Comic-Con RecapsReviews/Commentary

San Diego Comic-Con 2018 Analysis

As usual, I viewed the San Diego Comic-Con’s 2018 edition as an opportunity to get a barometer on the next year in high-profile genre films and television shows, along with pop culture in general. Besides attending the convention in person, I waded through Twitter, online panel recaps, and videos of the various panels to pull together what I found to be the highlights.

Winners

Universal Studios

Universal hosted panels on M. Night Shyamalan’s “Unbreakable” sequel, “Glass,” and he brought Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson with him.  “Unbreakable” was interesting in the pre-comic book movie era and the first trailer for “Glass” looked strong, hinting that Shyamalan just might finally take that last step in his comeback tour.

A modest surprise at the convention was the latest installment of the never-ending, “Halloween” franchise, this time headed by co-writer Danny McBride and director David Gordon Green.  The trailer involved a longish kind-of-single-take killing spree.  Gordon Green has a style that involves long takes and he might be a good fit to step into series originator John Carpenter’s shoes.  Carpenter is involved in the film, but only as far as creating music.

The biggest mainstream viral video moment of the convention came when the first question from the “Halloween” audience turned into more of a story to Jamie Lee Curtis regarding how a man had survived a home invasion as a kid in the 1980s.  “I’m a victor instead of a victim because of you” was the key line and Curtis came down from the stage to hug the man, both seen on video crying.  I was somewhat cynical of the story at first but the emotion of it all by the end even got to me.

Star Wars Fans

Comic-Con 2018 should have been a bust for “Star Wars” fans since there was no upcoming movie to promote and the only major panel was a look back at the 10th anniversary of the “Clone Wars” animated series.  When a final season continuation of the series was announced at the end of the panel, Star Wars fans suddenly became big winners.

Oh, and “Star Wars” continued to keep its presence to the convention floor with a Millennium Falcon cockpit mockup that was accessible to those who managed to score a ticket.

As a wacky, lesser-seen aside, there was an interesting Star Wars Tourism panel that had travel tips for fans looking to visit notable film locations.  One insight was how the Irish tourism around “Star Wars” was still getting established, so it was necessary for those hoping to visit the Skellig Islands to plan well in advance.

DC Animated

The animated arm of DC entertainment has always had a much better received road than the live-action counterparts.

Reaching back into that past, “Batman: The Animated Series” was announced on Blu-ray with preorder for a mid-October release.

Not long after that release, “Wonder Woman: Bloodlines” hits on November 1st and was poised to be a bigger hit than the well-reviewed 2009 “Wonder Woman” animated film.  Fans of the 2009 incarnation might recall how that film’s lack of clear sales led to Wonder Woman being sidelined as the other DC animated films took off, despite the film being solid work.  Credit a hit live-action film for reviving Wonder Woman in animation.

Looking ahead to next summer, “Batman: Hush” was poised to be DC’s big 2019 release and likely somehow tied to Comic-Con 2019.

The only stinker news bits involved a new “Titans” series with forced f-bombs and a dark look for the sake of dark.  Anything with Akiva Goldman connections, especially with comics, needed to be approached with extreme caution.  Marv Wolfman, creator of the New Teen Titans endorsed the product though, doing his part with promotion.  In contrast, positive reviews for a film based on the sillier “Teen Titans Go!” property rolled in during Comic-Con, so maybe the result was a net neutral for the Titans.

Elsewhere at the convention was the world premiere of “The Death of Superman” animated film, with initially mediocre reviews of this third film retelling of the same story in a decade.

Fox

I don’t know what think about the latest extension of the “Predator” franchise – Shane Black’s “The Predator.”  While I usually enjoy Black’s work, a dreadful first trailer did not give a lot of confidence, but it was improved on by a much-better second trailer.  This film is being set up as a direct sequel to 1990’s “Predator 2” but it is odd to consider that this thing even exists, and it is hard to say how much heat the film will generate amongst a key younger demographic that as only lived through half-hearted spin-off sequels.  All that said, reception at the panel seemed strong with the Shane Black wit coming through in the teasers that were shown.

Having “Deadpool 2” in Hall H a year late seemed odd, but the cast was there in a sort of victory lap to tease out the pending home video release.  Ryan Reynolds appeared in his usual form and the panel filled a certain void left by Marvel’s absence.

Off-Site Attractions

For the first time ever, San Diego closed off the busy Harbor Drive road for a stretch that runs in front of the convention center.  This road was the site of a fan death a few years ago prior to the convention starting but, more to the point, has been a major bottleneck in the past with fans clumped together trying to cross the street into the Gaslamp Quarter.

