TODAY'S FEATURE - Blog #3470 - Part 11 of a series on the 2011 Comic-Con International San Diego:
It's now two and a half days after the 2011 Comic-Con International: San Diego, aka San Diego Comic Con, has ended.
As I mentioned yesterday... I've had a little more time to let the different emotions I felt during this 42nd Annual Comic-Con subside, so as to approach this on a more objective view than the subjective one I would have done immediately after the Comic-Con was over...
So what's 'My Take' on 2011?! I'll continue to list the topics in the same order as last year:
Posting of the programming schedule for 2011, prior to the Preview Night: Again... WOW! The daily schedules were posted early, AND the grids were up this year also. Hey, I'm a black & white guy, and always hi-lite the schedule in yellow for the programs I'm interested in attending. The only minus on this grid was that for the first time the grid used colors which affected my hi-lighting it. Other than that this would have rated the highest of comic book grades! Instead, I'm grading it a NEAR MINT (NM) 9.4 out of a possible 10.0 comic book grade.
Art Show: This comic convention is too big to see it all now... Even with us being there all four days & preview night. Didn't even get close to seeing it this year. Made it to the Freebie Tables, but no further. With the previous years policy of not allowing bags in, I didn't even bother. Add to that that I can't take photos inside the area... Why bother?! Grade: FAIR (FR) 1.0 - Please Note: The grade is NOT for the items on display in the area, but for the 'Art Show' presence itself. And yes... I can give this a grade from just visually seeing it from the outside of the marked section!
Anime Schedule: Again, this was held at the Marriott. Even though we walked to the Marriott or by it a couple of times... This is too far from the Convention Center to frequent it during the Comic-Con regular hours. There are more than enough panels / programs during the night at the convention center to keep us there, instead of walking all the way down to the Marriott. However, even I, who am not a big Anime fan, recognized that the quality of films being shown would give this a GOOD (G) 2.0 out of the 10.0 possible points.
Artists Alley: The only time I saw this section busy was on the afternoon of the last day of the Comic-Con. And I did go to this area at least once each day, as I have a client who once again was there in this Artists Alley section. Although the concept is a great one... The section seemed to be even further away from the action than it was last year, when it was first moved to this side area. The layout of the section is not conducive for someone to make it through the area. You have to really want to see all of the artists there to see it all. The traffic pattern and flow is lacking. Again, great concept but in the area it is now in is just not going to attract the mainstream attendees to it. FINE PLUS (F+) 6.5 out of 10.0 possible.
Autographs Area: Because of the scope of this Blog, when walking through the 'Under the Sails Pavilion', I would stop long enough to see who was signing at this area, and how long the lines were for each guest signer. I did not hear any complaints by those standing in line while passing by, but I did see the normal oversized lines for the 'popular' guests, and the next to nothing lines for those not as 'popular'. The disparity of the lines should tell those that didn't have a line that they should rethink their attending this con. Possibly 'played out' for the attendees who have gotten autographs over the years... Grade: VERY GOOD PLUS (VG+) 4.5 out of 10.0 points.
Freebies Table - (Under the Sails area): You gotta be kidding me! While I have increased respect for those at Comic-Con that preview the items from the vendors / publishers / etc. that submit the items for the Freebies Table, the actual items displayed at the Freebies Table was the WORST I've seen in years! Period! 99.8% of what was displayed was just advertising in the format of flyers, mini flyers, etc. Nothing worthwhile to pick up and carry with you through the rest of the convention center. Which is why I saw so much on the ground around the Convention Center. Sure, the usual standard 'Animation Magazine' was there was nice. But for the most part, there was nothing worth picking up to take home with you, UNLESS you were looking for other flyers from other conventions to possibly attend. There weren't even bookmarks this year. Self-publishers, Indy publishers, and comics creators are missing the opportunity of actually having their works displayed at this table where thousands stop. Quality promo items please that are actually useful or functional, not just your advertisement flyers! Grade: POOR (PR) 0.5, 'Nuff Said!
Security: This was the 2nd MOST TALKED about topic at the Comic-Con 'Talk Back' panel. Whereas last year I gave this a VF/NM grade, 9.0 out of a 10.0 grade, the security this year slipped a bit in quality. Why? Because the lines control at Ballroom 20 was not organized for one. Yes, this year it seemed that Ballroom 20 was the NEW 'Hall H', in numbers of attendees trying to get in, but Tina was a little peeved about it, and when I joined her on Saturday, I could see why. By that time, the line control was better, she said. But it was still lacking. Also the line for buying 2012 memberships should have been cut off way before there were hundreds / thousands still in line. That was the biggest frustration at the 'Talk Back' panel. Someone should have told Security to shut it down earlier. Grade: VERY GOOD PLUS (VG+) 4.5 out of a possible 10.0 scale.
Fulfillment Room: Better than last year because of the fact the items were there when we walked all the way down to the Marriott to pick them up. Still... There is the walk all-the-way-down-there to pick them up. I really miss the days of this room upstairs past Ballroom 20. Some of the items there like the Avengers t-shirt would have been worth walking for. For the most part the only thing we received that was outstanding was the 'Fringe' TV show luggage tag that Tina thought was cool! The rest? Buttons & a mini-poster. Grade: VERY GOOD (VG) 4.0 out of 10.0 scale.
The 2011 Events Guide: You know... Come to think about it... I very rarely, if ever, used the Events Guide this year! What with the early posting of both the daily schedules AND THE GRID that I printed off... I already knew what I would like to see, and had it hi-lited on my home printed grid. That could be why I saw multiples of this guide all over the place it seemed... The usefulness of this Events Guide that I valued so much in previous years, seemed to have lost its value. So my Grade is: FINE (F) 6.0, not for the contents, but for the usefullness of it. And no, I did not attempt to use the app this year for this on my Droid, as last year my Droid's battery kept running down.
