Last week Denise Dorman, wife of veteran artist Dave Dorman, who is best known for his excellent painted covers, wrote a post on her blog, which is called Comic Book Wife. The post was titled: The Hidden TRUTH About Comic Book Convention Earnings: For Creators, Have Comic Book Conventions JUMPED THE SHARK? in which she pointed out that sales for her husband were off at several shows this year, and given the costs of exhibiting—hotels booths, food, travel—it made more sense to stay at home and do actual money making work.

The same was true for San Diego Comic-Con. Normally, we at least cover our costs. This year we spent $7,000 to exhibit at #SDCC, between the booth space rental, hotel, car rental and food expenses. This year, we came home $1k in the hole. So I started asking around…again, I asked equally famous, equally in-demand artists, writers, and creators. The post-mortem was that everyone either lost money on this show or barely covered expenses, and some very famous artists–household names you would know–are questioning whether they will bother returning next year. Even the biggest comics exhibitor with several booths, Mile High Comics, announced they were pulling out next year, in a much-publicized story in the New York Times–admitting they suffered a $10,000 loss at the show this year. (Their status on exhibiting next year may have since changed – I haven’t followed the story that closely, but it drives home my point.)

I have slowly come realize that in this selfie-obsessed, Instagram Era, COSPLAY is the new focus of these conventions–seeing and being seen, like some giant masquerade party. Conventions are no longer shows about commerce, product launches, and celebrating the people who created this genre in the first place. I’ve seen it first-hand–the uber-famous artist who traveled all of the way from Japan, sitting at Comic-Con, drawing as no one even paid attention to him, while the cosplayers held up floor traffic and fans surround the cosplayers–rather than the famed industry household name–to pose for selfies.


This story was picked up by ICv2’s Rob Salkowitz in a story called Winners and Losers in the New Convention Economy, where Salkowitz pointed out many salient facts about the changing world of comic cons.

A vanishing way of life.  I followed up with Dorman to get some additional perspective.  She says Dave goes to 6 – 8 shows per year, ranging from San Diego Comic-Con to big regional shows like Motor City Con and C2E2 to smaller local cons.  He’s been on the circuit since the mid-80s and usually does good business selling prints, sketchbooks and original art.  A good weekend nets between several hundred and several thousand dollars.
 
But good weekends have been hard to come by in recent times.  The Dormans lost more than a thousand dollars at this year’s SDCC and comparable amounts at other large, general interest “pop culture” shows.  This echoes the experience of many fellow pros, she says.
 
“Dave’s fans are in their 40s and 50s.  These shows are exhausting and expensive for them.  And a lot of them are still feeling the pinch from the economic downturn.  They were middle class and got wiped out.”


And then Bleeding Cool also picked up the story but with the headline “Denise Dorman Asks – Is Cosplay Killing Comic Con?” — and then of course, all hell broke loose. Because this title allowed all the very real concerns over the number, slant and marketing of the current comic-con boom to get tied in with the “Fake geek girl,” anti-cosplay feelings which are also running rampant among comics pros and fans.

Denise Dorman’s claim that older fans are getting shut out would come as a surprise to anyone who was at Baltimore Comic Con a few weeks ago, where older veteran artists were doing a brisk business. I was standing by Rick Veitch, who hasn’t been at a show in years, for a few moments and he was selling original art like crazy. However, almost everyone I talked to was concerned about the growing number of cons, the increasing Norman Reedus-ification of things billed as “comic-con” thanks to Wizard’s 20+ show schedule, and the wear and tear of travel and expense. I myself have done three shows in three weeks and I’M DONE, even though I now need to get ready for New York Comic-Con in a few short days.

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The BC headline definitely ignited a firestorm of talk on the topic. You can find hundreds of comments on Facebook and twitter. Denise Dorman herself backed away from placing the blame on cosplay alone in a FB comment:

Denise McDonald Dorman For once and for all – I am NOT BLAMING THE COSPLAYERS. I am blaming the SHIFT in the industry from being a COMMERCE-driven event to becoming a SOCIAL event.

