First it was hotels, then it was badges…now it’s pro badges. Comic-Con International: San Diego professional badge registration went live at 10 am Pacific time yesterday and free guest badges for attending professionals—once a little perk that everyone enjoyed—were gone in minutes, apparently. It isn’t exactly clear when pro badges actually became unavailable because there was a site meltdown, a “come back later” and then…there was only this:

The Comic-Con 2013 Professional Application Period is now closed. EPIC Online Professional Badge Registration will open January 28, 2013 at 10:00 AM Pacific Time (PT). 

The Comic-Con 2014 Professional Application Period is OPEN! Please download the “Information and Application for Professionals” PDF found here. Applications and verification materials are due by October 17, 2013.

Wait until next year!

Last year, pro badges sold out in nine days, this times it was more like nine hours.
We’re now told that badges are in fact available—this message was just to shut down the site and give it a cool-down period. I’m told professional badges are available now and there are many, so get in there and get goin’!

This was all accompanied by tears and teeth gnashing on Twitter, of course. It has long been unfashionable to admit to wanting to go to Comic-Con, but the “Over it!” contingent was out loud and clear.

All of which left us wondering, as we so often do, if it’s so hard to get a badge, howcum all those studio wonks and d-girls get badges? Like this happy actor dude:

According to one person we corresponded with, getting in as a producer means saying…you are a producer. Or saying you work for one. Is this really how it works? Anyone want to share their secrets? Spill it!

On a more practical level, two things spring to mind:

#1, if you can manage to get a hotel room you can go to San Diego at con time and have a whale of a time just wandering around looking at parades, getting chased by zombies, drinking margaritas, stalking celebrities at the Hard Rock and checking out displays for TV shows on the WB. Of course you miss the fantastic programming and the devastating excitement of going to the Adult Swim booth, but you can still score bags and pins and posters and what not hanging around the train tracks. As for actual professionals, all the meetings take place outside the convention hall anyway.

#2, speaking of which, as we’ve been saying for years, unless you have some overwhelming need to go to SDCC to promote a project or take a meeting, you’re better off going to an actual “comic-con” for that “get a sketch” feeling. Like Emerald City or WonderCon or the other shows folks were praising. Speaking of WonderCon, you can get pro badges, press badges, regular badges, pretty much anything you want for that show, right now. No hassles, no anxiety. WonderCon! It has everything but coffee!

And finally, maybe this was the moment when the last person on earth to accept that Comic-Con is now the world’s biggest media event and not a place to kick back with your studio mates had to face the hard truth.


  1. Don’t forget BigWowComicFest ( ). Last year I was able to meet and actually talk with Bernie Wrightson, Alex Nino and a few other comic pros. Without. Waiting. In. A. Line. One of the more friendly and upbeat cons I’ve been to. This year looks to be just as good, maybe bigger and more guests.

    As harsh as it sounds, based on my personal experience –>If the convention’s done by CCI, I’m going … to another one. Your Mileage May Vary (I hope).

  2. I’ve worked in Software for years and on more than one occasion had to purchase a badge to a convention. Point of fact, most industries don’t provide complimentary badges unless you are exhibiting or part of the show.
    I frankly don’t see the issue with Pros that didn’t get a Comp Badge to simply purchase and Attendee badge.
    so they’ll be an “Attendee” and not a “Professional” big deal.
    Granted, there’s no guarantee they can get that. I would also assume they can write off the $175 expense which is a drop in the bucket for what SDCC tends to cost.

  3. I was able to get my my pro badge (thank goodness) but by the time I hit the site (about 4 hours after it went live) the complimentary guest badges were all taken. I’ve been giving the complimentary badge to my young cousin for 12 years (he literally grew up at the show) and this was the first time I heard about the complimentary guest badges not being available (and usually I don’t even register on Day 1 since it never had the same urgency as the hotel grab). Can’t really complain since I know Comic-Con is a privilege and not a right, but it’s still disappointing that for average people the window to get into the show is getting smaller all the time. I guess it will end up being like the Super Bowl where we don’t assume we can get tickets unless we know a guy who can pull some strings.

  4. Ray- you don’t get it. This is a different kind of industry.

    A comic book artist shouldn’t have to pay to get in. Period. Quite simply, without Pros, there isn’t a Convention. Having a Pro badge is one of the few perks in the world for a Pro in comics, and you must realize, for a LOT of Pros, working in the industry is a meager living. Think of it this way; If the artist is a producer of raw material, like a farmer or a rancher, and that four dollar comic book is like a twenty dollar steak, then realize there are many many people getting their cut of the money of that product on the way to your plate. Do the guys who bring their prize steer to the County Fair have to pay to get in? No. But we do, and we should, if we want to pet the cow and take a photo with it. The ranchers who stand in the pens for four days watching their valuable cows are let in for free, and there are those of you that say that a comic book pro has to pay his/her way in? And why should a convention gouge the very people that they make money on? How nickel dime cheap is that?? My point being, it’s beyond insulting to not let comic book professionals in for free.

