I’m floored.

Absolutely floored that 4-day passes for Comic-Con International 2010 have sold out.

I mean, it’s the first week of November, and the convention isn’t until next July!

Tickets with access to Wednesday’s Preview Night sold out a few weeks ago, but at the time, CCI didn’t provide any information about how many regular 4-day passes were left. This Monday, they posted a progress gauge at 70%. The last time I looked yesterday, it was up to 89%.

Today? Sold out completely.

I can’t help but think it would have taken longer if they hadn’t provided a gauge to let people know just how scarce a resource memberships were going to be. There’s nothing like the fear of a shortage to get people to run out and buy up what’s available (and create a shortage). But I also can’t complain, because without that feedback, we might have kept putting off plunking down the $200 for the two of us, and we might have missed our chance.

Single-day tickets haven’t gone on sale yet, so it’s still possible to go if you haven’t already bought your tickets. You can of course buy more than one, it just means standing in line each morning to pick up the next badge. (Even the more relaxed WonderCon, run by the same organization, doesn’t let you pick up a Sunday badge on Saturday, as we discovered last year.)

If you’re planning on going to San Diego next year, keep an eye on the website. Four-day passes went insanely quickly, and I would expect the one-day passes to do the same.

I’ve been trying to decide whether to go to Wizard World Los Angeles this year. On one hand, it’s close. On the other hand, I just went to WonderCon last month. The astonishing thing is that a one-day ticket for WWLA costs almost as much as a 3-day membership to WonderCon. This got me thinking about comparing convention prices.

So I looked up the comic conventions in the area, plus the other two Wizard World cons that have prices up.

Convention Thu Fri Sat Sun Full
LA Comic/SciFi (a.k.a. The Shrine) $8 N/A
WonderCon (advance) $12 $12 $10 $30 = $10/day
WonderCon (onsite) $15 $15 $10 $40 ≈ $13/day
Wizard World LA, Philadelphia $25 $25 $25 $45 = $15/day
Wizard World Chicago $25 $25 $25 $50 ≈ $17/day
Comic-Con Intl. (way ahead)* $60 = $15/day
Comic-Con Intl. (advance) $25 $30 $35 $20 $75 ≈ $19/day
Comic-Con Intl. (onsite) none

And to compare to some non-comic-focused conventions, some nearby, some just big:

Convention Thu Fri Sat Sun Full
ConDor (advance) $25 ≈  $8/day
ConDor (onsite) $20 $25 $15 $50 ≈ $17/day
Loscon (advance) $35 ≈ $12/day
Westercon 61 (advance) $60 = $15/day
Gen Con Indy (advance) $35 $35 $35 $35 $60 = $15/day
Gen Con Indy (onsite) $45 $45 $45 $45 $75 ≈ $19/day
Dragon*Con (advance) $65 ≈ $16/day
Dragon*Con (onsite) $90 ≈ $22/day
Worldcon/Denvention 3 (advance) $200 = $40/day

It’s interesting to note that WonderCon (San Francisco) and ConDor (San Diego) are extremely cheap if you sign up far enough in advance. Also, when you expand to more general cons, San Diego Comic-Con is right in the middle of the range, with several conventions being more expensive. I’d guess that the more volunteer-based cons like Westercon and Worldcon probably don’t bring in as much money from exhibitors, so they’d be more dependent on memberships to keep afloat.

In compiling this, I discovered that this year, Comic-Con International isn’t going to be selling any memberships on-site. It’s going to be pre-registration only.

I guess they’re expecting it to sell out again like last year, and don’t want people to count on something they won’t be able to deliver. Plus I’m sure it’ll simplify matters for the con, since they won’t need to deal with taking money for registration.

Update: Added Loscon for nostalgia’s sake. Also fixed some links; GenCon rearranged their website sometime in the last 4 days, and I somehow typed in the wrong domain name for ConDor.

Note: These are the 2008 prices, except for the ConDor advance price, which is for 2009. All prices were obtained from the events’ websites except for the way-advance price for San Diego Comic-Con, which is simply the price I paid last summer for this year’s con. For shows with multiple membership packages, such as Wizard World, I selected the most basic package that lets you walk in the door.

*CCI always has a booth selling pre-registration for the following year’s convention at an even lower price.

We made it to San Diego around 1:00. After spending an afternoon in Old Town, and a self-guided tour of the Whaley House (which we missed last year), we dropped by the convention center to pick up our badges for Comic Con.

It was around 8:00, and it was Preview Night (only open to guests and pre-registered attendees), so there was basically no line. Only one problem: no one seemed to be willing to give us our badges!

We walked up to the first open window at the line of pre-reg booths. “Hi, we’re here to check in. Last name…” “Try those two guys over there.” “Oh, OK.”

So we walked across the way to the two guys she seemed to be pointing at. “Hi, we’re pre-reg, we’re here to pick up our…” “Try over there,” they said, pointing to a booth further along in the original line of booths.

So we walked across to that window. “Hi, is this where we actually pick up badges, because we were over there, and they directed us over there, and they directed us over here…”

It was, so I handed him the bits of paper from when we signed up, a whole year ago at last year’s con. I gave him my name, he didn’t seem to be able to find it, I gave him Katie’s name, he couldn’t find that, and eventually I had to dig out the receipt (which I had just ripped off of the sign-up sheets, since we usually have to go to separate windows), show him that yes, we paid, and somehow he was able to dig up our registration info, because the badges had the right city any everything.

So we got in, checked out the floor, and I got a few leads on Golden Age Flash books (though again, people seem to be bringing mostly the good-quality expensive copies), and we left when the hall closed at 9:00. Along with everyone else on the planet, as far as we could tell. It wasn’t nearly as crowded as any day last year, but it was more than either of us expected.