The Rise of Comic Con
Last month, Blackburn News reported a recording-breaking attendance for the third edition of London Comic Con, which saw a whopping 10,000 attendees at the Western Fair District Progress building, 2,500 more than the year before. Because of the number of participants at the convention, organizers are relocating to a larger venue and pushing back the dates in anticipation of a much larger crowd.
But if you thought that was impressive, wait until you hear the numbers for New York. Last year, 167,000 were in attendance for the NY fest, beating the average international attendance of 130,000, and this year, the convention had a total of 180,000 in their four venues, as iterated by Bleeding Cool.
It’s funny how what was once considered as a childish pastime is now a hobby embraced by adults from all backgrounds, from those with comic book collections dating back to their childhood to others that have recently shown an interest in graphic novels as influenced by superhero blockbusters and hit series. In a infographic by Pocketfruity, it states, “Comic books have had a huge resurgence in the larger culture, with major Hollywood films and TV shows sparking a near-endless demand for these stories,” a stark contrast from a decade ago, before “geek culture” became part of mainstream media.
Other than Hollywood’s new relationship with this pop culture extravaganza, perhaps the growth in the comic book industry is driven by the evolution of the superheroes. Comics have always been there as a way of an escape from the real world, a medium that represented our nostalgia and thirst for innocence that many dismissed as childish, but as invincibility is taken away from modern-day characters, more people are identifying with their flaws and fragility. Heroes are humanized as they face similar personal issues mere mortals are struggling with on a day-to-day basis, allowing non-geeks to connect with comic book characters beyond a superficial level.
With the rise in the comic book craze, came the increase in cosplayers. Elizabeth Barrial, owner of Black Alchemy Lab and a vendor at New York Comic Con, shares with Oxygen that the numbers have grown exponentially, with veteran cosplayers from the 1990s to everyday people like businessmen, teachers, etc. “The stories have touched more people,” she says.
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Copyright 2016 Liane Chan