Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Pros and Cons of the San Diego Multi-Media Con

I realize now that when i typed my last post on this that while my tongue was firmly planted in cheek as I typed that I'm not sure that this came through in the post. With the con warm-up in full swing, and already the concerns about the Twilight fans mobbing the place (taking place over in Occasional Superheroine), lets address the pros and cons of the San Diego Multi-Media Con.

While I may get annoyed at how the San Diego experience has changed (and this will be number 21 for me, so I can claim to at least have been here for a while), I think that most everyone who is whinging is forgetting the absolute ghostland that the Con was threatening to become when comics were dying and the movies hadn't yet pumped up the properties. We were, for all intents and purposes, an endangered species.

And now we have to ask ourselves: why are we pissed off about all the attention that comic characters and comic properties get in the general press? What this means, really, is that you're upset about comics as a medium not getting respect, not comics stories. What do I mean? Let me explain.

For years, for decades, we were told that comics were crap, the stories were crap, that they would rot your brain. And yet those of us who were fans of, lets say, the Claremont/Byrne X-Men knew that they were good stories. And we knew that there were good Spider-Man stories as well. And now we know that the stories are fun and do entertain people. 1 Billion dollars in receipts from those movie franchises should validate that. So if the stories were entertaining, what is it then? That comics as a vehicle can only work for superheroes? Maus, Persepolis, Blankets and a whole host of others should invalidate that arguement. So I guess that the two main reasons that you could call comics crap have been invalidated. I feel validated for all these years of loving these stupid little picture stories. You were wrong, we were right.

And now everyone is pissed that a vampire story has a huge fan base? Can we say these words again: a vampire movie is actually motivating hoardes of young people to enjoy escapiest literature and might lead them to other properties? You're upset that people actually can talk about seeing X-Men and Spider-Man and not being embarssed to admit they liked it? If I was single i'd love there are hoardes of young women who are coming to this convention and that might find other things that they didn't know existed. You're angry that these women love their property as much as you do yours.

And this is different how from all those guys who dress up as stormtroopers or Predator?

Women have always been in short supply at these conventions, and while it did give a segment of people who were beat up for being "different" in high school a place to be themselves, sadly that segment of society was usually "male", and females were part of the other group. All which made it difficult for those women who loved comics, loved the characters. I feel for them coming into the locker room. No matter that the locker room is filled with Green Lantern spandex.

I don't want to marginalized again. If we want to survive, we need to be a popular press and that includes doing things to make ourselves popular again. The mercenary businessman in says, "Their money spends the same as a true fan's money." You may not be impressed with who you sell it to, but its money. And you may just have a few more converts along the way.

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