Twi-Hard With a Vengence

It hit the official airwaves that Twilight: Breaking Dawn will be revealing footage at this year’s Comic Con. The Twi-hards are officially in a frenzy, much to the disapproval from regular Con fans. For those of you who are new to the scene, this is what has transpired to build the animosity between these opposing groups. Back in 2008, Comic Con was still relatively easy to get into. Tickets hadn’t sold out and could actually be purchased at the door (which is what I did). Can you imagine that? I got into every panel I wanted to and navigating the crowd was manageable. Then in 2009, everything changed. Twilight had just exploded and planned their first appearance at the Con. 09 tickets soon sold out and the legion of Twi-hard fans (and moms) came out in droves to fill up the infamous Hall H. Since Hall H was maxed out early on with Twilight fans, many people missed the panels they wanted to see. This was the tipping point for Comic Con.

09 was the year everything changed. Tickets sold out within a few months, panels were harder to get into, and the crowds really became a challenge. The euphoric Con bubble had finally burst and Twilight was to blame. In reality, the Con had been on a path for explosive growth for the past few years and it was just a matter of time that it would get to this point. With Twilight’s arrival and the Con’s growth, it became the perfect storm. What exasperated the issue was the type of fan Twi-hards were stereotyped as. Composed of pre-teen, emo-goth fan-girls and their mothers, this drastically stretched the already eclectic crowd of Comic Con. This year, Con tickets sold out in 7 hours and Twitter was fast to blame Twilight as the culprit. Was this the actual case? It’s inconclusive, but every problem needs a scapegoat.

Twilight fans are easy to blame because they are such an easy target. They are young, naive, and defenseless. I know I am guilty of taking a shot or two at them as well. However, if I were to be honest, they are not so unlike ourselves. The Twi-hards are obsessed misfits that are misunderstood and marginalized. They are living a similar story to our own but in their own unique way. While it’s kind of ‘in’ to pass judgement on these Twilight geeks, we are also delivering the same type of persecution that we once received from the ruling class.

On my movie site, BabbleOn 5, I have extensively written my thoughts and complaints on the Twilight phenomenon over the years. I get why it’s so popular with its demographic and personally don’t care for it. However, I am learning to accept it. I am trying hard not to repeat the same mistakes as the generation before us did- over generalizing, demonizing, and pass judgement (remember the Dungeons and Dragons scare?). Does Twilight deserve to be at Comic Con? Yes it does. It’s hard to say that but it does. Twilight represents the best and worst of what Comic Con has to offer. The Con is more than fanboys and girls seeing nerdy things together. It’s a community of creative artists that are fueled by the popular arts. Whether we like it or not, Twilight is a major force in today’s culture. If Twilight doesn’t belong to our brand of crazy, then where do they belong? Maybe by embracing them, we can guide this new generation of nerds. I know I would have appreciated some positive nerd role models when I was younger. I probably would have accepted how truly nerdy I am earlier in life.

So my fellow Con fans, this year may be a repeat of what happened in 2009. Be prepared to rub elbows with thousands of screaming pre-teen girls as they chase their dreams to meet some hunky, pasty skinned vampires. I know it won’t be easy but change rarely is. Just because you love Comic Con doesn’t mean you have to like Twilight but it does mean we have to accept it. Twilight fans are nerds too- and whether we like it or not, us nerds need to stick together.

Let me know you thoughts on the subject.

23 thoughts on “Twi-Hard With a Vengence

  1. I like having Twilight at Comic Con. That many fans lined up all weekend means that many fans not in my dealer’s hall or in line for the panels I want to see 🙂 According to Wikipedia, 2008 and 2009 had the same number of attendees. If Twilight takes a chunk of them out of my way, so much the better.

    • Overall attendance won’t change much from now on since it’s limited to capacity already- its just a matter of how many are there for Twilight. Most of the stink came from people not being able to get into Hall H panels because Twi-hards were already in there.
      Your perspective is one way to put a positive spin on it. Thanks for visiting and commenting!

  2. They could alleviate MANY of the problems the Twihards create by holding that panel separate from everyone else on Sunday in Hall H. Give them a separate line if they want to camp out days before and let the rest of us have an enjoyable time NOT having to sleep outside for 24 hours just to make sure we’re not in the back of the room, or worse, shut out altogether. In 2009 We wanted to see Tim Burton, sadly in Hall H the same day as the Twilight loonies, when we got there on Weds and saw the Twihards had already been camping out, AND the line was already absurdly long, my daughter and her boyfriend rushed to get in line. They missed preview night entirely, I had to bring them blankets and food, AND to add injury to insult, the Twihards didn’t even KNOW, or care that Tim Burton was going to be there the next day! It was a truly infuriating situation.

    • Yea, I think your right that they need to put the panel on Thursday or Sunday to avoid the crowds. It’s too bad you had a bad experience in 09. Hope this year is much better for you. Thanks for your comments.

  3. I wasn’t there the year Twilight first showed up at SDCC but I heard the main complaints were how rude the Twi-Hards were. I heard they talked through panels they didn’t care about and things like that. I’ve had to sit through panels for things I didn’t watch/like but guess what? I still paid attention and had manners.

  4. My first year at comic-con was 2008. It was blissful and awesome. In 2009, even after going for only one year, I was able to notice the change. Yes, the line for Hall H was hard to get a good spot for, but I came prepared for that. I made sure to get up early and be ready. That didn’t bother me so much.

    What bothered me was how RUDE the twilight fans were, both in line and in the Hall. While waiting for the first panel of the day to start, they chanted ‘twilight’ over and over. During other panels (ones they obviously didn’t care about) they would talk loudly. At one point, they even started chanting ‘twilight’ while a panel was still going on.

    This wasn’t a rock concert where the opening band really doesn’t matter and everyone is there for the main act. There were people in the audience who were genuinely interested in the panels before Twilight that wanted to actually hear/listen/be able to enjoy and they were unable to because the crowd was rude and inconsiderate.

    Like many have mentioned, moving the panel to a different day might be best. Last year on Friday Hall H was deserted. Everyone was in Ballroom 20 (Don’t get me started on how the panels in B20 deserved to be in Hall H with the rabid fanbase they have) and if they have the same programming in B20 as they did last year (Bones, Joss, Big Bang Theory) then having Twilight in Hall H at that time wouldn’t be much better.

    Also, having twilight be the first panel of the day would be amazing as well, for three reasons. 1) Those fans wouldn’t have to wait through panels that they obviously don’t care about for their panel. 2) They’d be able to leave the Con earlier, especially those who purchased single-day passes specifically so they could see that panel 3) people who didn’t manage to get into Hall H at the beginning of the day would have no problem getting a spot for the rest of the panels because the room would basically clear out after the twilight panels, thus letting them see the panels they really care about.

    I see it as a win-win if twilight was earlier in the day. The twi-hards wouldn’t have to wait as long to see their panels, and the rest of the con-attendees would be able to see theirs in peace and without unnecessary stress.

    • Yea, I heard that complaint a lot too. I avoided Hall H that day but I am sure I would have been seriously frustrated. Not sure how to change that since kids will be kids. There can be more room management with security but that could feel pretty weird. I agree that the solution is probably have it on Thursday or Sunday as the first panel of the day for the reasons you listed.

      Twilight fans, please make it easier for us to like you by being respectful of those around you!

      Thanks for commenting.

  5. I’m a twilight fan (not that big but still) and it’s annoying to see such hate towards a movie/book. I know that Twilight is not everyone’s cup of tea but seeing how I had problems with people at Comic Con for having a Twilight Tattoo and a friend who had a team edward shirt, it’s pushing it. Twilight is going to be around as long as the books are there so why try to fight it? If you don’t like it, stay away from it. I don’t get why people want to carry that much hate for something when they should be happy they are at Comic Con.

    • Thanks Noelle for commenting. If you read the comments on the post, it’s not directed towards the movie or the property of Twilight. the complaints are mainly focused conduct and etiquette at the Con. Let’s face it, teens are not exactly the model when it comes to social awareness regardless of what fanbase it is. This Con would be a great opportunity for Twilight fans to prove everyone that they belong there. I hope they can. Thanks for visiting!

  6. I will give Twilight fans all the credit in the world for dedication (even if I find their preferred product completely not my taste). A lot of time, effort, and money for what others might consider little payoff but means the world to you is the kind of stuff nerdom is built on. I tend to gravitate towards smaller rooms and panels, so their presence didn’t effect my con experience at all. To hear from like Noelle who commented above that were catching flack just walking the Con floor is really gross.

    I’ve yet to hear a more compelling argument than “their fans are annoying” for the reason why Twilight shouldn’t be at SDCC.

