creatorcon creatorcon

Artists Want Alternative to San Diego Comic-Con

Creator Con
Artwork by Jeff Pidgeon

A group of artists frustrated by the San Diego Comic-Con’s lack of emphasis on artists and art are pushing for the creation of an artist-friendly event called “Creator-Con”. They’ve started an informal Facebook page with this mission statement:

This page was created as a forum for the artists, writers, designers, self-publishers, retailers and fans that have become disillusioned and frustrated with what the flagship of comic conventions has become (y’all know the one…in San Diego).

The Creator Con idea was hatched a few years ago by a few exhibitor friends as a reaction to the popular media takeover of a convention that used to celebrate artists and creators. We were tired of being pushed further and further aside each year to make room for the bigger, louder and flashier attractions that had nothing to do with the convention’s humble beginnings. This page hopefully will give us all a platform to get the ball rolling on something new or at the very least, voice our opinions. So let it ring! We want to hear what you have to say.

In only a couple days, membership in the group has swelled to nearly five hundred people, which indicates not only the grassroots support for the idea, but how much discontent there is with the San Diego Comic Con’s treatment of the artist community. Many notable names in animation and comics have joined the group including Kazu Kibuishi, David Silverman, Stephen DeStefano, Scott Shaw!, Richard Sala, Katie Rice and Steve Purcell. Discussions are happening on the page about possible locations for a Creator-Con. Some are suggesting that it should be hosted in San Diego, while LA, Portland, Vegas and the Bay Area are also being name-dropped.

I’m in full support of a Creator-Con. As a former Comic-Con exhibitor (I exhibited three times with artists like Shane Glines, Gabe Swarr and Jim Smith), I eventually came to the realization that the Con wasn’t the most receptive outlet for indie companies and artists. The last time I attended (not as an exhibitor) was in 2007, and I cut my trip short after a day (a Thursday no less!). The emphasis of San Diego had shifted so far away from comics and artists that it was pointless spending any further time there.

In many ways, the very idea of a “comic-con” is outdated. Today, most artists practice across a wide range of artistic disciplines (comics, graphic novels, illustration, fine art, publishing, film, animation, toys, merchandising and branding, etc.). A Creator-Con that is focused around artists and their varied creative endeavors reflects more accurately how the contemporary visual artist thinks and works. The Creator-Con is an idea whose time has arrived–now it remains to be seen who will make it a reality.

UPDATE (6pm ET): Over 1,000 people have now joined the Creator-Con group on Facebook.