As we have in years past, we're sharing here our photos from San Diego Comic-Con, but first, some observations on the show.

The first thing we noticed was that there was no sponsor on the luggage carousels at the airport, which during the show’s peak was one aspect of skinning the entire city with marketing messages directed at the attendees.   For the last couple of years, that sponsor has been Conan O’Brien, who’s moved his show to San Diego every year and built a major marketing presence around it (see "Comic-Con 2018 Photos, Part 1").  This year, Conan O’Brien shot his show in front of a live audience in San Diego as usual, but the marketing presence was toned down and no new sponsor rose to take its place.

Attendees at the show were in good moods, passionate about their fandoms, and taking it all in as in years past.  But at least one representation of that passion was toned down considerably: we estimate that cosplay was down at least 50% from last year.   Dressing in costume peaked three or four years ago, but the drop-off this year was larger than in years past, and cosplay is now getting back to where it had been as a baseline in the years before it exploded in the new millennium.

Floor traffic on the exhibit floor showed a marked change on Thursday and Friday, when there were big crowds among the comic dealers and publishers in the north half of the building.  That may have been due to a lower density of high-profile showbiz panels, which led to more concentration on Saturday and pulled fewer people off the floor early in the week.  Regardless of the reasons, it was great to see people buying comics at a comic convention!

The impact of the streaming companies was the biggest change to the business end.  While movie studios have started to pull back from San Diego Comic-Con, TV is still there in a big way, with the streaming companies’ money and energy transforming the business.  Comic properties are being acquired for streaming series left and right, and the talent is also crossing the boundary between comics and video.  With Disney+, HBO Max, and the yet-to-be-named NBC Universal service still in the pipeline to be launched, and Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu fiercely defending their territories, this phenomenon seems likely to continue for some time, with full impacts on the comics business yet to be seen.

The first set of photos, below, is of The Batman Experience Powered by AT&T, presented at the future site of the Comic-Con Museum, a 68,000 square foot space in Balboa Park for which funds are being raised for renovations.  The organization that presents San Diego Comic-Con has pledged $11 million, and the city of San Diego has promised another $4 million for rehabbing the building and getting it ready to host exhibitions, but more funds will have to be raised.  The temporary Batman exhibit, kicked off by a gala fundraising event for the museum Wednesday night at which Batman was inducted as the first character in the Museum’s Hall of Fame, ran through the weekend.

It was telling that the auction item that received the most spirited bidding was a package that included two tickets to Comic-Con and hotel reservations, along with a designer dress fashioned from Comic-Con bags.  After back-and-forth bidding that was the longest of the night, the lot went for $5000, a testament to the difficulty in getting admission to the event and the value placed on attendance.

Click Gallery below for photos from the Batman Experience Powered by AT&T!

See also:
San Diego Comic-Con Photos 2019 - Games
San Diego Comic-Con 2019 Photos, Part 2"
San Diego Comic-Con 2019 Photos, Part 3
San Diego Comic-Con 2019 Photos, Part 4