SDCC ’15: DeviantArt pulls out as Artists’ Alley sponsor — UPDATED


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.



  1. says

    If there was ever a time for crowdfunding, this would be it. Comic fans can help support the arts by supporting this segment of the con (and other non-profit shows).

  2. Chap says

    Perhaps more artists need to y’know SHOW UP to their tables. When I walk through SDCC’s Artist’s Alley it’s mostly a ghost town.

  3. says

    Only year I ever went, and was in the Artist’s Alley was 2003, likely more out of pity than anything for some rather facetious and rude treatment by the Guest Services director by email–so that a Senior director–who apparently had been monitoring emails apparently– approved me. SHE was nice. The same Guest Services dictor was FUMING that I didn’t check in (which I had–or I wouldn’t have had a badge), before being at my table for two days. I looked over the emails later, and there had been no mention of it. Most of the tables were empty (more than half), which I found perplexing. My buddy Nat Jones was kicked off of my table by another senior director, after a mix up with HIS table–despite being a guest also. Found out there was a $50 state vendor’s license I didn’t know about, and ended up sharing one with Garry Leach. Rudest staff I’ve ever dealt with at ANY con. They are NOT KIND to those breaking in or not on the ‘A-list’, from my only experience,–so I don’t have to wonder too hard why DA would pull out.

  4. says

    FYI: It has actually been four years that DeviantArt had sponsored Artists Alley for a not inconsiderable sum. They have a lot going on this year, especially the launch of their new app (go check it out, it’s very pretty), so they couldn’t do it.

    The first two years they organized competitions on DA that enabled several artists in the community to travel to San Diego for the show.

    Hats off to them for doing it for so long.

  5. says

    Of course this problem could be solved by running AA the way EVERY other con does- Start charging for the tables! I guarantee it would keep a lot more artists in their seats and clear out a lot of the deadwood that haven’t produced any new comics since 1989.
    Another thought would be to move it under the sails, right at the main entrance. Make it the first thing attendees see when they enter. Moving AA off the main floor was the best move New York Comic Con ever made. The autograph area can find other accommodations (remember it’s called COMIC con).

  6. DinJerr says

    This is a good opportunity for tumblr to step in. Just don’t bring a ball pit in please.

  7. allouicious says

    Better idea. San Diego Comic Con staff is rude, dismissive of all kinds of artists, A-list or not. Stop going to San Diego. Go to conventions where you are valued.

  8. David Petersen says

    I would LOVE to pay for my artist alley space. If it went to a market system, I could perhaps get more than 4′ and 1 chair without being placed in the no-man’s-land of Small-Press.

    My recommendation to solve the Con-floor-real-estate problem: Clear out the Sales pavilion of the autograph area and art show (the celebrities can sign at the studio/company booths for their various movies, shows, etc. and the art show could be moved to a ball room or gallery space outside the convention center) And allow artists to buy tables up there surrounded by their fellows.

  9. says

    Here’s a question for you all…

    Why does Artists Alley need to be sponsored at all?

    When attendance is up all over the country (and the world) for conventions why are creators even having to pay? They’re usually the least likely to be able to afford it. It’s not as though artists rates have gone up recently, in fact it is mostly the other way. The conventions are doing great!

    SDCC and all the others shows should give these tables for free anyway. After hotels, travel, food and supplies it’s tough to even breakeven.

    Just a thought…

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