Sage Advice From Stormtroopers

Marvel Cosplay At Dragon Con 2014  (1)

Lydia Mondy, an undercover Battlestar Galactica expert, is a big fan of “nerd culture”. When she’s not scouring thrift stores for 1950’s horror movies on VHS, you can find her blogging on behalf of BuyCostumes.

The mediums lumped into the “entertainment industry” are experiencing a sea change when it comes to branding, marketing and connecting with their prospective customers. Some say they’re flailing in their attempt to keep up with the spinning wheels of technology. Some say they invented that wheel anyway.

Surely it’s a fatal misstep when show business factions cease to be entertaining. The entertainment industry (music, cinema, television and theatre, at least) prides itself on its flexibility, but with distribution formats fluctuating wildly, it’s been noted the industry has become a little rigid. Behind the times, if you will.

Meanwhile, ComicCon has become a household name. Why is this? Twenty years ago, even graphic novel fanatics weren’t fully familiar with the industry convention. Have comic books become so popular that teenagers and baby boomers alike are constantly on the prowl for collectibles, like an obscure Batman #1? Certainly not. (Though, rumor is, a Batman #1 goes for half a million dollars…)

What is “ComicCon” doing that the rest of us can learn from, regardless of what industry we’re in? Well, they’re having fun. Their reinvention from geek-centric trading and exposition get-together to an all-out, celebrity-studded, multimedia costume party extravaganza is a pop culture phenomenon. But it didn’t happen overnight.

Their strength, what sets them apart from the rest, is going all-inclusive. ComicCon isn’t just a convention for illustrators, publishers and printers of comic books. It’s for everybody; more importantly, it’s for the fans. Not just the professionals. The open format is the cornerstone of its success.

Without a doubt, there are staunch traditionalists reminiscing for the days of a few dozen Marvel junkies swapping classic comics and tales from the vault, but these instances are the exception, not the rule. They’re vastly outnumbered by folks content to strap on some Spandex and hit the floor. But make no mistake, the revenue generated by fanboys in masks is easily in the millions, if not billions.

People like dressing up. A lot, evidently. I honestly wonder what would happen if CMJ, UpFront Week, E3, SxSW or ShowWest instigated a new costume policy into their 2014 plans. The important thing to remember here is that ComicCon, as an event, has usurped comics as pastime. The original product has become secondary to the event. A hell of an event.

You could say ComicCon has “gone Hollywood” but not without countering that Hollywood has “gone Comic Book”. While that doesn’t quite have the same ring, it would be silly to ignore the upward tick in films based on graphic novel characters. So…on that note…anyone think it’s time for a fifteenth reboot of Spiderman?

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