Comic-Con at 50: Bigger than ever, but at what cost?

Nobody anticipated their culture would ever end up being mainstream when a couple of hundred comic book and science fiction enthusiasts and creators collected in the basement of a San Diego hotel 49 years ago for what would become known as the very first Comic-Con.

Except Jack Kirby.

” A very long time ago he stated, ‘One day Hollywood is going to come to Comic-Con to get its ideas,'” co-founder Mike Towry said. “That appeared pretty far-fetched to us, however Jack Kirby was quite visionary.”

As the 50 th Comic-Comic kicks off Wednesday, with a huge Marvel Studios panel on Saturday that makes sure to be the hottest ticket in town, and Spider-Man and the Marvel Cinematic Universe controling the box office, Kirby showed to be right. However it took a while for Comic-Con to really “go Hollywood.”

” We were just aiming to get together with our fellow comic fans and a few of individuals who developed the comics and science fiction we delighted in,” Towry said of the early years. “Comics at that time were looked down on by practically everyone.”

Roy Thomas remembers being part of one of the very first “genuine film occasions” at Comic-Con. In the summertime of 1976, the artist and two other panelists took the phase to sneak peek an unknown sci-fi property that wouldn’t hit theaters for another 10 months.

It was, naturally, “Star Wars” and he was working on the promotional comics that Marvel would put out prior to launch.

” We had a couple of posters. However we didn’t even have any video,” Thomas stated. “All we could do was sit there and discuss it and reveal a poster.”

He remembers the PR guy, Charles Lippincott, attempting to offer the posters later for $1 apiece.

” He didn’t even offer them all,” Thomas laughed. “He wound up giving some of them away.”

Compare that to 28 years later on, when Lucasfilm exposed the title for the last Star Wars prequel, “Vengeance of the Sith.” Germain Lussier, a personnel writer for the websites io9 and Gizmodo, remembers it being “electrical.” Some 7,000 shouting individuals leapt out of their seats and made a mad dash to the showroom floor to get one of the Tee shirts readily available at the Star Wars cubicle.

The success of the initial Star Wars might have a wake-up call for Hollywood.

” It made Hollywood stay up and take notification,” Towry said. And, he believes, it began the slow development of the convention into what it is today.

For a lot of, the genuine tipping point for Comic-Con and Hollywood was available in 2008 when “Twilight” came down on the Gaslamp District. The “Twihards” took fandom to a new level when they encamped over night to protect a spot to see the panel. That had actually never been done on that level.

Ever since, Comic-Con has actually been a madhouse. Nowadays, some 135,000 individuals come down on the San Diego Convention Center and surrounding Gaslamp District every year. There are lines everywhere for fan requirements (panels, toys, sign sessions, occasions) and human ones (food, restrooms, transportation). Tickets are tough to come by, as are hotels and parking, and everything is pricey.

There are still artists on the display room flooring and off-the-beaten path panels in the spirit of those first few years. But look around the Gaslamp District where every inch of area has actually been branded by a motion picture, TELEVISION show, tech business or business brand (even down to the hotel crucial cards and elevators), and it’s clear that Comic-Con has actually become one huge advertisement.

” You might feel it when Hollywood truly started figuring out that this was a significant publicity opportunity and targeting it,” said film critic Drew McWeeny, who started going to in the early 1990 s. “For me that was completion of it.”

For McWeeny, the extreme focus on film trailers and tidbits teased by those included in the significant panels at Comic-Con, “shows the problem with total culture wonderfully: Our conversation about movies takes place 99%prior to they come out and 1?ter they come out. The movie is almost insignificant. Our cultural discussion has to do with marketing.”

For others, Comic-Con holds worth because filmmakers get face time with fans. “It” director Andy Muschietti is returning this year with some cast and brand-new video footage from “It: Chapter 2,” which Warner Bros. and New Line will premiere at its Wednesday night ScareDiego occasion.

” It’s big. You’re really getting in contact with the fans, even for a quick moment,” Muschietti said. “The fans have the chance to fulfill the cast there that they like a lot and get a sign. I believe it’s fantastic.”

Recently, it’s become a little bit of a combined bag with just how involved Hollywood film studios, which can fluctuate based upon what there is to promote. Marvel Studios has actually remained in the past, and this year Warner Bros. is not bringing any of its DC residential or commercial properties.

” I think a lot of studios understood that having motion pictures at San Diego Comic-Con costs a lot of cash and I don’t know if it’s worth all that loan in the end,” stated Perri Nemiroff, a senior producer for Collider.com and host of the YouTube series Film Talk. She also noted that studios like Disney have their own brand-specific conventions like D23 and Star Wars Celebration.

” I do believe to some degree it’s rolling back,” McWeeny said. “The very best thing that can occur is Hollywood simply gets tired of it and it becomes something that is really for fans again.”

Plus there’s simply the inconvenience of getting and being there. And maybe “missing out” is no longer a worry: Fans can see many of the video online soon later.

” It’s become so huge now, it’s nearly like Yogi Berra stated: ‘No one goes there any longer, it’s too crowded,'” Thomas said. “That’s why I remain away. I simulate it, however I simply seem like maybe it’s better to stick to my memories.”

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Follow AP Movie Author Lindsey Bahr on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ldbahr

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Post Author: Izabella Jaworska