A few people storified theirs. here’s Jim Zub:

Here’s Jill Friedman, with a very handy list of OTHER factors affecting comic-cons:

Here are a few public FB threads
Dave Dorman
Reilly Brown who writes:

Figuring out if a convention will be profitable is an important part of deciding whether to display there at all. Some conventions are certainly better for different things, and sometimes you can earn more money at the smaller shows than the bigger ones if the people coming out are actually the people who are interested in supporting your work, as opposed to the ones who just want to check out the parade.

For instance, this year I’ve been doing amazingly well at most cons I’ve participated in, but even so it was my worst SDCC in years. It just attracts a different audience, interested in different things. That’s the same reason I stopped attending Wizard conventions years ago.
The sad, simple truth is that some comic conventions really aren’t for the comics creators any more.

There’s one pro with a particularly juicy thread but it’s not public. Let’s just say this has drawn a LOT of different views. There’s also this piece pointing out the many elements that are changing comic-cons. .

Some people have blamed the Dorman’s themselves for not changing with the times. (The last time Dorman was in the news it was for objecting to the breast-feeding cover on Saga #1, something he eventually apologized for.) But the Dorman’s are active participants in social media, interacting with fans and announcing show appearances. Clearly using the tools that Apple and Google gave you isn’t thew only factor here.

If there’s one consensus that I’ve been covering here for the last 12 months, it’s that there are TOO MANY SHOWS for anyone to do all of them. A lot of artists who turned into road warriors because of the money they made, have trimmed back because not all shows make money. The Wizard World tour is particularly controversial element—they have an aggressively media-centered focus, but some artists do very well at them. Other’s find them a waste of time and will never go back.

Colleen Doran has written extensively about marketing herself at shows in the past. There are more than 1000 fan events around the world every year. Finding a niche market for yourself that works is a better approach than the shotgun of travel and hotel rooms.

One thing is for sure, the number of shows isn’t going to go down in the short term. (I think we may have reached peek con, though.) Word on the street is that Wizard World is expanding it’s shows with “Social Con,” a series of ancillary events that will target teenage YouTube and Vine stars. While just billing autograph shows as autograph shows doesn’t seem to work, given the right marketing, the “Social Dn” model could be very successful and draw a huge teen-aged fandom that wasn’t previously present at these kind of events. Are they going to be interested in Dave Dorman’s paintings? That’s more of a stretch.

The bottom line: being realistic about your audience is one of the most important tools in marketing yourself.

33 COMMENTS

  1. Bojill Horseman is reciting the same old tired mantra that’s not based on anything resembling a fact…high badge fees kills cons? Then why aren’t cons empty and going out of business every two seconds? Harrassement policies? Really, you think the kind of dudes who harass women at cons give a hoot about what the “policy” says? “Oh I was totally going to demean you but there is a policy against it, so now I won’t”.

    You want the truth? Times change. The cons of old are gone forever and the new model is celeb oriented.

    Dave Dorman may be a wonderful artist (I’ve never heard of him personally) but does his wikipedia page really suggest this is a guy who should be cleaning up at cons in 2014?

    1) Times change. People would rather meet Norman Reedus than a comic artist. It’s why Dave Dorman goes home with a big $$$ loss and Norman Reedus doubled his autograph fee in like two years from $40 to $80 and STILL had a MASSIVE line.

    2) You said it yourself, your fans are getting older. What that says from a demographics point of view is that you’re done. If you aren’t creating new fans and relying on somebody who is 50 to come out to a con, you’re barking up the wrong tree.

