Artwork by Jeff Pidgeon
The San Diego Comic-Con is pushing forward with its misguided agenda of appeasing corporate interests at the expense of alienating the indie comic and animation community. Their latest bone-headed move is to increase the price of additional exhibitor Comic-Con badges to $200 each, up from $75 last year. As anybody who has ever exhibited at Comic-Con can tell you, artists typically don’t earn truckloads of money at the event, and when all the costs of booth rental, travel, and lodging are factored in, the obscene $200 exhibitor badge essentially guarantees that an independent artist will leave the convention empty-handed.
Considering the Comic-Con is a non-profit, it is inexcusable to increase the price of additional exhibitor badges by 266% in one year. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the artistic community is deserting the Comic-Con in record numbers. Even successful independent artists are fed up, like Flight and Amulet creator Kazu Kibuishi, who noted on Twitter today:
“This will likely be our last Comic-Con with a Flight booth. Will continue to attend the show, but as an author, not a booth manager.”
Comic-Con’s strong-arming of the indie comic and animation community only lends credence to the viability of a West Coast Creator-Con, especially one that isn’t operated by the Comic-Con organizers themselves. Personally, I exhibited at the MoCCA festival in New York last month and had a delightful time. It had the kind of low-key artist-oriented vibe that I would hope to experience at a Creator-Con. I also netted as much money at MoCCA as I did when I used to exhibit in San Diego, which is notable because MoCCA’s attendance is roughly 1/75th of Comic-Con’s.