Kibbles’n’ Bits 2/26/2014: Is convention culture going to burn out?

Kibbles’n’ Bits 2/26/2014: Is convention culture going to burn out?

§ I put a lot of convention news in this section of the site, and it’s no secret that comic cons are booming everywhere — it’s a more surefire way to make money than publishing comics. Rob Salkowitz has a much-linked-to piece on ICv2 summing up the current con boom :

I recently saw some industry research from the online ticketing and events service Eventbrite, Inc. that sized the fandom events market at about $600M domestically in ticket sales alone.  If that is accurate, that represents about 80% of the comic publication market all-up (periodical, digital and graphic novel), which ICv2 pegged at about 750M in 2012.  The old joke about there being more people going to Cons than buying comics?  Funny because it’s true.

$600M is not chump change. Salkowitz wonders if the rise in cons has peaked, and I have to say, a few of my industry pals and observers have been wondering the same thing. It just isn’t necessary or desirable to go to EVERY con any more, and I’m hearing more and more creator burn out on sitting behind a table making small talk every weekend. Of course, if there is ancillary income to be made along with the small talk, that will still incentivize people. However, with actual money to be made, it seems there’s more squabbling over the haul. The unfortunate situation in the NYC market, with ReedPOP’s new con threatening two smaller local shows is one example. The Denver Comic Con kerfuffle is another.

§ And then there’s THIS. A comic-con planned for April in South Bend, IN has been cancelled when it was discovered people were embezzling the money for the show, including funds raised via Kickstarter. This is sad because the fine people of South Bend deserved a chance to meet Virgil and as unprofessional as people sometimes say the comics business is, this sounds like a sorry situation.

§ Anyway, if you wonder if there are too many cons, you are right and wrong. There are too many crappy shows. But the comics world is expanding and I expect to see more events in Asia and South America to go along with the existing ones.


§ MEANWHILE, The Chicago Reader has a comics section curated by Eric Kirsammer, owner of Chicago Comics and Quimby’s Bookstore and I hadn’t heard of any of the contributors and they are all excellent. Too many good cartoonists!

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§ Nice art: Abstract doodles by Alex Toth

§ A very nice remembrance of comics journalist pioneer Bhob Stewart by Michael Dooley for Print Magazine

§ And some more tributes to Stewart at 13th Dimension

§ Here’s a story we’ve been covering for a long time: The Santa Monica City Council has decided that Paul Conrad’s beloved statue Chain Reaction will stay where it is and has given supporters a year to raise the estimated $423,000 to repair structural weaknesses in the impressive piece.

§ The Outhousers decide they will start covering Kickstarter campaigns. The Beat is cited as a site that takes time to cover crowdfunding campaigns, and I’m happy that someone thinks we’re doing a decent job but it hasn’t been the same since Henry Barajas was doing his Kick-watcher column. To be honest, I get a TON of emails about Kickstarter every day and I don’t pay as much attention as I should. But I’ll try. If there is an intrepid volunteer who wants to resurrect that column, I’m all ears.

§ Speaking of crowdfunding, Todd Allen profiled Patreon for PW and gets quotes from several cartoonists who are using the platform.

§ Finally, Amazon isn’t all that lovable any more.

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