SDCC 2011: The Shape of Cons to Come

With San Diego Comic Con 2010 almost halfway over, it is time to look into the future of the comic book convention. Like any self respecting comic book fan I have elected to forget about what is going on right now and focus on the future and my knee jerk reaction to it. A lot of comic book bloggers would give you the 2011 preview right before the 2011 convention starts. Not me. I plan on previewing 2012 before the 2011 convention even begins. 

I have moles at the convention this year. Taste makers and shake tasters who have their ear to floor of the convention. Literally. They are sentient moles who are listening to the convention. Moles aren’t good with details, but they are wonderful at sniffing out the zeitgeist of a gathering. This info combined with my own personal reflection has created the following preview. Now this isn’t a comprehensive preview. These are just the biggest changes and announcements that we will see next year.

Announcement: The Movie

What is the best part of the convention season? The announcements of new books and creative teams. At the moment of the announcement the book is perfect. It has never been late. It is full of promise of whatever we can imagine. It could be the defining book of the creators’ careers. We don’t know yet; and that makes it exciting. Of course reality will set in at some point. The book will hit a snag or it will be a good book and not the great book we imagined. The actual book will never match the excitement we experienced when it was originally announced. It is really the magic of the convention. The promise of what could happen.

With Marvel Entertainment and Warner Bros. looking to capitalize on their intellectual property, it is only a matter of time before they start mining the field of announcements. The excitement of an announcement…ON FILM…IN 3D!

At SDCC 2011 one of the Big Two will announce a movie based on their announcements and present a trailer to go with the announcement. The trailer will consist of Jon Hamm at a podium reading a list of new books and creative teams with a John Williams score.

In October, Marvel will be exploring the world of Ultimate Impossible Man. Written by Jonathan Hickman with art by Art Adams

Geoff Johns and Carmine Infantino go faster then they ever have before in Flash: No Viscosity

The trailer fades to black with the tag line being revealed. In the summer of 2012, We all get to be FIRST!

New Panel Area – The Agenda Arena

We have all been victims of the Panel Crusader. The fan who shows up to a panel with some sort of agenda. A set of probing questions that aren’t really going to have an answer but they feel the need to subject everyone to their outrage. They clog up question time with their personal histories and gripes which are crudely fashioned into a question.

SDCC 2011 will feature a new area called the Agenda Arena. It will feature a rotating set of panels that will consist solely of fans talking to other fans. Chairs will be set up on both sides of the room, facing the center. These fans can now just ask their questions to each other and away from the rest of the convention. The first set of panels will be My Favorite Character and How They Were Ruined, How Does This Event End?, and Reading Comprehension Is For Suckers.

Advance Solicitations of Solicitations

Diamond Distribution will announce a new policy regarding solicitations. There will now be advance solicitations for the solicitations. A small pocket book version of the Diamond Previews catalog will be printed containing bare bones descriptions of what will be in the actual solicitation. People will go online to vote whether they want to see the full solicitation. Three months later, If enough people vote in favor of a full solicitation it will appear in the full size regular Previews catalog. At that point the book can be pre-ordered.

As an example let’s use the solicitation for Captain America #610. As follows is the current solicitation for that book:

It's the grand finale – the showdown between Zemo and Bucky Barnes, and even if Bucky can survive a second trip to Zemo's island his world will never be the same after what Helmut Zemo has done to it. Plus a NOMAD back-up by Sean McKeever & Filipe Andrade

In the new system we would have seen an advance solicitation a couple months ago that looks like this:

Finale. Zemo. Bucky Barnes. Never The Same. Nomad.

Comic Podcast Listeners Panel

A collection of the most interesting comic book podcast listeners will be thrown on the stage in front of a room filled with comic book podcasters. They will field questions from the audience and talk about their experience listening to other people talk about comic books. How do you listen to a podcast? How many do you listen to? Which other listeners do you talk to? Would you listen to my podcast…please? If every tree in a forest falls and no one is there, how many downloads does it get?

Stan Lee Will Lift a Car Over His Head

That’s it. For some reason I think that is going to happen. The guy is spitting out origins for characters like a machine gun. A lion tamer gets struck by an electrified whip and can talk to cats. A absent minded professor trips on magic stairs and can remember everything. Even things he never experienced. A professional hang glider crashes into a radioactive mist and can never touch the ground again. He can’t be stopped and we simply have to accept the fact that he can destroy us with his thoughts.

I Still Won’t Be There

Every year, SDCC rolls around and I regret not going. The main reason I don’t go is that it requires too much planning. I feel like you have to start the whole process nine months before the con even begins. I can’t plan that far ahead for anything. I have weddings to go to. Life events that can’t be frozen in carbonite. Right now I look at all the updates and I lament not being there. In six months while everyone is planning their trip, I will be scoffing at having to plan that far in advance. So to those that are there, I have a message. Have fun on my behalf and don’t tell Stan Lee that I made fun of him. He scares me.


Tom Katers is sitting in a white room listening to jazz. He is imagineering the future.


  1. I would totally buy Ultimate Impossible Man.  And the Advance solicitation solicitations ought to replace previews proper.

    What kind of car will Stan lift? A Spider-Mobile?  He strikes me as the type of guy who drives an old Lincoln

  2. I would buy every copy of Ultimate Impossible Man.  Where do I sign up?

  3. I hope Daryl is on that Comic Podcast Listeners panel.

  4. brilliant

  5. Great Post. They should just have a BREAKING NEWS Twitter feed, where they break the news that breaking news may or may not be coming. 

    I feel the same way as you about planning a trip to SDCC…its too difficult to see that far ahead and because of my work… its virtually impossible for me to make the plans necessary to prioritize a trip like that. Maybe someday though…

  6. Jeff Reid (@JeffRReid) says:

    You nailed it again, Tom. Well done!

    And if the Con is looking for people to be on the Comic Podcast Listeners Panel, let me know. I’ll see if I can get out there next year.

  7. Well done, sir.

  8. I think I might actually prefer the "forthcoming" Diamond Solicitation Solicitations, to the actual Diamond Solicitations.  So mysterious…

    A comic podcast listeners panel would be pretty cool.  Let them ask us a few questions, for a change. [For example: "When Conor says he doesn’t like the art in Book X why do you immediately write an email to asking why iFanboy hates character X?"]

  9. Great post