Are Comic Book conventions really Comic Book conventions?
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Are Comic Book conventions really Comic Book conventions?

I've been meaning to start this conversation for about a week now but it's spring break and time is scarce (no, it's actually scarce in real life - not just Overstreet 'scarce' but actually being hoarded by collectors).

And then I read this article and it inspired me to start this thread (for a point of reference, Wizard World Chicago is this weekend).

Greater Cleveland comic book fans seek alternatives to large conventions like Wizard World

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But what got me started about this topic was the Facebook page for a new con that got started called Elite Con in Tampa, Florida a week ago.

We have a board member who decided to start a Convention strictly for collectors. No media guests, no actors and actresses, no T shirts (no offense but I wouldn't want to be set up next to a T shirt rack the size of the Empire State building)...heck even no creator signings.

just comics, old toys, old books, old collectibles.

You'd think that was all fine and dandy and that everyone would be happy. Organizers can run a con any way they like to, right?

Free country, right? As long as there is no bigotry and hate it's all good.

Wrong.

You should have seen the public reaction when they made the announcement that there would be no Cosplay allowed at the show. :facepalm:

Within a day there were 450 comments in the discussion that I saw before the FB discussion was pulled sometime in the night. Hate, venom, protest.

The cosplay crowd was mortified that they wouldn't be allowed to walk in with their costumes after paying ticket price.

Bleeding Cool actually made an article about it. You know it's half serious when BC writes it up.

It was actually quite ugly at times. There were many rumors circulating online. One rumor was that people who were going to cosplay and wanted refunds weren't going to be given refunds.

There was mockery of the organizer's business model stating the show was going to be a 'loser'.  There are arguments that they shouldn't even be allowed to call a "Con" because technically it wasn't a "Con". They even resorted to name calling saying it wasn't a "Con" (as in convention) and that it was a con (as in from the Latin word 'contra', meaning against, or used in the phrase 'con artist').

And yet the organizers were very respectful.

The clearly stated that refunds were offered, that nobody had asked for a refund and that cosplay would be turned away at the door in an effort to create an atmosphere that was more about the collectibles for sale than the spectators themselves.

Obviously, me being the person I am I asked if the Cosplayer's started their own convention and said there were no vendor's allowed would that be OK? I had a feeling no vendors would protest that idea. - Nobody replied. I asked it at least 3 times. Nobody replied.

So I just thought I'd ask you guys: Would a show strictly about the collectibles themselves interest you and how do you feel about no cosplay being allowed at a show?

I for one have nothing against cosplayers. Louise has cosplayed at shows. I also have no problem respecting the wishes of a con organizer.

What say ye?

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4 minutes ago, Broke as a Joke said:

Sounds like one of those "conventions" you would find in a hotel lobby.  

What really got me about the discussion was that there is a legitimate feeling among an ENTIRE GENERATION (probably 10,000's of people over all) that truly believe that it wasn't a 'Con' unless it had cosplay. :screwy:

That's how far we've come.  It was a real eye opener for me.

And I think the pendulum has swung too far from it's roots and is now swinging the other way as collectors just want shows about collectibles (hence the many smaller shows showing growth).

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I couldn't possibly care less one way or another if people dressed up at a show.  That being said, I would absolutely love the chance to attend a con that was strictly for the comics (or toys, whatever the event is for).  Way too often I go to local cons near me, and the comic vendors are vastly outnumbered with people selling shirts, prints, goofball cheap ninja gear, jewelry that happens to have Scarlet Witch on it, you name it.

 

I respect the hell out of the artists in this business, but outside a handful (several of which have already passed) I have no interest in meeting them.  I don't read new comics, and I don't collect new comics.  I don't care to meet Del'Otto, or Jae Lee.  Call me when Steranko, Heath, or John Romita Sr. get there.

 

At the last con in Memphis, Leroy Harper was far and away the only booth I had any interest in spending money at.  If I walked in the doors and saw 40 booths like Leroy's, I would be in heaven!

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23 minutes ago, Broke as a Joke said:

Sounds like one of those "conventions" you would find in a hotel lobby.  

Exactly like the old days.  I would go to one of these.  The expensive admission, stars and costumes conventions have no interest for me.

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23 minutes ago, Broke as a Joke said:

Sounds like one of those "conventions" you would find in a hotel lobby.  

Well, that's exactly how they started - comic sellers/collectors- only in a hotel lobby or some such cramped room.

I think some of it might be a generational attitude, but some of it is probably reaction to a long-standing expectation of what will happen at a certain type of event. Most folks under 30 don't know what the old-style comic-conventions were like so it would be aberrant to pay to go to such a "boring-sounding" event.

Imagine going to major concert today in large arena but there being no big screens, no stage lighting, no projections, no lasers, no vendors, just a band, a stage and a microphone. People today have expectations of what a con is, just like they have expectations of what other big events are too.

