Comic conventions have been colonized and overwhelmed by mainstream movie, TV and game marketing, a surprisingly rapid process that has finally left comics so marginalized that the fandom despairs. Chris Butcher explains how barren the landscape is–and just how fucked you are if you are dependent on original book product.
The changing convention landscape is inherently shitty for people who make comic books. Art comix, indy comics, mainstream comics, whatever comics, the changing makeup of conventions is hostile to people who want to make and sell comics at comic conventions. And let me be clear, this is comic books and graphic novels, as opposed to 'prints' or crafts or whatever manner of tchotchkes makeup most exhibitor tables these days. Basically, comic book conventions are aggressively attracting an audience who don't necessarily value books, or comic books.
I don't agree with all of his arguments (if semipro cosplayers and youtubers making affiliate bucks are becoming a serious competitive problem, surely that's a symptom of decline rather than a cause of it) but find that conclusion convincing. Comics Beat's Heidi McDonald boils it down to "costumes, celebrities and a cute kid or two."
Cartoonists are being written out of the comic-con story at a very fast pace, and unless something is done, the entire culture of cons is going to be completely shifted to a "remember when there was a broadcast involved in broadcast TV?" narrative
You know why Marvel superhero movies never have proper endings? Because they are comics. They fill the space in culture and entertainment that comics used to occupy. What this means is that the price of guaranteed entry, to the audience that comics used to reach, is now hundreds of millions of dollars—give or take a zero or a miracle. To participate in one medium is to participate in all of them, and you will be at a brutal disadvantage if you lack the capital to do it.
No gatekeepers, no garden.