  
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How about "The Big Con"?

When speaking with friends, most of them in the comic book industry, "San Diego" is understood to mean "CCI:SD". "You going to San Diego this year?"

The science fiction community has long used "Con-" names for conventions. For San Diego, "Confluence" is very apropos.

One can also use "Nerd Prom" or "Geek Prom" or "The Gathering of the Tribes". ("Gathering of the Clans" gives it more respectability. Can you imagine different fanboys wearing kilts to denote their allegiances? Brr...)

Posted by: TorstenAdair | July 23, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Kilted fanboys! Brr, indeed. (Mine eyes, they burn.)

Meant to mention: I've been hearing "Nerd Vegas" more than ever this year. As for "Nerd Prom": It's gotten so stale, even the White House Correspondents Dinner has gotten around to trying to co-opt it.


Posted by: cavnam | July 23, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

I know that there are other Comic-Cons (isn't there a NYC one?), but doesn't "Comic-Con" alone mean the San Diego one? Here in the game industry we have the Game Developer's Conference, and while there are many different GDCs around the world, when you say an unqualified "GDC" it's pretty well assumed that you're referring to the original, San Francisco one. Isn't Comic-Con the same? That seems nickname enough.

Posted by: tidalwv | July 23, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

So dark the con of San Diego

Posted by: jessecline | July 23, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

The graphic novel "Nevermore" retells Poe's
"The Masque of the Red Death" at a comic convention. Avoid the pustulating!

Posted by: jimward21 | July 23, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Even the impressive stature of a Jedi Knight standing armed with a light saber cannot draw attention away from the girth of the fans in the background. Oh wait, at least one of those fans is pregnant, I think.

Posted by: kilby | July 24, 2009 3:32 AM | Report abuse

Con-victs ??

Posted by: MSchafer | July 24, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

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