If you follow pop culture, you know about Comic-Con. The annual "entertainment and comic convention" was founded in 1970, and has become the place to get the most upfront news in the comic book, TV, and film mediums, with plenty of heavy-hitters making sure that they're represented at Comic-Con. While there are a plethora of other comic book conventions across the country, San Diego's Comic-Con is by far the biggest annual event for comic book lovers worldwide. It's the kind of place where you'll see the entire cast of Marvel's Avengers in one place for the most heroic photo-op ever, which makes rumors of Marvel Studios possibly not attending this year's event all the more controversial.
Recently, Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn mentioned during a live Facebook Q&A that he would not be coming to Comic-Con, then further revealed that Marvel Studios won't be at the event either—which sounds crazy. Marvel Studios has the massive Avengers: Age of Ultron set to drop in May, Ant-Man due out this July, the huge Captain America: Civil War coming in May of 2016, and a massive Phase Three line-up of films set to drop over the next three years (which includes a new Thor film, the Black Panther movie, as well as Captain Marvel, Inhumans, and whatever the next Spider-Man film will be). Don't you think they might need to have a presence at Comic-Con?
Truth be told, their attendance might not be necessary, for a number of reasons.
Let's keep it 100: we're living in the social media age. Do you remember when Marvel and Sony announced that they'd be joining forces to bring Spider-Man to Marvel Cinematic Universe? That information dropped on Marvel's Facebook page around 11 p.m. on a Monday night... and the Internet still went nuts. Could the news have been held for August's annual Comic-Con? No doubt. Marvel could've made a huge show of it, had someone dressed up as Spider-Man on a web, slinging shit throughout the hall, and really made some noise. But they didn't need to. The power of our Information Age means that, sometimes, a tweet can have just as much of an impact as a huge showing at Comic-Con. When Marvel announced their Phase Three film line-up, they did it at their own media event at the El Capitan theater.
Marvel Studios (and Marvel in general) is under the Disney umbrella, which also holds the Star Wars franchise. Those are two behemoths in the world of entertainment, and don't need to be tethered to an event that every other studio and franchise will be operating within. Maybe the future for these mastodons of the movie industry might be to set up their own events whenever the hell they feel like it.
With so much steam built behind the successful franchises Marvel Studios has produced, one could imagine that they don't truly need to be at Comic-Con. But the question of if they should make an appearance still stands. We're talking about an event that has maxed out space at the San Diego Convention Center, with 30,000 people in attendance, forcing Comic-Con to branch out to local hotels and outdoor parks to hold the 700+ events that get put on in those four days. That's thousands of eyes, which could turn into millions of tweets, many of which will have the Internet going nuts if Marvel Studios did plan on attending and dropping huge nuggets of fanboy news. It's worked for years, and can generate loads of buzz, so the idea of Marvel Studios totally avoiding Comic-Con is bound to raise some eyebrows.
For true comic fans, it might even feel like Marvel is abandoning its roots in the comic book community by not attending Comic-Con. But at this point, it seems like only Marvel Studios (the organization behind the superhero movies) will not be there. That leaves room for Marvel Comics to still maintain some kind of presence at the convention, engaging with their hardcore fans during the subculture's biggest gathering.
As The Verge puts it, "Now that superhero movies rule Hollywood, why share the spotlight?" It's hard to disagree with that logic. Marvel got on it's grind and reinvigorated the superhero genre, to the point where everyone and their brother has been linked to the Suicide Squad film. Marvel Studios' movies might not win Oscars, but they murder the box office. Maybe it's time for the big dogs to play in their own pens.