Does the World Really Need 15 More Comic Cons?

Every year, the San Diego Convention center plays host to Comic-Con, which has evolved from a small conference for a handful of hardcore geeks into an orgy of media, major Hollywood studios, celebrities, and geeks from all over the world.

More than 130,000 people attend the annual gathering, and film studios use it as an opportunity to debut footage for upcoming tentpole pictures. As Comic-Con has become an iconic annual event, other companies are trying to get in on the action, and now Comic Cons can be found all over the world.

This April, comic fans and nerds in the United Arab Emirates gathered for the fifth annual Middle East Film and Comic Con. At the same time, “Fanboys and girls of all ages” gathered in Wilmington, NC, for the Cape Fear Comic Con.

There are similar events in cities both large and small the world over. Yet whether attendees realize it or not, these events may have little to nothing to do with the famous San Diego Comic-Con. Yes, these events may be called “Comic Con,” but only because that’s a general nickname for comics conventions of all kinds.

While San Diego Comic Con draws an A-list panel of stars — many film studios actually stop filming to whisk actors away to San Diego for the weekend — these regional events sometimes struggle to attract talent. While the Dubai event managed to nab Jamie Lannister from “Game of Thrones” and Doc Brown from “Back to the Future”, Cape Fear Comic Con featured mostly unknown panelists.

While many of these new Comic Cons are organized through the organic efforts of local nerds, there’s no doubt the trade show and conferences industry has benefited from the name recognition offered by the words Comic Con.

Typically, most city convention centers host sleepy industry-only trade shows. About 50% of trade shows in the U.S. are held in just three cities: Chicago, Las Vegas, and Orlando. Now, these comics gatherings are making conferences cool again, or possible for the first time.

At least as cool as something billed as a “nerd event” can really be.

Image Source: Pat Loika

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