So another San Diego Comic-Con has come and gone. With it goes the hopes of many an artist. Allow me to explain.
I have had the pleasure and misfortune of being flown to the San Diego Comic-Con for awhile now. My job has much invested in the comic book medium and so, it makes sense we should have a presence at the biggest of the comic book conventions. Where else can the likes of Dick Ayers, Richard Friend and Scott Williams stand in the same room as the average fan and exchange pleasantries, anecdotes and hard earned cash? Sure, the artists who come to the convention do so out of love for their fans but they also do it because that's where they can make the most bank. Penciling comics for around $75 a page isn't really going to get you far - not in this economy. Nope, it's the one on one sale of art between creator and fan where the most money can be made. That however, requires the presence of both the artist and the fan.
Of late, it seems more and more apparent that Comic Con is about big movies, big movie stars, big games, oh...and a little about comics too. When Artist's Alley is confined to the farthest corner of the con, where the least traffic is reached because of the draw booths like Warner Bros and Lion's Gate have, artists go hungry. Every single artist, every single one, has to pay for the right to have a booth at the con. They then have to pay for prints to be made of their art so that when they sell the original pages, they can still sell copies for a little bit more cash. You have to spend money to make money, right? Yet how can you make money if there's no one around to buy from you?
There was a time when you, as a up and coming artist making $25 a page, could sell your work at a con for $150 a pop and only have to worry about competing with Frank Miller or Dave Gibbons. Now, those precious fan dollars that got you through the long dry spells are being taken by toy companies, film studios and actor's who feel the need to charge for their signatures. It's a sad day when folks come to a comic book convention with the hope of seeing Brangelina instead of Jim Lee. It's a horrible thought to know that convention planners think it's ok to put the artists one booth down from Rock Band, drowning out any hope of conversation with the few fans who actually made it to their booths.
Comic Con, my friends, is no more. It is now Media Con, with comics being a mere afterthought to those attending. Comics, once the driving force behind the convention, are now mere precursors to much larger things and thus, mean far less in the hearts and minds of those attending the convention in its name. I don't know whether to laugh or cry.
What are your thoughts, if any, on the state of the comic book industry and Hollywood's affect on the average comic artist at this, the most important con of the year?
Listening to: Malcom Reynolds
Reading: ...is fundamental.
Eating: Something that was alive but is now dead.
Drinking: Freshly squeezed innards of the above.