Friday, July 25, 2008

Why the San Diego Comic-Con Drives Me Nuts

I've planned out my criticism so it won't be just a rant. I have very carefully detailed and thought-out reasons why the San Diego Comic-Con is a huge waste of time. I'll even present a counter-argument! This is the kind of seasoned debater you've stumbled upon.

Let's get right into it:

1) The Self-Congratulatory Doodlers - You may not know this, but the convention is about more than just huge nerds gushing over comic books. There are also huge nerds gushing over shitty filmmakers. Below is a clip from today's Q&A session with the actors and director of the upcoming film Watchmen. If you don't know (and I didn't until I was forced to) Watchmen is a really long comic book that's being made into a movie. By the way, that's what it is. A really long comic book. It's not a "graphic novel." There is no such thing as a "graphic novel." If you took all the words in this damn thing and printed it like an actual novel, it would be maybe 15 pages. So what you have is, at most, a "graphic short story," sold with an actual cover and spine so massive nerds will pay $24.95 for it. Don't get me wrong, I have great respect for artists. And the people who draw comic books certainly are artists. Let's just not get above our raisins here.

Anyhow, this clip contains a guy dressed up like The Joker (he has it spot on - I almost thought it was Heath Ledger himself!) who says that Watchmen is "dark to the point of nihilism" and how the filmmakers were planning on dealing with that.

Just watch. It's only the first minute:

Okay, a few things to point out here. First of all, let's just think about the context here. There are hundreds of people in this audience, gushing over Zack Snyder, director of 300, talking about a film that they haven't even seen. This film could (and likely, will) be a total piece of shit. These people line up to hear all about the secrets of a film that they won't see for another eight months. What can they hope to learn? In total, I watched maybe twenty minutes of this panel, and I learned absolutely nothing about the movie that I didn't know before. Here's what I knew about the movie before:

"Oh, it's like The Incredibles except all serious."

That's it. So, my analysis of this panel was that Zack Snyder got kind of tired of actual film critics and enthusiasts calling him a hack, so he couldn't wait to get his bro-ass down to San Diego so a bunch of bearded dingleberries could figuratively fellate him.

2) The Grown-Up D&D Nuts - It's comforting if you think of Comic-Con as just a big festival of 15-year-old pimple-faced geeks. Quite the contrary. I'm willing to bet the average age of a Comic-Con attendee is 30 or above (not even counting Stan Lee!)

These are the kind of people who would get really disappointed when they were 17 and their mom had to politely tell them that they couldn't really go out trick-or-treating anymore.

This is what you get in terms of patronage at this thing:

To be fair, they tried to get a Winston Zedmore, but NO BLACK PERSON WOULD BE CAUGHT DEAD AT THIS EVENT! I don't even think Samuel L. Jackson showed up and he's in half the fucking movies!

3) The Frenzy - What? You mean it's only $80 to sit next to Harry Knowles' sweaty armpits and listen to the kid who played "Gordie" in Stand By Me talk about meeting William Shatner? Where do I sign up?

If you're one of the thousands at Comic-Con right now, you might be thinking the following (said in "Comic Book Guy" voice):

"Jonathan, what's the problem with people gathering in a single place to learn more about something they enjoy? What's wrong with embracing one's hobby and getting to meet people one sincerely respects?"

I have no problem with people gathering to express gratification for their favorite hobby. I have a problem with the way you are currently being exploited to suck away even more of your hard-earned cash. This entire thing is just one big Happy Meal toy. It's a marketing exercise! Get a bunch of guys with cash to burn and promote your crummy products. That's why there isn't a Fantastic Four panel or an Iron Man panel. Those movies are already out! Can't get any more money from you until the sequel is ready. Better promote a bunch of crap that'll be ready in the next few months. Wet their pointy beaks and have them foaming at the mouth. Maybe even let slip a spoiler or two. That'll get the blogs humming.

There are thousands of you right now, paying money so that you can be exposed to advertising. I feel the same amount of anger at the endless commercials before movies in the theater. I'm paying money to see this movie. I don't want the advertising. There's a reason I put up with ads on television. It's free!

(Brief tangent: Isn't it odd how people love their DVR and can't wait to skip commercials on television, but if you tell the same people that you hate commercials before a movie, they say "Not me! I love trailers!" Mind boggling.)

Well, there you have it. Quite possibly my most thought-out and longest post. I'm happy to have taken the time to share with you my ideas on this matter. I'd elaborate further, but the Terminator Salvation Trailer just leaked and I have to get that shit on YouTube!

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