By: Nick Eskey
Signifying the end of the four day odyssey that is SDCC is the Comic-Con Talk Back with John Rogers (president of the Comic-Con board of directors). As it normally does, the room has a line that runs the length of the room all the way to the back, and then some. The pressure is thick in the room. A mini argument even breaks out in the middle of the line before the Talk Back begins. Last year, the main points of discussion were the crass behavior of security, and Hall H issues in general.
Some of the more minor things that were mentioned maybe once or twice were; the ridiculousness of how Ace Parking decided to sell parking spots during the duration of comic-con instead of on a day-to-day basis, trying to add real-time line numbers to the online ticket queues, and how ill-informed the security can be. “If you have a solution for well informed security guards, I’d love to hear it,” said John looking over his glasses. Another thing was the bathroom passes given to those in Hall H. “How can you keep track if the same person is returning with the pass?” Rogers agreed to it, but reminded “We tried scanning people’s passes one year to keep track, but the process took too much time. I wish there was a simple way.”
A great number of discussion was over the frustrations regarding the online registration, and that people wanted a return to the onsite badge sales. John responded by saying, “Unfortunately because of the growing popularity of the convention, onsite sales would only increase wait times for everyone.” Despite this fact however, those who proposed the return stayed resolute to their request. One woman went so far as to ask, “well how about next year can you get me extra passes? I’ve been trying to get other family members some tickets, but I don’t understand the website. What can you do for me?” Rogers looked surprised, and went to say, “There’s a large demand and not enough to meet it. I don’t know what I can do.” “What about the press and the professional people? They get passes? What can you do for me?”
For those that can’t get into Hall H, or rather not brave the lines, there is a room designated for a Hall H play back. One of the downsides to it however is the lack of exclusives. Studios ask for certain things to be only viewable in the hall, so as to lessen the risk of recording. One man proposed that John give the studios an ultimatum. That they allow exclusives in the play back room, “or else. Comic-con doesn’t need them. They need comic-con.” “We are about being fair and equal to everyone,” said Rogers. “How fair would it be if we don’t let 6’000 people get to see it because 900 people can’t?”
For serious issues, there certainly were some big ones this year. An observation of mine was that there were quite a bit of handicapped individuals lined up this year compared to las. And for good reason, for all of them had something to say. A couple points were that the comic-con website was not as insightful as some of them would have liked to, sometimes even confusing to the point of frustration. A large issue was especially the handicapped line for Hall H. As one gentlemen put it, “we didn’t have provisions such as the able bodied people did, and we weren’t given wristbands.” At the part about the wristbands, Rogers looked surprised. “They didn’t give you wristbands?” he asked. About two other people in the crowd also seconded it. “It wasn’t supposed to be that way,” answered Rogers. Apparently a line moderator deemed it “useless” for those in the line to have wristbands.
For Hall H, any handicapped person is allowed an attendee to help them traverse the lines and crowds. But one oddity that one woman brought to light was how the disabled individuals were then being separated from their attendees when led in the hall, and those left behind had to wait. “By the time I was allowed in, it was an hour and a half later,” said the woman. She also observed most of the attendees weren’t even allowed to sit next to those they came with. Rogers apologized and full heartedly agreed that in no world should something like that happen, and also would find out what was going on.
Though not everything was complaints. There was quite a bit of praise over the issuance of wristbands for the Hall H line. “It made it so much easier to counter people cutting when others have been waiting all day.” One man commented on how he wished he could grab multiples for those that couldn’t be with him at the time, but John pointed out that if they allowed this, “there’d be the risk of people selling them to others.”
It was good to see that one of the main points from last year was surely worked on. I maybe heard of one guard issue this year. I personally could see that they were more professional in their manor. But the Hall H issue is still on the table. In fact, it might be getting worse. And with all the issues that arose this year with disabled services to compound it, there was definitely a disconnect somewhere.