Comic-Con wrestles business out of chaos
Day 1 of San Diego Comic-Con, 2011.
July 9th, 2012
03:57 PM ET

Comic-Con wrestles business out of chaos

Editor's note: Aaron Sagers is a New York-based entertainment writer and nationally syndicated pop-culture columnist. He has specialty knowledge in "paranormal pop culture," has lectured at conventions nationwide on the topic and is a media pundit on supernatural entertainment. He covers pop culture daily at and can be found on Twitter @aaronsagers.

If you don't have some reaction to San Diego Comic-Con International you're not participating in popular culture.

What began more than four decades ago as an intimate gathering of comic book creators, fans and legends has become a packed entertainment event. Although it doesn’t have the same ring to it, Comic-Con could more appropriately be called the Transmedia Pop Culture Con where buzz for a year’s worth of projects is created, prolonged or squelched.

Yet, despite the awareness that the con is a giant marketplace where producers sell directly to customers, there has been shockingly little analysis of the business of the event before Rob Salkowitz’s new book, “Comic-Con and the Business of Pop Culture.”

Seated at a conference table at the McGraw-Hill building in Manhattan, Salkowitz delved deep into his nerd-business theories.

A futurist and business writer, Salkowitz approaches "The Con,' as it is known in nerdy circles, as more than just a meeting ground of Hollywood suits and 130,000 fans. Instead, he calls it a “laboratory in which the global future of media is unspooling in real time,” where people participate in their entertainment instead of just consuming it.

Salkowitz writes that Comic-Con can actually teach some important lessons about challenges facing all creative endeavors in our globalized, digital world, but he does so from the perspective of a comics nerd who attended his first con when he was eight.

“In fact, I learned to read and write from comics, and I learned, basically, the fundamentals, of visual communication,” said Salkowitz. He strayed from the church of comics for a time as an adult, but returned to it and attended his first San Diego Comic-Con in ’97. After he ended up in a game of Five Card Nancy (based on the Ernie Bushmiller strip, and created by Scott McCloud) with McCloud, Kurt Busiek and Will Eisner, you could say he was back in the congregation.

Salkowitz’s nerd cred makes him the ideal candidate to examine The Con’s moment of “Peak Geek,” where comics culture is at a maximum saturation level, and to make some educated predictions of what happens next. FULL POST

Filed under: Comic Longbox • Comic-Con 2012