Long Beach Comic Con 2014: Did Cosplay drive up Attendance and Sales?
by Pamela Auditore
Ticket sales for the Long Beach Comic Con held the weekend of September 27 – 28th, 2014 saw a 25% increase, over last year held November 23 – 24, 2013 event, according to LBCC Executive Director, Martha Donato. Putting attendance somewhere between 31,250 – 37,500. Anecdotal information from exhibitors seems to corroborate this increase in sales of comic books, toys and other merchandise.
“In terms of foot traffic, sales were very good,” according to Jeremy Price, Floor Manager for Comic Madness in Chino, CA. “New books did best.”
As you might expect, among the comic books best sellers, guests were on hand to sign them. At LBCC this year were Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner (Harley Quinn); Mike Mignola (Hellboy); Mike Allred (Madman, Silver Surfer, IZombie); and Richard Starkings (Elephantmen).
“There’s been steady growth each year,” says Brad Sloan of FVF Comics in Woodland Hills. “While I did four figures last year, I did five this year.”
To what does he attribute the increase?
“Cosplay.” Adding, “the popularity of the cross over of Comics from page to Film/TV media helps drives people’s interest in Comics and to Cosplay.”
In the right costume, anyone can be a Hero and an instant media star. Making fellow attendees whip out their phones for pictures to post to the world via: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Tumblr.
While some Comic vendors interviewed on the LBCC Exhibit floor did grumble about Cosplayers blocking the view of their tables when striking poses for photos, others said the presence of Cosplayers drove people to their booths who might otherwise overlook them. In fact, the one vendor selling clothes, pictured bellow, incorporates Cosplay into her booth.
But, hey, don’t Cosplayers distract from selling comics? Particularly, Vintage Classic Comics, Golden Age, Silver Age, Bronze Age? Like the one’s Brad Sloan sold at his booth?
“Cosplayers bring more people to the show and they buy related comics. The Super Hero, low grade to the mid-grades Keys were were grabbed up.” (“Keys” are generally a first issue of a comic. But can also be first introduction of an famous character into a given publishing company’s Universe i.e., first appearance of Wolverine in Hulk #181.) Marvel Keys sell. Thanks to the movies!”