PopLurker Convention Coverage: San Diego Comic-Con 2019

PopLurker would like to thank Comic-Con International for providing us with press passes in exchange for event coverage. You can check out our full Toy Coverage of this show here on PopLurker’s sister site, Toy Wizards.

 

San Diego Comic-Con is an amazing, week long sprawling event that many call “Nerd Summer Camp”. No matter how hard you try and how clear-cut your itinerary, there’s absolutely no way to see everything at SDCC unless you really narrow your focus. Cosplay, Programming, the best Expo Hall ever, networking, partying, etc. It’s all there and ready for you.

Well, you and several hundred thousand of your best friends.

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Super7 owner Brian Flynn and Toy Wizards’ Scott Zillner

Yes– the show is enormous. Yes– it is packed. But honestly, I said this before and I will say it again. The San Diego Convention Center can hold the traffic. Everywhere you go it’s insane, but it’s not chaos. While there may be stress and confusion with policies and sure, sometimes staff and security may contradict each other, it’s definitely the only big show I can think of where the people working want to get you through the door and out of their face.

I’m looking over at you, Anime Expo.

As for having the press badge and “what it can do” compared to some shows, I’d say that the SDCC press badge was very useful in terms of what I needed it to do. Because my outlets are toy-centric, I was able to bypass convention exclusives lines to conduct my interviews. I was able to navigate the show floor and meet with the individuals I needed to meet, who were more than ready to have press show up and examine new products.

I mean, look. Funko gave me a review copy of a game and a slurpee. It’s the little touches that make press feel special, and a small way for a company to thank you for the hundreds of thousands of new eyes your outlet will possibly give their company. It’s a really nice give and take and I’m grateful.

Interviewing celebrities and priority access to panels might be another story in regard to press passes– media companies and smaller nerd blogs might not have been quite as happy if they had trouble fighting through the panel rooms. But for the sake of my outlets and our agenda, this wasn’t applicable.

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Artist Jamie Sullivan signing Robotech merchandise at the Toynami booth

However, I wasn’t the only PopLurker writer giving thought to this amazing convention. One of my writers, Spencer Nelson, is hearing impaired. I thought his overall thoughts and review targeting SDCC’s ADA accessibility was critical feedback that needed to come from him, and I’m so grateful he provided the following write up for Comic-Con:

Spencer Nelson:

I should note that San Diego Comic Con Is the first time I  attended Comic Con. I can tell you that the last few days was overwhelming for me not just as a first time attendee but as a deaf person. Comic Con Staff were all over the place saying one thing and saying the opposite. This is certainly true in most cases when it come to deaf attendees and other people with disabilities.

I had people tell me that every year has rules changed when it come to abiding by ADA laws regarding Comic-Con. One line was supposed to be where they were but one staff member in charge said they had to be in another hall. which turned out to be frustrating for those with disabilities…especially those that are deaf.  When deaf attendees were waiting in the lines for Hall H for any of the panels. They were told it was full even though, there are bout 27 seats reserved for deaf attendees.

What I had seen that within in Comic-Con was that there’s always a poor communication between departments. This is almost like the battle of Endor except there’s no literal victor in sight. Comic-Con are aware of deaf attendees but they don’t believe that there are more attendees that are deaf attending the con every year and deaf services provided proof by a list of names that there are indeed more deaf people every years to require more accessibility for deaf attendees much as requiring asl interpreters to ada lines to whatever needs an attendees needed filled. That list of names from what I saw is evidence enough that there are more deaf attendees. That’s less than 5% or less than 1% of attendees that are deaf, the rest are unaccounted for in my opinion. I have both positives and negative experiences overall the past 5 days.

Here’s some feedback on how I think and feel that Comic-Con could improve their deaf services for next year:

1. A separate line for deaf attendees from the general ADA lines. which is more flexible for those that want to easily enter panels instead of getting told that the 27 reserved seats for deaf attendees are full when really it wasn’t and not let hearing people that aren’t deaf or doesn’t have a disability take over the seats.

2. A better communication system between deaf service and the other departments in general when it come to panels: lines or heck, press lines for those that are press and are persons with disabilities.

3. Invest in making sure everyone with disabilities are accommodated (IE panels downstairs instead of upstairs) due to mobility issues some people with disabilities have.  That can be tiresome and a lot of stress for those attending Comic Con or Cons in general.

4.) Not to dismiss those with disabilities that are not seen at first glance.

I had the pleasures of interacting with many people with disabilities. Meeting them and hearing their experiences and how they give voice to said experiences when it come to accessibility in Cons. I hope Comic Con take those feedback and really start to improve on  accessibility as whole not just deaf attendees but people with disabilities.

I hope to see those changes applied and for the better next year. Comic Con as whole has been very wonderful to me as a newcomer. I’d definitely come back if Comic Con will have me.

PopLurker raises infinity hammers for an amazing and very successful SDCC 2019. We can’t wait to come back. 

 

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