|My favorite cosplayer as Knives Chau from Scott Pilgrim|
Hollywood has increased its presence in comic book conventions. Traditionally, Hollywood directors would premiere a trailer in a comic convention and hold a panel. The movies or TV shows they would focus would have had a tangential relationship with comic books, whether they are an adaptation of a comic book or a new science fiction film or TV show. They have started changing their approach by inviting their movie stars to hold a panel. The panels and events they are holding are starting to have less and less focus on comic books. The famous example was the movie cast of the Twilight movies holding a San Diego Comic Con panel, which earned the ire of the general attendees who now have to deal with a shortage of tickets by dealing with another market. Comic Conventions are now becoming the place to see Hollywood and experience it, and there is no shyness about it. Hollywood is now entwined with many comic conventions and they have invested in them as part of their marketing push.
Comic conventions have also expanded beyond its traditional boundaries because comic book conventions are not about comic books anymore. They have become umbrella multi-genre conventions that have representation from video games, anime, manga, and many more. I am continually surprised that there is big industry representation from anime and manga in comic conventions that are typically missing from a more focused event like an anime and manga convention. Likewise, big companies like SquareEnix and Capcom that are decidedly Japanese-centric have ignored anime conventions and they have strong representation in anime conventions. The fact that they appeal beyond the traditional boundaries mean that they appeal to markets that would otherwise not attend a comic convention.
Comic conventions have grown immensely the past couple of years. There have been several factors behind the explosive growth of comic conventions. The first factor is that we are going through a period of heavy Hollywood focus on comic books. The second factor is that Hollywood is giving a lot of support programming and using comic conventions as a form of marketing. Third, the demographic of comic book movies are changing and there is more social acceptance of being a “nerd.” Finally yet importantly, comic books have expanded to multi-genre conventions that appeal to many different umbrellas. These factors meant that comic conventions have grown immensely in the past several years. I have been attending anime conventions for a very long time and recently I have been starting to attend comic conventions with Comikaze Expo and Wondercon, and I look forward to seeing more in the future.
Kris Zoleta started working in Anime Expo as a staffer in Manga Library. He worked in Staff Service in Anime Expo 2006 and became the manager of Manga Lounge from Anime Expo 2007-2010. He is currently serving on the Board of Directors for the Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation, the 501(c)(6) non-profit behind Anime Expo and is one of the most recognized cosplay photographers in the West Coast.
NYCC 2012 Attendance
New York Comic Con
San Diego Comic Con