UPDATE: DeviantArt’s Advisor in Chief Josh Wattles has issues a statement on the matter here, stating that the company has a busy schedule and could not devote the time to AA this year.
Yesterday the folks at Comic-Con sent a letter to Artists’ Alley exhibitors at this year’s San Diego announcing that Deviant Art won’t be sponsoring the area this year. DA had sponsored it for the past two years, with the addition of branding and monitors showing art . According to the letter, DA pulled out rather suddenly, and CCI is seeking a new sponsor and remains committed to Artists’ Alley, although the lack of sponsorship may mean some changes in amenities to the area this year.
This development will do little to allay continuing fretting comic comics types over the future of SDCC’s Artist’s Alley. One of the longest running traditions of Comic-Con, it’s still at risk because the tables are supplied to artists for FREE, and real estate on the show floor is in high demand and brings in big exhibiting fees. The con folks have been open about the economics of it and why the number of tables has dwindled over the years. Despite this, the tables remain in high demand among artists. I’ve always heard that the area is highly policed as well; if you have a table and are never at it, you might just lose it for the next year.
It’s true that Artists’ Alley has shrunk greatly over the years, but the folks at CCI have always made it clear that they consider it an important part of their comics mission. Perhaps this says as much about the state of Deviant Art as it does about AA. At any rate, can’t one of these Big Media Conglomerates spare a few pennies for the people who actually make the comics they’re exploiting? Think of all the good will it would create.
Just how much has AA changed over the years? As I mentioned yesterday, I have a small archive of maps of the show floor from past years. The oldest I could find was 2002. Sorry the resolution is so bad, but you can see the change in size and configuration from 13 years ago.
Looking at the 2002 map you can see there is no Hall H, and there were a lot more comic book companies—including such vanished names as CrossGen, ComX, ADV and game company Decipher. There’s also no Marvel booth because those were the Dark Days.
Compare that to this year’s:
I’ve reached out to CCI and will update with any more information.
Update: CCI’s Marketing and PR Director David Glanzer responded:
Deviant Art informed us, just recently, that they would be unable to sponsor AA this year. We were very sorry to hear this as that sponsorship helped to defray some of the hard dollar costs for Artists Alley. As you know AA has long been an integral part of our event and will continue to be so and we hope to find another sponsor. But with such a short time frame I don’t now that this will be possible. Regardless, we have long been, and continue to be, committed to Artists Alley so it will continue regardless of whether or not there is a sponsor.
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.