San Diego Comic Con 2011 Retrospective from my blog at www.popgoestheclassroom.com “Don’t let it be forgotten that once there was a spot, for one brief shining moment…” Fandom Conventions are about community and San Diego Comic Con is the largest gathering of the fandom community in the US. This year, fans of all shapes and sizes joined the fray. Hotels sold out, cell phone carriers were overburdened and controlled chaos was the name of the game. This year we were housed at the Horton Grande in the Gas Lamp district, just a few short blocks from the convention center. The staff and service were excellent and the room was spacious. If given the choice, I’d stay there again next year. The online calendar allowed me to plan my schedule weeks in advance. This was a nice feature that took a great deal of stress out of my mornings. My goal this year was to build relationships with as many academics as I could. As luck would have it, there is an academic track at Comic-Con that adds a formal learning component to the typically informal learning environment. Known as the Comics Arts Conference, I was amazed at the caliber of the papers presented during panels and the poster session was a unique opportunity to spend time with academics discussing their research in a variety of topics. The guest for this year’s Comic Arts Conference was David Lloyd of “V for Vendetta” fame. I had the opportunity to learn more about his UK academic initiative, Comics Classroom. David is very committed to bringing sequential art to children in schools as a way to increase literacy. However the Comics Classroom goes beyond the UK equivalent of K-12 education. They are also working on building opportunities to learn about sequential art into the higher education system. I highly encourage you to visit this amazing initiative. I could go on for days about the great academic work presented in panels and poster sessions but it would only pale in comparison. Perhaps with some coaxing I can get some of them to share their papers with us. I certainly hope so. I’d like to thank Dr. Peter Coogan and his cohorts for their dedication to the Comic Arts Conference each year. I look forward to next year.