While Tom Spurgeon hasn’t started his San Diego Countdown that signals the headlong rush to doom, the fact is…Comic-Con is less than two months away. Programming is being scheduled, parties planned, and diets are well underway.
There have been many changes to the system this year and there seems to have been a lot of confusion about many aspects even for veteran attendees. With that in mind, here’s an update on several aspects of the show:
• Dan Piraro and Gilbert Shelton have been added as guests!
• Comic-Con has a Yelp page now. Go make your feelings known.
• Hotel rooms are still available for the main show days. Right now. You heard us right. Some are less than five miles away. Some are on the shuttle route. If you have a pass and need a hotel room, it is all still possible. And who knows…if you check regularly you might even luck out at a closer hotel. People do cancel.
• Professional registration, the source of much agita, opened… and then closed.. Pro badges “sold out” in nine days. According to the website:
Professional registration has reached capacity for 2012. We can no longer accept any new applications or verified registrants for professional registration. All professional badges and guest badges have reached capacity.
Like past years, there will be NO onsite Professional Registration.
If you were unable to register a guest before they reached capacity, there will be a resale of cancelled and returned attendee badges sometime after the refund deadline date of May 15, 2012. To be notified of the badge resale date, please sign-up for a Comic-Con Member ID and be sure not to “opt-out” of email correspondence. Visit the Attendee Registration page for more information.
Some people were flummoxed by the whole “Member ID” thing, but it’s really kind of simple once you get the hang of it.
• Press reg is still open but people are being verified. Not quite sure what is going on there. Our advice: get an ID and apply while you can.
• In futurecon news, the hotel tax to raise money for the convention center expansion has been approved:
The City Council voted 7-1 Monday to make official the results of an election in which hotel land owners signed off on a plan to charge an additional room tax to raise money for expansion of the San Diego Convention Center. The money raised by the levy is projected to pay for "the lion's share'' of the more than $500 million cost of making the facility bigger, according to Mayor Jerry Sanders, who pushed the plan that hotel owners approved by an overwhelming margin.
Good news! But there was one spoilsport:
Speaking in opposition to the financing plan, Rep. Bob Filner, D-San Diego, called it “the most blatant giveaway” of public money for private use he has seen in his “many decades” of following the City Council.
“What you have done is you have allowed a public tax to be levied by private people, and most of those voters, I will bet, did not come from the city of San Diego; they came from multi-national hoteliers,” said Filner, who hopes to succeed Sanders as mayor.
Uh oh. Future mayor might be down on Con? And in more uh oh, there are still legal challenges to prove that this is all up to code:
Significant hurdles remain before workers can dig the first shovelfuls of dirt on the expansion site. The San Diego City Attorney’s Office plans in early May to file a “validation” lawsuit to confirm whether the taxing plan is in fact legal. It could take a year or longer to secure a ruling from a judge, said Jonathan Heller, spokesman for San Diego City Attorney Jan Goldsmith.
Also required before the project can move forward is approval from the California Coastal Commission. Leaders of organized labor in San Diego, who continue to oppose the taxing plan for the expansion, have promised a fight at the hearing.
• Our takeaway from the above items: after a transitional year where people get used to this new “member ID” business, everything will be copacetic for next year as pros and press accept the new world order and the con bunkers down in a facility that isn’t getting any bigger any time soon, while events expand to fill the rest of downtown.
• In a sure sign that the frequency of our San Diego anxiety dreams will soon radically increase, the first major off-site event during (but not affiliated with) the con has been announced: a Walking Dead-themed obstacle course that will take over PetCo park during the con:
“Our fans have been reading about it, watching it, and now they get to live it with The Walking Dead: Escape,” series creator Robert Kirkman said in a statement. “We are literally transforming Petco Park into the early days of society’s collapse and San Diego is just the first city to fall.”
Survivors will climb, crawl and slide in an effort to avoid confrontation by hordes of Walkers, while achieving the ultimate adventure on The Walking Dead-themed obstacle course. The Walking DeadEscape is not a race, and Survivors are not timed, but the end is near, and they must move swiftly. If they’re lucky, Survivors will reach the decontamination zone at the end where it will be determined if they have been infected.
This will not be the first time that the walking dead are seen at PetCo, as it is normally the home of the Padres. OH SNAP.
The event already has a website, and a chart showing zombie escape routes–holy crap. This might be a good place to try our those parkour moves you practices last year. You WILL need to buy tickets to this, as it is a separate event from the con itself. It’s $70 in advance to run away from the zombies–sign up at the website for a specific time block. It’s $90 on site. You can also get a ticket to be made up as a zombie or a ticket just to watch. Prices TBD
Commentary: this first announced hugely massive installation of the show is but one element of the obstacle course known as COMIC-CON.
• Other off-site events are already being announced, including such beloved traditions as Kevin Smith, Wootstock, and Chris Hardwick. Yep, it’s going to be con.
• Whither WonderCon? Milton Griepp checked in with David Glanzer, just recently, but Glanzer didn’t really know much more than he did when we chatted on the last day of WonderCon. Moscone has still not given them dates, so the location of the 2013 show is still unknown. Speculation: The Big Wow Comic Fest is being held this weekend in San Jose (With Blacksad’s Juanjo Guardino as a guest!!!!), so that might provide an idea if WonderCon could move there if no Moscone dates are available.
• AAAAAAAnd….the Nerdlebrity mask parade has begun for this year’s CCI, led by Elijah Wood, who like many celebs will don a disguise in order to check out the dealers room.
Wood told Collider, “It’s weird, in my daily life, I can go anywhere without a problem. But, that’s such a concentrated amalgam of those folks, that it’s difficult… But, it’s really hard ’cause I want to (attend).
“I’ve been there so many times, and I did walk the floor the first time I went. We were there to promote Rings before it came out, and I did walk the floor and it was radical. I checked out all the toy booths. It was awesome, meeting artists. But, after the first movie came out, it was pretty apparent that I couldn’t do that again.
• FINALLY, to everyone who applied to cover the show for The Beat: we hope to have that all sorted out by the beginning of next week.
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.