If you’ve been around long enough, or at least have heard the stories, you’d know that in the earliest days of comic fan conventioning, patrons were not greeted by the glossy full-color Comic Con bibles of activities that come with admission to most comic conventions these days.
The word is, back then, you were lucky to have scored the rare mimeographed packet of pages that passed for a show program. Usually these were folded and/or stapled from the standard white 8.5 x 11 sheets of (gasp!) lined paper. Some times illustrated by xeroxed images of super-hero fan or pro art (if you were very lucky) and heralding the hey day of golden age fan organizing.
As you’d imagine, as the industry has grown and gone multi-media over the past few decades, it’s periodicals would have to grow up too.
And as a fine example of such, this year’s New York Comic Con catalog, put out by the show’s producers, ReedPOP, is roughly 150 pages of high gloss art, ads and info.
DC Comics rightfully commands the cover with a righteous and regal image of Wonder Woman in celebration of her 75th year in publishing, illustrated by DC Comics’ co-publisher, Jim Lee.
The back cover highlights an ad from AMC television, promoting the return of its wildly popular series, The Walking Dead, returning to the airwaves later this month.
And in between there’s a lot more. But amongst all the informative info regarding convention floor-mapping, commonly-asked questions, and panel scheduling, I wanted to see just what the two biggest players of The Industry That Started it All, DC Comics and Marvel Comics, were footing the bill for, via ad sales, to ensure that fans had a proper, free, take home collectible. And one probably heavier than any other parcel of comic con collateral material that they’d ever have to carry, this side of San Diego.
Firstly, I was surprised that there was no advertising by any major film studio promoting what you think at least every major film studio would have to promote in this age – a super-hero/sci-fi film.
Secondly, amidst the scores of half and full page ads for various pop culture collecting and gaming goods and services, there was a total of a mere 10 pages of ad content devoted to both DC Comics and Marvel Comics entertainment properties. And if you’re keeping score, that included 6 dedicated to current DC Comics series, including The CW’s Arrow & The Flash television series, and 4 promoting 2 current Marvel Comics series, including an ad for Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD television series on ABC, and one as well for a new animated film starring The Hulk.
There you have it. 150 divided by 10. That adds up to exactly that 6% of NYCC 2016 attendees statistically reported to be primarily comics fans, as reported in a previous article here at Bleeding Cool.
Just 6% of the real estate in bound marketing print dedicated to the two biggest and longest running publishing houses that started this big old super-ball rolling so many years ago.
Is that good? Is that bad? I guess each fan in attendance would have to decide that for themselves based on their own individual interests. It’s just sort of surprising to me that
our super-est and most colorful heroes from fiction aren’t commanding more territory in this venue.
Chuck Brouillette is an artist and writer living in Saratoga Springs, NY. You can see how he does both @twitter.com/chuckbrouilette