As has been reported in many outlets Comic-Con International is opening a museum, the Comic-Con Center for Popular Culture with rotating exhibitions as many museums and societies do. The current museum the San Diego Hall of Champions which celebrates sports will be moving its collections to Petco Park’s Western Metal Building and to the San Diego History Center.
Now some articles have said and suggested that all the nerds came to Balboa Park and kicked the jocks out. Though I say that’s not the case but an evolution in interest and engagement of the public as a whole. Some of the nerds versus jocks goes back to negative media portrayals such as those in (Revenge of the Nerds) and other instances where people who had nerdy interests were viewed as freaks, which was sometimes accentuated in popular media from the 70s through 90s. It’s also true that those with nerdy interest (including today) do get bullied by others but that’s changing as society changes and everyone is a fan now.
The original comic creators and even many characters themselves were sports fans. Even in some more modern media you can see the heroes being fans of sports, they talk about sport scores, and even participate themselves. In Young Justice Batman plays basketball with a Dick Grayson in “Downtime” In modern fandom this is true too because being a fan of one doesn’t make you not a fan of the other. There are also multiple cosplay mashups of sport teams and fandom characters.
More and more as well we are seeing schools, institutions hosting pop culutre events such as the New York Historical Society (https://youtu.be/6PjKaCFHKRY), Comics at Columbia at Columbia University, the New York Comics Symposium (at Parsons School of Design) as well conventions being held at universities. Technically one of the oldest has been I-CON first held at Stony Brook University and now at Suffolk County Community College (both in NY). Each of these institutions among many others hold events of comics history, discussion, and more. In addition, more and more universities are offering courses in comics, comics history, etc. such as “The American Graphic Novel” taught by comics legend Paul Levitz.
Comic cons have a long history of education with several offering not just a few isolated panels but entire tracks such The Anime and Manga Studies Symposium at Anime Expo, FANS Conference at A-Kon, and at WonderCon and Comic-Con International the Comics Arts Conference.
This will be a great space to celebrate pop culture and its history year round. What also is of interest and something to speculate is how will the space be used at SDCC? It is quite possible that there will be more programming in the space. These might be smaller such as smaller panels, and probably not something requiring the size of Hall H.
Overall this very exciting and another awesome place to celebrate what we love year round. I look forward to seeing it and maybe donating some of my unique pop culture items for a part of some exhibits.