Comic-Con: Reflecting on the Con
It's easy to be cynical about Comic-Con. On the one hand, it's essentially 125,000 people begging for the privilege of being advertised to for hours at a time. Early information about film and television projects is treated like a state secret despite the fact that the admission of those secrets has been carefully orchestrated to increase their value and transform them into the stuff of viral marketing dreams.
Everyone is complicit in their roles. The studios. The fans. The talent. The press. Even the organizers babble their stern warnings before each event. "Hollywood won't come here anymore if this ends up on YouTube. No taping. No photographs. Etc." It's the most blatant form of reverse psychology ever. Leaking the information all over the internet is exactly what the studios want. It creates buzz, makes the product more valuable, etc. They'll be putting the same trailers online soon enough anyway.
The way this works is apparent enough. Everyone in this postmodern world is savvy enough to know exactly what the non-comics part of Comic-Con is - a marketer's wet dream. So, why does it work like a charm? Comic-Con is exciting, and it is fun. But, why do we queue up for literally hours at a time to play captive audience to a two hour commercial by a studio that only sees us in terms of our demographic group and purchasing power? I think the answer to this question is actually the reason not to be cynical about Comic-Con. It's because Comic-Con is, in the end, about fans and creators connecting and the power of stories and the fact that blogs and two guys podcasting out of their dorm room are more important than the traditional media here.
There's something either very complicated or very simple to be said about nerdiness and geeks and what stories mean to us - not in the context of marketers and Hollywood with a capital "H," but alone in our rooms or with friends or in our formative years when we identify so strongly with the pop culture products we call our own. I know my life would be much bleaker without a Buffy in it, and Comic-Con is a celebration of our connection to creativity. Wow, that sounded cheesy, but you get what I'm saying, right? That in the midst of the calculated studio presentations and the TV show spoilers turned instantaneous online collateral, some kid is buying a comic for the first time, and it's going to change her life.