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Will Comic-Con ever live-stream panels? Plus, solving the line problem

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Comic Con Preview Night 10
Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Comic-Con 2013 is a wrap! Tens of thousands of fans have cleared out of downtown San Diego after rubbing elbows with their favorite celebrities (and hoards of elaborately costumed convention-goers), and it’s time to take a closer look at what went right, what went wrong, and — yes — what’s in the works for 2014’s mega-fest.

EW got San Diego Comic-Con spokesman David Glanzer on the phone Monday to pick his brain about the past five days, and he was pleased to say things had gone “surprisingly well” — but there’s always room for improvement. Even though 130,000 people attended this year, there are still some fans left out. While a recurring suggestion is to live-stream the in-demand Comic-Con panels either at the convention center or across the Web to reach more eyeballs, Glanzer isn’t convinced that’s the solution.

“Unfortunately, there’s no room on site,” he said, shutting down the idea of letting Con-goers watch a panel without actually being in the room. “We literally use every square inch of that space. We even have some of our people in ancillary rooms that’s usually used for storage. So there really isn’t any room on site to accommodate for that.

“But streaming is something we’ve thought about,” he acknowledged. “One of the things we have to take into consideration, too, is how many people want streaming and how many people don’t. A lot of people come to Comic-Con because they want to be the very first people to see a movie, the first to see a preview, the first to be able to tweet or Facebook any news that comes out of there. I think when you start to make that streaming live, the uniqueness of those panels ends up being less so. But it’s something we’re looking at.”

So if only those in the room can see a panel, getting into that room is even more vital. Which brings us to the No. 1 archenemy of Comic-Con: The lines. Is there an answer? Well, maybe not, but Glanzer is impressed with fans who take the time to meet like-minded friends and play video games while waiting to get in.

“Lines are really an issue at Comic-Con that I don’t think anybody really enjoys,” he said. “I will say this, however: We’re really lucky that our fans have kind of taken that and made the most of a bad situation. … But those people who end up getting in lines want to make sure they’re the first people into a room. I remember back in the day, when I was much younger, I was one of those people who waited in line for many, many, many hours when Empire Strikes Back came out, because we wanted to be the first people to see that. I think that’s probably a young person’s thing — I don’t know that I could do that now! — but thank goodness they certainly seem to be able to roll with that and don’t seem to grumble as much as they could.”

Clearly, Glanzer and company have a lot to talk about before next July rolls around. Only a day removed from the 2013 event, most fans have barely processed this year’s event, let alone spent time thinking about next year’s. But 2014 has been on the Comic-Con team’s minds for quite some time now.

“We started planning Comic-Con 2014 six or eight months ago,” he said. “Planning for the show, certain aspects take about a year. Some stuff takes longer still, whether it be contracts for hotels and inviting guests. It’s a year-round effort. In any one given year, we can be working on multiple years’ shows.”

But for now, Glanzer is ready to kick his feet up — for a little while at least: “I think starting tomorrow, a lot of us are going to be spending a lot of time in bed.”