Sunday, August 01, 2004

Bow to the Comic-Con hordes: The Portland Oregonian files a lengthy roundup of Comic-Con International:

"What is now a four-day festival sprawling through the vast expanse of the San Diego Convention Center began in 1970 as the Golden State Comic-Con, which drew 300 diehards to the basement of San Diego's U.S. Grant Hotel. Since then, the event has gotten bigger and bigger, an incredible hulk of merchandise, marketing and massive numbers. Attendance for this year's July 22-25 Con was in excess of 75,000 people. Hall H, which accommodates 6,500, was inaugurated after the previous big room's capacity (4,000 or so) proved too small for the demand. At any given hour there are as many as 10 panels and discussions in upstairs rooms, while upwards of 15,000 people may be milling about the immense Exhibit Hall on the main floor.

"Why do we care? Because the committed hordes who attend Comic-Con aren't just fools for love, they're a gold mine of consumer dollars. These are fans who stand in line and buy tickets for that all-important opening weekend of a comic-to-movie adaptation. These are fans who buy every imaginable piece of merchandise tied to such properties as The Lord of the Rings.

"These are fans who immediately jump on the Internet to spread high-fiber good buzz -- or venomous anti-buzz if they're displeased. Authenticity is all. Hellboy, from a lesser known comic, was a hit because it captured the spirit of creator Mike Mignola's work. Catwoman, on the other hand, substituted Halle Berry and a peekaboo costume for the comic character's true roots. Unhappy comic loyalists turned up their noses, turning Catwoman into so much box-office kitty litter."