It came with a massive herald, fourteen months ago – the ability for San Diego Comic-Con fans to embrace the fever and excitement of the event, ‘twenty-four seven, three hundred and sixty-five days a year’: COMIC-CON HQ, a streaming service that promised to deliver Comic-Con relevant content to subscribers. Until now, UK fans have had the choice to either use unscrupulous online methods to sample the content, watch the smattering of clips available on YouTube, or be left twiddling their thumbs… Today, Comic-Con HQ have announced their long-gestating distribution deal with Amazon via their Prime Video service is now up and running – but those that check out what’s available may feel a little short changed.
The content comes as an additional subscription to Amazon Prime which clocks in at another £4.99 per month, on top of your Prime subscription, something which many may feel is an ask beyond the pale, considering the slight fare available.
Yes, some of the results of the Lionsgate collaboration with Comic-Con International is on display, with a smattering of the original content available for viewing, such as comedy series KINGS OF CON featuring Rob Benedict and Richard Speight Jr., MARK HAMILL’S POP CULTURE QUEST exploring the corners of pop culture fandom, and the movie review show from Collider‘s John Campea, FILM HQ. But it says a lot that most of these original series never made it past their first season, with Adam Sessler‘s INTERESTING PEOPLE series only making it to three episodes, the last episode of FILM HQ produced back in October 2016, and Season 1 of Mark Hamill‘s show coming to a close in the January of this year – there hasn’t been much in the way of original production since.
A major draw for initial CCHQ subscribers was the inclusion of Alan Tudyk and Nathan Fillion‘s CON MAN, the highly popular series borne off the back of a wildly successful crowdfunding campaign: the first two seasons are included in this Amazon Prime package – the second season was actually funded by, and debuted on, Comic-Con HQ – but CON MAN fans will be aware that the show itself has been picked up by Syfy who are in the process of airing the whole she-bang, starting in September.
And what could have been the main draw for subscribers, the Comic-Con content drawn from the convention itself, comes up pretty short, too. A number of panels from 2016 are listed, with a smattering of panels recorded from previous years – Joss Whedon’s Spotlight Panel from 2015, THE EXPENDABLES panel from 2010, for example – also available to subscribers, but nothing from 2017, just yet. (It’s unlikely any of the smaller panel rooms will be represented, too, as it was conspicuously evident that cameras this year were only to be found in rooms that picked up that content to play on the screens in-venue – CCHQ may have access to that feeds for broadcast, but little else.)
Last year, Comic-Con HQ made quite the splashy debut and hit the convention pretty hard, with a stage and presentation area setting up camp outside of the Hilton Bayfront and hosts welcoming special guests and celebrities to the stage – the broadcast content is included in this new service. In 2017, shy of the sign-up card found inside the Comic-Con badge boxes, handed to each and every attendee, CCHQ were nowhere to be seen.
So, is this the UK finally getting to legitimately see the results of a squandered opportunity, or will additional content from this years’s convention – if it makes it to the service, of course – jump-start interest in the service and make this something to invest in? Time will tell, of course, and we will keep a weather-eye on what gets added to Comic-Con HQ in the coming weeks and months – if you do sign up with Comic-Con HQ, or if you’re Stateside and are already a subscriber, do let us know your thoughts in the comments below.