  2. Thank you, Heidi, for handling this like a true professional journalist, as I’ve always come to expect from you. Certainly, the Bleeding Cool headline was link bait that did me no favors, as it misrepresented the intent of my thoughts, which you posted in this article. My friends are Cosplayers and I appreciate the art form – that’s not the issue. I think this has generated a great conversation about online sales killing in-person sales, the saturation point of too many conventions, and so much more. All my best to you and get plenty of rest for #NYCC!
    –Denise Dorman, aka “Comic Book Wife”

  3. When’s the last time he did sequential artwork or interiors? I’m just asking because not everyone can be Art Adams and completely rely on past work and a few covers to get tons of comissions.

  4. Cons and their audiences have changed that’s for sure, and it has affected my appearances. I like what Jim Zub said about being a showman. If you come to my table I just might talk your ear off. I hope that part of the conventions never change. It should be about the people — no matter if it is the celebs or the artists or the cosplay or whatever.

    I know the money is tight (I’m broke myself), but it’s really have to beat the wonderful atmosphere of a convention. But money is money and it really does help.

  5. Why would anyone pay to go shopping? Hell I would love to never enter a free physical store again (the Internet ftw). I am perfectly willing to pay good money to game, panel, Cosplay, or masquerade party, etc though. Perhaps a change to higher ticket prices and lower booth fees? Although it would not bother me to just do away with dealer halls

  6. I think the upside to the increased number of cons is that it now provides creators with more options to stay closer to home while cherry picking the larger shows. Another element that Zub and other equally successful artists do is pound the messaging/media options to let the world know when and where they will be setting up. There are shows that are no longer creator focused, and that is just a natural development of the market. There are still plenty of great smaller, regional cons that are a great experience. Placing the blame on cosplay, younger demographics, or ticket prices is not the answer. The real answer is promote yourself as much as you can. The con’s website is only one of the tools at your disposal, use FB, Reddit, Twitter, etc to let your fans know where you are.

  7. i also attended the balt. con. a couple of weeks ago and saw many of the old school comic artist and writers doing very well. cool. maybe the answer would be for comic creators and fans alike to start concentrating on creating and attending smaller , regional (like baltimore, charlotte , etc.) shows that focus only on comics and leave the celebs, gaming, and movie and tv previews to the big cons. alex is right , times are changing. i could give a rat’s rump about seeing, meeting, or getting the signature of norman reedus (i’m sure he’s a nice guy, but that ain’t the point). i’d much rather meet dave dorman. i’m also not interested in attending shows that concentrate on wrestlers, celebs, and movie studios, while giving a back seat to comics and their creators. i’d rather go to three or four smaller shows a year that concentrate on comics only, than go to one big show a year that shows less and less interest in comics as the years go by. maybe smaller, leaner, meaner shows are the way to go. maybe it’s time to leave the bloated zombies that have become the “mega cons”, like san diego and it’s east coast clone, nycc.

  8. What “abc” said. Cosplaying has had little to no effect on the changing demographics of cons, as there are plenty of comic-centric cons that seem to be flourishing, with HeroesCon and Baltimore the ones that artists seem to do well whilst attending. I’d bet that if you looked at how many true comic shows vs. “Comicons” that primarily focus on TV/movie/media autographs, you’d find that the comic shows are probably pretty stable.

    San Diego and Chicago bear no resemblance to the shows they once were, with Chicago sharing only a name. I’m no con expert, but I know that. I don’t think the Dormans have been to HeroesCon in a couple of years, but I bet they’d do a fair sight better than if they did Chicago.

    I used to love to get sketches at shows, but have tended to get less in the past few years as those sketches transformed into quite expensive commissions (I understand the effect that ebay and comic art auctions have had on this). I don’t begrudge artists making money, which they surely deserve, but I sure do buy a heck of a lot less art due to that explosive escalation!

