Wednesday, September 24, 2014

ZOMG Cosplay is Killing Conventions!

Earlier this week wife of comic book artist Dave Dorman, Denise Dorman talked with bleeding cool (ugh) about the current state of comic book conventions. In in she talks about how they took a bath on Wizard World Chicago and how conventions aren't worth it anymore. One of the reasons she gives (in her opinion) is the increase in the number of cosplayers and a decrease in the number of traditional comic book/sci-fi fans. It's one of those kinds of articles where the reaction to it was probably WAY bigger than the initial comments.

A few artists responded to the article by saying that they've noticed the same trend. People come to the convention not to spend money on sketches and prints but to participate in costume contests and get autographs with Misha Collins. I wish I could remember who it was but someone I follow on twitter said that over the last few years they have to careful which conventions they go to. Rob Liefeld specifically pointed out a couple conventions that are more comic book related where he said he does MUCH better business than the really big cons like San Diego where it's turned into a pop culture convention as opposed to a comic book convention. However, the overwhelming response was "put down the buggy whip old man, cosplay is awesome".

Now I'm no convention expert by any means. I've been to Emerald City twice. Everything I know about how conventions have changed over the last few years is from things I've read and observed on-line. You can't argue that cosplay hasn't exploded in the last 5 years or so. It used to be hard as hell to cull photos from the most recent conventions to fill out my cosplay posts. Now you have major blogs running weekly cosplay posts. Youtube, DeviantArt, tumblr, flickr, imgur any other image hosting site that ends with a "r", it's cosplay as far as the mouse can click.

This was supposed to be a short post and it's getting out of hand quickly...

Something I noticed at Emerald City last year that I believe is relevant to Dave and Denise Dorman's concerns: In artists alley last year the line to see Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky (Sex Criminals) was insanely long, same with J Scott Campbell's booth, or Amanda Conner (Harley Quinn). Scott Snyder (Batman) had like 3 different lines that lead to his booth with breaks in the middle so crowds could get through. Meanwhile I had to wait behind all of one guy to get Art Adams to sign one of my comics.

Jebus Kevin, that's just a bunch of names that mean nothing to me. Ok, how about this. Art Adams is a comic book professional with a storied carrier that dates back to the 1980s. His unique style was crazy influential to the way comic books looked in the 80s and 90s. His original art goes for thousands of dollars. One of the guys he clearly influenced was J Scott Campbell, who to reiterate was WAY more popular at ECCC than Art was.

The point is what's popular yesterday might not be as popular today. What's popular today probably won't be as popular tomorrow. There's a certain point where an artist, even one as skilled as Dave Dorman might not be able to justify setting up a booth at comic-con. That's not Yaya Han's fault.


B said...

Cons for some, miniature American flags for others. [nerds cheer and wave miniature flags].



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