Comic-Con is the hallmark convention for anime fans and geek culture enthusiasts. The convention showcases new anime, new merchandise, popular actors and writers, as well as upcoming art from other creators all around the world. While this sounds like such an interesting event, sadly, it has been co-opted by many different divided interests. These interests, whether they be commercial or otherwise, have changed the way that fans enjoy the event and not at all for the better. What was once a pure event for fans of this culture has become something made to be sold. While the event will never again be what it once was, there are a few simple ways to reign it in and bring it back to the golden days of its first creation. Let’s take a look at how this can be done!
Comic-Con should focus more on the fans, and less on the investors.
Being that this is one of the biggest conventions in the entire world, it is understandable that it is used by marketers and corporations the world over. The problem with these corporations is that they have completely co-opted the event. Here are some of the ways that the convention can focus more on its crowd, rather than the people with money.
A typical Comic-Con experience will require a daily pass, or weekend pass, ticket. After you have paid your way into the convention center you will be surrounded by hundreds of booths and different panels. Each one of these booths is run by a pushy salesmen trying to get you to buy overpriced merchandise while the panels seek to gauge you out of your hard earned money. For example, if you want to meet or get an autograph with one of the many talents on hand you will have to fork over an exorbitant amount of money. Most of these actors don’t care to charge that much, but they are pressured to do so by people higher up on the chain. By curtailing the price of entry or at least the price of panels, Comic-Con will make itself more available to those of lesser income—which is a sizable portion of their fanbase.
Revitalize The Con By Inventing New Events!
While fans will always enjoy the countless panels, the numerous booths, and the photo ops with cosplay artists—there needs to be an influx of new activity. The last thing that Comic-Con needs to do is become stale, and that is a route that they are quickly pursuing. A few years back Samsung brought to life “The Hunger Games” by creating a huge interactive exhibit with high technology, photography opportunities, and various other interactive experiences. This event was a huge success but it was definitely an outlier in terms of what typically goes on during these conventions. If Comic-Con began to work with some of the bigger companies to create more of these interactive exhibits you would probably see a huge influx of new fans, visitors, and convention goers. Though the exhibits are pricey, and a little bit risky, they offer a whole lot to be optimistic about.
Make the Studio Panels An Event!
The best studio panels are always performed by those that understand what the fans want. Fans of these huge franchises keep the money flowing and make them successful for everyone. The studios should work harder to make the panels more interesting. For “Man of Steel” the star of the show, Henry Cavil, merely appeared for a few minutes to wave and smile at the crowd. He never even got a microphone! Marvel, on the other hand, has made the entire affair more reminiscent of a rock and roll show. The actors get plenty of stage time, the fans get involved, and everyone is happy. Marvel’s attitude toward panels should become the norm, not the exception. While not every studio will have the success that Marvel has, fans will be interested no matter who they put up there. That is the kind of fan that Comic-Con attracts.
Comic-Con has always been the cornerstone of geek culture. It has set a precedent for what the world expects to see out of the culture. So why should Comic-Con allow itself to grow stale and forgettable? If Comic-Con wants to continue to be the biggest thing in the future it will have to work harder toward keeping its fans. There are a whole lot of other comic cons starting as competition, such as C2E2 or Texas Comic Con. The truth is, that another convention is always waiting in the wings to make things happen and to steal their thunder.
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