Why Home Comic-Con Was A Bust Despite “The Walking Dead”


If a fan convention is going on on the internet and no one is there to talk about it, does it make any noise?It was the overwhelming experience with Comic-Con @ Home, the virtual fan convention that took place July 22-26. It was intended to replace San Diego Comic-Con, the large annual gathering of fans that was forced to cancel due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the A-list panels for “The Walking Dead,” the Star Trek universe, and two Keanu Reeves films, Comic-Con @ Home casts a pale shadow compared to Comic-Con of recent years – perhaps the most striking example yet of what we lose when we lose the live experience.

According to data from social media analytics firm ListenFirst, tweets mentioning Comic-Con @ Home are down 95% from the 2019 live convention – just 93,681 tweets compared to 1,719,000 tweets in 2019. Tweets on the top 10 TV events were also down 93%, and tweets on the top 5 film panels were down 99%.

Views on YouTube, which hosted the vast majority of Comic-Con panels, weren’t much better. Average views for Thursday, which had the longest time for people to watch, hover around 15,000 per panel. On the one hand, it’s more than double the capacity of Comic-Con’s largest concert hall, the famous Hall H. On the other hand, 😬.

By far the top performing panel for Comic-Con @ Home was for ‘The New Mutants,’ the long-suffering Marvel Comics adaptation from 20th Century studios, whose release date has been pushed back four times since April 2018. . has recorded just over 208,000 views on YouTube since July 23, largely thanks to the decision to throw a first glimpse of the film’s opening scene within the panel itself.

Still, success here is relative: The 50-second commercial promoting the Comic-Con @ Home panel for “The New Mutants” garnered more than 303,000 views in 11 days.

AMC’s panel for “The Walking Dead,” which included the announcement that Season 11 will be delayed due to the pandemic, was the top performer for television, registering over 84,000 views on YouTube and generating nearly 11,900 tweets. The panels of the spinoff shows “Fear the Walking Dead” and “The Walking Dead: World Beyond” did not perform as well, garnering just over 66,000 views and 21,000 views respectively.

More importantly, none of the pre-recorded “Walking Dead” panels – in fact, none of the Comic-Con @ Home panels at all – included any sort of fan interaction, the most basic reason for Comic’s success. -Con for 50 years. Even the comment sections have been disabled for the YouTube Comic-Con @ Home panels.

“Fans couldn’t talk to the creators,” says Tracy David, Chief Marketing Officer of ListenFirst. ” [It] really depressed interest in the Comic-Con @ Home experience. ”

The lack of signs for Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm, and DC Films – events that have become practically synonymous with Comic-Con – certainly hasn’t helped spur general interest in Comic-Con @ Home. But there were also several weird missed opportunities to generate the kind of promotional buzz that made Comic-Con such a staple of pop culture. The only major Marvel panel at Comic-Con @ Home, for the Disney Plus “Marvel’s 616” docuseries on the company’s history, included two clips from the show – which had already been posted to YouTube the day before. Likewise, the new release date for “Bill & Ted Face the Music” – which will now open on premium video on demand and in select theaters on September 1 – was announced two days ahead of its popping panel on Saturday.

And the huge Star Trek Universe panel spent 20 minutes reading the teaser and first act of the Season 2 finale of “Star Trek: Discovery” live, but couldn’t find the time to announce any further. real news, as the show’s third season will premiere on Oct. 15. Instead, it was done by press release on Monday.

Comic-Con @ Home didn’t even generate the busiest fan event of the weekend. On Saturday, director Zack Snyder appeared at the independent JusticeCon fan convention to debut a short clip from his upcoming “Snyder Cut” from “Justice League” which revealed Superman’s black suit. In particular, the panel – which recorded more than 260,000 views in less than 48 hours – was live, allowing Snyder to spend almost an hour interacting with the very fans who brought on the Snyder Cut in the first place.

In all fairness, with only a few months to prepare, the fact that Comic-Con @ Home has taken place is a remarkable achievement, and its organizers have certainly tried to bring some measure of the Comic-Con experience to the screens of. fan computer. One of the convention’s key events, the annual masquerade ball – where hardcore cosplayers can showcase their lavishly creative costumes – has moved to its natural online habitat, Tumblr. And organizers have created an interactive map of the convention’s vast floor with links to exhibitors who have used the convention for decades as a vital source of income.

But a cold list of links is a hollow substitute for the sensory overload of the Comic-Con floor, with thousands of conventioneers walking past everything from elaborate Superman and Batman costume displays to unassuming booths for tape editors. independent comics. And if you can’t walk around the San Diego Convention Center counting the number of Princess Leias, Black Panthers, and Wonder Women you see in a day, is it really Comic-Con?

Over the past five months (has it really only been five months?), The entertainment industry has struggled to replicate live events in the virtual space. But if Comic-Con @ Home has achieved anything, it has revealed the constant truth that there is no substitute for the live experience.


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