The Risk of Over-Extension at Comic-Con

The San Diego Comic-Con International continues to grow.  Since its creation in 1970, it has been a convention for comic book fans and industry professionals to celebrate not only the best in the comics medium but also science fiction and fantasy movies and television.  The scope of the content beyond mere comic books continues to grow, covering such subject matter as anime, video games, collectible toys, and more -- all topics that would be of interest to the general target audience of the comic book fan.  But as it gains in popularity and impact in building hype for future projects that are previewed there, Comic-Con is attracting more and more pop culture projects that sometimes seem to have little if any connection to the basic genre staples of fandom. 

Even though the convention bills itself as "multi-genre," some of the content being promoted there seems to be a bit of a stretch.  Star Wars has had a welcome presence at Comic-Con since George Lucas first unleashed his epic on the public, but Hollywood has already promoted non-genre movies there.  While the Comic-Con audience seems the perfect target to build buzz about upcoming sci-fi fantasy TV shows like No Ordinary Family and A Game of Thrones, does NBC's Community and Glee really meet the criteria? 

While the tastes of Comic-Con attendees certainly extend beyond comic books and into mainstream entertainment, is there any boundary for the content there?  When does it all become diluted into a homogenous mish-mash?  Will the day come when Comic-Con is more about reality shows and romantic comedies instead of superheroes, mutants, and aliens?

The good news is that the announced programming for this year's Comic-Con, which takes place this year on July 22-25, 2010, at the San Diego Convention Center, is loaded with great genre panels that cover a wide range of topics about comics, sci-fi, and fantasy.  Hopefully, as it continues to expand and play a powerful role in the marketing of a multitude of cool content that fans will enjoy, Comic-Con will not lose sight of its origins and the kind of projects that should continue to be the primary focus of the convention.