    Phil

  9. As I said to Mark McKenna when he talked about this on Facebook, “Comic cons have always had cosplayers. One of the first people I ever ran into at a con was a GWAR person. Every single mainstream news report on comic cons focuses on the cosplayers, they’re almost the ambassadors to non-con-goers as to what a con can be all about. I have to wonder, is this sudden antipathy towards cosplayers related to the fact that so many women are engaged in cosplay, and it’s just another version of “why are all these gurrrrls here spoiling our fun, this is supposed to be for us boys”? Cons nowadays are for everyone and everything – those of us who like to read and buy comics or artwork, people who like to dress up, people who enjoy attending panels, people who are into movie and TV stars… EVERYONE.” That said, I don’t think Robin has ever broken even at a con. Maybe once. He did these great dinosaur prints two years running and the first year we sold a bunch and the second year we sold nothing. I think the lesson here should be, if you’re a comics pro and you’re not an A-lister or you don’t have a hot book, don’t go to cons with the idea you’re going to make money. Go to meet your fans and see your friends and make connections and catch up on things and have a good time yourself. You’ll suffer a lot less aggravation that way!

  10. For clarification, Mrs. Dorman never said that cosplay was killing cons or taking money away from artists. What she said was that cosplayers were an *indication* of the type of fans that have started to attend conventions in greater numbers, fans who are not as interested in meeting and buying from artists.

  11. Dave Dorman is a great guy and a great artist. He deserves better.

    Cosplay has always been annoying. Now that there are more people doing it it’s exponentially annoying. SDCC is more of a carnival than a comic book convention at this point. One of the main reasons I dislike NEVER EVER GOING BACK is that you will typically find exhibitors and creators that you would never see at any other convention. It’s disappointing to think that those people might get pushed out due to low sales.

  12. As a longtime small press publisher exhibitor at the San Diego Comic-Con, I’ve been saying for years that in the “old” days, everyone was pretty much there for comics. So anyone I reached out to was a potential sale.

    Nowadays that’s not true anymore — and I suspect at many conventions. Not everyone is there for comics or to buy comics (plus, at places like Comic-Con, there is a LOT of competition for those eyes and dollars).

    For better or worse, comic-cons have become a victim of their success. They have become a bigger umbrella encompassing pop culture, TV, films, gaming, toys, etc., and many people are there for the spectacle and the Comic-Con “lifestyle,” with comics (and artists) becoming a subset of that rather than the focus.

    I don’t begrudge change, but it certainly presents challenges and opportunities that require adjustment and awareness.

  13. Someone mentioned how con sketches have become expensive commissions. This hurts the artist’s bottom line as well as the con-goer’s experience. Bernie Wrightson used to do a thing, a very clever thing, and I wish more artists would adopt it: for each con, he’d work out a very quick sketch, something he could do in a couple of minutes. One time, it was a zombie head, another time a Swamp Thing. It was fast, and it was free. You got a few minutes with a legend, and he got to meet a LOT of people. If you wanted to TELL him what you wanted, that was a commission and cost money. You state your request and pay him, then you’d leave, and the next day or at the end of the day, you’d go pick up your original art. He didn’t hold up the line for two or three subject drawings. Why don’t more artists do this sort of thing? A con sketch does not need to turn into a plate illustration automatically. You just teach your fans that this is how it’s done, and that’s the end of it. Giving fans a free option can never be a bad thing, in my opinion.

  14. ” the “Fake geek girl,” anti-cosplay feelings which are also running rampant among comics pros and fans.”

    This was never an issue. An “issue” to throw a lump of coal on a fire that died long ago. Most people don’t care to meet professional models who worked booths and pretended to like comics. All it takes is a few misquotes and misleading headlines, and you can pull this rabbitt out of the moth-eaten hat when site hits are down.

    Maybe the Dormans should try smaller shows that are actually about comic books. How can anyone make money at SDCC any more?

  15. I was at Comic Con this year, and I have to say that I spent a lot of time getting freebies at the publishers’ booths. That said, I usually wind up buying a lot of books later that I wouldn’t have if I hadn’t been exposed to a certain writer. Perhaps Dave Dorman should think along these lines, or try to lower his price point. Frankly, a hundred dollars for a print is just out of my budget, even if I were still collecting Star Wars posters.