Probably most con-goers today are brought up with the expectation that there would be panels, guests, cosplay, zombie-cages, t-shirt towers, etc. because to them, that's the way it's always been. It's what a con today is.

I can understand their wanting a refund - that's the con not meeting their expectations.

But the hysterical reactions of hate and screeching... that's the snowflake generation kicking in.

I wonder if the cosplay folks could react more positively and CREATE their own cosplay-only convention/event rather than lash out angrily at a group just wanting to do their own thing. (shrug)

 

 

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I went to a comic only Con last weekend (one of the longest running shows in the Midwest) and it's run at a local VFW hall and it sells out 20 booths each year.  They probably get 300-400 collectors with most of them being middle age men with a scattering of women with almost no kids.  The booth fees are $80 and it cost $4 to get in the door.  By the purist definition it's an actual comic convention but it only draws 300-400 people.  To bring in the thousands of people you will have to appeal to a much bigger audience then the pure comic book fans.  These same fans clammered for comic show/movie celebrities which led to bigger and bigger celebrities which led to people dressing up as comic book characters.  The modern major Con has become Halloween for comic book fans blended with a comic themed merchandise bazar but this format seems very popular based on the number of people thru the door.. 

I do see the argument that restricting people's outfit is a slippery slope.  Don't wear this or that or not entry!  But that has been going on forever in various places.  Must have a coat and tie at fancy restaurants to only collar shirts at certain golf courses.  As long as it was posted when you went to buy tickets the Cosplayers should have moved on to the next event in a couple weeks.

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I don't understand what the cosplay end game is.  Comic collectors buy comics.  Card collectors buy cards.  Toy collectors buy toys.   Do cosplayers buy anything?  

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4 minutes ago, Broke as a Joke said:

I don't understand what the cosplay end game is.  Comic collectors buy comics.  Card collectors buy cards.  Toy collectors buy toys.   Do cosplayers buy anything?  

Tickets.

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Just now, Broke as a Joke said:

I don't understand what the cosplay end game is.  Comic collectors buy comics.  Card collectors buy cards.  Toy collectors buy toys.   Do cosplayers buy anything?  

Supplies to put together their costume.  Pop and a hot dog.  Maybe a cute print of their character at the end of the show. 

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1 minute ago, Broke as a Joke said:

I don't understand what the cosplay end game is.  Comic collectors buy comics.  Card collectors buy cards.  Toy collectors buy toys.   Do cosplayers buy anything?  

Attention.

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Maybe a $20 door fee if they come dressed in costume.  

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2 minutes ago, Broke as a Joke said:

Maybe a $20 door fee if they come dressed in costume.  

Why?  People buy tickets to go see and take pictures of the cosplayers so from most organizers perspective they would rather give them ticket discounts.  Anything that helps get people thru the door.

Edited by 1Cool

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Oh, and cosplayers from previous years' con look great on the local TV which drums up attention and interest in the upcoming show for the locals. They draw attention. 

 

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9 minutes ago, 1Cool said:

Why?  People buy tickets to go see and take pictures of the cosplayers so from most organizers perspective they would rather give them ticket discounts.  Anything that helps get people thru the door.

This was in response to Roy's opening post with the anti cosplay approach.  I'm all for the spectacle but a fee would deter many from going to a "boring" convention.

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I love going to the hotel shows, but they are few and far between up here in Western MASS.  There even used to be a VFW (or similar) get together, or swap and sell(?) or whatever here and there, but not anymore.  Sometimes it is fun just to search for books. 

A friend of mine runs a show up here in the Northeast and we have the discussion often about where to draw the line with artists vs actors/celebs. I think the bigger the venue, the more you start to lean towards celebs.  It's a balancing act with the bottom line. One or two celebs at the right time can tip the scale in the right direction.  He concentrates more on comics than on celebs, but the con competition is tough. 

Regarding the cosplayers aspect, I wouldn't exclude it, but maybe limit it to "body sized" costumes.  There is a guy that goes to these shows in a mechanized Hulkbuster Iron man costume.  It's really cumbersome. But if a family is dressed as Spider-Man, Spider-Woman and "Spider-Kid", who cares? 

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59 minutes ago, Lt. Eckhardt said:

Instead of worrying about cosplay, how about making deodorant mandatory at these shows?

lol

Not unique to England then

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I for one would love a show that was simply comics, toys and OA. Ive stopped attending shows on Saturdays altogether due to cosplayers blocking off aisles posing for pictures at choke points on the show floor. 

 

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Not sure the cosplayers really bothered me much at the one recent con I attended. What I did notice was booth after booth of stuff that was not comics. I would check out a comics only con. I don't really anticipate ever going to another full-blown comic-con though. Then again, I am more about the books than the plethora of paraphernalia.

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