Although final numbers are still being tabulated, a San Diego Comic-Con International spokesperson told ICv2 that attendance topped 70,000, up from around 63,000 last year, and set a new record. The attendance increase tracked increases in floor space and exhibitors (see 'Size Matters').
Despite the increase in attendance, the show ran smoothly. At noon on Saturday, there was a line that we estimated at around a quarter mile long waiting to enter the show, but despite the crowd, the waits were relatively short. We asked people at the front of the line what their average wait time had been and got answers averaging 45 minutes.
One notable exhibitor absent from this year's show was Marvel Comics, the largest U.S. comic publisher. After a limited floor presence last year (signings were conducted out of a part of Diamond's booth), Marvel chose to pass on San Diego this year. A Marvel spokesperson gave us a 'no comment' when we asked for an explanation.
Marvel will be exhibiting at Wizard shows, including the Wizard World Chicago show that takes place this weekend. A variety of sources indicated that the reason for Marvel's choice of shows in which to participate was not based, as has been rumored, on a special rate for space at the Wizard shows, but rather on a 'history' with San Diego show management. Regardless of the reason, San Diego would be a better show with Marvel present on the floor, so we hope that a way is found to bring the company back into the fold.