Sunday, October 18, 2015

New York Comic Con 2015

Last weekend Personal Beasties went to New York Comic Con to support fans with the conscious intervention of taking a few deep breaths if they felt stressed or anxious at the mega event, held annually at the Jacob Javitz Center in Manhattan.

In exchange we provided a blue screen for them to pose in front of and offered to take photos, with their own devices, for personal editing use at home.
Our Home Depot Blue Screen worked divinely, and the glorious sunny day just added to the delight as we intercepted Comic Con fans on their way to the event.
Of course, the traffic was two way and as some fans arrived, others were seen going home...loaded down with collectible goodies procured at the event.

It was still a work day for some, but the event cast it's magic upon reality as even this Roto-Rooter man had a look of Nintendo's infamous Mario about him.
NYPD was hard at work too, holding down the fort and keeping the roads clear of illegally parked vehicles.
Ticket scalpers were also out in full force, as can be expected at this sold out event, making sure that black market commerce operated in parallel with the government-sanctioned "Convention Center" channel...and what a big business it is!
John Kell, of Fortune Magazine, provides this background synopsis on how NY Comic Con, founded in 2006, grew into a $50 million a year moneymaker for organizer ReedPOP (not affiliated with Comic Con International: San Diego which is run by a non-profit)

So what does all this fan spirit say about participatory culture as a commodity?

Fun as the event appeared, its underbelly clearly reflected what Nato Thompson describes as the effects of the increasing privatization of space, culture and time...where the increase in cultural production is tied inextricably with to those of capital.
And once again we must recognize that the workhorse of the digital economy is "You" the fan, the comic book reader, the computer game player, the film audience, etc...
It was only in 2006 that Time Magazine's Person of the Year, was You, recognizing that millions of people anonymously contribute and fuel the ceaseless machines of consumer capitalism 24/7.
The New York Comic Con fans who wanted to be recognized with media attention were given just that as well as with the attention of the broader sphere of cultural producers (our selves included) .
It may be worth our while to check out San Diego's Comic Con International in March of 2016 to see if it feels any different in the non-profit world...