Jul 28, 2012 08:48 PM EST

Hall H Is The Way Out, A Comic-Con Commentary

Hall H Is The Way Out, A Comic-Con Commentary
The FlickDirect crew was kind enough to bring me along for Comic-Con 2012. If I had been intent on waiting in line for a terribly long time, I would have chosen any of the events occurring in the vast Hall H, or the slightly less vast Ballroom 20.

The selection of events in the many other, smaller venues was, as in previous years I hear, utterly eclectic, as far as genre goes. If you liked, you could sit in on a discussion of zombie apocalypse survival techniques, learn how to scuplt, or listen to light contemporary fantasy TV guru Bryan Fuller (WonderfallsPushing Daisies) talking about…whatever.

Hall H and Ballroom 20, on the other hand, served up the "big" events, and by that I mean big in marketing terms. Hollywood genre and mission-creep "genre-adjacent" films, alongside new and returning major US network television series, dominated these vast proceedings.

Given the natural limits of the downtown San Diego location, which years ago reached its saturation point in Comic-Con terms, I don't think these traditional media can dominate H and 20 forever. Who, then, is going to be jostling for H/20 space on the calendar in SDCCs to come? I think we should turn to the traditional heart of SDCC, the exhibit hall, for answers.

Compared to the obsessively organized and controlled presentation halls, the exhibit hall is utterly chaotic. Hundreds of booths spread out across the entire (but for H) first floor of the convention center. They are all selling something, be it tie-in merchandise, trade paperbacks, signed copies, or imported DVDs.

But not all booths are created equal. If you're interested in Assassin's Creed, for example, you could check out Ubisoft's huge boxy exhibit devoted to the game series, dominating the corner next to the "Artist's Alley", complete with a line of its own snaking around the box.

The exhibits for the increasingly profitable video game franchises in the industry were the most striking feature of the exhibit hall for me. As these franchises become ever larger, they should come to challenge TV and film for domination of entertainment profits. So, too, should they come to challenge their dominance of Hall H and Ballroom 20.

About Stephen Compall


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