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Your Friendly Neighborhood Comic Shop: The San Diego Comedy Con 2013

Written by Matt Johnson on Tuesday, July 23 2013 and posted in Columns

Your Friendly Neighborhood Comic Shop: The San Diego Comedy Con 2013

Matt Johnson returns with a retailer's thoughts about this year's ComicCon.

They really need to change the name.  Seriously!

I look at the name San Diego Comic Con and I’m confused.  Where are the comics?  Or do they mean comedy, like a stand-up comic?  Because if you thought this convention was about comics - in the sequential paneled art telling stories sense of the word – well, let me tell you brother, the joke is on you!

There was more movie and TV news and panels at this “comic” con than any SDCC I can remember.  I heard it referred to as “the entertainment news event of the summer.”  What, really?

I guess the true owning of the comic industry by Hollywood is complete.  If you are a dork that reads comics, you obviously need to be or should be watching all this other media and playing all these other video games and seeing all these other films, then reading your comics, right?

But what if we just wanted to have a COMIC con?  Would anyone cover that?  I guess that's the good that comes with the bad.  My sixty some year old mom who NEVER took an interest in comic books in her life (even with her only son owning a shop that sells them) knows what San Diego ComicCon is.  For that matter, she seems to know more about what is going on at it than I DO!!  That scares me a little.

Why does she know this?  Because there was either a news show she mistakenly watched covering it, TV Guide or Entertainment Weekly had a special edition about it or a show she likes features characters AT THE CONVENTION ITSELF!  The idea of the comic con is something that has grown into an acceptable thing.  Is this good?

When I was a kid, I never wore my Superman or Batman t-shirt to school. Well, what I should say is that I never wore it openly.  I would wear it under another shirt.  I was ostracized enough, thank you very much, I didn’t need “comic dork” stamped on my forehead too.

Now, kids, the media, Hollywood have made comic and “nerdy” pop culture acceptable to participate in our society.  I am okay with this, really.  I am not someone who feels we need to hide our industry in a closet – obviously I’m okay with that as I opened the first coffee/comic book store in the world attempting to combine and make money off of this growing acceptance.  But there comes a point when I question what good has it done "us" (and by "us" I mean the regular readers of comic books.  The "us" who are the twenty or thirty year continuous, obsessive, lovers of this little nerd kingdom.)

Our industry isn’t really in any better shape sales wise.  We continue to lose shops and lose readers; are we really better off for our newfound acceptance in society?  I don’t know.  Have we sold our soul for acceptance?  I feel this way every year when I see the giant Nerd Aquarium that the San Diego Convention Center becomes has shoehorned in more people than ever and all I see are announcements about movies… and REALLLLLLLY have to hunt for the good COMIC BOOK news that was announced.

Some of the nuggets that peaked my interest:

IDW announced, officially, Darwyn Cooke’s new Parker adaptation, Slayground, will be released in December!  IDW will publish several more high end Artist Editions as well as a new Walter Simonson book called Ragnarok, starring “not Marvel’s” Thor.  They are also going to do an adaptation or Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas!  

Dark Horse announced MUTE, by Duncan Jones and Glenn Fabry, as well as a new Terminator series by J. Michael Staczynski and Pete Woods!  Archie released a “trailer” for what is already better than The Walking Dead, After-Life with Archie.

The big two, of course, had their same old, same old overshadowed by movie announcements.  I like to call DC and Marvel's con announcements “what you will see in previews next week...” except one.  Did you hear about Batman and Scooby Doo, together in one comic?  … and DC offered retailers the best gift of the show, returnability on the first three issues of all the new Vertigo books as well as Mad and the all ages line of books.  THAT kids, is awesome!!!  My hat is off to DC for doing this.  Seriously, this might be the best news of the con.

Okay, and finally.  I will admit I did pay attention to two pieces of news that were NOT comic related.  I am a big Sons of Anarchy fan – Hey, at least they have a comic book coming out!! – and did you read about the Chuck Palahniuk Fight Club sequel news?  I only saw this on my boys – true journalists they be!  This is a terrible, TERRIBLE, idea, but it is nice to see that not all comics are going to film.  Some film is coming to comics too.  Hmm, I guess in the end of this rant, maybe not everything is wrong, even if this is a TERRIBLE idea.


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ThanosCopter is a specially designed helicopter built to transport Thanos the Mad Titan. Built by Sterling Custom Helicopters, ThanosCopter appeared in several Marvel comics, before being abandoned by its owner during the character's ascension into major villainy. ThanosCopter was discovered by the Outhouse and given a second chance at life. He now buzzes merrily around the comic book industry, spreading snark, satire and humor like candy to small children.


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