I am a bit of a late-bloom nerd. I guess somewhere inside I always possessed all the traits of one, but I really didn’t embrace my nerdy side until a few years ago when I married my husband. He, too, was a nerd and he had all the comic books and collectibles to prove it. It was only then that I allowed the world to know about my secretive all-nighter video game sprees. Side note: my first all-night video game escapade was back in 1998 with Resident Evil 2. I haven't looked back since. After I unleashed the nerd within, I started reading comic books and collecting action figures. I discovered that when I’m in a comic book store I feel a sense of peace and serenity. I also attended my first con.
My husband had been telling me all along that we must go to a comic book convention. He had attended several in the past, and told me how awesome San Diego Comic Con was when he attended years ago. Last February, I decided it was time for me to find out for myself. When researching how to purchase badges for SDCC, I learned about the new badge registration method. I also read a lot of negative reviews on the system. I registered both myself and my husband, since you’re not allowed to purchase multiple badges with one registration. I then found tickets were still available for Wondercon, so I purchased those.
Lou Ferrigno as The Incredible Hulk
Wondercon was an amazement of sights, sounds and comic books. I spent more money at Wondercon than I had ever spent in a single location in my life. I found fantastic artists, wonderful new books and comic books, and saw Lou Ferrigno for the first time in person. Wondercon effectively whet my appetite for more…and more…and more.
When the 2012 SDCC badges finally went on sale I tried to buy some, but I was unsuccessful, as were so many other die-hard comic book fans. I was depressed for days, and the depression started up again during the time that SDCC was taking place, knowing I had failed myself and my husband. Later that year, we attended Comikaze and had an even better time than at Wondercon. Watching Kevin Smith and Adam West banter back and forth at their panel was the most amazing (and hilarious) experience.
This year, Comic-Con International, much to the chagrin of their fans, kept the same badge registration ordeal. My husband and I attended Wondercon again this year, but we are not even going to try for badges to SDCC. What’s the point? Even if I am able to log in and purchase a badge for myself, then I still have to log out and log back in as my husband to get his badge – and they will probably be gone by the time that happens, leaving only one of us with a badge into SDCC. What’s the fun in that?
With my eyes set firmly on Comikaze again this year, I am very disappointed that as massive comic book fans, my husband and I will probably never attend the largest convention in the country. I realized that it isn’t just because of the badge registration fiasco that Comic-Con International insists on using. It’s because SDCC itself has sold out.
You may be gasping for air right now, wondering why I would ever condemn the holy grail of comic book conventions. But hear me out…you may just agree. SDCC is not for comic book fanatics anymore. It’s for movie and television fanatics. With comic books invading the movies and television screen and SDCC embracing the change in the geek world to include mainly movie and television stars, there are a lot of people at SDCC that technically shouldn’t be. Comic book conventions, after all, are first and foremost about comic books. Or at least they should be. These conventions should celebrate everything that is great about comics. Artists, writers, new up-and-coming comic book series. All of these things should be in the forefront of any convention. That’s simply not what is happening at SDCC.
What Comic-Con International should do is break up SDCC. They should return to their roots and have SDCC only for comic books, games, collectibles and the shows that truly stem from comic books or are forever preserved in the nerd kingdom, like Firefly and anime. They should have a separate convention solely for the movies and television shows that have invaded the world of SDCC. Call it an entertainment convention, but it would be reserved for the Game of Thrones, Dexter, Hannibal, Grimm, etc, types who are only going to SDCC for those. This would free up SDCC for the real comic book fans, the ones who truly deserve to attend SDCC each and every year. Comic book fans are the ones that will keep the cons alive in the long run, after being a nerd is no longer cool with today’s media and The Big Bang Theory had dissolved into the annals of reruns. We are the ones that will support our local budding artists and writers and keep comic books printing across the country for hundreds of years to come.
If they don’t break it up to allow myself and my fellow nerd clan to attend, then they should at least ask questions to be allowed to purchase a badge. Like what comic book did Wolverine first appear in and what is the Flash’s real name. That will weed out the wanna-be geeks from the true nerds.