It's been a long time since Comic-Con was just about comic books. Hollywood has been a huge presence there for years. But in the past couple of years, creators from the Web video world have started to crash the show.
This July in San Diego, amidst the various Wolverines, Watchmen and Wonder Women, attendees might see Hulu touting its new Seth Meyers series The Awesomes. YouTube will be there for the second year in a row, and may be joined by Alloy's Smosh this time around (last year Alloy's Shut Up Cartoons made an appearance). AOL is sending its newest creator partner, Web video vet iJustine, to cover the geekfest.
Break Media, perhaps an unlikely candidate to go toe-to-toe with The Avengers, is planning to ramp up its presence at the show this year as it looks to establish itself as less a funny user-generated content site that does a lot of branded entertainment than a destination for quality originals.
Thus, the company plans a mix of on-site events and themed episodes. For example, attendees will be able to stop by a downtown San Diego restaurant venue rebranded as “Break Invaders,” where among other things, Nick Kroll and Paul F. Thompkins (who hosts the Break Web show Speakeasy) will co-host a comedy showcase. There'll also be a sponsored "Barcade" with classic arcade games and multiple PS3 and Xbox gaming stations.
In addition, the Break series Man at Arms, a centerpiece of its AWEMe YouTube channel, will feature a look at Wolverine's adamantium claws. "That's our attempt at Discovery-type content," said Break CEO Keith Richman. Plus, a special “Speakeasy” episode (on Break's sister site Mademan.com) will feature nerd icon Kevin Smith.
"In general, we love Comic-con because our content resonates heavily with the audience," said Richman. "It's a place where thought leaders and taste makers go. And with our shows, we're making fewer, bigger bets."