I’m sure by now your news feeds are all full of “I’m at #ComicCon!” and “#NerdHQ!” selfies. I know mine are. But there’s this feeling I’ve had for a few years about ComicCon (SDCC) that I haven’t been able to shake… until now.
I love when people have a great time and live a good life. Part of why I do personal training and wellness coaching are seeing people happy, with their families, living the lives they’ve always wanted. But it seems like the past few years of SDCC have been more about telling people you’re at SDCC, and how cool you are for being there, than the con itself. Rarely now do I see pictures or posts of actual happenings at the con. But my god my instagram and Facebook feeds are full of selfies of people that are damn sure to let you know how much fun they’re having, Foursquare checkins galore, and come Sunday just how much fun they had. You see this a bit with Dragon*Con and GenCon, and it’s starting to creep into the smaller ComicCons around the country. But damn if SDCC hasn’t become the most pretentious con I’ve seen yet.
Why is this? What makes people turn from fun loving geeks taking pics of their food and puppies into sudden attention seekers for five days? I believe a large part of this is the SDCC culture itself. See, anyone can come to MegaCon. Anyone can go to GenCon. But SDCC is like the fucking Hunger Games of the geek world. Some people call it the Mecca of geekdom, like if you aren’t there you’re obviously not one of the chosen. And you know, it’s true! This is the first year I’ve seen many of my semi-celeb status friends even struggle to get tickets. That’s right, they had trouble giving a show money to come and spend more money! That just blew my mind. That’d be like planning a trip to Disney to show up at the gate and have them say “I’m sorry, we don’t want your money”. However, that has also led to the endless pics of people’s tickets arriving in the mail, tweets like “Got my #SDCC ticket! Now to find a room. ugh”. And the craziest part is most of the folks going posted on social media last year that they wouldn’t be back! “It’s so expensive and goes so quick”, “the prices are going up, again!”, “It’s way too much stress.” But come next April they’re all ready to knife their neighbor in the back for a chance to go.
But what has this led to on the other side? A group of geeks sitting at home, eagerly waiting for the next instapic from the con floor? I mean, people are posting up to follow their various networks to see what they’re doing. But that’s not really the case. Most people I observe sitting here at my geek bar tune into the official SDCC channels, watch the panels, and go about their day.
So what is it about SDCC that keeps people coming back? It can’t be the actual media guests and entertainment onslaught, as the con has slowly been losing traction in Hollywood for the past couple of years. Could it be some of the indie geek scene that has started to spring up around the Con? The groups of friends that use SDCC to come together and see each other just once a year? I could see that. After all, the main reason I go to cons now are to see the people I only get to see at cons. But in the case of SDCC I feel it’s just the spotlight that going to SDCC brings. And that makes me sad, because that’s the type of stuff most of us tried to avoid back when we were younger.