Monday, December 8, 2014

Comic Cons, Anime Cons, Cosplay Cons? Who Are We?

Well, Pat Broderick is back.  This time with a longer rant that promotes segregation, gate keeping and even slut shaming.  Sorry for the crapy two part screen grab, but his rant was just too long.

Well, here we go again.

Now we cosplayers, costumers, and makers are not even artists.  Or at least not on the same level as his high art.  Oh and we're also a cult.

At one point he suggests setting up a specific room for just cosplayers to go to for pictures and ego feedings.  That would keep the cosplayers out of the artist and vendor areas, allowing them to make more money since we're not blocking them any more.

Let's think about that for a minute.  This past weekend, I attended Yama-Con and walked the vendor area, artist area, and media guest area in costume.  My wife made a few purchases, and I did too, in costume.  Now, if we'd been banned because we were in costume, those dealers would not have our money.  Now, take out everyone else in costume and you've just removed 90% of the con attendees and even some of the vendors.  Also, who would be the one to determine what a costume is?  Some costumes are elaborate and obvious, where others almost look like street clothes.  So, I really can't see how keeping the majority of con attendees out of your room is going to bring you any more money.   This simply highlights how disconnected from the community he really is.

Now, the "Hey, keep it PG, Powergirl!" part.  This one is just a flat out face palm.  You're calling out and shaming people for dressing up in "sexy" costumes of characters YOU designed.  You designed that costume, and someone made it and is wearing it and you're trying to call them out for being too sexy and making parents awkward.  I don't really know if I need to say more than that.  I'm not even sure if I can.

You know, in a way, I feel sorry for Pat.  He was at his peak before Nerd Culture was at its peak.  Now, Nerd Culture is strong and mainstream, and money making machine, and he's about as relevant to is as Oprah Winfrey.  Pat, you keep yelling.  It's getting you the attention you're craving, but it's making you very toxic as well.

I would recommend that all cosplayers look up Pat's post(s) and check out who has liked or commented.  Likes = Agree IMO.  So if a con promoter agrees with Pat, then that tells me the promoter doesn't want cosplayers at their con.  Now, that is just fine.  They have the right to feel that way.  I have the right to disagree and the best way to get your voice heard in today's world is through wallets.  Don't like cosplayers at your con?  Cool.  I don't have to go, and I won't.  

Friday, December 5, 2014

Today I Learned That Comic Book Artists Hate Me

And I’m OK with that.

What am I talking about?  Comic book artist, Pat Broderick wrote a very inflammatory facebook post basically stating that everything wrong with modern conventions comes down to just cosplayers being there.  Here’s a copy of his post.


Now, as an old man, bitter, crusty, and more than a little jaded, may I just say:


Things in the geek world were just starting to settle.  People were starting to get along and it was getting quiet.  Meaning Yaya hadn’t made a blog post or had an old article republished as a new one in about a week.  Now this old fart has to come out swinging for the fences and get us all riled up again.

What we really end up here with is a classic example of Gate Keeping in the nerd culture.  Especially obvious in the comments supporting his view.  They all can be summed up with this:

Cosplayers are doing our characters without knowing anything about the character.

That’s their opinion.  Before we ever cosplay a comic book or any other character, we need to go back, read every issue of every book that the character has ever appeared in.  Learn the name and biography of every artist and writer of those issues.  Then read every issue that they have ever worked on.  Then and only then will we be qualified to cosplay that character.  Only then will we be worthy.

Gate Keeping.

Geek culture has changed.  Its now mainstream.  Its now cool.  Conventions went from having a few hundred attendees to tens of thousands of attendees.  That’s awesome.  Conventions now shut down major city streets to have costume parades, and people turn out by the thousands to see this.  That is awesome.  Then, a lot of them go home.  They came for the spectacle of the costumes.  A lot of convention attendees are there just for the costumes.  Just to people watch, and that’s pretty awesome too.  Its nothing new, really.  Its been like this for years.

Cosplayers are taking away the attention.  Cons are about costumes and not comics anymore.

Wrong.  Cons are about money.

It really comes down to marketing.  TV and movie actors and even voice actors are big draws to conventions because we recognize them or their characters.  We know them as their characters.  Show me a picture of John Rhys-Davies and I’ll remember Sallah.  Tell me that the voice in the Lexus commercials is actually the same person that provided the voice of Brain in Pinkey and the Brain, and what’s left of my mind is in that panel.  Tell me that Pat Broderick is going to be there and I’ll say who?

Comic book artists on major titles is a very niche market.  Not everyone is going to know who is who, especially if you’re a DC or Marvel artist.  Those universes are so huge and intimidating no new fan is going to do all that research that Mr. Broderick seems to require.

So, what should they do?  Try marketing themselves by more than their name and their tie to DC or Marvel.  How about in their guest write up, mention the issue numbers that they worked on, you know help us out a little.  You worked at a comic book publishing giant.  The new fans of things geek are never going to know what your pedigree is if you don’t tell them.

Yeah, but all the big word space for promoting this goes to the big stars and not to the artists.  So, then how is that the fault of the cosplayers?  Sounds to me that convention runners have figured out the simple truth comic book artists are resisting.  Movie and TV stars bring in people.  People mean money.  Except for cosplayers.  We’re broke.

That’s the other side of this argument.  Comic artists and writers and vendors complain that at the big cosplay conventions, they don’t make any money because cosplayers don’t buy anything.  Well the simple truth is that’s because I’m broke.  Do you have any idea of the time and money that goes into a costume, travel to a con, hotels, food, and then you expect me to pay you $50 or up for a simple line drawing of a character you drew 20 years ago?  Do you have any idea how much hot glue $50 will buy?  I do.  Cosplaying is a super expensive hobby and I’m sorry I didn’t budget myself the money to throw at your feet.

Times are changing old man.  Times have changed.  The world is cold and cruel.  Only the strong can survive in this environment.  Adapt or die, that’s your choice now.  Learn to market yourself, educate the new fans, and appreciate that you have new fans, or any fans at all for that matter.

Over on Pat’s facebook page, there is a lot of hate toward cosplayers going on, but it seems at least one of Pat’s friends gets it.