Comic-Con and WonderCon in San Diego: the professional problem [UPDATE]

Comic-Con and WonderCon in San Diego: the professional problem [UPDATE]

[UPDATE March 26]

Comic-Con International seems to have corrected the situation. Their statement reads in part:

“ALL ‘undue’ professionals, including those who last verified in 2019, will have an additional year added to their verification, beyond the year we originally granted in 2020 due to our first List of shows canceled This update will not be visible in our database until after WonderCon 2022, but it allows those affected to attend WonderCon if they wish – see the next point for details!

This essentially means that those who would have been eligible in 2020 can now register for a professional badge for WonderCon Anaheim 2022, and will also be eligible for San Diego Comic-Con 2022 when professional registration for that event opens.

You can read the full update on their website.

[PREVIOUS] When San Diego Comic-Con 2020 was canceled, everyone with a badge (which included press, professional and general attendees, and exhibitors) essentially had the option of transferring their badges to San Diego Comic-Con 2021, or to be reimbursed.

However, when the unthinkable happened and the world still wasn’t a better one a year later, so was San Diego Comic-Con 2021. also cancelled… something has changed in this generous policy.

At the time, Comic-Con International announcement that “people who purchased badges that were transferred to the 2021 show will have those badges automatically transferred to the 2022 event unless a refund is requested.”

What was not made clear, however, was that this was really only true for general participants. The key phrase here is “bought”, and since pros usually get free badges, they were apparently not included in this two-year rollover.

Professionals in the Comic-Con International system are people who have applied for professional status because they are active “in the creation of comics, graphic novels, digital/web comics, comic books and animation, as well as illustrators and genre-related sciences. fiction/fantasy writers and book publishers. This includes: writers, artists, cartoonists, inkers, colorists, letters and animators. »

Once approved, they receive a three-year approval status. They can sign up to attend any CCI event (usually only San Diego Comic-Con and WonderCon), often with a guest or two, for free. Once the three years have passed, they are “due” (rather than “not due”) and must re-verify their status to prove that they are still active in the industry.

So when San Diego Comic-Con 2020 was canceled, it looks like everyone’s status was extended for another year (and you can read more about the pro extension in 2020 at this Capture of the Wayback Machine). However, when San Diego Comic-Con 2021 was also canceled, it looks like there was no one-year extension for the pros.

What does all this mean? Several professionals saw their “not due” status expire during the two-year pandemic gap – but they never had the chance to reapply. Now that registration (not applications, but registration) is open for WonderCon, CCI has been tell several people that the next application period that opens will only be for next year, in 2023. So, if you expired during the “break”, you cannot attend a 2022 convention as a professional.

For WonderCon, it’s not that bad – badges usually don’t sell out until just before the convention, so there’s always the option to just to buy a badge if you wish to attend.

However, for San Diego Comic-Con, the convention is sold out and has been since late 2019 thanks to the turnover of the majority of badges. This means that, since they are not opening professional applications for 2022, people who have expired during the pandemic (again, without the possibility of rechecking during this period) do not have a chance to attend a convention at which they were eligible in 2020. Now, yes, those are people who get a free badge — but they’re also industry professionals who have often been attending the convention for years, even decades.

Emails from Professional Registration said five years is just too long and they can’t be sure the professionals are still active in the industry. But why not let only those who are within the one year window re-apply?

Still, some were lucky or got a very different answer from CCI. Several reported completely different results to the same question, and were told that “every case is unique in some way.” But should individuals be required to email and advocate when it’s a widespread problem?

Others, like exhibitor Jin Yung Kim, reported that although they were initially listed as “Due,” their status changed without them having to ask.

If it’s reminiscent of CCI’s child badge policy, it’s because it’s similar. There’s also a group of kids who allegedly got a free badge for San Diego Comic-Con 2020, received a one-year extension only, and then got old now. However, the Junior badges (which they would now need) have long since sold out, leaving a year’s worth of children in a similar “touch of luck”! situation. CCI helps email senders (see our article for more details), but forcing people to contact them to resolve such an important issue seems like an odd solution to a situation that no group could have prevented.

Maybe they’ll work things out for everyone in both groups before San Diego Comic-Con. But if that’s the plan, we want them to announce it.

Daniel K. Denny