This is what’s become my annual video-blog check-in with David Glanzer, Vice President Of Marketing and Public Relations for Comic Con International. This one after the 42nd annual Comic Con 2011 in San Diego (trip sponsored by Tout.com); the first one we did last year at Wonder Con 2010 – this will be the fifth video interview. The video interview was conducted Sunday at 12 noon, the last day of Comic Con.
How did Comic Con do this year in terms of crowd count for 2011? “You know, at the end of the weekend, we’ll probably have 125, 126,000. We’ve had to do a self-imposed cap. But we’ll have a better idea probably by the end of two weeks. See who didn’t show up, who showed up,” he said.
This Comic Con was described by many as “crowded” and more crowded than in the past. It seemed to this blogger as if there were 200,000 people here, when you think of those who didn’t have badges, but came down just to be a part of it all, or to score a badge someone wanted to sell. Glanzer notes that the Comic Con experience is now spread to the various San Diego hotels nearby. “There’s a lot of activity we’ve tried to move outside Comic Con to make it more navigable. There are a lot of people who were able to enjoy various aspects of Comic Con without being here,” Glazer said “so we have no idea how many of those people there were.”
Some of those “off Comic Con” offerings were places like the CNET Base Station. In watching the video, you can get a good idea of how large Comic Con is away from the San Diego Convention Center:
On Diversity At Comic Con
In our first conversation on diversity at Wonder Con, the video of which can be seen below, I expressed how diverse it was and that has continued and increased at Comic Con just over the last year. Here’s Glanzer at Wonder Con in 2010:
This year, Glanzer says the diversity is reflective of the programming, with such panels as the ones for Twilight, DC Comics, and a wide variety of creations, Comic Con has something for almost everyone. But what I noticed at Comic Con 2010, particularly among those between 20 and 35 years of age, was an incredibly high racial diversity that even extends to couples, and on a scale so large that it’s the rule and not the exception. That was really cool. “It really is a great environment for different interests, different likes,” Glanzer said, “we all seem to get along fairly well.”
Comic Con’s Nice Crowd
I remarked at how nice and helpful Comic Con people are. My friend, video-blogger Sarah Austin, lost her camera – it dropped off the top of her car in the parking lot of the hotel she was staying at – and someone returned it. I misplaced my iPhone at the CNET Base Station, on one of the tables, looked around after I realized I didn’t have it, and there it was in the same place I left it, 15 minutes later! Then, on Sunday, my Comic Con badge flew off while I was walking on the pedestrian bridge that goes over the avenue in front of the convention center. People actually stopped to try and help me find it (it flew over the bridge). I talked to Glanzer about that. “You know, I think we’re in the same boat,” he said, “We watch out for each other. Always try to treat each other like family.”
Things That Went Well, Things That Didn’t Go Well
I asked David to give me a run-down of things that went well, and things that didn’t go well. Comic Con’s 2011 policy is to not talk about security issues, so the Spiderman arrest was out of the discussion. But the crowds were the number one concerns. “Well, certainly, always the lines are always an issue,” Glanzer remarked. “After all of this is done, we’ll go through and do debriefing with all the departments.” Glanzer says they will talk about what they did that worked and what they did that didn’t work and make adjustments for 2012. It’s fair to assume one of those adjustments will be in the ticketing area.
On the ticket issue, where the Comic Con website was so jammed on two occasions a few months ago that it could not sell tickets, it all seems to have worked out. “We were able to go ahead and process the badges, even though it wasn’t as smooth as we would like. But considering that we couldn’t sell any badges on two occasions, it ended up being OK.”
Glanzer announced Comic Con International already sold more 2012 badges than for 2011 at by 12 noon of Sunday.
On Hollywood and Comic Con
To this blogger it seemed like the presence of Hollywood was even larger this year than at the Scott Pilgrim Versus The World-dominated 2010 Comic Con. Glanzer said that “There were reports that Hollywood was going to sit out Comic Con. But with Francis Ford Coppola, Justin Timberlake, Steven Spelberg, … there was a lot (of Hollywood) here.”
Comic Con is too big to ignore, and it’s getting bigger in the future. Glanzer says San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders “went to bat” for them, and now, the talk is of building what Glanzer calls a “campus.” That’s really exciting. If you think about it, a World of Comic Con is being built around Comic Con – a giant temporary theme park of the celebration of the popular arts.
Comic Con is in San Diego to stay, bigger and better, and boy does San Diego need Comic Con now. The one hope I have is that, with the expansion of Comic Con, it doesn’t get so large that people start being mean to each other.
My Idea For A Comic Con Shuttle
One idea – my idea – is to have a shuttle that connects Comic Con itself with several points around the perimeter of the San Diego Gas Lamp District. The half-hour shuttles could be paid for out of fees for it, say $2 per person, and part of Convention Center Assessment District funds. It would run from Thursday to Sunday of Comic Con, from 10 AM to 10 PM.