We really should be careful about such an attention getting headline because someone will inevitabvly say “yes.” It all came from Peter Sanderson’s comments in our year-end survey:

Comic-Con 2008: What if the Writers Guild of America strike goes on and on, into June, when the directors and actors unions’ contracts expire? What if the actors then go on strike, too? What if the directors, who have only gone on strike for literally five minutes in the past, join them? What effect does that have on the San Diego Con, which has increasingly become a showcase for movies and TV shows? Sure, producers and PR people will still hold panels in Hall H to preview new product. But don’t the fans go to these panels to see the actors and the “star” directors and writers? Will it become easier to get into Hall H? In other words, just how many of the 100,000 plus attendees at Comic-Con come for the media other than comics? We may find out this year.

This got picked up by EW, then WIRED, then everybody and yesterday the San Diego Union-Tribune asked the same question but with a startling enhancement: an interview with San Diego PR Guru David Glanzer who says things are motoring along at their usual breakneck speed.

“We’re still dealing with everybody,” said David Glanzer, a spokesman for San Diego’s comic book convention, now a major showcase for upcoming films and TV shows. “Nobody’s indicating anything to us other than what’s standard.”

Writer Peter Rowe takes this as confirmation that the con may be doomed to a lesser degree of glitz, but we say: NOT SO FAST.

For one thing, the DGA strike looks to have settled their negotiations already. How this will affect the WGA strike is unknown. As for a SAG strike…well, no offense to our thespian friends but…we can’t see it.

At this point it’s quite likely — but depressing — that the writer’s strike will last at least as long as the last one — six months. Networks are filling the space with reality programming, so we could just see more stars of Beauty and the Geek and How Clean is Your House on parade at Comic-Con (These shows have the strongest tie to the core demographic, in our opinion.) There are a number of movies in production that will still need to be flogged, as well, WATCHMEN for one,

So our prognosis? If the strike doesn’t end soon San Diego may be a little less manic, but not a whole lot less.

But that’s not even the really IMPORTANT question:

What does this mean for your chances of getting a hotel room?

As widely reported , the precious postcard has gone out and the hotel reservation system goes live on February 6th at 9 am PST. Room anxiety and alternative plans are already being floated, in some cases literally: people are beginning to look favorably on renting one of those houseboats in the marina.

We checked most of the major travel sites, and there are many rooms available — but few that are close or below $300 a night. You can stay at the once-again-luxurious US Grant for $540 a night, but the Omni and the Hyatt are already booked for the con.

There will be few additional hotel rooms to alleviate the crunch this year: The Hard Rock is open but rooms are $800 a night. NEXT YEAR, the new giant Hilton opens, which may make things a bit more bearable, with over 1100 new rooms! But by then, Hollywood may be a desolate place where feral children scavenge for gasoline and Tina Turner watches gladiator battles in her backyard. And that will be the year Mel Gibson comes to the Con!

Our advice? Book a room now. Just to be on the safe side. We did. There will be plenty of swapping going on later.


  1. If there are no big stars at Comic-Con, then we may get back to Comic-Con’s original reason to exist: The Comics. This could be a publicity boon for comic books and manga. If the focus of the press is new Comic Books and Manga, it could help the industry especially in the traditional format.

  2. “alternative plans are already being floated, in some cases literally: people are beginning to look favorably on renting one of those houseboats in the marina.”

    I knew when the houseboats were mentioned at Panel and Pixel, you would not be able to resist blogging about it.

    It’s so beautiful that the Bug Shoe has become so big with Hwood people taking a long weekend that the floating cottages look good.
    Next up is people sub-leasing the bathtubs and balconies in their hotel rooms and/or people trying to doze in late-night eateries.

  3. “Next up”? I’m sure both of those have already happened. I know people who have slept in their cars under the bridge!

  4. “…just how many of the 100,000 plus attendees at Comic-Con come for the media other than comics? We may find out this year.”


    The very idea that we could have a ComiCon that has to be about comics again just makes me giddy.

  5. “how long (if it doesn’t happen already) before people stay in TJ and commute up for the show?”

    TJ? Where/what is that?

    I’ve considered attending San Diego … but … over 100,000 attendees? Too crowded for me. And judging by one friend’s comments, it was difficult to get from one end of the show to the other without going outside and avoiding the movie/Star Wars booths somewhere inbetween.

  6. @ rich: TJ is Tijuana, the major Mexican city to the south of San Diego, just on the other side of the border. Technically, it’s about maybe 30 minutes to downtown from Tijuana. Unfortunately, with the wait time at the border to cross, I’ve heard horror stories of three-hour waits or more…

    And, to be honest, I wouldn’t mind Comic-Con returning to its quieter days. I’ve been going for about a decade now and, while the glitz and glam is great (it convinced my husband that Comic-Con wasn’t all Storm Troopers and sweaty geeks), I wouldn’t mind a return to its focus– comics.

