One of the things that makes San Diego Comic-Con such a treasured experience is its mix of brand new razzle-dazzle laid on a deep foundation of tradition. People go to con for many reasons, and everyone has their traditions, whether it’s breakfast at a favorite spot, getting an art print from a favorite creators or, or sleeping out in a tent for Hall H.
Warner Bros., traditionally one of the biggest forces at Comic-Con, has had a very transitional year as its purchase by AT&T took over. And as usually happens when one corporate giant swallows another, everything is on the table. Like the big Saturday morning movie presentation–GONE in 2019!
Also gone in 2019: the standalone DC Comics booth that anchored the comics section of the hall.
While this news was announced last November, it’s only now that folks are looking at the exhibit hall map that you can see that DC has been moved away to the studio part of the hall. There will be a joint DC/WB Entertainment booth that will, it’s true, be huge, but…
It’s just not going to be the same. (Plus Funko crowds…ugh.)
DC’s massive booth was the nexus for the comics area…in some ways, it was the anchor of the whole con…a place where everyone stopped by at one point or another, as DC’s headset-bedecked crew ran things with the energy of a Marine battalion.
I recall when the big booth debuted many years ago. Some called it “Wayne’s World,” because it was the brainchild of then sales poohbah Bob Wayne. Tthat also shows you how long ago it was with that 90s reference.) The booth was redesigned in recent years to the two story megalith you’ve seen in so many of my bad con photos and videos.
This massive booth was also a showcase for sunsetted imprints…like Vertigo.
But in recent years, it was also the scene for at least one mega celebrity signing – the cast of Justice League signed a few years back, leading to massive gridlock. I guess these media signings were the first sign that things were going to move south…to Hall G.
To be fair, WB always has a spectacular booth as well, and the new mixed use booth is going to be quite something, according to all the PR I’m getting.
But if you wanted a marker for the increased corporatization of comics publishing, there you have it.
Image Comics has moved into the space once held by DC, and perhaps their freespirited signings and independent creators represent where comics are in 2019 better than DC’s booth.
The Image booth is also a smaller area, and looking at the exhibitor guide I see there will now be five booths where once DC abutted Graffiti and Aspen: Nucleus, Skybound Games, Humanoids, Comixology and Scholastic.
Since Scholastic is now the biggest graphic novel publisher in the US, maybe that’s only fitting.
Here’s a close-up of the publishers area in 2013:
And here it is in 2019:
A lot of changes there. Bapper Books taking over from Bongo for one. The saddest change, for me, will that we will no longer see Batton Lash’s smiling face at the Exhibit A booth right on the corner of IP Pavillion.
Anyway, DC and WB have a lot of big things planned for San Diego 2019 – and you can read about them in another post. But farewell to a tradition that long anchored the show floor. Here’s a few of my bad photos from the press preview in 2017 – oh yeah remember that Justice League movie?
Those were the days.