PrintE-mail Written by Whitney Scott Bain

Book Review: Comic-Con and the Business of Pop Culture / Author: Rob Salkowitz / Publisher: McGraw Hill Publishing / Release Date: August 20th

Rob Salkowitz has written a fascinating, in-depth look at the ever changing landscape of the commercialization of the transmedia world of collecting that takes place at the granddaddy of all conventions - the five day San Diego Comic Con.

A page turner of information, Salkowitz takes us on a journey step-by-step, day-by-day at the convention of how the simple act of riding one's bicycle down to the local drug store as a kid checking out the spinner rack of comic books for that latest issue has morphed collecting into a maelstrom of media invaders marketing the public's needs through the global pop culture world of electronic arts, movies and games influencing billions of fans around the world.

The book covers the pros and cons of comic book collecting and the new e-media downloads that are becoming ever popular. The conundrum, however, is that collectors won't pay the $2.99-$3.99 for something online that they can get for free downloading at Bit Torrent or by obtaining a pirated version. Yet, if the price of an e-comic comes down, retailers themselves will retaliate by canceling orders because less and less hard copies will sell. The main question is; will this devalue hard copy comics now that they are readily available online anytime, anywhere with new and younger collectors at the press of a button? Will the comics of old be worth the paper they're printed on?

Salkowitz talks about companies marketing to the geek culture. The new superhero movie-tie ins, digital publishing, game makers, stores that are here and gone tomorrow, specialty boutique stores and the constant need for new projects to draw the buyers in.

With San Diego Comic Con being the template, will science fiction, horror and fantasy conventions around will the world follow its lead if they haven't already?

Filled with eye-opening information, this is a must read book for anyone who is a fan of comics and a great insight for retailers, artists, writers and publishers to see where the future is headed.

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