    • I totally agree with you. The Twi-hards are obsessed fans like the rest of us. I haven’t heard too much bashing of the property more just bashing the conduct of it’s young fans. So while I don’t prefer it, I can appreciate those that do. Thanks for commenting!

  7. I have to say Tony … I’m a Twilight fan, and not a single part of your description described me … we’re more than just naive 12 year olds. Some of us are 31 year old women who also love comic-con when there are no vampires present (okay, last year I did see Spike from Buffy so there were some there)

    • Yes, of course you are right. Twilights fans are composed of all kinds of people. I think the Con fans are mainly annoyed by the younger fanbase. I think the complaint is that it feels like your ‘little sister’ is tagging along to your party. If all Twi-hards were as cool as you there would be little to complain about. Thanks Cathy.

      PS: I know behind closed doors you squeeeeel like a school girl with the sight of Edward 🙂

  8. I don’t see a problem with Twilight fans as they are fans of a program that is considered fantasy (ie vampires). The trend, however, of Comic Con trending towards programming such as Glee or White Collar is rather idiotic. Those don’t fit with the basics of what Comic Con is: comic, sci-fi, fantasy, gaming, etc. They’re just popular shows that different media corporations have decided to tag onto Comic Con. I’m almost willing to believe that the studios have said to CCI: “Let us bring so-and-so mainstream non-geek programming and you’ll get your big ticket geek popular programming.”

    I don’t have anything against Glee, White Collar, Dexter *hides from the rabid fans* but they don’t really belong at Comic Con. Otherwise, just change it to Pop Culture con. Comics and other geek pursuits used to be sub culture, but now are pop culture and everything else pop culture is starting to meld into Comic Con.

    I could probably write an essay on this, but I’m done with school and I’m too lazy to continue on. =D

  9. I don’t see this as a problem with Twilight itself (though I will admit I have a lot of problems with the books/movies), but with a subsection of the fans.

    Twilight fans should be the ones MOST angry at the people who caused the problems in Hall H; those twi-hards who talked loudly during earlier panels and were rude to other con-goers are the one breeding the bad blood between twi-hards and other con-attendees.

    Twilight deserves to be at the con (it’s fantasy based, no one can argue with that. A 100+-year-old vampire virgin? Only in fantasy) but the twi-hards don’t need to be disrespectful or rude.

    I’ve gone into a room long before a panel I’ve wanted to see is set to go on, but I’ve always been courteous to the panels I didn’t necessarily want to see. In fact, I’ve discovered shows/movies/comics that I wasn’t aware of that I’m now a fan of.

    Simple rule of thumb: Do not be rude at comic-con. You’ll upset the geeks, and the geeks run the interwebs.

  10. The issue with Twilight at comic-con has nothing to do with Twilight itself. The reason why so many regular Comic-Con goers have such anger and hatred towards Twilight fans, is the simple fact that the majority of Twilight fans, are not geeky in any traditional sense. They are mothers who don’t even know the term geek, they are cheerleaders or jocks that make fun of geeks and make their life a living hell, they are the teenage girls who read the books because it shows an impossible love only found in fantasy. The majority of fans don’t know anything about geek culture. They are at Comic-Con for one reason only, to see hot guys in person. I’d also like to just note that there are a few Twilight fans that are actual geeks and are very respectful, but this is a tiny tiny percentage of the overall fan base, so they are the rare ones.

    On the day of the Twilight panel in 2009, twilight fans standing in line for Hall H before it opened for the day were very disrespectful. They giggled and made fun of people in costumes or wearing shirts for anything other than Twilight. They were not friendly at all. I’ve been to Comic-Con for three years now and I’ve struck up conversations with many strangers while waiting in lines. So far they have all been nice and friendly. This was not the case with Twilight fans. They look at you like you’re some kind of freak that they want to stay away from.

    After going through that kind of experience in line and actually getting into Hall H, I thought things would calm down. This was not the case. At all the panels before Twilight, Twilight fans were yelling and talking very loudly. So much so that it was tough to hear the panels if you were sitting near any twilight fans, which was a high probability. There was even a couple of times that they began chanting “TWI-LIGHT, TWI-LIGHT” during other panels. How would you feel if you were up there in that panel talking about a movie that you spent a lot of time and money on, and there are people in the crowd chanting things over your talking? Very disrespectful. I think the anger towards Twilight fans is well justified.

