Please, a Moment of Silence for Comic-Con

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It’s becoming that the brand new Dune trailer got here out this week. Not as a result of it’s summer time and large trailers are all the time affixed to the massive films enjoying in multiplexes—though that’s half of it—however as a result of Comic-Con International is that this weekend, and in a world the place Covid-19 by no means occurred, that trailer would’ve packed greater than 6,000 individuals into Hall H on the San Diego Convention Center. Easily. Fans would’ve screamed for director Denis Villeneuve and stars Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya. Surely somebody would’ve cosplayed in a do-it-yourself stillsuit. Or as a sandworm. It would’ve been bonkers. 

It may also by no means come to be. Comic-Con is useless.

OK, not actually. For the second yr in a row, the annual nerdery confab in San Diego is forgoing an in-person occasion and as a substitute holding a sequence of on-line panels. From a public well being perspective, that is greater than clever. Comic-Con was an infectious petri dish even earlier than the world discovered itself within the midst of a world pandemic. But from a fandom perspective, and from a cultural impression perspective, the net occasion merely gained’t have the identical mojo. It gained’t flood Twitter or forecast opening weekend field workplace numbers for the subsequent yr. There will probably be no IRL cosplay. There will probably be a few good conversations—a little bit of Trek, a Walking Dead panel, Zack Snyder speaking about zombies—however little else. The 130,000 individuals who usually shimmy their means into San Diego gained’t be there; the lifeblood of the occasion will probably be gone. (Maybe it’s becoming then that heaps of people will probably be speaking in regards to the undead.)

Last yr, on this very column, I requested “Can Comic-Con work from home?” The query was largely rhetorical as a result of of course it might probably’t. Comic-Con is an occasion, not a TV present. And, in contrast to the Olympics, which additionally started in the present day and gained’t have a reside viewers, it’s the type of occasion the place some of the very best moments don’t occur on the primary stage. Comic-Con is in regards to the conversations you’ve got in line for a panel, the after-hours hangouts, the C-list CW star sightings, the journey to the ground to dig for collectibles. Surely, the Olympics has joys that occur off the enjoying area, however that’s not why individuals go. Few, if any, sports activities followers attend the Summer Games dressed as their favourite swimmer.

The result’s, in a phrase, unhappy. For probably the most half, Comic-Con is a bit of a frivolous occasion, and shifting it on-line hurts virtually nobody in any possible way. Not holding it in particular person little doubt saves many lives. But there may be an inherent sorrow to dropping cultural touchstones. No one wants Comic-Con, or one other Marvel film, or fireworks shows, and even the Olympics for that matter. But these occasions bond humanity collectively. Losing them at a time when a lot has already been misplaced—and, within the case of Comic-Con, at a time when the occasion was already dropping steam—is simply one other reminder of precisely how a lot should be rebuilt.

But possibly that hope is the brilliant facet, if there may be one. No particulars are recognized, however Comic-Con has promised a reside occasion for the weekend of Thanksgiving. That looks as if a poor time to carry a comics conference, however maybe it may be a dry run—a solution to take a look at what could possibly be executed had been the occasion to renew in-person in 2022. Maybe it might even come again in a higher kind. Comic-Con pre-Covid had grown unwieldy and costly for followers. It was a lot of splash and never as a lot substance. Maybe a new, from-the-ground-up con might put extra focus again on comics—embrace Star Wars films and (theoretically) Dune’s sequel, but in addition not be so overcrowded that followers can’t start to take all of it in. It could possibly be completely different; it could possibly be the best way it was. Comic-Con is useless. Long reside Comic-Con.

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