  16. Thanks for a great article Heidi! I think Ms. Dorman raises a lot of great points about the shifting audience at comic conventions. As a dealer at Denver Comic Con, I was surprised that my sales this year actually decreased by 20% even though I increased my booth size this year and expanded my inventory and the attendance at the show went up. I’m not sure what accounted for this, but it did seem like this years convention catered to Pop Culture fans more than Comic Fans. Having the cast of Star Trek is great to get people in the door, but as a comic dealer getting Brian Michael Bendis and Mike Oeming there would mean more to my sales. You may not be able to boast (or in the case of Salt Lake City Comic Con, lie) about how many people you you have at your show, but the comics dealers would be much happier.

  17. Really horrible original article by Dorman, who started to backtrack after the original publication. The whole thing reeked of sour grapes. Zub’s got the right attitude.

    Unfortunately, what is popular today, may not be next year. That’s brutal but it is the way it is.

  18. I mostly agree with The Doctor. Too many big name artists make it nigh impossible to get a sketch. People like Frank Cho show up to cons to try to sell prints and then auction off sketches to people at panels.

  19. i never saw the problem with cosplayers at shows. i like the fact that there are fans out there that are so passionate about their favorite characters that they are willing to dress up like them at shows. it doesn’t matter if these folks read the comics or just love the visuals of the character, these are folks that are taking their passion of the characters to the next level. if anything cosplayers enhance the con experience . also love the fact that many women now attend the shows as fans and cosplayers. women attending shows can only help the industry, not hurt it.
    @ms.riggs – you say that conventions (i could be wrong but i’m assuming you are talking about the “megacons” like san diego, etc., if not , then like gilda radner used to say “never mind”.) are for everyone, but are they? should they be? if going to nycc or san diego, why should i have to wade through 115,000 people that are there for all kinds of reasons to get a signature and/or sketch from someone like , say george perez, or jim lee, or bendis, or dorman, that’s why i love shows like baltimore, heroes, etc.. at the “megacons” the tv ,movie, and gaming industries get top billing, while the comic book creators get the bottom of the entertainment totem pole. at “heroes”, balt.,etc. , the comics and their creators are front and center, the stars of the show, so why shouldn’t the industry and fans alike ( fans that love cosplay, panels , sketches, etc.) look for venues that concentrate on the promotion, first and foremost of comics and comic book creators.
    @phil southern – i feel your pain, man , when it comes to the prices of sketches at shows. what i usually do is try to get at least one or two old school artists to whip up a sketch if the price is right (can’t get all the old school guys, way too much bread involved). so what i do is just travel up and down the aisles of artist alley, finding artists whose style i dig and getting a sketch at a much lower rate than some of the old school artist. over the years i’ve gotten some really great, amazing stuff from the young talented folks of artist alley. next time you go to a show, what the hell, give it try, you might end up with some really great sketches.

  20. Cosplayers are not a problem. Cosplayers have always existed. The problem is conventions shifting to meet the needs of the newer generations while keeping up with the rise of new types of media. Just the prices of badges alone at many of the smaller conventions are ridiculous. If you include parking, badges, buying merchandise for an autograph, and food on site without staying on location- in one day the average con go-er will spend roughly anywhere between $100 – $300 (as based on personal experience) at the smaller conventions such as A-Fest and A-Con in Dallas. The reason numbers are dropping is because the newer generation is not completely willing to pay money for the same content they could watch, buy, and read about online. For bigger conventions like ComicCon there are youtube channels set up to cover the whole event on top of all the people filming from their point of view what they are seeing. If cosplayers and cosplaying was the issue wouldn’t there be more of an outcry from the general con-going public to ban cosplaying across the board?

