I wrote my last blog moments after hanging up the phone with Dave, who was reporting in from GrandCon with yet-again low sales, so perhaps in my fit of rage, I was inelegant in wording things as perfectly as some of you may have written them. However, I want to say for the record, I do NOT blame Cosplay for low convention sales. I never said that. However, I realize the link-bait headline on Bleeding Cool News that many of you scanned without reading the whole story may have lead you to that misleading conclusion. I have friends who Cosplay. We let them sit in our booth, park their gear, and rest their feet, and we help them readjust their costumes. We give them food and drink as they need it. We know it’s physically demanding, hard work. We support the whole “Cosplay is Not Consent” movement and we believe that message should be posted widely at every show.
Dave and I love the art and creativity of Cosplay. Dave goes to Steampunk meet-ups at #SDCC to snap photos for his future art pieces. We rely on the 501st to pose for us for all of Dave’s Star Wars paintings. Did you ever stop to consider, in your huge hurry to personally attack me and jump to wrong conclusions, why in the wide, wide world of sports I would ever hate Cosplay, which has given us so much? Dave couldn’t even do his job without Cosplayers to pose for him!
What I had hoped for, igniting an HONEST discussion about what we, as exhibitors (and they the convention owners) could be doing differently and how to give the fans what they want and still be able to afford to exhibit, turned into something ugly. Online harassment. Threats. Hate. To the guy that said “Denise Dorman should just shut the hell up,” I respond, “Do you wear your wife beater shirt when you talk like that online, Troll?”
In the 200+ comments to my blog over the past few days, some great ideas and discussions did emerge, and I am grateful to all of you for those respectful and helpful discourses. I’d recommend you read through them and comment. There’s some great material there.
I think the emphasis on Cosplay is symptomatic of a shift in the larger Cons from being a commerce-driven event to being a social gathering-driven event. Frankly, when I see someone who prefers to pose with a no-name Slave Princess Leia and completely ignores Neal Adams, that’s when I think the creators have been reduced to background wallpaper. And that’s what breaks my heart–when I see industry giants getting completely bypassed and ignored. It’s not the Cosplayer’s fault. They’re just being gracious and accommodating to the fans. That’s their role. It’s the new breed of attendees who are there because someone said it’s cool to be there; they are the ones completely unfamiliar with the comics industry. They are the ones who attend any hard-to-get-tickets event just to boast online. They are the people I take issue with. NOT the Cosplayers. Those are the people who care only about their selfies on their Instagram profiles. Those are the people who hijack events like #Burning Man, #Coachella and #SDCC with no understanding of why these events exist, or their raison d’être. Once they show up to the party, the event jumps the shark.
Now, if one more single person accuses me of being anti-Cosplay, anti-Feminist, jealous of Cosplay, or blaming Cosplay for reduced convention sales, I have this very special message just for you: