We’re gonna try not to have minutely news updates on this year’s San Diego, but it’s probably gonna be daily from here on out, so here’s a roundup of pertinent links and ephemera.
§ Over at Publishers Weekly, we report on Will Comic-Con leave San Diego?” with interviews with a number of key players at various convention centers. including San Diego’s Steven Johnson:
He says an advisory group made up of more than 30 local businesses, from PetCo Park, the baseball stadium adjacent to the convention center, to hotels, parking concessions, and retailers, gathered to look at ways to keep the Con in the city. This has resulted in provision of more parking spaces and more shuttles from outlying hotels. Plus, over 300,000 sq. ft. of additional exhibition space has been added from nearby hotels, says Johnson, and Comic-Con’s block of hotel rooms will be expanded from 7,000 to 14,000 in coming years and there will be a $300 a night cap on hotel room rates. “It’s unprecedented, and it shows clearly that this city is very committed to working diligently to address the concerns of attendees and put on a good event,” Johnson says.
Something Johnson told us that didn’t make it to the final piece: Comic-Con is not the only show that has outgrown the existing convention center: The very lucrative HMIS show is also too big for the facility, as are other shows. The approved expansion would benefit these shows, as well as Comic-Con.
§ This profile of seldom-profiled CCI:SD president John Rogers is very informative. Although Rogers has a day job, he still has myriad duties for the show:
“My job at Comic-Con is all about managing crowds and people,” Rogers says, but a list of his other responsibilities seems endless: avoiding empty seats in sold-out programs, arranging quick entrances and exits for panelists and audiences, pinpointing how many badge scanners and data-entry people are needed, and honoring fans who have lined up early. “If you’re passionate enough to show up at dawn for a panel, then we have to work hard to make sure it happens for you,” he says.
Rogers has done the honors since 1986. He devotes “more hours a month than I care to calculate” to managing the US $7 million budget, a staff of 20 full-time employees, and 3000 volunteers. He also oversees CCI’s San Francisco–based sister conventions, WonderCon and Alternative Press Expo, which together attract another 40 000 attendees and 400 volunteers.
Accordng to the piece, there will be some changes to security workflow:
This year, Rogers is electronically streamlining the workflow by hiring a programmer to develop custom software that tracks where, when, and which kind of security and signage are needed throughout the convention center’s 57 200 square meters (616 000 square feet). A database, fronted by an Excel spreadsheet, links the security shifts of the more than 300 daily guards with the 400-plus daytime and evening events. Another feature shows a detailed but changeable map indicating sign placement around artist tables, publishing-house booths, and movie studio kiosks. “As far as we know, nothing exists like this today,” Rogers says.
§ Meanwhile, an oldie but a goodie: Alan Light’s photos from 1982 San Diego Comic Con.
§ Going back even further in time, more do you know me? photos from the 1974 Comic-Con, with proof that even Dave Stevens was not always so dashing.
§ Among the dozens of offsite events springing up, Zombie Walk: San Diego might just be the most awesome. 6 pm Saturday!
§ Among the many parties springing up, this one, aboard a battleship sounds the most charming. It’s being thrown by Tweet House.
§ Latino Review’s El Guapo presents Five More Reasons Why Comic-Con Sucks, and while he aims to sound like a douche, and hits the target with a howitzer:
The food at any convention isn’t going to be the greatest food you’ve ever tasted. This especially holds true at Comic-Con, a place where the menu hasn’t changed in the last ten years. Grab a dry sandwich, a “salad” which consists of some lettuce and three olives if you’re lucky, and wash it all down with your favorite soda. Or wait in line for that tasty piece of rubbery pizza or not quite cooked hamburger and go to town as you sit on the concrete floor trying to eat it all without throwing up. In between meals you can go to Starbucks to help pump calories into your already grotesque looking frame. And bring a credit card cause this stuff isn’t cheap.
Which reminds us….isn’t it time San Diego was renamed Douche Prom?
§ The LA Times helps us remember that Comic-Con is still about cartoonists, at least when they are doing things besides comics:
And, in case you’re holding on to that old mental image of a comic book illustrator as a bespectacled shut-in, you should know that Mahfood’s latest hobby is drawing his tough, street-chic characters on the thighs and backsides of young, eager ladies around town.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.