So, what did fans who crossed the street fine?  Well, off-site installations continued to grow.  There were a few of note to call out that seemed to make the biggest splashes online.

One was “Purge City” a Party City-ish shop built into an actual store space in downtown San Diego and meant to promote the new “The Purge” television series.

Perhaps the strangest and splashiest installation was a Taco Bell promotion for the Warner Bros. 25th anniversary of the Sylvester Stallone/Sandra Bullock film “Demolition Man.”  A full restaurant was rented and revamped to feature a four-course dining experience with live piano, Mountain Dew cocktails, and food.

Confused by this level of madness for that film?  You were not alone.  Warner Bros spent three years planning that installation and I have no idea how the payoff for a somewhat-forgotten 1990s action film’s video re-release could justify it.  Bravo to the madness though.

Not all promotions in downtown San Diego were a success.  Take for instance the Smoking Gun Bar, which had an odd promotion called “Geeks be Gone” that seemed to cater to locals in mocking the convention visitors.  A boycott of the restaurant was organized by some convention attendees while the general PR surrounding the situation was not positive.

Panel Lines

In the past decade, long lines to Hall H or Ballroom 20 have often been a talker but the days of people camping out all night and not getting into the highest-profile panels seemed to be waning.  Last year, a new wristband system was introduced to pre-guarantee people seats in Hall H and that system was further enhanced this year to include RFID chips to prevent counterfeiting the wristbands.  By most reports, the instances of line cutting were reduced and there were no massive seat shortages.

Sanity might have been restored in some ways as the biggest panel of the weekend was the Saturday morning Warner Bros. panel and wristbands to guarantee a seat were still available at 7am, three hours before the hall opened.

Doctor Who

Jodie Whittaker, the first female Doctor Who, seemed to have a strong showing.  She first crashed a fashion show and then pressed all the right buttons in publicizing this new era of non-gender-exclusive “Who.”  As a result, Whittaker had a fine social media presence and buzz over a couple of days at the start of the convention.

Kevin Smith

After years of being a loser or just a victim of bad luck (see: “Star Wars” clearing out Hall H for a concert prior to Smith taking the stage a few years ago), things seemed to be looking up for Kevin Smith.

The downturn in marquee Hall H programming appeared to re-open the door for Kevin Smith to return to his previously-usual evening slot.  Smith has had a heck of a year, with a near-death heart attack and an upcoming sequel of sorts of his “Jay and Silent Bob” line of early-career films about to start production.

Sure, AMC just cancelled his “Comic Book Men” reality series but it had lasted 7 seasons, and Smith’s new “Hollyweed” show will not be “Clerks 2.0” but he has things in motion for once.

Smith even had a biopic coming out, an independent film entitled “Shooting Clerks: The Kevin Smith Biopic” that had filmed back around 2015-2016 but was finally rolling out with wider distribution after a January 2018 premiere.  Smith capped off the convention by receiving a Comic-Con ‘Inkpot’ award, traditionally given to spotlight guests. I was surprised to learn that he had never been previously honored with one, since he has had such a long association with the convention.

Losers

Marvel Studios Fans

Yikes.

Marvel Studio had skipped the convention, not promoting “Avengers 4” this far out for somewhat understandable reasons (it didn’t need the promotion) but also not choosing to use the convention to unveil an early look at the March 2019 release of “Captain Marvel.”

So, it should have been a slow news week for them but then word broke of the ‘unearthing’ of questionable old tweets by James Gunn and suddenly Disney had fired a man who had appeared to be one of Marvel’s top creative voices.  It remained to be seen how Gunn’s departure would affect Marvel’s future fortunes, but the entire story stirred up debate and, in some ways, overshadowed the convention.

Disney Fans

Yet again, Disney-branded films did not bother to have a presentation.  Fans looking for their Disney fix would need to likely wait until August 2019 and the next D23 convention.

Paramount Pictures

Paramount did hold a presentation for the “Transformers” spin-off “Bumblebee” but it did not get much online buzz despite some early talk that the film was coming together well.  I saw more online attention for the life-sized statue of Bumblebee that was on display in the main convention hall but, again, that was just a blip on the radar.

If only every panel could start this way though:  Stan Bush sang his song “You’ve Got the Touch” from 1986’s “Transformers: The Movie” to get fans in the mood.

