Who Puts Comics in Their “Comic Con”?


Photo Credit: Bob Bretall

I’ve heard it many times:  “Media is taking over my Comic Con”.  To a greater or lesser degree it’s true for most “comic” cons nowadays.

With the popularity of super-hero movies (primarily from Marvel), the advent of a lot of great TV shows based on comics properties (like Green Arrow, Flash, Gotham, and Walking Dead), and reality shows focusing on cosplay and other aspects of geek culture.  With all this, it’s no surprise that awareness of characters and concepts from the comics is more pervasive throughout our pop culture than at any point in the past 30+ years.

With that popularity comes the inevitable desire to capitalize on that interest by driving people who are into these pop culture topics to local cons.  I try to keep up with the larger conventions on the ComicSpectrum Convention Calendar, there are over 80 of these between now and a year from now!  There’s something going on somewhere in the world pretty much every week, and I’m not including the vast majority of the 1-day “hotel/civic center shows”.

So what caused me to write this Blog?  I got a press release about the Heart of Texas Comic Con and when I visited their page the 1st thing I noticed was there was nobody involved in actually making comics being hyped on the main landing page:


We had Wrestlers.  Actors from TV shows & movies.  Voice Actors from animation.  Nobody from comics!  But how consistent is was this trend?  I looked at a few other upcoming cons (in no way an exhaustive examination):

Amazing Arizona Con: Bravo!  On the main page the 1st 14 featured guests are comics writers & artists before we make it down to the Power Ranger actors.

Wizard World Indianapolis: The 1st 18 Special guests are actors and wrestling personalities before we get to the 6 special guests from the world of comics.  I give them credit for having an extensive list of comic creators in their own section farther down the page after all the media celebs, but at the same time, a bit sad that the comic guests take a back seat at what is ostensibly a “comic” con.

Long Beach Comic Expo: Comics personalities (including Stan Sakai, Ethan van Skiver, and the 1st Annual Dwayne McDuffie Awards for Diversity) are mixed in as about 50% of the content, and I was please to see they were not all listed at the bottom after all the media folks.

Planet Comicon: Falls into the “Media Guests all at the top” syndrome” but makes up for it with a really nice slate of comics creators listed right below the crowd of celebs.

Emerald City ComiCon: Nicely done!  The default “guests view is a mixture of comics writers, artists, novelist & cosplay in alphabetic order.  You need to click thru to the page for “Celebrity Guests” so the emphasis is skewed away from the celebs.

WonderCon: Special guests are almost completely skewed to comics creators.

C2E2: The ‘guests’ page defaults to Comics guests and the comic creators vastly outnumber the celebs.  This show is definitely skewed towards comics.

At this point I stopped looking and decided that Heart of Texas Con aside, the apocalypse was not on the horizon and comics creators are still attending shows all around with regularity.

This is not to say that you might not walk up to a convention and find all kinds of advertisements for TV shows, movies, and video games.  Marketing people know who goes to these events and it’s smart to advertise these things to a targeted audience interested in this sort of stuff.  You might also walk into a convention center and be assailed by booths hyping everything BUT comics.  Every con will vary.

What I can say is that if you check out the web-site of the convention you’re interested in attending and scope out the people you want to meet beforehand (which can skew to media celebs, comic creators, or a nice mix of both) you’ll be far better prepared to find who you want to meet and get the best possible experience out of your time spent at the convention.

Whatever your goal, most conventions seem to have a mixture of a great many things and you can focus on those elements that will make the time spent most enjoyable for you.

So, who puts comics in their comic con?  MOST conventions do.  You might just need to fight your way past a crowd of actors selling autographs to get to them.

Bob Bretall: bob@comicspectrum.com
https://comicspectrum.com/ Covering the full spectrum of comics culture

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One Response to Who Puts Comics in Their “Comic Con”?

  1. This is an excellent review. I’ve been doing research for my website and I have definitely noticed that exclusively comic conventions are becoming rare. At the conventions I’ve attended there has been a nice mix but sadly, I don’t think the general public is as interested in comics as we would like.
    (My website is about conventions in Ohio by the way. If you’re ever out this way I’d love to hear your opinion on the midwest convention scene. http://www.ohiofancons.com)

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