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Works at Dinosaur Comics Lives in Toronto TOTALLY MARRIED Speaks all of the languages ever Born on October 20th

The Problem With Comic Con →

davidmalki:

jephjacques:

Tickets for the convention sell out incredibly fast, which means that they’re mostly snapped up by the die-hard Comic Con fans who stay up all night hitting “refresh” in order to buy tickets. You can’t just casually decide to go check out the convention anymore- you have to commit to it months and months in advance. This translates to seeing a lot of the same people visiting my booth, year after year. Which is fine, I like catching up with folks I remember from years past!

I totally agree with everything Jeph says in this post! I was going to write up something similar, and I’m glad he’s beaten me to it, because he said it better than I would have. Here’s another interesting thing, though. Jeph writes:

I’d wager that a sizable portion of SDCC attendees only buy tickets to get into one or two panels and have minimal interest in the convention itself. And every one of those people who buys a ticket denies it to someone who might want to come by my booth. The panels get bigger and bigger, and more and more popular, every year. The SDCC staff seems to have no desire to change this trend- ticket sales are ticket sales, after all.

So you have a set number of tickets, more and more of which are being purchased by people who spend very little, if any, time on the convention floor, which prevents more casual fans from attending the show. This might be great for movie and TV and video game studios, who are putting these panels on in order to generate publicity for their products. But it leaves actual cartoonists and vendors, like me, out in the cold.

Here’s where it gets interesting: Recently, an anonymous publicist wrote a piece in the Hollywood Reporter entitled “Are Fanboys Still Worth the Time and Money?”

But before we all spend crazy money jetting in talent, booking lavish parties and crafting just the right teaser-trailer package, think for a moment: Is the Comic-Con crowd still the best audience on which to be blowing our marketing budget? […]

Preaching to a choir and spending what can amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars for the privilege might not be the best way to go. Especially since a big, splashy presentation has become far less special. It’s now the norm — hardly even a news event. After you fly in your A-list movie stars, put them up in a Hard Rock Hotel suite and pay their $2,000-a-day makeup person and stylist, is their 45-minute appearance going to translate into global ticket sales six or 12 months later? Probably not.

I’m no expert, but I’ve both worked in movie marketing and been one of those fanboys sitting in Hall H excited for a sneak peek of an upcoming nerdtastic blockbuster. I understand the joy and appeal of sending a shiver down the spine of a room full of screaming fans. But as Jeph said, Comic-Con is a zero-sum game, and increasingly, it’s a dish prepared and served for the most diehard of the diehards. Ideally, these are people with money to spend and a willingness to spend it on the stuff they love — including the works of indie artists like me, either because they’re fans or they’re willing to take a chance. If they managed to get in, they’re making the most of the experience. But it’s definitely no longer a place for the casual fan to check out on a whim.

With the exception of one thing: holders of the pro badge. Pro badges are non-ticketed badges supplied to industry professionals. Comic-Con’s definition of “industry professional” has been narrowing over the years as crowding becomes more and more of an issue, but it is still possible for a comic creator or (certain type of) film or gaming professional to get into the show without buying a ticket. That represents the ongoing role that Comic-Con plays in the life of a creator in terms of networking. My career is made from bits and pieces of all kinds of different projects, and Comic-Con contains a ton of people who can enable, encourage, patronize or collaborate on those projects. I saw a ton of those red badges this year, as I do every year, and more of those faces than I’d see at any other show anywhere. 

That’s the interesting thing about Comic-Con: it’s not a singular thing. While the Twilight and I-don’t-know-whatever-else fans were camping outside Hall H, pros were on the floor talking with other pros. There were probably meetups and events and networking occurring catering to dozens of other fandoms and subcultures as well, whether anime or My Little Pony or ball-jointed dolls or Silver Age collectibles or video games or LEGOs or whatever.

Every year I hear about how the movie and TV panels are crowding everything else out. Like Jeph, I think that’s glacially becoming literally so, and if it’s true that it’s not even helpful in a marketing sense, then it’s just a big exercise in nerdstroking with no real value. Having that squeeze out business and networking opportunities — not just for me, but others in different subcultures — that Comic-Con has enabled by its scale would be a real shame, but while commerce and casual fandom is down, I don’t think every advantage Comic-Con offers is entirely dead just yet.