Stranger Things Fans

This seemed like an obvious fit but “Stranger Things” had no panel promoting the upcoming season three but all that fans really got was a release of information from Netflix a couple of days prior to the convention.  It appeared that production had yet to fully start on the third season and that it would have a summer theme, premiering in summer of 2019.  That timing could work to the convention’s benefit if the premiere was around the time of Comic-Con 2019 but precise details were not yet known.

HBO Fans

“Games of Thrones” fans have long been annual losers due to the timing of the convention always landing right after a given season had usually ended.  This year though, they did not even get that courtesy visit.  If the series finale does arrive in spring of 2019, perhaps fans will get one last visit next year?

The best that George R.R. Martin fans could muster in 2018 was the tease of Syfy’s new “Nightflyers,” a series that felt like a retread of a lot of familiar ‘first contact’ tropes.

Meanwhile, the second season of “Westworld” just finished and there was no post-season victory lap for that show either.

Legendary Whatever

Anyone remember Legendary Pictures?  The once-dominant production house had handed Warner Bros. some of their biggest hits for years by rescuing such franchises as “Batman.”  Then Legendary founder Thomas Tull split from Warner amid a contract dispute and Legendary ended up sold off to China’s Wanda Group in 2016.

Since then, things have been bleak for Legendary.  Their “Pacific Rim” sequel did unsurprisingly iffy at the global box office.  At the same time, their never-quite-fully-realized imprint Legendary Comics touted such new releases as a “Lost in Space” series.  Oy.

Sure, Legendary and Thomas Tull have a stake in the ongoing “Godzilla” film series but Warner Bros. is handling the decision-making on that property.

Unclear, Ask Later

Warner Bros (DC Super-Heroes)

The Warner Bros. trailers struck me as ‘adequate’ but none of those films seemed like major box office home runs.  The closest would seem to be “Aquaman” but it was hard at this point to see that film coming close to “Wonder Woman” in terms of critical or financial success.

The Wonder Woman film sequel, “Wonder Woman 1984,” presented fine and was the easy sell of the convention.  Against early odds, that character has somehow become the anchor of the DC live-action universe.

The “Shazam!” movie was the one of keenest interest for me at the entire convention.  That character has a complicated history, but it was essentially a take on Superman where a little kid received from a wizard the ability to say the word “Shazam!” and then become a Superman-like figure.  This “Big”-meets-“Superman” concept was a monster hit throughout the 1940s.

On a personal note, the character originated from Fawcett Publishing just as it was migrating from the Robbinsdale/Minneapolis-areas in Minnesota to New York City.  The whole Fawcett empire has an interesting history that spans much of the 1900s and Robbinsdale’s town festival continues to be called ‘Whiz Bang Days’ in honor of the title of the Fawcett publishing family’s initial periodical.

The superhero character at the center of “Shazam!” was called Captain Marvel until a legal dispute with Marvel Comics in the 1960s that Marvel somehow won due to some lapse in use (despite Captain Marvel pre-dating Marvel Comics).  Since the 1970s, the character’s book titling has gone by “Shazam,” which is a bad name (in my opinion) but the movie will use the same naming.  “Shazam” comics have been relaunched a dozen times since DC took control of the property, but the character has never been close to the icon that it was in the 1940s and public memory of those glory days has now been lost for generations.

My first impression of the “Shazam!” trailer was relief as far as it did not look like a total disaster, but I am still not sold on Zachary Levi as the title character.  In the suit, Levi still looks too uncomfortably like a parody.  The film will probably work for what it is, but it is not really “Shazam!” in any of the incarnations from comics.  As a glimpse, the coming film was not straight enough to fit into the modern use of the character and not retro enough to fit into the classic pulp-ish use.

(My favorite version of the Captain Marvel character is still a quasi-retro take but that was never going to happen… maybe we’ll get an animated version of that concept someday)

Warner Bros (Non-Super-Heroes)

The kaiju film “Godzilla: King of the Monsters,” got a lot of buzz from hardcore kaiju film fans but that fan base is notoriously unreliable in predicting both film quality and box office success.  In short, fas were happy to see more of the Toho monsters appearing on the big screen.  Millie Bobby Brown from “Stranger Things” seemed to have a significant role in this Godzilla sequel.

“The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part” seemed fine and standard and forgettable.  It is hard to believe that we are only now getting a “Lego Movie” sequel since this is technically the 4th theatrical release in the Lego series and third such release in the past couple of years.

