Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Comic Book Retailers Sour on Comic-Con

I've never been.

This is interesting, though.

At LAT, "At Comic-Con, a major comics seller defects while new Hollywood stars arrive to dazzle fans":
Wielding sharpies, foam swords and protective tubes to guard the exclusive treasures they hope to find, more than a hundred thousand pop culture and comics aficionados are about to descend on the city of San Diego for Comic-Con International, the annual gathering for all things geek.

But for some longtime fans and retailers, a tipping point has been reached in the profitable but uneasy alliance between the comic-book world and Hollywood.

For the first time in 44 years, retailer Mile High Comics will be skipping the convention. Considered the country’s largest comic-book dealer, Mile High regularly brought 100,000 comics to sell on the convention hall floor.

“San Diego has grown far beyond its original premise,” wrote Chuck Rozanski, founder and president of the Colorado-based Mile High Comics, on the retailer’s website, “morphing from what was originally a wonderful annual gathering of the comics world, into a world-renowned pop culture and media festival.”

It’s no secret that Comic-Con went Hollywood years ago, but with each new convention it’s harder for independent comics retailers to make an impression, especially when they not only have to compete with major studio presentations in the famed Hall H and displays from DC and Marvel that dominate the convention floor, but with a growing number of attractions outside Comic-Con, available to anyone who happens to be in the area.

Offering tributes of buttons, T-shirts and manicures, the entire Gaslamp Quarter will transform into a geek metropolis. NBC’s new series “Midnight, Texas” will offer free food and tarot card readings at a local restaurant, coffee drinks will be renamed “White Walker Mochas” and the Syfy channel will legally marry superfans in a makeshift chapel with the help of officiant Orlando Jones from “American Gods.”

“As a businessman, I can tell you that the fact that the city of San Diego is allowing dozens of [attractions] around the venue is contributing to a decline in traffic in that main hall,” Rozanski told The Times. “The off-site traffic is good for fans because it enhances the experience. But when you have HBO putting their ‘Game of Thrones’ experience across from the convention center, that acts as a real magnet. As an exhibitor, when you’re paying $18,000 [for a spot on the convention floor] you don’t want to see your customers leave for across the street.”

The hard truth is that many of those potential customers would rather see their favorite stars than shop for comic books. As the masses sweep in, so do the winds of change for the annual convention...
I guess it really used to be about comic books. Now it's about Hollywood movies about comic books.

But keep reading.

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