ComiconlogoIt’s getting so that even certified Nerdlebrities can’t afford the expense and stress of going to Comic-Con International: San Diego. Besides our own constantly growing anxieties, our email box is starting to fill up with people asking “Can I get in?” “Will you get me in?” and “Who can I talk to about…” With four-day passes already sold out, and the Comic-Con website already sporting a graph showing how close each day is to selling out, we thought it would behoove everyone to ask CCI’s Director of Marketing and Public Relations David Glanzer the questions that everyone is asking us, and save everyone some time. Many thanks to David for taking time out of what must be an insanely busy schedule to answer these questions.

An before you ask, no, we have no magical powers to get people into Comic-Con.

The Beat 4 day passes are now sold out. Was this earlier than last year or about the same time? Were there the same number [of 4-day passes] as last year?

GLANZER: Yes, online registration this year opened much earlier than last year. Additionally, we tried to inform the public that there would be no onsite registration this year so I am sure that is the reason registration for 4-days maxed out so quickly. Yes, the same number was used this year as for last.

The Beat: For those who still want to go to the show, is it still possible? What is their best option?

GLANZER: Although no four day badges are available, single day badges are. So it’s possible to log on to the website and purchase a badge for each day of the show.

Sd GraphThe Beat: Professional registration is also closed, as of May 1, if I’m not mistaken. Is there any advice you can give to people with a last minute change of plan that might require them to go to the show in a professional capacity?

GLANZER: Onsite registration for professionals will still be available this year. Granted they will be charged a nominal fee, as we have done in the past.

I should point out, however, that because we have limited attendance many people are trying to enter the event either via press registration or professional registration. For this reason we are being more diligent in requiring verification of press or professional status. Also, there is a pretty good possibility that next year professional registration may only be in advance and online, or that the fee for onsite professional registration (should there be onsite registration for professionals) may be equal to the cost of purchasing a four day, or four single day badges. Again, this is to encourage people to take advantage of early registration which is complimentary.

The Beat: Likewise, the press list has also closed. Traditionally lots of people show up at the show with a business card and expect to get in. Should they disabuse themselves of that notion?
GLANZER: Yes. To be honest, last year when we informed press that onsite registration may be limited, we were happy to see our pre registered list grow quickly. Press were savvy enough to take advantage of early registration thereby guaranteeing a badge for the show.

Since mainstream media, for us, is online press, bloggers and comics reviewers, accredidation can be difficult to verify sometimes. Unfortunatley this has resulted in some people taking advantage of the press registration process who aren’t press. In fact last year one website gave detailed information on how best to thwart the press registration process at the show.

Obviously we would like to accomodate every person from the press who would like to attend. However, because we have a limited amount of people who can occupy the facility, we have to be even more diligent in our verification process. Likewise, it may be that we will have to charge a fee for onsite press (should there be onsite registration for press) to encourage people to take advantage of early registration.

The Beat: You have a graph on the main site that shows how many one-day passes have been sold — Saturday is almost gone. How quickly do you expect the other days to sell out?

GLANZER: If last year is any indicator, once Saturday sells out, I imagine the others will follow fairly quickly. I should add we really do strive to make each day unique at Comic-Con and, as an example, Thursday of last year saw some pretty great panels including the Indiana Jones panel, and Friday saw the terrific Founders of Image Comics panel among others. So Comic-Con is great for all four days, or just one or two.

The Beat: Just to make it clear, is it possible any longer to walk up to the show and buy a ticket to get in?

GLANZER: Unfortunately it is not.

The Beat: What is the situation with exhibitors and waiting lists? At least one prominent exhibitor who used to have a big booth has dropped out of this year — has the exhibitor list been locked down?

GLANZER: The exhibit floor is never the same from year to year. Some exhibitors can’t return, some exhibitors increase their space by a small amount and others reduce their space. And we try to make room for some new exhibitors to keep the floor dynamic. As of right now the wait list is fairly long. However, it’s almost like seating at a restaurant. A table for one might be easier to accomodate than a table for 12. While the floor is techinically locked, it is still weeks before the show and whlie we hope no one cancels, it is still a possiblity and, in fact, has happened in the past.

The Beat: Do you think the rise in airfares will affect this show this year?

GLANZER: That’s a great question and one I have mixed opinions about. I would think anyone coming to the show from a distance great enough to fly will have already secured their accomodations and badges. With the cost of travel these days I can’t imagine anyone deciding at the last minute to travel via plane. But I know that I have limited some of my own personal travel this year because of fuel coss, but now that I think of it, I tend to cut the things I don’t mind cutting out. But the really big things, the really fun things, I try to save up for so I can be sure and do them.

The Beat: If people want to go to the 2009 show, when should they start planning?

GLANZER: I’m probably the wrong person to ask this question because when i plan vacations I tend to do it pretty far in advance. Sometimes over a year. I guess I deal with a variety of surprises in my work likfe and I try to mitigate any surprises in my leisure life. But I would think planning for the 2009 show early is always the best advice. In fact, more and more people are taking advantage of purchasing the following years membership at the previous years show which results in a pretty significanat savings.


  1. Thanks for this useful and informative info. I’m watching their graph daily. It was a great idea!

    It is too bad Wil and TokyoPop won’t be there. That will be strange.

  2. Did David say, or can you follow up on, what the on-site pro fee will be? (Says the person who completely missed the cutoff, which is what happens when you bin updates unread.)

