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Comic Book Artist Says Cosplayers Bring Nothing of Value to Conventions

Comic Book Artist Says Cosplayers Bring Nothing of Value to Conventions

Cosplay is on the rise, and I don’t see it hitting a plateau in the foreseeable future. More and more convention attendees head to exhibit halls in costume alone or in groups to display their latest creations. I’ve seen the cosplay scene alter in the last ten years. There are even a fair number of cosplay celebrities who have tables at shows. I love it. I love seeing the creativity, passion, and hard work on display. We feature cosplayers every week because we appreciate their talents.

However, some comic book artists who seem to be of the “get off my convention lawn, everyone who’s not spending money,” variety think that cosplayers are impeding sales. Known Star Wars artist Dave Dorman’s wife Denise Dorman recently wrote about how they’re losing sales and indirectly tied that to cosplay culture, and now former Batman artist Pat Broderick states cosplayers bring nothing of value to the shows.

He posted the following on Facebook on Thursday:


The text:

“todays heads up. If you’re a Cosplay personality, please don’t send me a friend request. If you’re a convention promoter and you’re building your show around cosplay events and mega multiple media guest don’t invite me….You bring nothing of value to the shows, and if you’re a promoter pushing cosplay as your main attraction you’re not helping the industry or comics market..Thank you.”

Here we go again. It’s a pity to see this line of thinking. First of all, cosplayers do spend money. All of them? No, but not all non-costume attendees spend money either. Secondly, value doesn’t have to just be about the dollars. Just the hobby of cosplay brings in attendees to see the cosplayers themselves, from photographers to fans. Bringing more paying attendees into a building increases the chances that someone will purchase your merchandise.

Plus, sometimes seeing a cosplayer is enough to get a person interested in a character. When I wear my Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld, costume, not many people recognize the outfit. She had a short run as a DC Comics character in the 80s and was briefly resurrected for the New 52 and an animated short for DC Nation. Upon learning who she is, a handful people have asked me what titles feature her. That’s more than no value.

One of the issues about arguments like Broderick’s and Dorman’s is that they have no way of knowing if cosplayers are spending money at their tables unless they are in full costume. It can be difficult to shop and carry purchases when you’re in costume so many cosplayers I know, myself included, browse the convention hall and hand over money in civilian clothes. Anyone you sell to at a convention could be a cosplayer, and you’ve just insulted them by telling them they don’t add any value to events.

Commenters on both sides of the cosplay divide replied, but I want to highlight one comment in particular from Raymond Lui. He sells Japanese toys and collectibles and states that cosplayers buy the least stuff from him and apparently has no patience for people who don’t know everything:


The text:

I had a cosplayer pass by my booth all excited about the upcoming DOCTOR STRANGE movie, and wanted to dress like him, but the cosplayer had no idea what Strange does, if he’s a real doctor, and when I remarked that he was created by Steve Ditko, the man who made Spider-Man, the cosplayer asked me if Strange was related to Spider-Man. I had to boot him out of my booth.

That’s a jerk move. If Lui would have taken a minute to nicely and enthusiastically explain who Doctor Strange is and shared a few of his favorite Doctor Strange titles, that cosplayer might have gone to a comic book vendor at the convention and left with a handful of Doctor Strange books, excited to learn more about the character. But since Lui made him feel stupid, he might never pick up a Doctor Strange book. The point being, there’s absolutely no freaking reason to be a gatekeeper. None. Let people into your fandom. Let them all in. If they don’t know the way, give them some helpful, non-condescending pointers in the right direction.

Times are changing. Broderick has been in the comic book business since the 1970s. Conventions now are nowhere near what they were even 15 years ago. Astute artists and exhibitors like Lui should see these changes and adapt with them, not rail against a group that isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

HT: Planet Platypus

IMAGE: LJinto featuring cosplayer Amazonmandy.

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  1. Jaycee rose says:

    Harley Quinn is by far one of the most cosplayed characters I see at conventions. Due to this, I became interested in her character, and started to get even more interested in Batman. I buy a lot of Batman comics now because I’m obsessed! This all happened because I saw Harley Quinn cosplayers.

