No to Cosplayers!

Cosplayers are ruining Comic Cons

You may have seen a variation on this headline over the past few days, after Pat Broderick posted on his facebook page a rant against Cosplayers.

todays heads up. If you're a Cosplay personality, please don't send me a friend request. If you're a convention promoter and you're building your show around cosplay events and mega multiple media guest don't invite me....You bring nothing of value to the shows, and if you're a promoter pushing cosplay as your main attraction you're not helping the industry or comics market..Thank you..

The 61 year old comic book illustrator, best known for Marvel's Micronauts in 1979-84, now works as an instructor at The Art Institute of Tampa. When doing shows, namely Comic Cons, he is put out by the large number of attendees and guest that aren't there for comics. Comic Cons have grown to include many forms of entertainment media as comics themselves have gotten shoved to the back.

Pick up a copy of Diamond Distribution's monthly Previews magazine, and there are scores of Comic Publishers, but where are they at the conventions? Hidden behind Sony, Disney, Microsoft, Hasbro, and Blizzard. Yeah they're still at the conventions, but you have to get past the big companies, that have nothing to do with Comics, to see them.

I understand the frustrations of Broderick and Dave Dorman's wife Denise, in attending these events and getting little to nothing out of it. If you're going to call your event a Comic-Con or Comic Festival then lead and promote comics, otherwise call it a Cosplay Cavalcade, or Mega Movie Meet-Up, but Comics and Graphic Novels are a different entity, with a different audience.

Two Days ago I expressed a personal opinion and a request on my facebook page in relation to cosplay and conventions which are heavily loaded with LARGE media guest and Cosplay events... While I understand disagreements to my statement what followed in the tabloids was a very loaded over exaggerated tabloid handling of my comments. I've been in this industry for well over 40 years now and have attended many conventions during this time and have witnessed the growth of what began as a few fans showing up in costume into this cult which we call cosplay today.I've received a great amount of support from both professionals and fans on my stated opinion and to those supporters I say thank you, I've also received a great deal of negative responses to my statements which I accept also. Comic cons today are more media events than comics oriented shows, and that would be fine except these shows are promoted as comic cons yet comics appear to have become a shoved into a corner part of the event. If that's the direction these shows want to go,fine, but stop calling them comic cons. To the injured parties here, I apologize,as this was meant to be a heads up to those type of show promoters as to not waste their time contacting me as after this last years show experience I will decline their offer. To those offended cosplay characters participating in these events, while I admire the efforts and time spent in producing your costumes, well done, but keep in mind that these shows started and continue to be GP rated family friendly events so consider the children who attend with their parents and the uncomfortable position you're putting the parents in with your designs. To those who antiquate their time and investment as an equaled effort to the years artist and writers have put into their trade, that's just wrong and untrue. To those who have no problem blocking the isles at the shows for your photo opps, move your interested parties away from the showroom floor to open the space for the fans who want to get to the tables they're interested in approaching. To all of the tabloid rags out there who like to throw your particular spin on the comments you cut and paste, try looking up what journalism is all about. You can strive to be accurate and unbiased, which would be a refreshing turn of events.. Now I'm off to continue doing what I've done my whole life, advancing my art skills....
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At the same time I understand those that reacted to what Broderick said. This is the ever changing industry that is the multi-media. Comic Books are now on TV, in cartoon and prime-time live-action. They're the biggest thing in movie theatres and most Comic Stores carry RPGs, Board Games, DVDs, Manga, Anime or other interconnected medium, and they and the Comic Books inspire the Cosplayers. Do you think Todd McFarlane or Stan Lee are getting ticked every time some kid shows up at their booths in a self-made Spawn/Spider-Man costume? No way! Todd and Stan are congratulating the hard work and shaking his/her hand.

I agree that cosplayers, or anyone, blocking the aisle of a small vendor/merchant is a pain in the ass, and more needs to be done to educate people in the ways of courteously moving about in a crowd, or convention space period. Education is what we need, not chatter about Cosplayers being jerks and ruining the show for everyone else. They are loyal fans, they want to meet and impress the people that created the fandoms that they follow, and each other. They are attention seekers just like the guy signing autographs at a Comic Con.
If they are overshadowing you, maybe you like any business, need to change your game, appeal to the customer. When you think that those that attend aren't your customer, you've lost the game. To win, find out what they want that you can provide, engage your customers, and they will engage with you. This is why the stores and cons have changed, they needed to engage the people that pay and attend.

Cosplayers aren't ruining the show, they have shifted the focus and become the show, how do you win them over, provide the things they want. How do you find out what they want, try talking to them. In a world of Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, and Facebook these "kids" want to engage, routinely on their phones, and sometimes with anyone that will listen. So telling the very people coming to the shows you attend that... "If you're a Cosplay personality, please don't send me a friend request." is the exact opposite of what you need to do. Advance your skills and connect with them.

So to any convention personality that thinks their sales are lacking due to some other element that is gaining ground, don't ask that huge element to go away. Get to know it and what it wants from you. Don't lash out and attack it, it will return the favor a hundred fold.

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