Today’s pop culture is awash in the stuff of comic books. Our biggest movie franchises, video games and television shows are often lifted from the pulp-paper world of Batman, Superman, and Iron Man.
Welcome to Comic-Con – the once small “trade show” that has blown up into way more than just a celebration of all things “superhero” – it’s become a modern content marketing force to be reckoned with.
For a week, the streets surrounding the San Diego Convention Center transform into a village size promotional blitz with ad wrapped buildings, encampments for major media players, and a massive sea of costume clad fans – all hungry to consume, promote and simply celebrate all things pop culture.
And in the aisles of the show itself, the surreal and the pragmatic effortlessly blend into something very special. Imagine the ultimate costume party – then amp that up about a thousand times.
The convention floor is awash in a mélange of “professional” level costumes (many sponsored by the studios or commercial enterprises with a brand or new show to promote) alongside the homemade costumes — often every bit as painstakingly dreamed up and lovingly crafted — by fans eager to immerse themselves in the Comic Con experience.
Essentially what Comic-Con celebrates more than anything else is creativity — in all its myriad forms.
And it reserves the lion’s share of its love for the artists, sculptors, filmmakers and other craftspeople that directly create the content we all enjoy.
That reality is probably best reflected in Artists Alley, where the folks who toil away all year long, conceiving, drawing, and digitally inking the graphic novels, fantasy worlds and oddball characters of the comic universe — sit at long tables and give their fans a chance to stop and interact.
At Comic-Con it doesn’t matter so much if you’re young or old – tall or short – or how mainstream or fringe your pop culture interests might be. And nobody much cares if you’re into comics, video games, toys, movies, television, sci-fi, fantasy or geek culture in general – “the Con” is one huge safe playground where nothing is too popular on one hand — or too niche on the other.
Even if you attend in your street clothes, you’re just doing ComicCon as you – somebody who enjoys the art, the movies, the TV shows, or perhaps just the sum total of all the stories swirling around the comic universe.
It’s the ultimate “opt-in” event – one hundred and fifty thousand plus people who are in one place, at one time for one reason and one reason alone. At some point in the typical small child’s play time imagination – there will be a cape – so why fight it?
Because this is exactly where they want to be – being exactly who they might wish they were. Which is a pretty cool thing when you get right down to it!