One of my most vivid Comic-Con memories was sitting in Hall H in 2010. It was a loooooong day marred by the infamous ‘pen stabbing’ incident that shut down the Hall for about an hour. At that time, Hall H popularity was on the rise but not at the current day frenzy that we know and love (and hate). None of us were prepared for what unfolded. The first time reveal of the cast of the Avengers (2 yrs ahead of the release) started a domino effect that no one could have predicted. Now just 5 years later, the Marvel Hall H panel experience is now considered the crown jewel of Comic-Con. Of course, with the recent James Gunn leak, all that might come to an end. While unconfirmed by Disney or Marvel Studios at the time of writing this post, all signs are pointing to this inevitable destiny. But every cloud has a silver lining. While ever so slight, I have a few thoughts on why it’s a good thing Marvel is stepping away from Comic-Con.
1. If you are new to San Diego Comic-Con, Hall H has become the Mount Everest of comic convention panels. Incredibly long lines, camping, wristband systems, stress, and hate tweets have definitely affected the overall Saturday experience. In fact, I think it’s safe to say that if you are a first timer to Comic-Con (and operating alone), you will not be getting into Hall H on Saturday. It takes a tremendous amount of effort, planning, and sacrifice to navigate thousands of other fans to make it into the illustrious 6.5k seat room. While I would love to see Marvel bring their A-game to the show, I also think a little less hype is a good thing. Granted, even if Marvel is not at the show, Hall H will still be difficult to get into with the Legendary and Warner Bros line up. But it’s reasonable to conclude that less people will be camping thus making it a ‘little’ easier to get in. The stress around that Hall and day has gotten out of control and I think down shifting for a season would be a good thing. Besides, Marvel will save their key announcements for their own events resulting in a potentially lack luster Hall H panel- which no one wants to see.
2. As much as we love the Marvel movies at Comic-Con, we have to let it go. No doubt that Marvel Studios has become the greatest Cinderella studio story in recent history and their time to shine is now. No one entity can contain the greatness and it makes perfect sense that they are trying to focus the messaging at either D23 or their own special events. The one that needs our help is Warner Bros/DC. At Comic-Con, they have become the bridesmaid, never the bride. This is their chance to seize the day and really win the fans over. While many of us love the DC Universe, Hall H has been more promise than delivery over the years. This is a great opportunity to become the new king of the con by stepping into the void left by Marvel and bringing content that shocks the world. They are clearly the underdogs in this fight- and I know we all love a good underdog story.
3. There is so much more to Comic-Con than just Hall H on Saturday. Some of you have spent a significant amount of time camping outside and inside year after year. You probably have considered it time well spent, but maybe it’s time to take a break. Whether it’s checking out other amazing panel rooms, experiencing an offsite event, or connecting with a creator in Artist Alley, there are a lot of ways to make Saturday more meaningful than sitting through Marvel news… news that will be online within minutes anyways. I have intentionally been missing Hall H on Saturdays and it hasn’t detracted from my experience at all.
4. Waiting once a year for Earth-shattering news kinda sucks. Clearly Marvel isn’t going to let off the gas pedal anytime soon so they need more frequent opportunities to make announcements. Whether it’s at D23, SDCC, or their own special events, the more news the better. They don’t need Comic-Con anymore and breaking free might give them more creative ways to give us updates. Besides, if Marvel skipping SDCC is true, I have a feeling it wouldn’t be forever. I’m betting they would return for 2016 or a future show, making it even more sweeter. Even though we have grown up with Marvel Studios, they don’t owe us breaking news at Comic-Con… but I do think they owe us news in general. Which means more places and at different times.
5. Change is good. We have to remember that everything moves in cycles. What is currently considered awesome has a shelf life and will soon become irrelevant or commonplace. Granted, I think Marvel has a long shelf life but the format and platform could get old and stale with one misstep. The only way to gain or sustain momentum is by introducing the ‘new’ or making significant improvement. Tweaking something just means you are on the path of mediocrity. I love Comic-Con more than anything and the last thing I want is for it to become predictable and stale. Marvel’s absence might not change any of that but it does create the opportunity. I like to think that Comic-Con fans are ‘agents of change‘. That we are not afraid of fearlessly disrupting the status quo. I’d like to think that we had a part in helping Marvel succeed and launching them out into new platforms. I know, it’s idealistic but being an optimist is my only choice- I ain’t got time to be negative. Embrace the pain and it will help you transition to the new.
Like I stated in yesterday’s post, this could all be a ruse. I hope Marvel stays for another year but it won’t be the end of the world if they don’t. This might be the year of the #sDCc hashtag! What do you think? Is this crazy talk? Is this heresy? Leave a honest comment and let us know what you think?