Dave: Hello Grae Drake. I understand that you have good news for me about my once-beloved San Diego Comic-Con, which, by the way, is right around the corner.
Grae: Yep, it’s that time of year again, so get out your spandex. Here is the news: Hollywood is breaking up with Comic-Con.
Dave: I'M LISTENING...
Grae: Hollywood has decided that preaching to the choir is getting them nowhere (a la the Con success but box office failure of movies like Scott Pilgrim vs. the World).
Dave: AND...(Sorry that I'm all-CAPSing this but you're really freaking me out in a good way right now. I want your words to be true).
Grae: I get it and don’t worry, it's water off a cyber-duck's back. Would you like me to excite you further by giving you the list of studios that are allegedly NOT going to be present at the Con?
Dave: Talk dirty to me...
Grae: [in a gravelly Kathleen Turner voice] Warner Bros., Disney, DreamWorks, Weinstein Company, and probably Marvel. Daddy like?
Dave: Wait, hold up. Marvel? I get those other guys. But Marvel? Now I'm both ecstatic and confused at the same time.
Grae: Going completely against the ORIGINAL intention of the Con. Marvel = comic books. And Comic is a word in the title of the convention.
Dave: Astute observation. However, now that I think about it a bit, does Marvel NEED to bring a gallon of water to the ocean?
Grae: Exactly. And no, they do not.
Dave: I gotta rant here for a bit.
Grae: I would never stand in the way of that. Please continue.
Dave: This news makes me happy, because I used to love going to Comic-Con so much, both as a fan and a journalist. It was fun. You could wander around freely and easily get to the panels and presentations you wanted to see.
Grae: Wait, what?
Dave: Yes, I’m not making that up. I waltzed right into Hall H the year Angelina Jolie was there to talk about some flop movie she was in--Tomb Raider or whatever. Maybe it was something else.
Grae: You didn't have to wait in line for hours?
Dave: Not even for minutes.
Grae: I feel as though I am a child sitting at your feet, listening to you tell stories about the war.
Dave: It gets better. The vendor floor didn't feel like that Who concert in 1979 where people got trampled to death.
Grae: Oh, I thought you were going to say Keith Moon is behind every booth banging on things...but your reference makes more sense.
Dave: WKRP in Cincinnati actually did a “very special episode” about it.
Grae: Loni Anderson gets tears in her eyes...but not enough to ruin her makeup.
Dave: So anyway, once upon a time Comic-Con was easy and friendlyand then along came squadrons of know-nothing media types, taking up space, shilling their whatever and promoting movies that had nothing to do with anything related to geeky stuff. They set up red carpet moments, VIP parties, mean security people, lists you had to be on to get into something, and jerks in dumb professional business attire instead of dressed as steampunk ghostbusters.
Grae: See, now THAT sounds familiar to me. I only started going a few years ago. I am kind of one of those movie jerks who love the studio stunts and Hall H. But it’s so difficult to maneuver that I had to manipulate the system to actually see something, so I put on a short leather skirt last year and that seemed to get people to do my bidding.
Dave: Shrewd. But that won't work for me.
Grae: Yeah, it's a gender-biased caveat.
Dave: I don’t think this means much in the long run, for movies I mean, since that’s our thing. I think that movies will get along fine without Comic-Con.
Grae: Probably, yeah, but take Avengers. It was the talk of the Con last year, too, and if Marvel doesn’t come out, then we will have to wait until the trailer is released to the masses before seeing anything. Eww.
Dave: Sorry, but courting the nerds mostly failed as an experiment. Returning again to Scott Pilgrim, here was this very, very cool movie, a GOOD movie that should have done well. And nerds went to see it but no one else did. So will this just be another feather in Scott Pilgrim’s cap of awesomeness? The movie that broke Comic-Con for Hollywood?
Grae: I do believe it “wins” that title, yes.
Dave: So what studios are still showing up?
Grae: Cowboys and Aliens is doing a big stunt apparently, which it needs to, since people seem to be approaching that one with caution.
Dave: Right, they could use a big stunt--it'll only help them.
Grae: I am hoping for REAL ALIENS…although fake cowboys are ok. But REAL ALIENS. Are you listening, Universal?
Dave: That would be a nice "get" for them. Is that it? What else is coming out?
Grae: Paramount will be pushing The Adventures of TinTin, another one of those creepy animated-but-sort-of-real movies.
Grae: Directed by Steven Spielberg, so expect a sad kid somewhere.
Dave: Still pointless unless Spielberg is there with E.T.
Grae: Phoning home.
Dave: And 5-year-old Drew Barrymore.
Grae: And Reese’s for everyone!!!
Dave: Otherwise I don’t care at all and you can’t make me.
Grae: Okay, okay. Fans will also see The Amazing Spiderman and probably the new Superman starring that British guy?...I gotta tell you, I still feel majorly bummed out by this news, since movies were the primary reason I liked to go to the Con. Now it kind of looks like nothing will be there. It would take the pain away if studios end up bringing small-but-excellent movies that could use some buzz.
Dave: What? Making it like it was in 1977 when they used it to bolster a little movie called Star Wars? You’re dreaming.
Grae: I know, but it would be nice to get all warm and fuzzy and believe in something again. Wow, I am misty-eyed.
Dave: Now I am uncomfortable. Here's the thing though--the fans will get along fine without the huge studio films gumming up the works, just like they did in the past. And the non-fans, the people who chose their movie by standing open-mouthed in front of the box office and asking the ticket seller what's not sold out, to them none of it matters.
Grae: Statistically, that’s most people. So I can see why, in this economy, studios are cutting spending by not going. But for me, the only thing to save this Con now is if Nathan Fillion shows up and I can kiss a Mythbuster.
Dave: You could get really into Twilight all of a sudden. They’re going to be down there, I hear.
Grae: Also Immortals, that 300 knock-off, will do something too, since people in togas are usually well-received at the Con.
Dave: And Rise of the Planet of the Apes. And that’s about it. So why not let the studios and the fans go back to their corners? I hope this is a permanent shrinking, a cutting of the fat, a weeding, a purging, a celebrity hemorrhage.
Grae: I hope this doesn’t hurt ticket sales enough to damage San Diego.
Dave: Don’t worry. Even before Hollywood came stormtroopering their way down there, Comic-Con did massive business---most days would sell out, but it would happen on the day with walkups instead of months in advance.
Grae: That still sounds like a science fiction tale to me. But if this proves to be the new Comic-Con, I assume that attendance will decrease over following years.
Dave: Good. STAY HOME, HOLLYWOOD. I WANT MY COMIC-CON BACK. I just felt like a tea partier there for a second.
Grae: And I got scared like I usually do when they're talking. So good job!