SDCC: A Retailer Revolt?
There’s been plenty of talk about how Comic-Con isn’t really about comic books anymore, with the influx of marketing about upcoming movies and TV shows (a few of which are at least based on comics).
That discussion typically revolves around how the movie booths and panels draw more attention than the ones dedicated to comics, but there’s another angle to the story.
Comic-Con began all those years ago as a smaller affair, dedicated to readers and retailers, and the star of the show was boxes and boxes of comics. Now? With the con’s huge growth, retailers are unhappy with their marginalized role, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.
They complain about rising fees for exhibit hall booths. “We are being priced out of existence,” said Richard Muchin of Tomorrow’s Treasures, a Long Island, N.Y., dealer.
They complain about the cost of traveling to, and staying in, San Diego. “It’s too expensive to be here,” said Lee Hester, owner of Lee’s Comics in San Mateo.
Most of all, they complain that they’ve been shoved aside by the Hollywood studios, whose enormous displays dominate the exhibition hall. “If we’re that important,” asked Jamie Graham, who runs nine comic shops in the Chicago area, “why aren’t we in the middle of the room, where more people can see us?”
Hester and Al Stoltz, of Maryland’s Basement Comics, said they will not return to the Con next year. Rozanski, one of the biggest vendors here with 25,000 books, said he may join them. “There’s actually a movement afoot to pull all the comic-book dealers out of Comic-Con and move to a separate venue,” he said.