  2. kendra says:

    Wow… what short sighted jerk… cosplayers are LITTERALLY walking advertisers working for the brand for free…. I actually ended up going to a convention BECAUSE a bunch of cosplayers were eating at the same restaurant as my boyfriend and I. He noticed them and we asked the cosplayers if there was a con in the area. That ended up bringing I think 10 people to that con who before didn’t even know it was going on. 

  3. Stanz says:

    Nerdist: King of The Nerd Lynch Mobs! Now I’m not saying the guy is in the right… he isn’t but in his frame of mind, probably had a few bad shows, maybe got treated extremely poorly by the convention itself, or maybe he’s just getting disgruntled by the switch in focus at conventions. But whatever the reason clearly you guys don’t care your just writing this article to enrage people for Click Bait Purposes. How hard is it for you guys to actually take the time to write a somewhat thought provoking look at both sides and why numerous artists are raising their voice against this growing trend. Just a thought, trying to help you guys out and not look like complete assholes

  4. Stanz says:

    Nerdist King of the Lynch Mob!!! I’m not saying the guy is in the right, he’s clearly had a couple bad conventions and is now just lashing out, but you guys just love putting a drop of blood in a pool full of sharks. How about writing an actual Thought provoking article that looks at both sides of the story than just the side that is backed by popular opinion… I’m sorry I forgot this is the nerdist where you only write about something if it’s click bait to either enrage people or stroke a certain sides ego

  5. Steel-Man says:

    I love having the cosplayers at the conventions I attend.  They create an exciting and colorful atmosphere and a much more fun experience.   Cosplayers have always helped my sales of comics and related mechandise.  Conventions are way too boring without the cosplayers.  Most of the graphic artists only express their arts on two dimensions.  The comic book writers usually only express their art in typed words and stories.  But the cosplayers can express their art with 3rd living artwork and can entertain live.  The graphic artists and writers usually cannot bring any type of live excitement and immediate entertainment to a comic book convention and they would be wise to appeal to the cosplayers for these are your market.

  6. uber noob says:

    I am an artist, painter, costumer, performer. Been going to cons for 20 years. I’ve been on both sides, vendor and attendee. I see his point as far as photo ops blocking tables, although he is attacking the wrong people here. There’s no way to stop cosplaying, nor should it be stopped. The booth fees are typically very expensive, also factoring in travel, gas, hotel, food, parking, merchandize, supplies, booth graphics, etc and many booths I have worked roughly break even which is tough because this is how we make our living. The comic genre has vastly grown to incorporate more fans, many of which are just fans of the movies and have never read a comic book and are just there to gawk at the hot cosplayers, which is fine, they spend money too. The other vendor challenge is that there are so many things offered for sale now, used to be mostly comics, now swords, clothes, specialty, nic nacs, hey I love this stuff, so awesome. His ranting needs to be solely addressed to the promoters: #1- put signs all over the vendor rooms, no photography allowed, you will be escorted out of the vendor area… There’s plenty of space outside the vendor area for photo ops, this directly affects and blocks vendor business, I believe this is fair because vendors are paying for the entire vendor area and should have a say. Could go a step further and section comic books and artists together, so the fans of the books can head directly to them. This may cut random sales, so hard to say.#2- because of the masses of new fans (somewhat watered down from the hardcore collectors) and the sheer number of vendors, I feel the promoters should cut booth rates way down. Vendors are a big part of the con experience and breaking even isn’t much incentive. The promoters can transfer bit of attendee ticket sales to cover the gap.#3 – don’t be an elitist asshole, you are making yourself look bad, I for one don’t have time for you, you didn’t create batman, you jumped on the train like everyone else… Adapt or go work at krispy kreme

  7. PurpleNinjaGirl says:

    If you’re a convention organizer or part of an organization that gets booth space in a convention, stumbling onto this article I’d like to share this with you:

    I don’t care for crowds.  For the most part, I’d much rather express my fandom from the comfort of my own living room, alone or with a few close friends.  But… I *do* like to cosplay.  And I like seeing other costumes.  The ability to do these two things are the *only* draw for me of conventions.  No costumes, you’re not even getting me in the door.

