Popculture Deathcart: Comicon

Interest in San Diego Comicon has been declining for years. It’s been a long time since it was primarily about comic books. For the last fifteen years or so it’s been the place where the studios announce their upcoming genre projects.

This year they didn’t bother to announce much of anything.

Why should they?

The rules of the game changed. Fifteen years ago when there were a bunch of different studios, it made a certain degree of sense to have everyone show up at one place at a time where genre fans had been trained to have their interest at a fever pitch. Drag out actors and humiliate them in public. Show your teaser trailers and make your “major announcement,” when all the microphones on the planet are pointed at you. It wasn’t “free publicity.” But it was pretty darn close.

Now there are only the Big Four studios (Paramount/Viacom, AT&T/Warner, Universal, and Disney). If you are talking about superheroes, then you are down to a Big Two.

With as much studio aggregation as there is now, it makes more sense for the studios to forget about sharing the limelight with everybody else and just hold their own mega-events.

Which is what they are doing. All of Disney’s announcements are now made at D23. DC has own convention. Universal is putting one together at Universal Orlando. Paramount as yet does not.

Consequently, Paramount/Viacom/CBS’ big Stat Trek news was broken at Comicon.

Nickelodeon will doing Star Trek: Prodigy. It’s a kids animated show.

That’s it.

That is the only new thing that Alex Kurtzman can bring to the party this year.

Star Trek: Discovery’s sets are down. The third season will be it’s last and it’s looking to be the worst of all of the series and that’s saying something. Netflix appears to have won it’s arbitration that Secret Hideout brought against them when they pulled the plug on Discovery (they were hoping the courts would force the Big Red N cough up enough money to make another two seasons of ST:D). Amazon has had ten pitches presented to them by Kurtzman and company and they aren’t biting on any of them. Patrick Stewart is saying things like, “there are encouraging signs there will be a season 2.” That doesn’t sound like a renewal to me. And CBS/Viacom sure as hell ain’t gonna spend their own money of their bastard step-child.

A couple of cartoon shows are the only new Star Trek coming to the small screen, unless you count season 4 of The Orville.*

The cast of Strange New Worlds is trying to get Star Trek fans interested by saying the wrong things, “Micheal gave Spock permission to be human.” No one cares about her opinions, Not-Spock. The cast and crew of that non-show are acting like it’s going to happen once COVID goes away but honestly, I’m not seeing it.

I recently heard someone say, “whenever I hear about a new reboot my reaction is, ‘No Daddy! Please, no more!'”

We have so little left that hasn’t been despoiled. And the place where the intended butchery was always declared was Comicon.

I won’t miss it when it’s gone.

* The Orville is now owned by Disney, so now they own Star Trek too.

7 thoughts on “Popculture Deathcart: Comicon

  1. I lived in San Diego and attended UCSD in the 1980s. At the time, I had a friend who was a student but worked in a comic book store when she was home in Berkeley. I got a free ticket to the 1988 ComicCon. Back then, it was still a significant event, but not the international phenomenon it was to become. Attendance was in the four-digit thousands. Small enough to be a fairly intimate affair. I had zero interest in comics. Today, my interest and support of the industry is solely focused on ArkHaven. I remember it being a fun event, and highly focused on actual comics. I remember reading years later how big it had become. It sounded like it had lost a lost of the luster of the early years, even as it succeeded beyond anyone’s wildest dreams.


    1. I remember when your boyfriend could offer to take you to Comic Con and you’d just show up on a Sunday after church and grab a pair if tickets. It was a treat, but frisbee golf at Balboa Park or a beach date at Coronado was a much bigger deal.

      Whenever things we nerds like get too popular, the parasites move in. And we are complete failures at keeping them out. Rather like Blacks: We were just trying to have/make something nice when the the joggers show up..


  2. For myself, I always attended a smaller con: Botcon for Transformers.I always enjoyed myself, and for the most part it was a great combination of professional with Laissez faire atmosphere. The Actors who were there were great to interact with and the dealer room was a giant robots fanatics dream.

    Honestly, I think the Convention scene as a whole has changed a lot from when I attended Botcon (1998-2013). The emphasis on corporate control and exclusives have come to dominate the experience. It is certainly a more off kilter atmosphere at most Con’s is just…..different and more taxing than in the past. Some of that feeling, no doubt is that I am far older than when I was attending and wiser eyes see different things than when I was in my youth. The convention circuit was meant for the young and energetic to fire their imaginations. Hell, most of the crowd that built the Con circuit is older now and with age comes more responsibilities found in life that have taken precedence.The change in atmosphere and experience are difficult to describe, especially, to someone who was not apart of this culture (1973-2007,Con culture was in the mainstream by then with mentions”Chuck” and “Big Bang Theory) when most of these cons were far smaller affairs.

    I would still go to a Con, depending on what it is, for a day but the days for making it a weeklong or even a weekend trip are over for me.


    1. Too expensive. Too hard to get to. And it’s in a city center: You want to go anywhere near one of those?

      Siburba-cons might be a thing if we ever get clear of the CCP Herpes. Lot of folks building them for their kids because (see above).


  3. Trek is dead. The Orville is simply a shadow of what Star Trek was. I have to believe CBSViacomm is simply running out the clock on Kurtzman/Secret Hideout. If they can pull funding for something fine. Otherwise CBSViacomm is not going to lift a finger to help.

    The irony is that CBS spent a fortune on movie level sets, effects, and action, and that isn’t the Star Trek fanbase. They won’t accept cheap. They will take good effects while having ship episodes that balance out the more costly episodes.

    I think Severian over at Rotten Chestnuts is right in that pomo has ruined the ability to do things like Star Trek.


  4. @Christ Lutz,
    You said “Severian over at Rotten Chestnuts is right in that pomo has ruined the ability to do things like Star Trek.” If not too much trouble, could you post a link? Googled it and no hits at site:RottenChestnuts.com

    For a second I thought you’d written “porno” has ruined the ability to do things like Star Trek, and assumed some X rated series had been produced centering around the Holodeck. Still think that’s a matter of time, for the record.


  5. I was in SD for business once, overlapping around Comicon weekend. Stayed much farther out and much higher price because of it, and got annoyed by the extra traffic. I went downtown that weekend to see the Gaslight District and the historic ships, with comic nerds all over. Some younger people in full cosplay, looking good, but there were a lot of older folks that needed a Reality Cluebat – time was up in the ’90s. The ad pitches and outside displays were all recycled. An original idea might have had the same effect as dropping a daisycutter. Just really sad, what had happened.

    OK, disclaimer: I wanted to tour the USS Midway, and it was worth it alone for the stories from retired Chiefs and Gunnys. The impression I got from some of them: give us 60 days and we’ll have the old girl dancing again. Whole different story, definitely worth two blisters and partial dehydration. It was the real life equivalent to Rolf Nelson’s “The Stars Came Back”, where a supposed derelict craft becomes a fully operational starship in record time.


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