  11. Actually, (I’m not sure if anyone already said this) Twilight’s first year at Comic-Con was 2008. They came back in 2009 and then didn’t show up for 2010. How do I know? I survived both Twilight panels. At first I had no idea what it was, but I knew enough to be there early so that I could see the other panels that I wanted to see. I used to be a concert promoter and have literally gone to hundreds of concerts over the years (hundreds per year) that assaulted my hearing and I have never heard a more devastatingly shrill and piercing scream than I did when Robert Pattinson appeared on stage. A journalist was sitting next to me and he had to clasp his hands over both his ears to keep himself from collapsing in a heap, nearly dropping his laptop in his reflex to save his hearing. The scream repeated each time Pattinson touched his hair (he did it constantly), smiled, or barely tilted his head. I was repeatedly at the risk of losing consciousness whenever he did all 3 at once.

    That said, the Twilight fans I met in the Hall H line in 2009 were very nice 20something women who didn’t appear to be seething, blubbering, hormonally imbalanced psychopaths at all (but I wasn’t sitting next to them when the panel started, so I can’t be sure what effect Rob had on them later).

    Two suggestions: 1. Summit should put up a big screen outside, put the boys on a balcony at the Hilton Bayfront, have them wave and say things, and then show footage to the billion girls who show up outside to scream nonstop for 45 minutes. Or fill the Petco stadium! That way, they don’t prevent others from seeing the rest of the Hall H content that draws a very non-Twihard crowd. It appears that many have no appreciation for anything but Twilight, so give them their special time and place. They can even do it at night since vampires and werewolves like the night… right? Either way, give the girls their Twilight, if not at night, then preferably on Sunday afternoon. Wouldn’t it be great if they opened up Hall H just on Sunday for Twilight? Everyone will stay far out of the Twihards’ ways and more girls can bask in the boys’ shirtless glory.

    Of course, if you expect the “Twilight madness” to stop when there are no more Twilight movies, you’re probably kidding yourself. Yes, the Twilight phenomenon brings out much of the audience, but it’s Edward or Jacob that gets the crowd in a tizzy. So if Rob or Taylor ever put on a cape and tights or do any type of genre pic that fits with SDCC, we’ll likely see the same girly passion all over again (until the newer, hotter bare-chested, hair-touching boys come along) when the boys show up.

    • My second suggestion was put them on Sunday, but I didn’t indicate that. Sorry for the confusion. I started having flashbacks as I was writing that…

  12. For my money, it’s neither the individual fans, nor the property. It’s the fact that Twilight became such a huge pop-culture phenomenon coupled with an equally rabid fanbase, the majority of which are pre-teen and teenage females. This leads to a kind of mob mentality. (See: The Beatles, New Kids On The Block, *NSYNC, Justin Beiber.)
    To quote MIB: “A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it.”

    Twilight as a property is completely suitable for con, it just happened to catch fire into the mother of mainstreams faster and fiercer than Charlie Sheen tearing through a room full of hookers and blow. There’s nothing wrong with that in and of itself, but add it to comicon and it makes for strange bedfellows.

    It’s not like comicon hasn’t been gearing more and more toward pop-culture ever since movie and tv executives discovered that reviews from SDCC could make or break a project – mainly hoping for the kind of word of mouth(or keyboard)that catapulted shows like “Lost” into the stratosphere in 2004 before the pilot even aired. It was growing that direction on its own to a point, Twilight just gave it a huge shove where we would normally have seen a more slow and steady inclination in that direction. Pop-culture shock, if you will.

    2008 was the first I had ever heard of an overnight campout for a panel, courtesy of Twilight fans. I admit it both hurt my heart and scared the hell out of me because it set a precedent. There’s no going back from that. Where once a couple hours was a crazy wait for the panel that you most wanted to see, now it’s the low end of the norm for anything.

    I got up earlier than I ever had before at con to make it into the back end of Hall H for Tim Burton a couple years ago, and, like Nina said up above was met with a hall full of people waiting it out for New Moon.

    I thanked my lucky stars there was no Twilight presence last year on the day of the TRON panel. Yet because of the years before, people still started lining up for H at ungodly hours.

    I also think a lot of this could have been avoided by scheduling the Twilight panels first thing or separately. It would still help to a certain extent if they do that this year. Can’t repair the damage that’s already been done, but a little salve can ease the sting.

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