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Comic-Con and the Business of Pop Culture: What the World’s Wildest Trade Show Can Tell Us About the Future of Entertainment Hardcover – June 15, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill; 1 edition (June 15, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071797025
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071797023
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #223,032 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Booklist, June 1, Starred Review: Approaching his subject as both a business futurist and a longtime comics fan, Salkowitz takes a prismatic view of the comics world from its squirming heart: the bustling, hype-overloaded juggernaut of the San Diego Comic-Con. He ties anecdotal accounts of the craziness that unfolds at the Con over five days in July with ruminations on the current state of the medium. Though he considers and speaks eloquently to the place of literary graphic novels, quirky webcomics, and the sequential-art format as a whole, his crosshairs sit right atop those of Comic-Con: mainstream (superhero) comics and their (for now, anyway) cozy relationship with Hollywood. Here, if you can pay enough attention through the onslaught of noise, unapologetically vocal fans meet rock-star creators; the crumbling direct market meets fledgling digital distribution channels; approachable story lines meet decades of convoluted continuity; reverence for history meets a dire need for change; and, perhaps most important, quaint, low-margin publishing strategies meet blockbuster Hollywood marketing blitzes. It's all about as easy to pinpoint as an electron cloud, but Salkowitz considers the view from every angle and in a final chapter models four possible scenarios for comics in the next decade. If you care at all about comics, this is an essential read (and if you don't, Salkowitz just might win you over). But it's also grab-worthy for anyone interested in the fascinating, conflicted, unfolding future of digital publishing and transmedia entertainment. -- Ian Chipman "BOOKLIST"

About the Author

Rob Salkowitz is cofounder and Principal Consultant for the Seattle-based communications firm MediaPlant, LLC. He is the author of Young World Rising and Generation Blend and teaches in the Digital Media program at the University of Washington.


More About the Author

Rob Salkowitz writes, speaks and consults on the future of digital media and the global digital generation. His latest book, Comic-Con and the Business of Pop Culture, looks at the future of entertainment and communications through the lens of the world's wildest trade show, the San Diego Comic-Con. His prior works include Young World Rising (2010), exploring the impact of young entrepreneurs around the world, and Generation Blend (2008), on the digital age gap in the workplace. Rob is a founding partner in MediaPlant, LLC, a Seattle-based communications firm. He teaches digital media at the University of Washington and serves on the board of several non-profits. He has keynoted events worldwide and writes frequently for FastCompany.com and Internet Evolution.

Customer Reviews

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Any true fan of comic books will want to read this book for two reasons.
goldenrulecomics
This book uses the San Diego Comic-Con to look at the comic book and wider pop culture industry.
Chris Karr
The treatment of each aspect is both entertaining and very thought-provoking.
J. S. Couper

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am an independent comics publisher, and I read Comic-Con and the Business of Pop Culture from beginning to end in a single sitting. I simply could not put it down!

Rob Salkowitz uses his experience at San Diego Comic Con as an entry point into talking about the historical context of the comics industry, how it has come to struggle as it missed the digital boat for a decade as fans started downloading comics illegally, and the players and possibilities for comics creators and publishers today.

What's even more intriguing is that he has provided an international perspective to highlight emerging markets, audiences, and technologies.

Salkowitz provides an invaluable insider-outsider perspective; he comes to his writing as a lover of comics, and uses his knowledge as a business analyst, futurist, and internationalist to talk about a comics industry that might sometimes be so mired in its own habits to see alternative possibilities.

I highly recommend this important book to all comics creators, publishers, retailers, students, fans, or anyone who's interested in the evolution of an industry. It has certainly sparked my thinking and imagination!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By William Clark Cunningham on August 6, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I have been reading this book off and on for the past couple of months. Several pages here and there every night until I finally finished the nearly 300 pages. It took a long time to read, not because the book was bad or filled with the sort of business management language that makes for a tough slogging through, but for all the right reasons. I had a tough time getting through Comic Con because every 3-4 pages crystalizes a business concept about the comic book industry that was so impactful that I had to take them time to absorb the full implications of Salkowitz's observations before I could move on. If you read that last sentence and groaned,"Oh no, not another business book!" then I must reassure you with a gentlemanly slap to the head - this ain't your Daddy's business book.

Salkowitz ( can I call you Rob?) has taken the annual San Diego Comic Con as his metaphor for dissecting the comic book and pop culture industry as a whole. The metaphor is apt because as anyone who has attended Comic Con knows, there is a plethora of diverse interests underneath its umbrella. It is the lightning rod of the business attracting all sorts to ground. If we are to take a critical view of today's comic book industry with an eye toward seeing it strong and healthy into the future, then we must acknowledge that in today's comic book market there are indeed many interests each seeking attention of the masses in one way or another. By writing this book, and framing it so exactingly within the Comic Con metaphor, Rob has confirmed both my worst fears and greatest hopes for the future of comics and comics culture.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Chris C on June 7, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I've been in comic retail for over 15 years, and it's safe to say it's difficult to explain to the casual fan or even to the diehards all the woes and complications of the industry today. Rob Salkowitz presents a clear, concise, insightful, and engaging presentation of the comic world and its possible futures. I would say this is as relevant and enlightening as Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics, possibly moreso considering the current state of the comic world. Using Comic-Con as a focus on all the different aspects of pop culture and fandom, Salkowitz guides you through a process of examination that illuminates and poses many questions about the way new and old business interact with geek culture.

Considering the difficult economic times and the bleak future that comic retail storefronts face, this is the book that I would hand to anybody involved with any part of the industry today, including retailers, creators, and publishers. It's an important book to read, and it helps that it's a fun book to read as well. Salkowitz knows how to bring the reader in regardless of their starting context, and he engages you with humor and as a fellow fan of the medium making this an enjoyable learning experience.

Can not recommend enough.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By L. Wilkinson on June 6, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Comic-Con and the Business of Pop Culture is that rarest of pleasures: a book that succeeds in being both an engrossing (and hugely entertaining) personal tour of Comic-Con conducted by an extremely well-informed guide, and a revealing account of the fundamental forces changing the face of business (the pop culture business and business-at-large)today, concluding with an incredibly-instructive meditation on the future. It will enchant those who appreciate the Graphic Arts-- but it will entertain and instruct a much broader audience as well. I recommend it absolutely.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By goldenrulecomics on August 6, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Any true fan of comic books will want to read this book for two reasons. It contains an eyewitness report on the happenings of the San Diego Comic-Con from someone who truly appreciates the world of comic books and what it means to true fans, and it is also an eye-opening analysis of the problems facing the industry.

The author, Rob Salkowitz, is a business consultant and expert of digital media, and he uses his background to highlight the fascinating intersection of the old comic-book fan base, the new fans that are far less attached to the history of the characters, and the various business interests that appear to be heading for a major conflict.

It's a strange world in which fans who love the actual comic books are shunted to one side at the convention to allow the movie stars and video games to take center stage, while the industry struggles with the ties to a distribution base that caters to those very same old-time readers that it would love to ignore. All the while, there's an anxiety building that the digital world may make physical comic books obsolete, to be fawned over by a smaller and smaller group of aging old men. The money is no longer in the publishing of actual comics, but in the licensing of the characters, and today's youth are just as happy to read the tales on their electronic devices, so who needs something printed on paper anyway?

It's a scary world, Salkowitz says. He ends the book with various scenarios about how the conflicts may work out, and some of them are quite rosy. But as one of those old-line fans who loves the feel of a comic book in his hands, I was left with an uneasiness that won't go away anytime soon.

I highly recommend this book to everyone who loves comic books. For more of my reviews please search for goldenrulecomics on squidoo.com.
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