  21. I think conventions have always been a social event! I went to see my friends, be surrounded by things that I loved (comics and manga) and yes, enjoy the cosplay. I think the shift is real, but Dorman is wrong about the direction. SDCC has been taken over by Hollywood and Hollywood studios. They buy huge amounts of floor space, host red carpet events (WTF!) and bring in a crowd completely different than the people coming to SDCC, say 10 years ago, when people DID come to meet artists and buy books, NOT camp overnight to spend the next 10 hours in Hall H at a bunch of studio panels. It is true that the younger fans and younger crowd are edging out us old people (LOL) and with that shift in demographic is a loss of money. They are spending all their money getting to SDCC and hotels and travel, spending HOURS in line for panels, and swag. They don’t have the money to spend on art, books, and other things. They are looking for free things that they can do with their friends at SDCC, which means cosplaying, goofing off and not spending money. I THINK SDCC needs to be honest and re-title itself HollywoodCon and let it be a big Hollywood/movie/genre/panel con. But IT IS NO LONGER A COMIC BOOK CONVENTION.

  22. You really want to know what is killing sales?

    Hollywood attending the cons. Think about it. There are more people showing up at the cons looking for their A-list actors/actresses than know who Jerry Robinson, Bill Finger and Bob Kane are. Of course we all know who they are though; creators of the infamous and arguably most popular comic book villain of all time The Joker. But good luck getting that out of the convention goers today.

    When you drive out your hardcore comic fans in place of Hollywood fans and jock boys looking to get laid by female cosplayers and such, your of course going to run into harassment problems. Yeah, we geeks may ogle and drool looking at you, but I know not to EVER touch you or intentionally say anything inappropriate, a practice that I know applies to 99.9% of the geek world.

    Cons have begun to force out the true fans in favor of the pop culture crowds instead. In my last year attending of SDCC, one seller told me the geeks won and now its cool to be a nerd/geek. I think otherwise. I believe we caved into the jock crowd and trying to be more like them. Captain America shirts are not geeky anymore but the new pop culture icon. Avenger hats that could be used as gang logos.

    The geek in me has almost no place to go, except the local comic shop. Even then those are beginning to phase away.

  23. One other thing:

    Hollywood also drove up the prices for EVERYTHING. Because of their presence, badge sales have skyrocketed beyond normal pricing. Also, their massive booths have taken up much needed space for smaller sellers, which also drive up booth prices. In order for the seller to compensate high prices and hotel needs, of course they are going to raise their product prices just to break even, which in turn, makes that product almost beyond a general consumer price range. Now you are in a niche market with very few people purchasing your product because your fan base has been ousted by Hollywood fans.

  24. I think it’s really on a con-by-con basis, Gary. I’m done with NYCC, I think it’s mutated into something no longer enjoyable for me, and everything I’ve read about SDCC makes me think I wouldn’t like that either. But I really liked Baltimore Con a couple years back and I went to a couple cons in the Northeast (Bridgeport CT, White Plains NY), that were very comics focused.

  25. I’ve never “cosplayed”, and have no interest in it. I don’t care if you’re into it, and it doesn’t diminish my experience when I go to a con. In fact, it can add a really cool vibe, as long as the creepers don’t get involved (you know who they are). I also don’t have an issue with movies/TV/sci-fi peanut butter co-mingling with my comic chocolate. And I don’t know why people do. Times change, genres adapt and morph, and conventions are not the private domain of “comic people”. I know certain subcultures can be rather insular and forbidding (looking at you, sexist gamers/RPGers/comicbookguys), but, seriously, what is the problem here? As for certain artists not able to make a living as they used to, I wish things weren’t more difficult for you. But they are, and being the creative types that you are, I’m sure you’ll find a way to make it work –
    http://thecomicro.blogspot.com/2014/09/shifting-demos-micro-publishing-and.html