The Harry Potter Wizarding World’s next installment, “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grunewald” seemed to have a fine enough panel but what got the headlines was a weird speech by surprise guest in-character Johnny Depp.  Awkwardly, both Johnny Depp and ex-wife Amber Heard were in attendance to promote “Fantastic Beasts” and “Aquaman,” respectively.  Depp did not stick around to take questions, which could have included inquiries into his spousal abuse allegations with Heard.

Sony

Sony got swept up in the whole James Gunn saga, as they were supposed to announce a mystery project with Gunn that was likely to have been either Grant Morrison’s comic “Nameless” or a Japanese manga series called “Berserk.”  Of course, any such announcement and appearance by Gunn was cancelled amid his firing by Disney.

What Sony Pictures did have was Spider-Man.  First, there was the “Into the Spider-Verse” animated film that looks fine enough if a little lightweight due to its animated nature.  Also, there was the upcoming “Venom” spin-off film.  Tom Hardy did a decent job selling the adaptation of the 1990s “Venom: Lethal Protector” comic book mini-series but it was still not clear how much the mainstream would embrace this project.

In a case of wondering if it would ever really happen, I have followed an annual panel for the 1980s anime series “Robotic” for years with the feature film development being never-ending.  Things seemed to have changed for the moment with recent “IT” Director Andy Muschietti supposedly teaming with the producer of “IT” on a big-screen adaptation.  Good luck.

Netflix Films

Netflix Films had a big splash in 2017 but, given their huge production spending, they were oddly quiet at the convention in 2018.  In fact, even their television properties on display were limited to a few show-specific panels.

Marvel Television

Netflix’s “Iron Fist” had a panel ahead of its September 7th season two premiere that seemed to promise ‘new’ and ‘different’ with improved creative and fight choreography staff.  Fans are going to be skeptical but perhaps Netflix manages to turn this series around.

“Cloak and Dagger” had a ‘good enough’ panel and continues to fly under the radar on Freeform, the network previously known as ABC Family.  It must be doing well enough though, as it was renewed for a second season.

Marvel Comics

Marvel had a new editor-in-chief with C. B. Cebulski, who weathered his first convention in the big chair.  Marvel Comics has had a voice problem since Joe Quesada moved on to a Chief Creative Officer role, with struggles in sales and fan connection.

Change seemed to be in the air, but would it be enough?  Sure, the new rollout of “Fantastic Four” #1 seemed to be off to a hot start with talk of 400,000 copies in orders but Marvel continues to inflate numbers with 1990s-style multiple cover gimmicks.  Can the new series sustain?

Also, there was a big push to re-launch the “X-Men” planned for fall of 2018.  This was another property that had been allowed to atrophy before Disney’s move to purchase film rights-holder Fox.

Close to my heart was news to retailers that Neil Gaiman’s continuation of Alan Moore’s “Miracleman” seemed to finally be ready to move ahead after two years of delays.  Of course, delays have been the norm for this series, even as far back as the 1980s when it first came out.  Since then, fans had spent most of the 1990s and 2000s just waiting for reprint rights to finally get cleared up.

DC Comics

Despite upheaval and facing backlash on the recent Batman/Catwoman ‘wedding, DC seemed to calm down the pitchfork mob and announced a slate of new items that were poised to ultimately add up to a strong year.

Fan-favorite writer Scott Snyder continued to play a long game with some grand Justice League intentions.  Grant Morrison on a space cop-focused “Green Lantern” was announced.  Geoff Johns has come back from the DC movie scene to launch a new “Shazam!” series amongst his other special projects.

Amongst other things, Johns also had a Joker-related contribution coming to the DC “Black Label” line.  “Black Label is a new program of ‘evergreen’ titles that DC is grandfathering things like “Watchmen” and “New Frontier” under while also launching new material.  Marc Silvestri’s “Batman/The Joker: Deadly Duo” was also announced under that group of titles.

I do question how this new label line will play out since some new items might hit but it seems questionable to continue to dilute the classics by branding them alongside some new items that might not be as classic of books.

The multi-media DC Universe app was a hit with affordable pricing and both video offerings and a curated comics selection.

Frank Miller showed up to start promoting his “Superman: Year One” series that would be published by DC in August.  He also shared a panel with “Watchmen” artist Dave Gibbons and discussed drawing for Alan Moore on that comic vs. Gibbons’ later collaboration with Miller on “Give Me Liberty” for Dark Horse.

Comics Shrinkage

Diamond Comic Distributors’ statistics for spending in 2018 was not yet available but some pundits had been optimistic that 2018 might turn out to be better than the downturn that retailers faced in 2017.

