DENISE DORMAN DOES NOT BLAME COSPLAY for LOW CONVENTION SALES

Dear Readers,

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:

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The Hidden TRUTH About Comic Book Convention Earnings: For Creators, Have Comic Book Conventions JUMPED THE SHARK?

I’m guessing you’re here because you want to hear all about how Denise Dorman hates cosplayers, n’est-ce pas? Unfortunately for all of the haters still out there perpetuating this myth, that data point remains totally untrue. So…if you’re going to be a hater, read elsewhere. In the words of the great Obi-Wan Kenobi, waving his hand, “There’s nothing to see here.”

So how did this insane myth come to light? On a misleading click-bait headline on Bleeding Cool News in September of 2014. That’s what kicked it all off. And today, two years and 8 months after I wrote that initial article, I’m still getting 200 hits a day on this blog, and having to defend myself to total strangers. One of my best friends, Heather, shared with me that the weekend of C2E2, some of her brother’s cosplay friends verbally accosted her recently at his 40th birthday party, incensed that she was close friends with me, as was indicated on Facebook. They actually sneered at Heather, “I see on Facebook that you’re not just friends, but close friends with Denise Dorman…” Sadly, these are the kind of people who reproduce and vote every four years, and yet they have no intellectual curiosity beyond hearing a rumor or reading a headline.

Hmmm...would a cosplay hater be in the foreground of the 501st? Stop. Think. Listen.

Hmmm…would a cosplay hater be in the foreground of this 501st photo AND be an honorary member of the 501st? Would his wife? Stop for a moment. Think. Listen. Use some logic.

Here are some TRUTHS you need to know:

#1. Neither Dave Dorman nor I hate cosplayers. Never have, never will. We are honorary members of the 501st, the largest cosplay organization in the world. Some of our closest friends are cosplayers. I cosplay. Cosplayers rest their weary feet in our booth at SDCC (or any other show where we’re exhibiting), they elicit my help in adjusting or fixing their costumes, hair, or makeup, and they pose for Dave. My niece Madyson is a dedicated cosplayer, model and actress in Albuquerque. Are the lie perpetuators out there suggesting I would hate or diss my own flesh and blood, or close friends?

My beautiful niece Madyson, cosplayer, actress, model.

My beautiful niece Madyson: Cosplayer, Actress, Model.

#2. Dave Dorman couldn’t do his amazing art work without the help of cosplayers. They pose for him. ALL. THE. TIME.

#3. We admire cosplayers and we understand firsthand the hard work and craftsmanship that goes into their work.

And here is the key interview I did on Yahoo! News with Mat Elfring to clarify my stance on cosplay:

http://bit.ly/DeniseDormanOnCosplay

And if that isn’t enough, as a business decision, Dave and I made the decision to actually invest in the promising New Orleans author MiMi Rawks, whose new geek erotic romance novel, “Cosplay Virgin” from the three-book “Cosplay Confidential Series” should be hitting the stands in the next couple of months. Dave is doing the cover art for her book series, which takes place in the cosplay community. The first cover illustration is breathtaking, and author MiMi Rawks serves up some HAWT geek erotica; her story is as compelling as it is suspenseful and entertaining.

Now…are we done YET with kicking the dead dog?

While the Cat’s Away…

This past week I was on a business trip to Northwest Florida, my second home. Since I have various social media “alerts” set up to monitor every client, including my most reluctant client Dave Dorman, I caught this Twitter comment and I cracked up:

Wife #3?

Could this be Wife #3?

So naturally, my inner smart ass couldn’t let this go without piling on:

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Fortunately, BGF Central is graciously good-natured: 

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And @BGFCentral’s creative new hashtag cracked me up even more: #AwkwardEncounterWithWifeIDidNotKnowExisted

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And so my comments unwittingly became a thread on comics website, Bleeding Cool News:

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And so BGF Central has become a Sister Wife to me (and I’m not even fundamentalist Mormon!) and she already has a “Honey Do List” started! 

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I wish BGF Central great luck with that! During the first term of the Dubya Administration, I started one of those. Cut to a calendar on the wall, months peeling away in rapid succession…massive amounts of time elapsing…and here we are today. Mission Unaccomplished.

