While the idea that “comics do well in a recession” is being sorely tested by the ongoing global economic meltdown, the comics industry really does seems to be riding out the storm better than most sectors. The boisterous moods at New York Comic-Con and WonderCon and the faster-than-ever sellout of this year’s San Diego Comic-Con have created the idea of a “fantasy economy” that is very much a standout in gloomy times.
For comparison, check out this report from PW on a DIFFERENT kind of recent book fair:
Stacks of unsold books and glum publishers stood for three days inside the cavernous Dallas Convention Center this past weekend at the Christian Book Expo, a first-of-its-kind event designed to connect publishers and authors directly with readers in the evangelical Christian market. Only problem was there were few readers to connect with, despite the show’s location in Dallas, the buckle of the Bible Belt and a top market for Christian publishers. The show, sponsored by the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association, attracted 1,500 consumer attendees; it had hoped for 15,000-20,000.
Off the record, exhibitor publishers rolled their eyes heavenward, but spoke with circumspection on the record. “Every new experience has a few nicks and bruises, but things can be worked out,” said Greg Petree, v-p of marketing at Howard Books. A few were more blunt. “We can’t afford these kinds of risks,” said Dennis R. Hillman, publisher at Kregel Publications. “In a year like this the last thing we want to do is something that has no payoff.”
The Christian book market has been one of the fastest growing and stable over the last decade or so; bestseller sales dwarf those of comics bestsellers. Yet people will flood out to see the authors of periodicals that sell barely 10,000 copies a month. Interesting.