July just wrapped and I would normally be writing a recap of San Diego Comic Con, yet despite it wrapping up its second SDCC at Home last month, I realized that I am suffering what I will dub virtual con fatigue. This has nothing to do with the panels that SDCC put together or the effort that organizing such a large event takes, but more to do with the fact that I work remotely and would rather spend my time away from work not watching panels on YouTube or participating in Zoom sessions.
SDCC at Home:
As an educator, SDCC at home featured panels featured a wealth of education panels including, but not limited to, Teaching and Learning with Comics, Graphic Novels are the new Text Books, and Educational Role-Playing: Breaking the Mold with the Game Academy, but I haven't been able to bring myself to the point of watching the panels. This is coming from someone who was going to include Essex County as a required book for a sociology of sports course prior to moving to a job at a different university. For a full line-up of SDCC at home click here.
Despite the virtual conventions, exclusive items have had the door opened to any fan that has access to the sale. I consider this a good thing overall, but it also questions the exclusivity of said items. Funko addressed this currently as there is a Pop! that is only available in person in their current FunKon, but otherwise these "exclusives" are available world wide. I don't have an issue with this, but it does question the value of convention exclusives moving forward.
Future of Conventions:
As someone who loves attending conventions, I wonder how COVID impacted the allure of attending conventions. Are big studios less likely to spend big dollars for conventions if the return of streaming has similar results? If a company that sells convention exclusives is able sell out online what is the value of attending a convention? I feel that the end goal of conventions is to inform the largest audience as possible and wonder how the virtual format will impact conventions moving forward.
As we move forward in a post-COVID world, I feel that there will be a strong desire for in-person conventions, but that large companies will realize the value in online sales and that a combination of convention exclusive news/products will result in a market/convention that is more online in nature. I think that some convention exclusives will remain intact, but the majority will move to the online environment.
POSTED BY MIKE N. aka Victor Domashev -- comic guy, proudly raising nerdy kids, and Nerds of a Feather contributor since 2012.