We all know Comic-Con is broken. All of us except the Comic-Con organizers, because from their point of view the money keeps rolling in.
But the show floor is dying, while the TV/Web panels are growing.
Comic-Con should be ticketed like a film festival. Plain and simple.
- Separate tickets for each panel.
- Clear Hall H out between panels and schedule accordingly.
- Extend the hours on Hall H to accommodate the clear times.
- Premium badges for those who “need” to have “all-access”. Limited in number. With reserve seating in the Halls so they can camp. (Keep it slightly democratic by having the reserve section on one “side” of the hall left/right, as opposed to front/back.)
- Lower priced “show floor only” badges.
- Strict enforcement on where toy buying lines begin. No more of this “exhibitors jump the line” nonsense that happened with Hasbro this year. If that doesn’t work: go to a lottery system.
I understand the “logic” of having Hall H be all-access for those who manage to get in. The idea that fans are getting marketing exposure to material that they otherwise wouldn’t while they wait for their “One True Panel”. It works for some, but not all.
I remember being in a packed hall at Wondercon a few years back. Doctor Who fans were hall camping to see the American premier of the episode which introduced the 11th Doctor— quite sensible from their POV— but at the expense of the DC Comics fans who were stuck in the back or outside of the room. Many of us couldn’t get in because of the campers, a large portion of whom were knitting, talking with their family members or wrangling kids and not paying any attention to the comic book writers on stage.
It was a spectacular scheduling fail on the part of Comic-Con International, who produce both WonderCon and SDCC. I wasn’t surprised in the least.
That’s nothing compared to the fact that this year a woman died because she was racing to get into the Hall H line for Twilight days ahead of the panel. We seem to have forgotten this during the Con. It’s unacceptable. I can’t promise that a festival ticketing system would have prevented that death, but it sure as hell would have removed some of the motivation she had for hastily getting into that line.
The problem isn’t that Comic-Con inevitably breaks your heart, it’s that CCI appear to just not give a fuck.