  26. I booked a lot of regional mainstream shows this year, which I haven’t done in some time. All of them should have really been a one day show. (one of them actually was.) I don’t have anything against cosplayers but there was an abnormal amount of cosplay going on. Largely due to the fact that cons give out a cash prize to get them in the door. Every show I did this year that had a cosplay contest, the crowd evaporated after it was over.
    They browse but rarely buy anything because they’re in costume. If (and that’s a big ‘if’) they come back the next day, they might buy something. Or they might skip the show entirely and do family stuff or whatever. I’ve had better success at store events or area festivals than at mainstream cons. What’s happened, I think the crowd’s been largely whittled down to the mildly curious who’s only exposure has been a faint memory of comics and the last Avengers movie.
    I’m bummed because I still love the whole con experience but I think I’ll go back to doing one mainstream show a year. If I had to do a whole schedule like that again, it’d be utterly soul-crushing and very expensive to boot.

  27. Cons are changing, the audiences are getting more diverse and not buying actual comics, but enjoying the movies and toys and so on. As a creator, you have to stay topical, on top of things changing around you and connect with the audience on some level. I see a ton of people in artists alley selling prints and art that do not have names in the business or never worked on an actual mainstream book, but people just like their art and they ctalk to them, make a connection and they buy the prints. What that is saying is the audience is not reading as much as they used to but they have interest.
    At a smaller con where you are a main guest, you can do better at times because the focus is on you , but you have to stay fresh and keep people aware of who you are and be ready to sell yourself each and every time.

    Last, when at a con, you have to be nice, take the time to connect and not keep your head down to the sketch…you have to engage the person in front of you. They dont know what you do, but come over to look at the art, which is a start… so start a conversation, make a connection and sell yourself. I just think being popular, like everything else, comes and goes. It’s the connection you make that keeps people coming back again and again. Change is natural in any profession, so you really have to be aware and change as best you can. For artists, your product has to be out there, connecting with the current audience. Conventions and this business is pure work, but to those that love doing this, its the best job in the world.

  28. Artists, when you attend a show, you are there as a BUSINESSPERSON. Whether you are advertising, like at San Diego, or selling, you are selling YOURSELF.

    Maybe you need to huckster.
    Maybe you need to offer a variety of merchandise at various price points.
    Maybe you need to pre-sell commissions a month before, for fans to pickup at the show.
    Maybe you need to evaluate the show and decide if it appeals to your fan base.

    Are there too many shows? NO.
    Will there ever be? Maybe.
    Perhaps when Wizard World hosts 50 show a year.
    Perchance when ReedPOP goes to 12 domestic shows.
    Conceivably when the top 100 MSAs (>500K) all have shows.
    Possibly when every major library system hosts an event.
    Hopefully when every Division-One university hosts a fan event or academic conference.
    But currently? We are No. Where. Near. Peak. Con.
    Or an “Art Basel” show selling original art and rare collectibles!
    Or a “New York is Comic Book Country” book festival!
    Or a multi-hotel show in Vegas!
    Or an event rivalling the 500+K attendees at Comiket! (Small press, huge show)
    Or…

  29. Gary McClure , “jock boys” , c’mon , are we still in high school? What’s with the labeling? As some one who has collected and owns a comic book store for 40+ yrs (and played High school / College football and baseball + a stint in Minor League baseball ) , I resent the labeling. For that matter , who is a “nerd” anymore , I always thought the hobby should be as inclusive , as possible. For that matter , on our comic reserve sign-up at our store , we have 3 (current or former) NBA players , 2 current/former MLB players , ++ a NHL player and a just retired NFL player. All of them serious comic book fans (we also have a current WWE wrestler) . I never got that just “nerds” (and I detest that term , too ) are serious comic book fans.

  30. Sports fans are geeks.
    They read different magazines, wear different t-shirts, and know different esoteric knowledge than other geeks.

    Yeah, it was nice when we had small regional shows, and the energy to go to Disneyland after San Diego, and the time to actually socialize.

    But we got what we wished for: acceptance.
    We’re mainstream.
    Which means Sturgeon’s Revelation is still in effect, with the same 90% ratio. It’s just MORE manure you have to wade through to find the pony.

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