During the tail end of this San Diego Comic-Con, I heard many folks echo the sentiment that at SDCC 2023, many said it was “the best one in years.” Do we always say that? Probably. But still, it seemed like it just clicked for a lot of different people.
But let’s not overanalyze. Instead, let me please present my top five impressions for SDCC 2023. With lots of pictures!
The Strike Helped SDCC Strike
Due to the WGA and SAG/AFRTA strikes and last-minute cancellations, there was a lot of anxiety going into this show. Would the fans still come? Would they spend their money? Would they find other things to do? Could San Diego Comic-Con survive without Hollywood fanfare?
However, amongst the professionals, a theory quickly developed that without the lure of Hall H and without the time they spend waiting in line, fans were able to do so many more things. They bought more on the showroom floor and attended more panels.
One exhibitor I spoke with explained he earned the same amount of revenue by the end of the second day of the show that he earned after all four and a half days the year before.
And at the same time, I didn’t hear much whining about the lack of entertainment celebrities due to the strike. It seems everyone was too busy to complain.
Barbie, Queen of Cosplay
Barbenheimer was this past weekend too. Barbie debuted in theaters on Day #2 of SDCC, but it sure seemed like she was at San Diego Comic-Con. Without question, the #1 cosplay of the weekend was Barbie, with a generous amount of pink.
Fancy New Stuff from Fancy New Publishers
DSTLRY calls themselves a publisher focused on the next generation of creator owned comics. The Devil’s Cut is a gorgeous, glossy, oversized 80-page sampler, all by top creators. Here’s nice clip of a CBS interview with DSTLRY.
Adam Phillips, AWA’s Sales and Trade Marketing Director presented this new(ish) publisher’s upcoming comic slate in Diamond’s Retailers-only presentation. And this was all augmented by a very slick AWA magazine – so impressive.
Pop Culture & the Professors
I’m very involved in CCI’s academic tract of panels too, and it seemed like they took a big step forward this year. Many are held at the San Diego Library. While it IS a gorgeous library, the fact that it is a short walk from the convention center has seemingly been a detraction in the past for many convention goers. Not this year. My two panels (and the other panels I saw) had very robust audience member who were there to pay attention and ready to engage.
It Takes a Village
I guess it takes a village to sell a Funko Pop. The persistent and staggering growth of this manufacturer is astounding. As they had done in previous years, Funko created a Funko Village of their own (kind of like a Western TV show’s village). And about a bazillion fan came by to check ’em out.