Thursday, August 11, 2005

San Diego "Media" Con. Manga spits Hip Hop

The last two years I have attended the SD Comic Con working for a large toy company. It’s a lot different than being there as a small publisher which I did for four years. For the most part everything is set up. You have a professional con coordinator and all you really need to do is show up and interact with the con folk and give away free shit. This is where the trouble begins

..but more on that later…

This was the first year where I felt the comics were really kicked to the curb. Over the last bunch of years there has been a noticeable drive to turn the con into a more “kid” friendly show and I think for the most part that’s a swell idea..the unfortunate byproduct is the show has turned into something like Mardi Gra meet’s Halloween via Teen Titans. The kids run around with bags in hand looking for anything free they can get their hands on. Can you blame them? When everyone wants to push their products and get the kids buying which ever game, toy or TV/Movie they are tossing out there.

As I said the trouble starts with the interaction over the free shit. I saw people lie, cheat and steal at the show. I saw adults get mad because kids won an action figure over them. I saw parents demand and kids cry and in the end I felt like we had made a few kids happy and shown off a toy line that is near and dear to our heart.

With all the lights and video screens and free shit we had…people came from far and wide to check us out. That’s what happens when you have something on TV..we are a media driven society and it gives you instant cred. Warranted or not.

In sharp contrast I went by artist alley which had the look of a down on it’s luck flea market. Everyone in that area was over 20 and it was not filled to capacity like the rest of the show. It bummed me out. Why are American comics so beat down…? I know why…but that’s going to be discussed in future blogs.

Jump over to Tokyo Pop. It was filled with kids and teens. It was bubbling over with enthusiasm and energy. I know everyone has heard the debate over American comics vs. Manga and all that BS.

They talk about the style and the format of the books.

In the end it’s all about the stories and the entertainment value of the material. The sad part about a lot of American comic creators is they have forgotten to make what they are working on entertaining. Or better yet personal expression. That’s what turns people on. Knowing that the artwork they are seeing is authentic.

It’s like Rock music. It was once this dangerous art form that could change the world. Than it became cliché’ and all about selling the image…Hip Hop came along and was it’s the most dominant force in pop music. Manga is the comic book equivalent to Hip Hop. It’s speaks in a language that this generation speaks in. It’s in a style that appeals to them, For every U2 and White Stripes that keeps Rock going …there is a lot of Creed and Puddle of Mud…same old stuff…repackaged…sound like the Superhero genre to you?

Back to work.

I’ll stop being master of the obvious and try and think up some solutions.


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