The 2011 Souvenir Book: With our NOT sitting 'Under the Sails' much this year to get in each morning, I didn't get a chance to really read it until after the Comic-Con was over. I've been reading it since then, and found that the quality was great as ever, and that the anniversaries being celebrated this year were ones that I really enjoyed reading about. The presentation was great, my only thought is that the front cover could have been the 50th Anniversary of the Fantastic Four, due to its kicking off the 'Marvel Age of Comics'! Or even the 50th Anniversary of Comics Fandom, which I know would interest a smaller number of attendees. But... Why a JLA cover? Still, this was a well put together souvenir book! Grade: NEAR MINT (NM) 9.4 out of a 10.0 scale.
On-Site Newsletters: The distribution was more even this year, and timely. Plus the features presented each day were topical. Good job! Grade: NEAR MINT MINUS (NM-) 9.2 out of a 10.0 scale.
Small Press Section: Was it me... Or was the Small Press Section smaller this year? It seemed to be 'broken up' by other non-publishers booths. I make it a point to see this section and Artists Alley in particular each year. Those exhibiting were mainly worthy of visiting, but the section seemed to be 'chopped up' a bit. Grade: FINE PLUS (F+) 6.5 out of 10.0 scale.
Off-Site Parties / Events / Stages: We were asked to attend several off-site events. However, we partook in just a few of them. The Comic-Con had enough going on to keep us there for the most part. For those that couldn't get in to the 2011 Comic-Con all five days, this would have been a good way of 'participating' further. Something to think about for those that couldn't buy all four days and preview night for 2012. (No Grade.)
In Summary: I'm not going to give an 'overall grade' for the 2011 Comic-Con International: San Diego. It is just too big to even consider that anymore. However, I do want to emphasize that I definitely feel for those that expressed their disappointment, frustration, anger and other emotions at the Sunday 'Talk Back' panel. This was the most 'uneven' Comic-Con in the past decade in my opinion. I'm looking forward to what my wife, Tina, has to say in her review blog to follow...!
That's it for this blog today, I give two hours max for developing a blog post, and I've reached it at this point.... There could have been more topics to cover, but I've once again covered the same topics as last year's review, so I think I'll stop here!
Again, please check my Facebook Page 'Michael D Hamersky On Comics' for more photos / wall posts / etc. during the day!
~Michael D Hamersky
NOTE: Part 1 of this ongoing series about the 2011 Comic-Con, (Blog #3450), gave a 'general overview' of why the San Diego Comic Con / Comic Con International: San Diego is very important to me. Along with multiple links to previous years blog posts, photo albums dating back to 1973, etc, etc.
Part 2, (Blog #3458), pointed out shopping tips on what we are buying to bring to the Comic-Con. I haven't missed a year since the Comic-Con first moved to the San Diego Convention Center back in 1991. I first started attending as a comic book dealer back in 1972, at the El Cortez Hotel. But I still have to plan out what to bring each year, as five days on my feet means a lot of trekking around the convention center and surrounding environs! This con is expanding out every year it seems, with programs being held at two different adjacent hotels now, at opposite ends of the convention center!
Part 3, (Blog #3459), posted the links to what panels / programs I believe are the most important for those of you that are first timers to this comic convention. Plus they are the most 'representative' of what Comic-Con International is, without 'Hollywood' panels / programs being included, UNLESS they are truly comic book oriented.
Part 4, (Blog #3460) posted the links to where I normally would be spending a lot of time at while on the exhibit floor of this comic convention. Where's that?! Well... When I'm not attending panels / programs with or without my wife Tina, I'll be most likely at the 'Artists Alley' or 'Small Press Pavilion' sections of this convention center.
Part 5, (Blog #3461) posted a link to what is in store for those of you attending the 2011 Comic-Con and wondering about how to beat the online mess of trying to buy memberships for 2012! I don't want to 'repeat' myself here, so please look at the blog #3461 link for the 'news'!
Part 6, (Blog #3462) of this series... Well, Part 5 was about the future, so here I was taking a 'look' at the 'Past'! And not just a look via my thoughts or collections of memorablilia obtained at Comic-Cons in the past... But from the collection of the 'Founder' of the SDCC himself, Shelf Dorf!
Part 7, (Blog #3466) of this blog series was a brief history and a link to the online version of this week's San Diego Weekly Reader cover feature article on comics creators living in San Diego, and who will be attending the San Diego Comic Con International.
Part 8, (Blog #3467) of this series was to tell you that there wouldn't be any more blogs the rest of last week or the weekend, as I would be celebrating my Birthday the rest of the week at the Comic-Con! Which would be the last year I was going to be able to do so, as the Comic-Con moves up a week in time for next year, the 2012 edition of the SDCCI. Plus that I would still be uploading photos via my camera phone by mobile Facebooking to my Facebook Fan Page, at this mobile uploads photo album.
Part 9 (Blog #3468), of this series was to present to you my own personal 'Hi-Light' of the 2011 Comic-Con! Which was the Fandom Reunion 2011 - Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Comics Fandom. The blog also had the link to the special photo album which is still being added to, as of this morning!!
Part 10 (Blog #3469) of this series was the first part of 'My Take' on the 2011 Comic-Con, where I covered the following topics and graded them: memberships for 2011, memberships for 2012, and pre-paid parking.
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