  3. Wow. If the number of tickets hasn’t decreased, that means about 125,000 attendees. How will SDCC accomodate the crowd without repeating the conditions of last year?

    Has the exhibit floor acreage been reduced? Are there fewer exhibitors?

  4. Man, what a king-size pain in the ass that show is turning into. I went in ’03, ’05, and one day in ’07, and I think that’ll be it for me for awhile….at least until the Con evolves into something more manageable and…frankly…pleasant.

  5. Well, I can’t speak for Torsten, but the gridlock that ensued whenever a Slave Leia started posing for pictures in front of a giant booth was astonishing.

    I can’t speak for anyone else but I think we’ve all come to expect these conditions as part of the fun and frolic that only San Diego brings.

  6. Well, I can’t speak for Comic-Con, but I did hear at a meeting that many aisles in the Exhibit Hall have been widened for this year. Since Comic-Con is a lot more than the Exhibit Hall, I was just wondering what specifically Torsten was referring to, since I seem to recall he didn’t attend last year.

  7. As a person who had a bad time last year I’m going this year with no expectations. I’m there for only one day. I’ll just cruise in buy some books and talk to some creators. Then chill out until it’s time to leave, this time with a new exit plan.

  8. In rereading Torsten’s post I see he was specifically asking about the Exhibit Hall. If you do a follow-up with David Glanzer, he could no doubt fill you in on any changes that have been made in the Exhibit Hall this year and elsewehere in the Convention Center to improve traffic flow and crowd control.

  9. I’ve been a comics fanboy my whole life, but the San Diego SuperMegaMaxiComicCon sounds like 10 times more fanboyishness than I could possibly endure.

    For me, mid-sized shows like Baltimore and Charlotte are plenty, thanks.

  10. When will pros who just barely made the deadline – (mine was postmarked two days before the cut off date ) know if they made the cut this year?

    And will they be notified by mail or e-mail?



  11. My understanding is that the number of exhibitor slots has been reduced from last year, in order to make the aisles wider and thereby avoid the human/furry traffic jams. Back in February the waiting list was 400 names long.

    I’m wondering, 1) How long the list is at this point; and 2) Whether we’ll be able to get in for 2009 if we apply right after the last day of SDCC 2008.

  12. Has there been any thought about “stand by” for professionals on the artist alley table list? Or will this be another year of walking by empty artist alley tables of no-shows. A show of this caliber should have a cut-off date for them, too. Empty tables just look tacky and it makes those on the waiting list weep.

  13. Been going to this show since 1990 and I’m beginning to wonder why we still do it. It’s nuts. You can’t get into any of the fun panels without standing in a line for hours and even then it’s no guarantee the room won’t fill up before you get inside. And last year the whole one-way-only directions upstairs was a HUGE pain when you’re running to get to a room on time. You lose your hearing from the constant roar of noise both in the hall and at the bars after the show. it’s nowhere near the intimate, fun show it used to be but then I’m just old I guess.

    Bleh, I’m going to the zoo this year. Screw it.

  14. I’m not going this year. It’s amazing how something can be so great and so awful at the same time. I just don’t need to spend a few thousand dollars to spend my weekend frustrated and uncomfortable. Maybe next year if I’ve forgotten the horrors of previous years.

  15. Truth and honesty have no place in public relations. (yes, I am aware that you were being sarcastic)

    In fairness, I’ve been to the show 3 times in the last 5 years, and each subsequent time I’ve attended I’ve noticed improvements overall. It’s a great show, but it’s the most expensive to attend and the most exhausting.

  16. I think that it is possible to greatly enjoy the San Diego convention without getting too caught up in the huge mess of crowds and the constant inundation by light and noise.

    My recommendations based on previous recent visits:
    * Visit the show floor on Thursday and/or Sunday, when crowds are lightest. Unless your favourite artist/celebrity is making a special appearance, there is no advantage to going in there on Friday and Saturday, when you’ll be crushed by crowds of nerds.
    * Avoid the large movie/television-centric panels. Most of these involve a lot of PR that you can get caught up on later by internet. Do you really need to wait 2 hours in line to see “exclusive footage” from a movie that’s coming out in a couple of months?
    * Check out some of the smaller, special-focus panels, particularly those involving foreign or older artists that you may very well never have another chance to see.
    * Take it in small doses. There is no good reason to be at the convention centre all day, every day. There’s lots of other interesting stuff in San Diego. I myself am going to the wild animal park this year.

  17. as an attendee who uses this as one of his two weeks of vacation, i started planning to attend back in November….it is a zoo, but I still love it…

    the smaller panels are the best ones…

  18. Does anyone know of a message board or whatever where people who have a hotel room can post that they are looking for a roommate for the con? With hotels as expensive as they are, it’d be nice to cut the cost for that in half.

  19. … and Saturday is now sold out.

    My only problem with the Hollywood booths is that they’re placed between the comics publishers in the west end, and comics creators in the east end. It takes forever to get from one end to the other, even when using the faster method of exiting the exhibit hall and walking through the lobby.

  20. With all the stress of travel, getting a hotel room (expensive), buying your badge (sold out), running into huge lines for events, signings, panels (and getting turned away out on some of them). commuting while at the event (shuttle service takes a long time with traffic or trolley full of people), and lack of parking, will the San Diego Comic-Con ever solve these or move to a city with a larger convention hall that can handle huge evets?