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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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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.
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Top Customer Reviews
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!
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.Read more ›
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.
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 hubpages.com.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Extremely insightful and thorough analysis of the current state of the comic industry - an absolute must-read for anyone who is a comic book lover but is also interested in the... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Jadd Shickler
Probably one of the best books ever written about the future of entertainment, this book encompasses all the ingredients that make up human life, what it always was, what it has... Read morePublished on January 5, 2014 by Len Noel
What a disappointment. I was hoping for some insight into the comic market and its future by a "futurist" but this is the same rehashed info you can pick up from reading a few... Read morePublished on August 24, 2013 by J. Davidson
This is the kind of book that you could spend hours discussing with your friends, regardless of their interest in comic books. Read morePublished on June 27, 2013 by Jeffrey Pidgeon
Definitely a must read for anyone that wants to understand more about the current state of comics as business. Read morePublished on May 16, 2013 by Gabriel
Apparently this book is from a business press but is 'a nontraditional topic and a nontraditional format from an author whose platform is that of a business/technology futurist. Read morePublished on May 14, 2013 by lovemurakami
I was compelled to write a review about this book because reading it has profoundly opened up my mind and changed the way I think about the future of comics. Read morePublished on March 14, 2013 by Dom
A must read for anyone in the business of comics! Full of practical industry anecdotes and advice, although anything but dry. Very entertaining.Published on October 4, 2012 by buckymcsatan
By Donald H. Harrison
SAN DIEGO -- Remember when some of the kids in your class -not you, of course- would pass the course simply by skimming through the comic book... Read more