Star Trek Discovery

A loser last year when “Star Trek Discovery” premiered to muddled reviews, maybe this cat will get a second life.  Their panel, a chance to promote the upcoming second season was not a mess, so that was one positive.  Trek has a history of shows being re-tooled after the first season, so maybe this series will eventually come around?

Ahead of that panel, the cast played what is now an annual PR game by buttering up fans in line with early-morning donuts.

One weird aside was “Discovery” cast member Doug Jones continuing to be involved in a Trek-like crowd funding project entitled “Space Command.”  The results of that effort after years of funding hopes thus far looked both promising and goofy.

Seth MacFarlane

Considering the “Star Trek Discovery struggles, it will be interesting to see how Seth MacFarlane’s “The Orville” progresses as starts its second season.  That show was an odd mix of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” with not-quite-“Galaxy Quest” humor or parody, maligned at its start after being marketed as a comedy.  The show might continue to come around as an alternative to “Star Trek” for old school (or new) fans.

MacFarlane and his “The Orville” (and former Trek) producing partner Brannon Braga also announced a new Clive Barker “Books of Blood” anthology series.  I like anthology series, but they rarely have longevity.  Barker’s work is an interesting place to start though since he was a force in horror in the 1980s and 1990s but has been out of the mainstream eye since then.

Castle Rock

Hulu showed the pilot for their new Stephen King mash-up series “Castle Rock.”  It featured a cast with the original “Carrie,” Sissy Spacek, and some other former King alums in new roles that told stories set between certain familiar King properties.  Review remarks from those who have seen the pilot seemed good, but it was too soon to know how the full series will be and, given that it is on Hulu, how widely seen the show will be.

Spawn, Blumhouse, & Todd McFarlane

After the unexpected news of Todd McFarlane directing a “Spawn” film for Blumhouse at last year’s convention, McFarlane made a splash in the weeks (and days) ahead of the convention by announcing casting Jaime Foxx and Jeremy Renner.  During the convention itself though, McFarlane was oddly low-key.  More to come.

Cut Throat City

Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA hosted a panel that started with talk on the influence of classic martial arts films, a passion of his for many years.  His new directorial effort with Wesley Snipes was “Cut Throat City,” a Hurricane Katrina-related heist film that looked promising.  No big distribution company appeared to be tied to the film yet, so it was not clear how widely this film will be seen.

Oddities & Miscellanea

Stan Lee

After a tumultuous year, Stan Lee issued a video to fans that wished them well while announcing that he would not be attending the convention this year.  He did not attend Comic-Con for the first time in (to quote) “I don’t know how many years.”  His no-show was not a surprise, but it is also hard to say if he ever attends shows again.

Jeff Smith

The annual Spotlight on Jeff Smith panel was cancelled without any obvious explanation since Smith was seemingly present at the convention.  The panel would have promoted a new “Smiley’s Dream Book” children’s picture book while giving the latest news on a “Bone” movie.

Lynn Johnston

Jim Davis made a splash at Comic-Con in 2016 and this year’s ‘classic comic strip’ royalty was Lynn Johnston of “For Better or Worse” fame.  She was there to promote the “Complete for Better or Worse” books that are coming out from IDW.

Walking Dead Fans

The “Walking Dead” franchise seemed to have peaked but was still moving along fine enough after nine seasons.  Sure, there was controversy with “Talking Dead” host and usual panel moderator Chris Hardwick in trouble over abuse allegations but the train rolled on.

Mega Man

My lone videogame mention in this report is reserved for Mega Man.  “Mega Man 11″ returns the robot to service in his first sequel in eight years.  By some counts, it was Mega Man’s 30th anniversary but Capcom seemed to be fudging by a year or so.

Joye Hummel

One of Comic-Con’s cooler stories was the appearance of 94-year-old Joye Hummel, who had ghost-written “Wonder Woman comics stories in the 1940s.  Her panel was well-attended, with more than 500 or so taking the time to hear her anecdotes.

Go-Bots by Scioli

A couple of years ago, Tom Scioli produced a lengthy “Transformers vs. G.I. Joe” maxi-series that was hard to describe due to its off-beat nuttiness.  Twists, shifts, and scope were so radical that it had the feel of a little kid playing with his toys.  According to Scioli, that was part of the point.

I am no fan of “Go-Bots,” but if Scioli brings that same energy to this material, it will be worth checking out.

