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Are Comic Cons Obsolete?

With the MCU skipping out on the San Diego Comic Con in favor of Disney’s D23, a question we’ve never thought to ask before has been raised. Are Comic Cons obsolete?

Obviously, they’re not under attended. Obviously. Big ones like San Diego and New York still draw thousands and thousands of people. For a few days, the eyes of popular culture are turned to them. The entire world waits to see what’s revealed there.

But does this grant them any real power? I mean, one could argue that it generates buzz, but wouldn’t it be more accurate to say the Internet generates it? All the material ends up there anyway. More people see it there. It’s replayable, pausable, discussable. In other words, more buzzworthy.

It does have the power to keep some people alive

To be fair, this is only looking at comic cons from one perspective. The business side. As anyone who has visited a comic con will tell you, there is much more to the event than the businesses. There is the cosplay, the reveling in mutual interests, the rare finds, and of course the comics.

Perhaps Comic Cons are not obsolete, they’re just going back to their roots. To the people who made it important in the first place. The industry boomed there for a while in the 90s before dying down again, maybe we’re just seeing it again?

It’s a nice thought, but doesn’t that reduce Comic Cons to glorified flea markets? Isn’t part of the magic that comic book history gets made there? It is where the creators go to reveal new material to fans. Where Ton Hiddleston appears as Loki to a roaring crowd. Where we can listen to the wise, credit-taking words of Stan Lee. It’s not a bizarre, it’s a temple. 

A metaphor that can, at times, be a bit too literal

However again! Let’s say that the giant corporations take their movies and TV shows, even the comics themselves, and move them to their own conventions! Something seems lost, doesn’t it? The magic dies, it becomes something… gross, something artificial and corporate. Like a company picnic.

So what’s lost? Where is that magic? Is that magic the actual comic con? Perhaps it’s the feeling you have stepping onto the floor for the first time. The overwhelming wave of minutia, of trinkets, of collectibles. The sheer nerdy love. Thousands of people, attendees and merchants, all together under the same purpose. It’s beautiful.

I don’t think you can take that away, you know what I mean? It’s kind of an all or nothing deal. If your try to stick your corporate fingers in our homegrown pies, it just ruins it. No pie for anyone. You can’t recreate it, you can’t transplant it. It’s a thing created out of love, not a spreadsheet.

Pictured: Love

See, this is what I think Disney is going to find out. Hopefully. MCU stuff, all the Marvel stuff, belongs at a comic con. It’s apart of the fabric of the pop culture. There, like no where else, it is celebrated as a part of the makeup of what we love. It’s a pillar upon which this temple is built.

Yes, it has to “compete” with the other properties there, but most of the attendees are going to see both anyway. They’re not rival companies to us — well maybe in joke sense, like a Goku vs Superman sense — they’re two side of the same nerdy coin. A coin I continue to throw hard earned money at.

In this way I don’t think it’s obsolete, just… changing. With this much money involved, the Money Men will want to tighten it down as much as possible, but I don’t think you can squash the fan’s spirits. Even if San Diego dies away, a new central spot will open up somewhere else. You know, there’s something kind of comforting in that.

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