The San Diego Comic-Con convention as been steadily growing in popularity throughout its 43-year run, but it is within the last decade that it has begun to reshape the way the entertainment industry functions. When discussing Comic-Con, most entertainment seekers are referring to the convention’s many attractions: ample opportunity to meet celebrities, chances to receive the inside scoop on upcoming film, television, or comic book franchises, early reveals of the newest merchandise, and countless chuckles at the expense of those dressed like out-of-shape super heroes. What is not considered, however, is the fact that the 130,000 be in attendance at the San Diego Convention Center in mid-July were given the opportunity to tell producers what is hot with consumers.
In the wake of recent drops in profit that have been lingering since the stock market scare in 2008, the entertainment industry has chosen to avoid risk-taking all together. Publishers, producers, and investors no longer have any financial interest in throwing the dice on unproven artists, writers, or concepts. This is why, for the most part, the only movies that are being dished out to the masses are sequels, reboots, or are only given the green light when a name like Channing Tatum hops on board. It is also why the graphic novel section at the local Barnes and Noble is bloated at the Batman and Marvel areas. It is becoming increasingly rare to find a fresh idea with a fresh face behind it because, quite frankly, they are not guaranteed to make people money. This is where Comic-Con comes in.
The hundreds of thousands of convention attendees are more than just a congregation of fan boys who have spent way too much time in their parents’ basements watching anime and knitting Zelda character costumes. If you are an up-and-coming hopeful looking to bring your comic or film idea to fruition, those in attendance provide a mass gathering of your target audience. The colossal cluster of prospective clientele is also on the cutting edge of what is cool in the entertainment world. These are the crème de la crème consumers who sit in the theaters, partake in the Netflix marathons, and frequent the Comic Book stores that fuel the industry. If a new concept and creator are seeking a breakthrough, Comic-Con is it. The convention’s audience is hungry for the next big thing, and is emotionally and financially prepared to invest in new ideas.
Comic book creators with fresh ideas such as Frank Miller, can attest to the collective power of Comic-Con buzz. It is a power that spreads like wildfire, engulfing the entertainment world in entirely new flames fueled by twitter accounts, blogs, podcasts, and other modern outlets. In Miller’s case, the acclaim he received from his written work, no doubt furnished by his consistent promotion at the event, caught the eye of film producers, turning Miller’s graphic novels 300 and Sin City into film franchises now worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Though success stories such as Frank Miller’s are few and far between, the relevance of the San Diego gathering has reached unprecedented proportions. The eyes of entertainment producers nation wide were focused on the San Diego Convention Center during Comic Con weekend, watchful in anticipation of spotting their next golden goose.