    (And yes, I typically, I walk out of a convention with at least a couple items that I wouldn’t have bought while shopping online or on a routine shopping trip)

  8. Albert L. Ortega says:

    I don’t understand this attitude especially that vendor. I have noticed this kinda snobbery among nerds when you don’t know everything about a certain property and look down on you when ask a question. I myself am a fan/nerd ang admit that I don’t know everything and always explain to the masses my passion for all things movies, comics etc. We are experiencing a renaissance lets ALL enjoy it!

  9. TipYourWaitress says:

    Isn’t this supposed to be written by Chloe Dykstra?Ba-da-boom.What?Too soon?

  10. Andrea says:

    This was really interesting I guess I never thought of that, I go to conventions many times a year and try to cosplay at least once during that weekend, I have even bought things from dealers that they didn’t know fully what or who the product was or got the name wrong but I did, but didn’t scream at them saying, ” AHH u have no idea who this is u call yourself a dealer?!?”  But I buy things in cosplay and in street clothes, and nobody ever complained. 

  11. Becca Soo says:

    Maybe they are loosing sales because they act like jerks to would be customers? Just a thought. 

  12. Neon says:

    I agree.  And, if you are using the word “cosplay”, you’re a crowd following idiot anyway.  “Cosplay” is a term defining Japanamation costumes.  It was incorrectly adopted by the Europeans (kind of like calling a vacation a “holiday”) and now the idiot American kids are calling COSTUMING cosplay.  I spend too much time and money perfecting my craft to have it dumbed down by such an insulting word.  But, it’s typical of the type that costumes anyway, desperate for attention, crowd following and mindless.  I’m a pro.  I don’t “play.”

  13. Jason says:

    Pat Broderick is just mad because no one ever cosplays as Micronauts characters. Too bad nobody cares about that crappy book. Also, who’s Raymond Lui? 

  14. Stuart says:

    The comic book market has expanded, and contracted for years. If it’s not ‘Cosplayers’ effecting sales, then they’ll blame consoles, or [insert media device].

    Personally I think Cosplayers, media savvy beasts that they are. Are going to promote the comics more, over a broader media spectrum, and get more attention to people outside of the ‘Ivory Towers’ Mr Broderick inhabits.

    Just for the record, I read a few comics, and I am not a cosplayer!

  15. Pete says:

    Depends people don’t look at the Mona Lisa b/c like her personality. Cosplay is at times art and design for the sake of art and design.  

  16. Hyle says:

    I went to his page and read down the initial thread and the one where he supposedly clarified and both looks like someone “doubling down” on their original position.  Even some of his fans that are on his personal profile (not a “celeb” page) are calling him to task on it.  The main one I see is Donald and he makes great points that this artist could turn this to his favor if he adapts to the current trend. As others have brought up it’s completely pointless to try and quantify the “cosplayers don’t buy merch” notion. How would a person know, if they showed up out of costume? If there are problems with certain people blocking access, then that should be address in that moment. Politely ask them to move along and, if they do not, escalate from there. Get a number for the whoever is supposed to be running the alley and report them. There is no reason someone in a costume should be impeding a booth/table unless they are there as a legitimate patron.

  17. Hyle says:

    In that case, I would strongly suggest recruiting or hiring someone that is sociable and can help the artist/celeb be more engaging. I’ve seen it done before. People can be coached into just carrying on a polite conversation for a moment. It could make the difference between a life long fan and someone that will never buy anything with a name or face attached to it.

  18. Rich says:

    ^ This.

  19. Bran says:

    Funny thing is pat Broderick is a legend in the field of comic inking/penciling. I feel for the artists being pushed into the “attic” of the convention floor.  These guys create the characters we covet so much and get little to no recognition for it. Instead they have to play second fiddle to Jessica nigri’s boons because the dress up contest is the biggest event of the con. Total But shit.

  20. some got what I posted. others still would rather take the slanted position… yes in my second post I did both appologise to any Cos-players who were offended.
    But also clearly stated my position as I see this as a promoter generated problem

  21. Luna says:

    HahahaHa you guys should really see Asian conventions. In Malaysia, artist are the only reason why we come in the first place.  Every year we only see one or two cosplayer booths and the rest about a hundred or so booth dedicated to artist… As a dedicated cosplayer I spend hundreds of pounds for each Cosplay and I try to do each with the best of my ability. And also as a cosplayer I always fully support artist by purchasing their work like the is no tomorrow