A Tale of Two Comic Cons

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Break out the slideshows of fanboys and fangirls in ridiculously awesome costumes because New York Comic Con has hit Manhattan. Let's take this opportunity to figure out what makes San Diego's smaller, grittier, East Coast counterpart tick.

San Diego vs. New York—it's not really what you think of when it comes to West Coast and East Coast rivalries, or that whole thing about New Yorkers hating everyone from Los Angeles thing. But a rivalry is there, and it's because of the two city's very different Comic Cons. In one corner you have the star power of San Diego's massive convention, on the other, you have New York City  history and the fact that comic juggernauts DC and Marvel have their headquarters there. It's like Beyonce vs. Fiona Apple, the Knicks vs. the Lakers, or Modern Family vs. Louie.  

If this all sounds a little weird to you and can't believe how two things called Comic Con, can be so different, have a read: 


New York: 105,000

San Diego: 130,000

The Show

New York: Words and phrases like "Smaller and leaner" "acoustic show" and "community" were peppered throughout the New York Times's spotlight on New York Comic Con last October, which sort of sounds like a someone trying to explain what makes Grizzly Bear so awesome

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San Diego: When it comes to San Diego, "Superbowl"  "arena rock show" "mecca" have been thrown around to describe the southern California Comic Con, which sort of sounds like the way that bro you work with telling you why what makes U2 so awesome. 

The Agenda

New York: "Creativity is the Ultimate Super Power: Using Comics in Communities & Classrooms for Diversity, Inclusion and Non-Violence Education" is one of the panels opening day. And that sounds a bit academic, right?   Well there's also, "The Possibilities of a Cape and Mask - How to Incorporate Superheroes into Public Library Programming" and one that we're sort of excited for: "Characters: Hardcore vs. Badass."

San Diego: Well, for starters, there's more star power. Check this year's panel line-up from TVline, and you'll see everything form Spartacus to Community. When it comes to actual comic panels, San Diego's seem to be more focused on spotlights, and perhaps a little less intense than New York's with stuff like, "The Fine Line of Inking" or "Comic Book Entrepreneurs"

The Star Power

New York: Well, Kevin Bacon will be there. And for some reason Ben Folds Five too. But what everyone seems to be keeping their eye on will be AMC's Walking Dead and remakes like Evil Dead: A New Vision, and Carrie. Yes, those remakes are what you think they are, and we're not sure how they're going to pull them off either. 

San Diego: Umm, yea, about that list from TVline: Take all of those shows and add those goofy kids from Twilight, Sir Ian McKellan, Sylvester Stallone, Jodie Foster, Matt Damon, and Glee kids. 

The Bottom Line

Well, each Comic Con has its strong suits. New York, from its agenda and lack of Hollywood glam is going to be more of a treat for the people who are going for the "comic" portion of the con(vention). Not having to fight a crowd of rabid teenage girls to see Robert Pattinson is probably a plus for someone attending to see an artist like Marvel's Clay Mann or talk about whether or not they think making the Cyclops the villain in the Avengers vs. X-Men was worth the editorial payoff. At San Diego, there's way more of a Hollywood influence, which is great in its own special way and probably a bonus for comic fans who also adore shows like True Blood and Community. It's not like pop culture and comic culture are mutually exclusive.  

What we do know is that there will be cosplay (costume-play a.k.a. costumes) at both, which will make us very happy 

What We'll Be Doing This Weekend

I'll be representing The Atlantic Wire at New York Comic Con and will hopefully be bringing you some good stuff on Bronies, telling you whether or not the Carrie remake looks as bad as the first few pictures suggest, and if Barry Levinson's (Rain Man, Good Morning VietnamThe Bay is worth getting excited over. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.