The day I realized there could never be world peace was the same day I realized Dave and I would never agree on how to load the dishwasher. Or the day Dave and I got into a huge argument about where to put his dad’s water distiller, because we cannot communicate. What Dave refers to as “the washroom,” I call the “laundry room.” (Where I’m from, washroom and bathroom are interchangeable terms.) Or the day I realized I would never cook anything that Dave would ever eat (he’s anti-fruit, anti-vegetables, anti-meatloaf & anti-casserole). And then there’s our body clocks. His is geared to being up all night; he MMPORG games on Star Wars: The Old Republic Purge Guild from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. nightly. When he finally comes to bed, I’m post-REM, in my lightest sleep cycle. More often than not, it awakens me for the rest of the night, and I’m ready to strangle him as he snores away, blissfully unaware. My body clock likes to get up about three hours after he goes to sleep. (My clients and friends often wonder why they get emails at 3 a.m. Now they know.)

Paula Abdul was right about one thing: We come together ’cause opposites attract.

The Blessing and the Curse of Work-for-Hire Illustration

File this under: “The Artist is always the last to know.” One of Dave’s fans just posted on Facebook that Dave’s artwork is on a free puzzle inside of Star Wars lunch boxes now for sale at Walgreen’s:

Dave Dorman artwork on puzzle inside of Star Wars lunch boxes, now in retail stores

Dave Dorman artwork on puzzle inside of Star Wars lunch boxes, now in retail stores

And here’s the original art from that free puzzle:

Dave Dorman's Star Wars "Smugglers Moon" Original Art

Dave Dorman’s Star Wars “Smugglers Moon” Original Art 

And by the way, if you’re interested in purchasing this piece as an Artist Proof litho, it’s $75 here: http://www.davedorman.com/swprintsforsale.shtml )

Dave’s Star Wars art is also on a few graphic tees selling at your local Targets and Wal-Marts at the moment, and we’ll probably see a lot more of it on random products as the new Star Wars VII film ramps up its marketing engine. The fans are always astounded when Dave shows surprise that they’re wearing his art. What people outside of the illustration world don’t realize is, the artist is never told where or when his art will appear. (This was especially true when the “Predalien” concept art Dave did years ago for 20th Century Fox as a work-for-hire surfaced in the AVP2 film, uncredited, which totally sucked.) Licensed art is merely a work-for-hire arrangement. I hate to burst everyone’s bubble, but we’re not rolling in dough from Star Wars art, Alien art, or any licensed artwork, for that matter. That’s why it’s so mission critical for artists out there to develop their own creator-owned projects, also known as I.P.’s or “Intellectual Properties,” which Dave has done with THE WASTED LANDS. It’s the only way artists will ever see wealth.

Once the art is submitted to the art director, the only money we make on it other than the commission is when Dave sells the original art. In the case of Star Wars or any Lucasfilm pieces Dave does, George Lucas has automatic first right of refusal to purchase any of Dave’s art, and he owns more than 90 original Dave Dorman oil paintings. (This is why when artists paint digitally, we scratch our heads, wondering how they eke out a living, since they have no original art to sell to collectors once the piece is submitted.) Artwork that has been published–be it on packaging art or a magazine cover–is always worth more to the art collector.

So, what is the blessing, if any, of work-for-hire illustration? The only silver lining to this cloud is that if you’re an artist doing work-for-hire work, it likely means you’re a self-employed solopreneur, and you’re probably leading a much happier life than you would be working for “the man.” You can go the movies at 1 p.m. on a Thursday and not wait in line. Your dry cleaning bills are non-existent. You’re saving money on fuel, lunches out, and let’s not forget all of those glorious tax write-offs!

I recently had the epiphany that we lead weird little lives here at the Dorman household. (I know, I know…all of my inner circle of friends out there are doing the face palm and calling me Captain Obvious as they read this.) So the epiphany happened the day Jack and I were back-to-school underwear shopping in our local Target. As we stood there debating whether to buy the Batman underwear with John vanFleet’s Batman packaging art vs. another friend’s Batman underwear art, I realized it.  The rest of the world would never give this a moment’s thought. To us, the artists–and the art they create–is so precious, so important…and we behold it with such reverence. Even if it’s on a frickin’ underwear package at Target.

So smash cut to breakfast at San Diego Comic-Con with John vanFleet. I shared my Batman underwear narrative, and John was amazed to learn that his Batman art was so dangerously close to 10-year-olds’ skid marks across America. Like I told you, the Artist is always the last to know.