Well, another San Diego Comic-Con is in the books. It was just like every other year. Major announcements, new footage for upcoming films, plenty of celebrities and lots of cosplay. Those who attended got to see concept art and footage from numerous upcoming movies and got to hear from panels and stars galore. It is THE annual geekfest mecca for all lovers of geekdom from around the country. And apparently, San Diego Comic-Con International believe that they are the only people who can bring you a “comic con.” Legally, at least. In a move that totally soured the weekend for many fans of geekery here in Utah, SDCC has sent a “cease and desist” letter to Salt Lake Comic Con for using the term “comic con.” San Diego Comic-Con International believes they hold some kind of trademark to the term “comic con” and as such, SLCC is not allowed to use it. It is a regular David vs. Goliath kind of a thing. SDCC is the big boy, the granddaddy of all comic cons, I don’t think anyone would argue that, and they don’t like this upstart con in Salt Lake City, and they plan to do something about it. The problem is, they can’t really do anything about it. Comic con is a phrase, and it can’t be trademarked. It’s short for comic convention, and it’s used by numerous cons throughout the country who are not owned by SDCC International. A similar action to this was taken a few years ago against Denver Comic Con, and SDCC lost. They probably won’t get anywhere with this action either. The way I look at it, this has really just accomplished a couple of things:
1. SDCC has been exposed as a bunch of jerks. I mean, really, there’s no other way to put it. They feel somehow threatened by this little upstart con, and they are trying to take them out before they become any kind of real threat. When you think about it, prior to 2013, the two biggest cons on the west coast were SDCC in San Diego, and WonderCon in Anaheim, both put on by SDCC international. Last September, SLCC burst onto the scene with over 72,000 guests in attendance, making it the largest debut con ever. In April of 2014, Salt Lake Comic Con was back with a second event, Fan eXperience, or FanX, which attracted 100,000 guests over three days, making it the third largest comic con in the country. All of a sudden there is a new player in the game, a new kid on the block, and SDCC doesn’t like it. Normally, the geek crowd is pretty easy-going and pretty accepting, but not if you’re giant corporation that is just milking all these geeks for money. Then you get upset if someone else might be moving in on your territory. So what do you do? Try to throw your weight around like a big bully. Well, if there’s one thing we geeks can’t stand, it’s a bully. San Diego Comic-Con has revealed itself for what it is. Just there to take our money, and they’re not sharing. They sent the letter knowing they have no legal ground to stand on, hoping SLCC would back down and go quietly away. That’s how bullies operate. They don’t want to fight anybody, they just want you to be intimidated and go away. Once someone stands up to them, then they’re through. I say kudos to Dan Farr and Bryan Brandenburg for standing up to the bully and not backing down, and for recognizing that there is more on the line here than just their own convention.
2. It has really just been a ton of free press for the Salt Lake Comic Con. It has hit local and national headlines alike. The letter was really sent at the perfect time. SDCC sent it while they were right in the middle of their own convention, when everyone was talking about comic cons in general, there was already a lot of attention on the subject. Then to find out that this big behemoth is pushing around the little guy, that makes for great news, and people who are interested are going to find it because they are searching the inter webs for news on San Diego Comic-Con. Really, it could not have worked out better for Salt Lake. More people are talking about the event than ever before and finding out how large it is, and that it might be a big deal. Just perfect and Dan Farr and co. have really jumped in front of this and have really harnessed all the press. This may end up being a huge thing for SLCC, which is just great poetic justice. I hope it does.
I love the Salt Lake Comic Con and how successful it’s been. I don’t know if I will ever make it to the big show in San Diego, but I can make it downtown for our show here, and it’s pretty darn good. The people behind it have worked really hard to make this happen and make it high quality. It’s nice to see that all that hard work is paying off and that they have gotten the attention of the big con. I think it really demonstrates that this little con in little ol’ Salt Lake City is actually a big deal. Maybe in the end, SLCC might be thanking SDCC for all the free advertising.
If you want to see more information on this story, then click here, that will take you to the web site for Salt Lake Comic Con, and their page with all the articles pertaining to this situation as well as the actual letter sent by SDCC. While you are on the site, check it out, maybe buy tickets and come join us for some great geeky fun.