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What is a Comic Con?

October 16th, 2010 admin No comments

When I used to ask someone if they wanted to go to a Comic-Con I used to get some very strange looks.

Why? Because back then most people conjured up the image of a group of overweight geeky guys knocking back a few 4-packs in a darkened room sweating and drooling over a pile of 200AD first issues.

But things, thankfully, have changed a lot since then. For starters there are a lot more woman collectors now, although it is still pretty much a male dominated market.

Originally Comic Cons were held to promote, buy, sell and swap comic books. And, well, to talk about comics. As the comic industry and its popularity have grown so have the comic-cons. Why Comic Cons? Comics were probably the very first “collectible” because most kids bought a weekly comic.

Many playground discussions centered on Dan Dares latest escapades, or Dredds latest adventure.

Comics have always played an important part in kid’s childhood and growing up and so have remained a part of our culture.

But over time other types of collectibles started to creep into the comic-cons, such as autographs, trading cards, and movie posters etc.

Then Star Wars was unleashed on the world’s screens.The effect and influence of Star Wars wasn’t limited to just the movie industry.Star Wars changed everything.

It changed how movies were made, it changed the merchandising, it changed the marketing and it changed people.People started to collect anything and everything connected to the movie.Kids and parents stood in lines outside their local toy store waiting for the latest Star Wars figures to arrive.

And so the comic con scene also exploded and became more acceptable, mainstream and popular.

One of the things I miss most since moving to Thailand are the Comic-Cons and Collectors Shows.

I used to attend all the big ones in the UK and many of the smaller ones as a trader.I loved these shows although as a trader I rarely had the time to look around the other booths properly.There’s a certain thrill and excitement, especially if you find a bargain or two.

One of my best finds was a 1964 Gold James Bond car for $30, complete with its box AND the spare ejector seat man.This was an awesome find as the gold car was recalled because it was the wrong color and had the wrong tyres and now sells for $1,000+.

Also most people lost their ejector seat man (and the spare) so this was a particularly rare find!

Despite the huge size of some of the more modern “Comic Cons” they still remain an excellent source for collectors to swap, trade and buy the latest collectibles and many of the manufacturers even produce exclusive products and merchandise that are only sold at these conventions.

At the same time many of the smaller “traders” seem to be getting pushed out of these events and so it is getting more difficult to find any “real” bargains which is a shame because it is these traders that gave the shows their “character”.

This is also one of the main reasons I used to enjoy attending the smaller more “local” comic-cons on the weekends.

These are generally attended by only the local traders and therefore generally offer a more diverse range of collectibles and often older or vintage collectibles that you wouldn’t find anywhere else.

Probably the largest and most popular comic con in the States is the San Diego Comic Con which has become a huge international affair and is touted as the biggest of its kind in the World!

The San Diego Comic Con (SDCC)

The San Diego Comic Con started as a small fairly local affair, in the convention’s early years it was based at the El Cortez Hotel, University of California, San Diego, and Golden Hall, before being moving to the San Diego Convention center in 1991

Originally the convention showcased comic books, science fiction/fantasy and film/television and related popular arts but over the years the convention has increased in popularity and expanded to include different types of pop culture elements, such as horror, anime, manga, animation, toys, collectible card games, video games, web-comics, and fantasy novels.The most apt description of the San Diego Comic-Con comes from the press packet which bills it as the “largest popular arts convention in the world.”

For many people the yearly trip to the San Diego Comic-Con is THE event of the year and is anticipated like a 5-year-old looks forward to a trip to DisneylandAlthough The San Diego Comic-Con is probably one of the biggest events of its kind it is NOT the largest Comic-con in the world.The big ones in Tokyo, the ComiKet (Comic Market, which take place twice a year in the Summer and Winter), are over 5 times heavier than Comic Con with attendances upwards of 500,000!

Many of these events have now become huge multi-media shows or conventions with star guests autographing, guest panels featuring comic book artists, movie directors and game developers, Q & A sessions, movie and TV premiers and previews as well as a large video game presence. You will often find many of the big studios in attendance to promote and “test” their next blockbusters or TV shows.

The Comic-cons and conventions are the life-blood of the hobby and if you have never been to one make sure you go to the next one held in your neighborhood.If you’re a collector then you should attend your local comic-con regularly as well as attending a few in other areas over the course of the year otherwise you’re missing out on a huge opportunity as they are an excellent source for finding rare, vintage and end of line bargains as well as trades and hard to find items and, above all else, they’re great fun!

Written by Colin Dorman

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