Assassination Nation

“Assassination Nation” was a film that made an impact back in January at the Sundance film festival.  The plot revolved around a hacker sharing the confidential information of 17,000 residents in a small town and the chaos that ensued.  It was funded for distribution in September by the Russo Brothers of Marvel Studios fame.

Artists Editions

The annual IDW Artist’s Edition panel was abbreviated to make room for a Steve Ditko tribute and the only book announced was a Bernie Wrightson “Frankenstein” release.  It was weird that IDW bothered to make the announcement though, as the book was not scheduled to ship until late 2019.

Fans can note that at least IDW is still in business, a prospect that made them ‘losers’ last year when IDW’s cash reserves appeared low.

No-Shows

As was previously mentioned, the convention continued to see a multi-year erosion in ‘big Hollywood’ presence.  We have seen this trend for years but sometimes it is a matter of timing and company philosophy, so I do not want to over-react just yet.  As noted in a few report items, I would not be surprised if the pendulum swung back at least a little bit in 2019.

Events Downsizing

Another year, fewer parties.  The Hollywood Reporter has created a list of parties over the years and this year’s list was the shortest in recent memories, quite different from the days of every rooftop bar booked by one company or another.  Yes, the focus on off-site events seeming to continue to grow was positive but in terms of ‘exclusivity’ the loss of the parties was another sign that Hollywood interests in the convention had diminished.

Reunion Panels

Reunion panels were not anything new to Comic-Con but the sheer number of them in high profile locations was worth starting to recognize.  Some had a spin, like a “Breaking Bad” panel promoting “Better Call Saul” or “Star Wars: Clone Wars” having the secret big announcement of a final season for the series lurking in what was advertised as an anniversary panel.

The risk for the convention is that it becomes less about what is ‘hot and new’ and more about purely nostalgia.  To that point, I counted upwards of six such panels in notable locations that might have previously been blocked by big ‘new’ movie or television panels in the past.

Of course, I cannot complain about some of the lower-profile reunion panels, like 1984’s “Supergirl” having a 35th anniversary panel to promote a new Blu-Ray release with stars Helen Slater and Marc McClure, who played Jimmy Olsen both well representing that era.  Or actor Gary ‘Dave’ Lockwood at the “2001: A Space Odyssey 50th Anniversary panel” that promoted a new 4k home video release.

Dealer Sales & Observations

Last year, the talk related to dealers was the exit of Denver’s Mile High Comics, as owner Chuck Rozanski pulled the plug after 44 years of visits to the convention.

This year, Bud Plant’s 48-year run ended when the formerly-major bookseller also bailed on the convention.

“After 48 consecutive years of exhibiting at Comic-Con, I am not going to set up this year,” Plant said on Facebook. “It’s nothing against the show itself. The attendees these days are, in general, not our customers or they are not looking for books.”

The ‘New’ Zombies

I have tried to track this topic for years now to identify the shift from vampires to zombies to… something?  Maybe I was missing the obvious but despite the decline in zombie popularity there was no new king to wear its crown.

Conclusions

In 2017, I had the advantage of being at the convention in person and that led to some memorable personal moments for me with creator interactions or out-of-the-way panels.  I did not have that luxury in 2018 and watching the convention from a macro perspective made it even more clear how less influential the show felt to the masses.

Looking back at past reports, it is undeniable that we are now several years ‘past-peak’ for Comic-Con as the ‘it’ thing to attend.  There is no one reason for this bubble bursting but many pricks have caused the deflation of Comic-Con as a premiere Hollywood showcase.  Backing up this impression, Comics Beat reported a source having said “For most of Hollywood, it has switched back to being a show you want to avoid or send a junior to.”

This is not a terrible thing for the longtime convention go-er as far as the convention will continue to shrink back to norms, whatever those might be.  The ‘Go there because it is a thing to do’ crowd will ease up f it has not already.  My only immediate fear is that we see an increase in eBay ‘exclusive’ merchandise flippers attending and that the show starts heading more in that direction.

Writing this year’s report has been a melancholy exercise, but I could make a case that many of the reasons that the show felt like a ‘down year’ were due to several bad timing factors.  A key factor in Comic-Con’s relevance for Hollywood engagement will hinge on how Disney figures to still have Marvel Studios and “Star Wars” properties engage with fans at the convention despite their D23 convention.

Purely from a comics standpoint, there is always a concern surrounding the collapse of portions of that medium but business-wise there are signs thus far of a stabilizing year with reorganizations at both Marvel and DC giving both publishers new starts with fans.

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