‘Garth Ennison. You know, did ‘Priester’ with Bob Dylan’s kid. Steve.’
So, obviously, this happened.
I had a few things to say about it. I posted them on my Twitter account. Here’s the expanded ‘Not bound by 140 Characters version for those for you daft enough not to follow me. (Which you totally should: https://twitter.com/Filthy_Nevs
So I’ve given this whole ‘No More Cosplayers’ mindset some more thought. Maybe it makes sense? Just a little bit.
Oh, wait, No. Of course it doesn’t. It’s fucking stupid.
Fact One: Comics sell really, really badly. To make up for this, they are stupidly expensive. Readers moan about this. Rightly. Your entertainment dollar is not best spent on a £6 issue of Detective Comics when you can get Batman: Arkham City for a fiver.
Fact Two: Because they sell badly, working in comics pays really badly. You really have to want to do this job and you’re a bit silly to, because there’s no pension. For every Grant Morrison, there are a hundred, maybe a thousand people who didn’t make it, didn’t save their money. Their characters are on the movie screen while they’re stacking shelves in Tesco or Wal-Mart. Most people cannot live on the money comics pays you to draw a comic a month and end up taking other commission jobs.
Fact Three: To supplement the low-income comics pays, many professionals attend cons to try to boost their profile and sell their books and original pages of art.
Fact Four: Much like Goths, You can NOT be a poor cosplayer. You just can’t, Conventions cost a lot for tickets,,hotels, table outlay. So do the materials to make said costumes,plus maintaining them. It also takes a lot of time to actually make said costumes in the first place, etc.
Therefore: Cosplayers must be generally well off. They’re also coming to a comics show. with MONEY! (Some of you may have seen where I’m going with this.) Out of nowhere, a well off, excitable demographic has entered comics circles with money to spend whilst DRESSED AS THE CHARACTERS YOU DRAW!
This is not a thing to complain about. This is the Tenth Wonder** and the business ought to be thanking God for this…miracle. Because I think this is something that needs recapping on the grounds that we appear to be dealing with dumb people who think that it’s 1987, that fans should just rock up to your table, genuflect on how bloody amazing you are for turning out a comic on a schedule that the Japanese would laugh at, give you all their money, and bugger off.
Can cosplayers be annoying, squawking attention seekers? Sure, SOME of them. I’d rather headbutt The Rhino than get on the tram to Canning Town on a Saturday morning for MCM ever again. On the other hand, Do you honestly think you lot behave any BETTER than that? The amount of comic artists and writers I’ve seen sulking behind their table is astounding. I know your job mainly revolves around staying in all day and your social skills might have atrophied a bit, but it if we’re calling out cosplayers for their behaviour, than this cuts both ways, doesn’t it?
(True story: I saw a…fairly high profile comics creator at a show this year sitting behind a table with a vicious scowl on his face. At first I thought well, fair enough, maybe I just caught him at a bad second, but every time I passed by, he was sill angrily glaring whilst sketching Spidey. A mother took her kid up to him and asked ‘So…er..what did you think of Amazing Spider-Man 2?’ He replied, in the most passive-aggressive way possible: ‘Yeah..I’m not really into THAT STUFF anymore.’
Again, WHILE DRAWING SPIDER FUCKING MAN.
That creator has gone on tweet at great lengths that he finds Comic Cons largely to be a waste of time, unprofitable and that he can’t really connect with the fans there. Presumably because of Cosplayers and not cognitive dissonance.)
Is ‘You don’t know the difference between Tim Drake and Jason Todd!’ actually a reason to try and drive away money? Are you…stupid? Have you deluded yourself so much that this world of fiction is so important that you have to be mean and patronising to real living people as though you were the guardians of some profound knowledge which is basically ‘Comics don’t want to deal with consequences of time and charge customers for that.’ anyway?
‘Yeah, there was this Amazonian girl dressed as She-Hulk wanting to spend money at my table and learn more about comics, but she couldn’t tell me how many times Jen had been in the Fantastic Four. The FAKE! I didn’t get any money out of her and I’m DANG PROUD!’
And even if we were hit in the head and decided ‘No More Cosplayers’ was a good thing, How would you enforce this? A test? What? ‘Can you tell me how many times Jean Grey has died? THEN YOU CAN’T COME IN!’ Honestly, how does this even work? Are we saying we actually WANT to reject young, paying, affluent customers from comic shows now? Because….they aren’t really into comics in the same way as you? Obviously, that’s a stupid idea to start with, but even if it was true….
How is that any of your business, exactly? So some lad is dressed as Dr Strange and doesn’t know who Steve Ditko is? Don’t reprimand kids for not knowing as much as you. Get them chatting, take a chance to educate them. Maybe they’ll think kindly of you for giving them more avenues of entertainment to explore and buy some of your stuff, rather than scolding them like a priest having a go at an altar boy for not knowing his psalms.
I mean, do you actually WANT to pay $10 a month for a comic? I remember when comics went up from $2:99 to $3:99 and thinking ‘They’re not going to stand for this.’ And they didn’t. It was a time when online comic pirating had just started and while there are still the zealots who’ll buy Batman, Detective, Batman ’66, Arkham Manor, Batman And Robin, Legends Of The Dark Knight, Batgirl, Batman Eternal and whatever else every month, there aren’t nearly as many of them as there were a decade ago. Whatever anyone tells you, the reason for every new crossover, relaunch, etc is because this shit cannot support itself and all of this junk spiking is try to make up the profit that’s being lost on these books.
So, instead of bitching about what has already happened as if you had any power over it, fucking adapt, will you? Offer sketches of the cosplayers for £20 a pop. They’re vain buggers. Stick your Twitter/Deviantart/Tumblr address in the corner of your sketch. They post the sketch online as a selfie. Four of their mates come over and ask you to draw them.
You get a free ad, (because I guarantee you the lowliest cosplayer dressed up as Power Girl has more followers than you.) You just made £100. You’re fucking welcome, like.
Jesus, I wonder why this business is dying on its arse. Oh, because we’re fucking stupid and want to wallow in nostalgia for 1980 Secret Crisis. ‘Where will the new readers come from?’ THEY’RE…THEY’RE RIGHT THERE, IN FRONT OF YOU. DRESSED AS DEADPOOL AND SUPERGIRL. You’re too busy moaning about the old days to notice. Get their attention.
*NOTE: All of the Anti-Cosplayer rhetoric is MUCH funnier if read in the voice of Foghorn Leghorn.
*** The lass lounging on the comics (Probably devaluing them and never reading them, the hussy!) is Naomi VonKreeps and she’s a mate of mine. You’re surprised, I know. (Find her here: http://www.naomi-vonkreeps.com/) She is bloody awesome and much better at being a fan than most of the people I know. How she isn’t a special guest at cons, given her range of costumes and ability to discuss Star Wars, Assassin’s Creed, Batman and all other bits of Fandom is beyond me. Get her to the UK as a special guest, will you, Con organisers. Probably more entertaining than one more drunk British loser whoring out his pages in a Sainsbury’s carrier bag.