  7. My suggestion: stay at the American Youth Hostel in the Gas Lamp section. Get your tribe together and rent an entire room. Bathrooms are down the hall, but not so bad if you are an early rise and shiner. they also have a kitchen if you prefer to save money on meals. private rooms are also available, like a hotel room, for about $100. or if you are feeling adventurous, the Y, near the art museum and bus station, has private rooms, but with a shared bath.

  8. Here’s an idea that the Republicans floated during the 2004 convention in NYC: charter a cruise ship and dock it near the convention. the idea was sunk when the press noted that money spent on the ship would not benefit the city’s tax base.
    The Con could offer a premium plan for those staying on board the cruise ship, such as special panels, exclusive swag, and other promos, maybe even early entry into the Con! Families could lounge by the pool or attend local tours offered at the ship.
    There could be a special pursur’s office at the con, where guests could offload their swag and have it delivered to the ship. the ship could be berthed anywhere, with courtesy shuttles leaving regularly.
    when you factor in the cost of food, a room on a cruise ship is not much more expensive than a hotel. larger suites could reserved for company hospitality rooms.
    of course, this whole shebang could set sail, with each year going to a different destination, like the bahamas or oaxaca.

  9. We’ve rented a house with friends this year only minutes away. After budgeting out the cost of hotels, the booth, the eating out — it works out better $$ this way for us. Besides we love to BBQ! Hollywood or not, comic-con is still a favorite of ours — overcrowded or not.

  10. “I know people who have slept in their cars under the bridge!”

    Holy shit.

    Now I am remembering Cayetano Garza talking about being in SD and staying awake for four days because he had no place to sleep.

    I’ve taken some real seat of the pants trips to SD, and slept on floors.

    I knew the SD room sitch was getting to me when I had a dream that rooms were doled out by perceived merit and chumminess with TPTB, regardless of reservations.

    I’ve made room reservations already. Thank goodness merit has nothing to do with it.

  11. This year is going to be my first Comic-Con, and I would actually love it if it wasn’t the huge media hype-fest it was last year. (As long as the Wachowski Brothers still come, regardless of whether or not they’re promoting Speed Racer)

  12. No matter how pigheaded the studios are about the writers strike, even they won’t allow it to last another 6 months because the whole reason they exist would begin to collapse. The remainder of the 2007/2008 TV season has already been written off (24 was only half finished shooting in November) and they’re looking at Fall 2008 now and if they’re not in production for that by July then the studios will be in major trouble. Studios like Disney (which only released 7 films in 2007, by choice, and benefited from that) can hold out longer than other studios. Right now movies slated to come out in 2009 are already being pushed back to 2010 (like the next Superman film). Revenue streams are projected years down the road and if one is disrupted to the point that only a big deep hole is forseen for 2009 then they will make a deal sooner rather than later. With the actors contract set to expire in June, the studios will need to settle to prevent a complete shutdown of everything instead of the big slowdown/partial shutdown in progress now. The studios have already lost lots of money from this strike and they can’t let it drag out indefinitely, or even 6 more months.

  13. The Con will be fine. It will be as manic and overcrowded as it’s ever been.

    The WGA strike must really be running out of gas if a “threat” to ComicCon attendance has to be floated.

    With “threats” like these (like the “threat” of no Academy Awards broadcast), I say: “Keep on striking, WGA!”

  14. The entire television industry itself is in the final throes of how shows are being delivered — traditionally speaking. How many of us now, tivo, ipod and watch online at our leisure? The days of scheduled programming for a mass audience continues to shrink. The writers know this and want their piece for the next medium to deliver content. There only really 3 or 4 shows I watched on network tv and what’s wrong with reading more books? Hollywood will always produce content but their days of telling you when to watch are over, we decide when and how long to spend watching some of these shows. And finally, technology will allow studios to spring up outside of Hollywood, thus no longer the need for their movie lots and such… down the road.

  15. If it’s any consolation – I freakin’ screwed up last summer in not booking anything for the night and wound up sleeping on Swami’s beach up in Encintas ( my old stompin’ grounds) for the night.

    Then the next day I had to scalp for a badge because I didn’t know the badges were only available online.

    Silly me.

    Details are on my myspace blog. Somewhere in the archives.



  16. Just a word or two more on the TJ idea.
    I don’t think it’s that bad if you cross from TJ to SD on FOOT as opposed to crossing in a car (which will take hours).
    If you do it on foot, you find a TJ hotel, take a cab to the border crossing and walk into the US and then take the trolley straight to the Convention Center.
    Since parking is a nightmare any ways, you’ve taken away the car problem.
    I’m not sure how bad the foot crossing is so I may be blowing smoke.

  17. Regarding the border crossing… the U.S. State Department/Customs has changed the identification requirements for North America travel. Check state.gov or bring a passport.