Tagged: comic book conventions

Dennis O’Neil: Big Comicon, Big Business

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. • I Timothy 6:10

Vast marketplaces, comic conventions these days, and that has its upside, certainly. You get to complete your collections by visiting the used comics dealers and maybe see something you didn’t know exists but would enjoy owning and out comes the wallet or, increasingly, the credit card and the deal is done.

I don’t want to get all new-agey on you, but I think it’s good for us to interact with the universe of which we’re a part and money is a way to do that; you’re exchanging whatever effort got you the money for food, clothing, shelter, comic books…you know –life’s necessities All good.

The problem comes when money ceases too be a medium of exchange and becomes an end in itself.

But don’t you dare take my word for it!

Whose word should you take? Well, there’s some research I first saw mentioned in a book by Nobel prizer Daniel Kahneman titled Thinking, Fast and Slow. The claim is that money can have a negative on a person’s personality without that person being aware of it. Here’s a Googled quote from a website called neuromarketing that pretty much explains what we’re discussing:

In each experiment, the researchers subtly prompted half the volunteers to think of money – by having them read an essay that mentioned money, for example, or seating them facing a poster depicting different types of currency – before putting them in a social situation. In one experiment, the researchers gave volunteers a difficult puzzle and told them to ask for help at any time. People who had been reminded of money waited nearly 70% longer to seek help than those who hadnt. People cued to think of money also spent only half as much time, on average, assisting another person who asked for their help with a word problem and picked up fewer pencils for someone whod dropped them.

(For the record: the researchers referred to were Kathleen Vohs and colleagues.)

Are we ready for some connection to comics yet? Okay: it seems to me that a lot – but by no means all – comics conventions are big, big business. What seems most important at them are the commercial aspects and the presence of celebrities, which is part of the commerce, since the celebs charge for autographs and, in at least some instances, are paid for appearing.

What I’m afraid may be lost is the innocent enthusiasm for the comic book hobby, in whatever form, and the camaraderie like like-minded souls getting together and sharing. The whole scene seems to have coarsened. And that’s too bad.

And in the interest of fairness and balance, a brief anecdote: About four years ago Marifran lost her purse while we were attending the mother of all cons, the annual San Diego shindig, I thought, there are 140,000-plus strangers in that building and bye bye purse and money therein. The next day, the purse was returned, anonymously, with absolutely nothing missing.


#NYCC Ticket Prices Triple In Secondary Market

Jesse Lawrence of TiqIQ tell us that it looks like everybody wants to get into New York Comic Con, and that there is a pretty robust secondary market and a totally sold out primary market. Jesse writes: “Our database goes back 5 years, and this is by far the most amount of secondary activity we’ve seen for the show in NYC… there is a major premium every day, with Sunday having the highest at premium at over 300% above face price.”

With ticket sales stated to be over 150,000 people, the convention looks to officially surpass San Diego as the nation’s biggest convention. The 7 subway station across the street from the Javits Convention Center can’t open soon enough.


Sunday activity is perhaps surprising, as that’s usually considered the slower day at conventions. It’s quite possible, however, that people are bringing kids to the show on that day, thereby spiking demand.

Dennis O’Neil: Consuming Mass Quantities

It was late in the evening before we found a place where a pair of oldsters with a nodding acquaintance with heart attacks and strokes might find nourishment. A pizza joint, it was. A pizza joint with few customers but a pretty high decibel level. I ordered penne with roasted vegetables. Yummy? We’ll see. The service was, to be charitable, unhurried, but eventually the stuff arrived. A lot of it. I could have gotten four or five home meals from what the wait-person presented. I finished about half.

The next morning, as is my on-the-road custom, I ordered room service pancakes. No complaint about service this time – the meal arrived before it was promised. But again… this was a single serving? Five pancakes, wide and thick: at home – three or four meals. But I ate the lot of them, maybe because I like pancakes more than I like penne with roasted vegetables and afterward, feeling a bit bloated and bottom-heavy, I experienced a guilt pang. Had I been gluttonous? Not that gluttony is a hanging offense. (Is it even a mortal sin? I bow to my school teachers and Others Who Know.)

And here, we begin to slip into murky regions. How do we define gluttony? How much is too much? When does a pile become a heap? A hill become a mountain? Maybe my pig-out is your satisfying snack.

Maybe you can judge when something is too much by the results it produces. I did not feel awfully chipper after that penne dish and maybe millions of my fellow citizens experience similar discomfort after a meal and here we might be tempted to launch into a diatribe about national health crises and such. But let’s not. Instead, let’s go to the movies.

We should have no trouble finding seats. It’s been kind of lonely in the multiplexes lately. Ticket sales have been dismal. The summer’s receipts are 22.2 percent lower than last year’s. And still, the entertainment we get in those holy darknesses is long and, like the pizzeria, very, very loud. Why defeat one villain when we can vanquish a dozen? Just one explosion? What are we, pikers? One hero? Okay, but doesn’t the budget allow us to hire five? More? Same with bad guys. Let’s have our protagonist(s) mow down a battalion.

And as you leave he theater, do you feel that all that sound and fury left you feeling satisfied, or just bloated? Or did you even go to the theater? There’s the hassle with parking and it’ll cost you a twenty to get you and a mate past the ticket taker and so… you may decide to become a member of that 22.2 percent of moviegoers who became ex-moviegoers. I mean, if you’ve seen a hundred explosions you’ve pretty much seen explosions and they’ll look the same when you see them on your television screen, only smaller.

The day after I had the pancakes, I ordered the same breakfast. I expect we’ll get to the movies sometime soon.