…where do I begin?
I have waited a couple days since receiving the news that San Diego Comic (hyphen) Con has now filed a lawsuit against Salt Lake Comic (no hyphen) Con, because there was no need for me to simply copy-paste or link to the press release about it. It made the news everywhere. I wanted to wait until I had something cogent to say on the subject rather then just regurgitate the boilerplate legal-ese that is this
rampaging shit-box of idiocy disagreement.
Google it and read it for yourself. Best comedy released this year.
Whether or not what you are about to read is, in fact, cogent, is for you to decide of course, but I hope that you might look beyond any superficial flaws this author committed and see the true intent of it. And if you find that you agree with what you read, please share it, spread it, comment it, re-tweet it, whatever; just get it out there so that the fans can see it.
With that being said, let’s begin.
I kind of feel like I want to take the Greg Gutfeld approach to this, and just immerse it in snarky sarcasm until it just drips with the stupidity of it all. I like that approach by the way, as it fits my usual methodology of handling unpleasant situations.
And make no mistake, this is an unpleasant situation. First, I’m not going to throw a lot of well-researched attendance and $$ figures at you to try to digest. In a country where we count our debt in TRILLIONS, the amount of money expended buying funko figures and six different cover iterations of Galactic Man #123 (You remember? The cross-over issue with Uber-Woman? No? Too bad; it was really good.), does it really matter what the exact number of dollars spent in the San Diego Convention Center is over that three-day period?
Second, does it matter how many people cram themselves into that same Convention Center in the hopes of seeing a teaser trailer for Flight of the Ladybug 4: Cutie-Pie’s Revenge?
Again, the answer is no.
The answer, by the way, is A LOT. A lot of people cram into that event, so many that anecdotal evidence would support the idea that it’s wall-to-wall in there, and it’s hot and humid and miserable to be in.
What is important here is that fans of all of those things, Batman, Superman, X-Men, Fantastic Four, Galactic Man, Uber-Woman, The Flash, The Big Bang Theory, Sleepy Hollow, JJ Abrams, Josh Whedon, Guillermo Del Toro, William Shatner, Stan Lee, Jack Kirby…….you get the idea…..fans decide that they want to get together with others of their ilk and talk comic books, movies, and television, while drooling over misogynistic renderings of the female characters contained therein (or complaining about them, whatever), and generally enjoying yourself.
There is a name for this type of event, and that name is a comic book convention. You know why that wasn’t capitalized just now? Because that kind of thing took place long before San Diego thought about capitalizing it and making it a Comic (hyphen) Con. You know what it was called back then?
My friend’s basement.
Yes, for as long as there have been four-color printed superhero exploits, and long before those superheros were super, and were instead simply heroes, those individuals that admired them for their literary value, artistic merit, or simply their sense of escapism were drawn together to share their love for them.
Indeed, that is what these things are supposed to be about: the fans.
You remember the fans, right? The little people that buy the books, magazines, movie tickets, costumes, posters, and other assorted branded merchandise that allows the artists, actors, studios, and publishers to make more of that stuff for the fan to consume.
It is, in theory, a perfect system. One that is self-sustaining and ever-vital. A system into which a recent convert can come and, for the most part, be welcomed by those that came before, to be schooled in the minutiae of lore that accompanies whatever topic has drawn their mutual affection. They can even, to a degree, get along with one another even if they subscribe to differing histories of said topic brought about by various reboots, ret-cons, actors, directors, artists, and even differences brought about by NOTHING AT ALL, simply changes for change’s sake.
There are exceptions, of course. In any fandom there are those that have appointed themselves the arbiters of right and wrong, and woe unto any noob the finds themselves wanting in their eye. It’s high-school cliquery to the nerd-th degree, and it exists everywhere. There is no escaping it.
But for the most part, the fans are pretty self-policing. They welcome all who share their love, and share their stories with them.
It’s a beautiful thing, really.
But this past Friday, however, San Diego Comic (hyphen) Con International filed a lawsuit against the organizers of the Salt Lake Comic (no hyphen) Con in an attempt to force the removal of THOSE WORDS from the event.
I can’t even begin to express my profound disbelief at this turn of events. San Diego Comic Con is now, officially, no longer about the fans. It’s just not. There is no argument they can make that can convince anyone that they care about the fans. They have, by means of this pending litigation, proven, finally, that SDCC (I won’t even spell it out anymore) is about one thing: protecting what it believes to be its endless river of money flowing from the pockets of those fans it pretends to be protecting.
Who cares if Salt Lake calls its event a Comic Con? Does the average fan care?
The fan cares if he can go there and see an artist, or actor, or author, or attend a panel about something he cares about.
You could literally hold an event in Omaha, Nebraska (chosen for it’s central location in the US, not as any kind of slight, I assure you), and call it the Cornhusker Get-Together for Fans of Comics, Science-Fiction, and Fantasy Media (or CGTFCSFFM for short), and as long as you got a few A-listers, a few more solid -B-listers (or A-minus listers), and a good swath of artists and writers, along with some decent panels and moderators, and a special event or two, and I’ll bet you could pull in 20K-25K people (it is still only Nebraska, after all).
New flash: this is what Salt Lake did. It took that event and put it in a decently populated area that had been underrepresented in the fan community for years, and the fans responded in droves. Twice, so far (only 8 months apart), and they’re on track to do so again in another 4 weeks. They had been starving for such an event, and they got one.
No. They’ve gotten THREE.
Nobody gave a crap what it was called. It gave the fans what they wanted. Dan Farr went out and said “we need this, and this, and this, and them, and them, and them,” and he GOT THEM and he brought them to the fans.
And the fans responded.
Now, I am the first to admit that I have, in the past, taken issue with Dan Farr on certain topics, but he has addressed those with me, in the execution of the event, and most importantly, with the fans. It seems as if every fourth or fifth word out of his mouth is “fan” or “fans” whenever he speaks about the event.
And he means it. I see it in his eyes when he talks about it. I hear it in his voice.
He will fight SDCC on this, and if, somehow, some judge decides that SDCC can force Salt Lake to drop the “Comic Con” from its name (only in America, right?), then he will name it something else (Fan-X, perhaps align with Wizard, who knows?) and the fans will still come.
Why? Because it is not what the event’s NAME is, it is what the event can give to the fan that will determine how successful it will be.
If Salt Lake is simply enjoying a honeymoon phase with its Comic Con, then it will die out in a few years, or simply become another 25K fan event, like dozens of others around the country. None of whom have been sued by SDCC International, BTW.
So, is it the name, or the size of the event that has drawn the ire of the self-appointed arbiters of cool in So-Cal?
Sadly, we may have to let the courts decide the legal answer, but in the court of fan opinion, the winner has already been determined.