Convention-goers: line management falls short
Comic-Con might need a small reboot.
Many of the complaints voiced by fans Sunday during the annual “Comic-Con Talk Back” session echoed past years’. In addition, the convention-goers didn’t have much praise for the new efforts to better manage long lines at the downtown San Diego Convention Center.
Although final numbers won’t be available for some time, it seemed likely that more people attended the convention than ever before. Thousands were shut out as daily tickets sold out in 40 minutes in February. Some among the roughly 130,000 who were able to attend got shut out of the biggest events in Hall H and Ballroom 20.
An almost emotionless John Rogers, president of the Comic-Con board, spent about an hour taking suggestions from more than 30 people.
When it came to the idea of spreading the convention over a more days so a greater number of people could attend, Rogers said it wouldn’t solve anything.
“The studios tend to be very, very focused on Saturday, Saturday or Saturday,” he said. “More days won’t spread that out.”
It wasn’t just Marvel and Warner Bros. panels in Hall H that had overflowing crowds this year. For instance, the panels for CW’s lineup of superhero shows - “Arrow,” “The Flash,” “Supergirl” and “Legends of Tomorrow” - quickly reached capacity Saturday.
Many devotees of those shows were able to sit through other talks, trying to make sure they would have a spot for their targeted session, because Comic-Con organizers don’t clear out rooms after each event.
When a fan recommended having everyone leave the room after each session, Rogers said: “Our problem is, where would we put all the extra lines? Because then we know people would want to wait overnight for each program the next day. The transition (to clear out after every panel) would take an hour and a half. We would lose half our programing.”
Although the convention has committed to staying in San Diego until 2018, there were times when Rogers didn’t sound thrilled with the situation.
“We are severely space-constrained here,” he told one fan.
In a positive development for comic book fans, many of the major Hall H revelations were shared online simultaneously with the on-scene announcements.
Although major studios have taken advantage of the Internet in the past, it rose to new heights this year. Arguably the biggest event of the convention - the unveiling of Warner Bros.’ “Justice League” trailer - went on YouTube at the same time, as did the latest TV and movie offerings from Marvel Comics.
Haiko Albrecht of Belgium said he couldn’t stomach waiting in line for the major panels and appreciated studios making the clips available online.
“I would love to (have gone to Hall H), but I’m not the kind of person that gets up at 4 a.m. and tries to get into a panel at 6 p.m.,” he said.
Overall, it was fairly difficult to get convention-goers to badmouth Comic-Con.
“I’d hate to say anything bad about the (convention). They’ve done such a great job. It’s so much better than any of the other conventions,” said Howard Gensler of Irvine, who wore a Riddler costume.
Besides the “Justice League” trailer, the other major news coming out of Comic-Con included the announcement that Ben Affleck would direct a solo Batman movie, the decision by Marvel TV to give previews of “Luke Cage” and “Iron Fist,” the debut of the first “Wonder Woman” trailer, confirmation that Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” is getting its own ride at Disneyland and the naming of actress Brie Larson as a star in Marvel’s upcoming “Captain Marvel” film.
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