On Wednesday, I was fortunate to catch the tail end of the ICv2 conference as well as take a first look at the convention floor. As they say, it’s all about the fans. And that often means it’s all about the money. Seeing so many people at Comic-Con with giant bags of swag, standing in so many lines, desperation in the eyes of some, waiting for a chance to win something or buy something, I could clearly see money as the dominant theme: those who make it and those who spend it.
So, before being part of the human comedy that is SDCC, it was nice to listen to a few elite voices plot out what they think will motivate the fans. ICv2 is a consulting firm in the service of those trying to sell something to the fans. The conference was meant to tell it like it is about market trends. For my money, the star of the last panel was Jeff Katz, a Hollywood exec (Snakes On A Plane) turned comics writer (DC Comics’ Booster Gold) who led off with a two guns firing declaration that Hollywood is no fool and it knows how to chase down money and the money is in comics. Katz, looking like a hyperactive Kevin Smith, went on to rally for all those good-natured, well-meaning, creators who feel powerless in dealing with corporate interests. “The secret is that they need us more than we need them. The corporate balls are exposed and you should feel free to squeeze!”
Katz, who runs his own company, American Original, was beside himself in forecasting further profit in comics in a big way. He didn’t say exactly how a lone creator overcomes and succeeds but the general idea was to control what is yours. This is where Top Cow‘s Matt Hawkins stepped in with more straight talk, “Don’t take the money. Don’t sell you soul for $25,000 when your title could make millions over time.”
Once I was out on the convention floor, observing the fans, as a mass of humanity, out for the next shiny bauble, they seemed totally at the mercy of the various corporate interests, utterly powerless. Of course, they really are not. Just like those good-natured, well-meaning, creators, the fans have more power than they probably realize. As Jeff Katz would advise, if the corporate balls are hanging, the fan should not hesitate to squeeze.