    That being said-
    SDCC should have THREE “Pro” badges. One for comic book creators, artists, writers, inkers and colorists, status proved with a name printed on an actual product or paystub from publisher, a second for booth vendors, and a third badge for Hollywood douchecanoes. Problem solved.

  5. I’m pretty sure that the time was 1 PM ET / 10 AM PT. I logged on at 10 AM on the dot and I got my pro badge, the guest badge and one paid guest badge. The problem I have now is securing a hotel room and table or booth space. I agree with others that just attending this event has become a real test of courage.

  6. I signed on at 10:10 am. All the comp guest badges were already gone. First time since maybe 1994 I’ve had trouble securing a badge for a guest.

  7. Also, to add to Holly’s point to Ray, San Diego Comic-Con vets the pros. If you hadn’t been validated as a pro months ago, you could not get a pro badge yesterday. That said, the organizers should probably have a better idea of how many pros will want badges based on how many they previously validated. You have to re-validate your pro status every year now.

    Also, I seem to recall last year pro badges became available AFTER regular attendee badges, which was very anxiety inducing. By the time pro badges were up, attendee badges had sold out, and if you didn’t snag a free pro badge you’d already missed your chance to buy a badge. So at least this time, for pros who didn’t get one yesterday, there’s still a chance to buy a badge to attend the show.

  8. I would just like to point out that the pro reg FAQ page where you got the screenshot that says “Professional Application Period is now closed” was never updated. It looked like that for a week before and still looks like that. Ironically, the professionals page itself has the updated information and a link to the registration system. Approved professionals should have gotten an email telling the link a few days ahead of time so that they would be ready for 10am yesterday. Those on the ball sailed through no problems and were able to get their complimentary guest badges. Those not had to settle for a paid to go with their complimentary pro badge. Considering how easy the process is even a paid guest is better than having to go through normal registration.

  9. We as comic fans/pros need to abandon shitty shows like SDCC and NYCC and start a new round of good, dedicated shows.

  10. Batton – I bring it up because I think both cons are very similar in that the hype and noise have drowned out the worthwhile content. Hope that clears things up.

  11. Au contraire, having been to both shows, I can tell you they are QUITE different. At San Diego, comics is the nucleus that everything revolves around. I can’t say the same for NYCC and several other shows I’ve been to (and exhibited at, as a comics creator).

  12. Alright, kids. You’re BOTH right. If you don’t pay any attention to the Big Bang Theory etc, San Diego is still the biggest, best comics show in North America with the most exhibitors and the most panels. Unfortunately, sometimes it is hard to set aside the Big Bang Theory and its fans.

  13. And that “happy actor dude” isn’t even really an actor. he is an EXTRA. look at his IMDB “credits”… it looks like he is riding this wave of being a “game maker” in hunger games, but he isn’t even credited, and his “screenshots” he shows of his whole 6 frames on screen are so distroted I wonder if he was even really visible. So this BACKGROUND ACTOR gets a professional badge but LEGIT comic book authors and artists get the shaft? “You may know Eric from The Vampire Diaries” where he sat in a desk kind of behind one of the feature actors, but you cant really tell because he’s kinda blurry? NOPE. “Or as a Gamemaker in The Hunger Games” WTF is a gamemaker? Oh you mean those blurry kids in the background wearing all white lookin like dentists that you never noticed because the lead actors had your attention? yeah, NOPE. Oh, and check his twitter, he thinks this entire “media release” (it’s an article dude, chill out) is about him.

  14. I have attended Comic Con the last four years. I signed on right when it opened and was able to get my badge and a guest badge. Every year the show becomes more popular and sells out quicker. I agree with a previous post it’s not right to make pros pay for badges. Especially, if they are working at the convention. Regardless, what we say or post here, we don’t make the rules. For the post above, you shouldn’t speak if you don’t know what you’re talking about. I got Eric’s autograph at Comic Con last year and he’s very genuine. F.Y.I The Gamemakers control the games. He wasn’t a blur on the screen, he was featured with one of the main character during a high peak in the film. The only way you didn’t see him is if you’re blind. Not judging but being negative and trying to put others down isn’t going to help. This is suppose to be a positive experience. Bullying and putting others down regardless of what you think isn’t cool. Just saying.

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