Weapons of Mass Consumption: The economics of comic fandom

Just after the recent San Diego Comic Con, the comic site Bleeding Cool published this article about exclusives and freebies only available at the con being sold for large sums of money on Ebay. There’s a tone of amazement there which coming from a site that regularly promotes ”hot comics’ rising in value is somewhat amusing but there is an issue on how the economics of comics or ‘geek culture’ is being turned into a fandom of itself, rather than being an offshoot of the love of comics as a medium or an artform.

A lot of fans will solely be picking up items to sell on which isn’t  anew thing, speculators have been around for decades and personally I’ve been there, done that myself. What seems to be an issue is not just the aforementioned problem with the medium coming second to the consumerism of the age, it’s an old sales manager of mine used to say, its companies selling shite to wankers.

Part of the issue is quality control, or the lack of it that people have so they can’t control themselves from buying something because it’s unique (limited to only 20k) or that its something ‘cool’ that someday will be worth more. The issue is that being swallowed up by consumerism means you’re not enjoying a medium as you probably could so you end up accepting less as passable. In effect the economics of fandom has reduced your critical facilities. In effect it’s become not only speculative to buy ”geek” related stuff, it’s become fashionable but we all know what happens when the mainstream absorbs the alternative..

Yup, you end up with dickheads clinging onto something because it’s ‘cool’ at that moment of time and the reason why everyone’s excited about a character like say, The Joker, or a film like Suicide Squad, is lost. It becomes more about cheering on the brand of your choice and consuming the merchandise to go with it. It changes people from fans to primarily consumers which is a quite terrifying thought for the development of comics as a medium in the future.

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