Here's an interesting article from the Pulse (http://www.comicon.com/pulse
By TOM SPURGEON
Even when Comic-Con International is officially over for the calendar year, North America's biggest comics convention remains enough of a force to cause a ripple effect in comics culture for a few weeks afterwards. Amid a swirling number of rumors about the future of North America's longest comic convention, the show's Director of Marketing and Public Relations David Glanzer sat down with THE PULSE to sort fact from fiction.
First, Glanzer admits that Comic-Con International has at least entertained the idea of an "Anaheim option" -- a move away from San Diego and its now tapped-out exhibit space into a bigger facility -- as part of an ongoing investigation on CCI's part into how to best deal with the show's now-massive size. The Anaheim Convention Center and its reported 200,000-300,000 extra square feet of extra exhibit space generally edges out facilities in Los Angeles proper as the focus of rumor and speculation regarding such a drastic move.
Glanzer says that CCI approached the Anaheim Convention Center -- not the other way around, as rumored -- among other convention facilities because they had been "taken by surprise at the rapid increase in attendance over the last few years." Glanzer describes the contact as Comic-Con officials asking a certain number of questions and official in Anaheim being happy to comply. Glanzer says CCI has not been "pitched to" by any other convention facilities, nor are they looking to hear proposals. "This was just one aspect of a very long and detailed analysis of a variety of options that were investigated."
Glanzer emphasized to THE PULSE that even the beginnings of any move in this direction would come after other options (including perhaps, limits on space per exhibitor) were exhausted and are thus only likely to be considered several years from now, if at all.
Second, Glanzer downplays the notion that Comic-Con uses these kinds of explorations to leverage better agreements out of San Diego and its convention center. "I don't know what a better agreement from the city would entail," Glanzer told THE PULSE. "We pay for a great many services from traffic police, the huge traffic signs that are placed throughout downtown during out event, the bus ads and the banner signage." He adds, "Comic-Con gets no funding from the city."
In terms of San Diego's convention center, Glanzer says, a bit less colorfully, "I believe they have an understanding of the value of our event not only to them but to the downtown merchants as well." The San Diego Convention Center is owned by the Port of San Diego.
Third, Glanzer says there's nothing to be gleaned from the fact that the 2006 Comic-Con show dates, July 20-23, were not announced during some traditional outlets during and right after the show but went out where most people heard it a short time after the show's conclusion via on-line sources. One rumor had CCI negotiating up with the San Diego convention center up to the last minute and therefore holding off on an official announcement until plans could be finalized right after the show's conclusion. Glanzer notes next year's dates were on pre-registration forms available at the 2005 show, and admits that traditional venues for next year's dates, like on the attendee bag, had not been done this year simply because he failed to make sure those things were done. "Sadly it is something that has slipped through the cracks for the last couple of years."
Fourth, Glanzer denied twice when asked if there has been any problem for CCI in getting preferred dates for the show. Asked by THE PULSE how far in the future CCI has dates, Glanzer replied, "We have tentative dates to 2010." Asked by THE PULSE how many firm dates the show has at this time, Glanzer said he believes the show has a firm date for next year and for 2007, and that knowing two years in advance would be the typical lead time.
Based on current plans and the present outlook, Comic-Con International and San Diego should enjoy their unique partnership for years to come. But as the show continues to grow, year after year, "forever, guaranteed" may be off the table.
(Well, if it ever moves, I'll certainly miss having the event held right in my own backyard. It'll be good for the people in Orange and L.A. counties, though)