While you guys were out LIVING IT, I was reading Comic-Con and the Business of Pop Culture: What the World’s Wildest Trade Show Can Tell Us about the Future of Entertainment.  The author talks about how the nature of what Comic-Con is has changed, and the pressure everyone feels to move to digital, although we as webcomics get only a few pages near the end and get largely dismissed as disruptive artists and not businesspeople.

One thing he talks about is the hard-core superhero fans you mentioned above, the ones buying the tickets and lining up for panels for 10 hours: at least for print comics (superheroes, mainly) these are a dying breed.  These fans are getting older, and new fans aren’t replacing them as quickly as they’re dying off.  There’s exceptions (Twilight brought a bunch of people into Comic Con in 2011, AND this was a largely female audience in stark contrast to the superhero tribe) but even this was met with derision from the “hard core” base, who see them as impostors, and not true fans.  Twilight sucks, right?  And it’s Comic-Con, not Movie-And-Fantasy-Con, right?  This “You are only a true fan if you can recite back 40 years of Captain America continuity revisions” attitude is what can make that culture toxic.

Anyway, his point was that it’s not sustainable.  DC and Marvel’s monthly comic print sales are not what they used to be, and Hollywood licensing has filled that gap for a long time.  But popular tastes aren’t going to be for superhero movies forever, and this current boom in superhero movies started with X-Men in 2000 has to end sometime.  

Maybe that means in a few years Comic-Con shrinks a little, and with extra room, the casual comics fan can stop by on Saturday and check things out by buying a ticket at the door and without having to get a hotel in the city months and months in advance.  That’d be nice!  Maybe that means superhero comics start going trans-media, flexing their Warner Bros and Disney muscles so that’s what’s being sold is CHARACTERS and not the floppies every month: the same way Goofy and Mickey get sold to us now.  In that version, you don’t even need comics anymore.  You just need Superman and Batman.

Anyway I thought it was interesting, seeing how the mainstream universe ticks!  A lot of this we all know, but I’ve never looked at it from a strictly business perspective before.

The most interesting thing he said (and this is kind of an aside to your both of posts) was the whole idea of what mainstream comics are is North America is crazy: in most other mediums, mainstream books/movies/songs/whatever are accessible, relateable, and something that appeals to the general public without them needing a specific cultural education.  Titanic and Jurassic Park and Up and The Sixth Sense are all mainstream movies, and they’re all very different films.  A large chunk of the same moviegoing audience saw all of them.  That’s what mainstream means!

However if I say “mainstream comics” it means the opposite: I’m talking only about superheroes (a very specific genre with literally decades of backstory you should know about if you want to enjoy it to its full potential) while slice-of-life, autobiographical, romance, comedy, horror, and the stuff we do is “alternative” or “independent”.  Even though we can look to Japan and see that it doesn’t have to be this way, in North America, one specific (and awesome!) genre dominates beyond all reason.  

That might change, I guess? 

(via jephjacques)

In this post: comics  comic-con  i still really love batman  
  1. cannibalpudding reblogged this from jephjacques and added:
    yes i thought i was alone. Its jus a marketing tool for big names, no longer looking out for the common man
  2. dahveeeeeeed reblogged this from jephjacques
  3. mauvbeth reblogged this from wilwheaton
  4. redmagus77 reblogged this from jephjacques
  5. scribblesatmidnight reblogged this from jephjacques and added:
    stuck with me bolded...will probably never ever...Comic Con,...
  6. gwydionmisha reblogged this from wilwheaton
  7. anothrme reblogged this from wilwheaton
  8. radioactive-dinosaur reblogged this from jephjacques and added:
    Not sure if he’s right or not, I’ve never been,...an interesting take.
  9. wileea reblogged this from jephjacques
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  14. helloitsdaeci reblogged this from jephjacques and added:
    The Problem With Comic Con I just finished up another year at San Diego Comic Con. Sales were fine, and I met plenty of...
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the haps: they may be here!

I create a comic called Dinosaur Comics and I a run an awesome network called Project Wonderful and I even have my own Twitter account

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