“As Josh notes, there are smaller cons that cater to indie comics – SPX, APE, MoCCa, etc. — cons largely by and for activists, who’ve decided to make that niche their bread and butter. But any con that hits a certain size has to start looking at their bottom line at all times, and, as in most arenas, what brings in the most money gets the most attention. That’s just how it is, and expecting the New York con to change it is looking in the wrong direction.” - Steven Grant
I’m just gonna flat-out disagree with this. It’s certainly much harder to have a creative and curatorial vision for a comics show, to believe in what you’re doing and keep it running when there are external monetary pressures, etc., but it’s nowhere near impossible, and while the bottom line is important, it’s by no means where the eye needs to be kept “at all times”. Far from it. Look east for inspiration, my good fellows, to the mighty shows of Europe. America may “not have culture” but there are art galleries and museums in areas other than New York and California, and all it takes is some smart event planners that know how to make a spectacle and get folks out.
I understand that Mr. Grant has a long-accumulated wealth of knowledge acquired over many years of con-going, but if I sincerely thought that “indie comics” (a phrase that means absolutely nothing, btw.) had an inherently limited audience of converts, I’d probably drop everything tomorrow and just go work in banking or something. Instead, “indie comics” actually encompasses everything that’s not WFH corporate comics, a huge field that now includes everyone from D&Q, Oni, Fanta, Top Shelf, and even Image, all the way to Random House, Simon & Shuster, and First Second.
Comics are literature, comics are entertainment, comics are excellent. The limit to the audience for comics is people who respond to art or the written word. Believing otherwise is narrow-thinking and self-defeating. We should be bigger, brighter, and bolder from now on, but in celebration of the medium, not the “culture”.
Quick edit for spelling.