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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 (Business Books) Hardcover – June 15, 2012
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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.
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!
As a long-time attendee of the San Diego ComiCon and many other Cons up until a decade ago, I was there before movie-makers really noticed what was going on and I'm enthralled to read how Hollywood has not only noticed but became a major participant. As New Media (digital) slowly supplants Old Media and connects more and more on the planet, everything is bound to change and Rob Salkowitz explores these changes and the ramifications of what they suggest.
Life is learning and everything we learn is useful to our time on this planet. The lessons that Comic-Con and all the other comic-related conventions teach us is that our lives (like comic books and comic art) are sequential. We never stop learning, growing and changing.
Sequential art simply tells stories in an entertaining pictorial format and it can be viewed over a period of time to teach and entertain the viewers. This has great bearing and teaches many lessons when we realize that all movies with sequels and television serial shows have over the years developed into franchises and this has become a billion dollar business. Everything is related and once you are hooked on an idea, a thread or a character, you can watch more and more to learn and be entertained. This is greatly over-simplifying the book's message but this book is about what motivates us and how we live, think and act.
Rob has put together this book in such a way that it's almost as if he has taken an X-ray of the current comic industry landscape and pinpointed all the strengths and weaknesses. Having this type of knowledge is crucial for anyone working in any area of comics today. It's like having a GPS for navigating the world of comics. I'd also like to add that as a comic fan, this book did not disappoint. It's a fun and entertaining read that was hard to put down. I highly recommend this book, it's an eye opener and an enjoyable read all the way through!
As Stan Lee says, miss this book at your own risk. And as one of his characters might add, "Truer words wuz never spoke!"
(And personally: Having grown up reading comics during the Silver Age, my heroes were Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. As the Beatles were to music in that same era, these men were to comics. I am grateful to Rob Salkowitz for his deference to these creators.)