Heroes Con 2022 wrapped up it’s 40th anniversary this past weekend. It was absolutely a welcomed event seeing as there had been a two year hiatus. There is a lot that can be taken from this year’s event. One aspect that the Charlotte Heroes Con 2022 showcased was that the economic future of the comic industry looks bright.
The Previous Ups and Downs
If you are a comic fan, then you know the history of the industry. There are some eras of a comic boom. However, there are also some close calls, almost losing the genre. Comic strips in newspapers, and comic books in grocery stores date back to the early 1900s. However, in 1950 there was a general negative view regarding comics and the impact they had on kids.
We know that things picked up again and the 70s and 80s were fairly strong. Then, 1993 happened. The comic industry crashed, and it crashed hard.
There were issues between the writers/artists, publishers, and distributors among other issues. We almost lost the industry.
The Perseverance of the Industry
Hanging by a thread Marvel merged with ToyBiz in order to avoid bankruptcy. There are some comic book films up to this point, but many were still having trouble breaking ground. Superman, Batman 89, and Batman Returns found success, but other films suck as Rocketeer, The Shadow, Dick Tracy, etc. were not as lucky.
Still, Marvel‘s merger and new strategy implementations helped turn the tide. Other companies also began to drastically change their strategies for the better as well. This leads to a strong following of comics directly through the stores. Smaller publishers also are given a chance to expand. It also leads to connections in other areas such as cartoons, toys, merchandise, and eventually films.
The “Average” Fan
Flashforward to 2005 and 2008. Christopher Nolan revives The Dark Knight with Batman Begins and Marvel releases Iron Man. This brings fresh life into the comic industry and provides exposure to many “average” fans. While many everyday fans may prefer staying with the films, this helps solidify the life of comics for the rest of us. We know Disney now owns Marvel. Because of such moves, comic films have produced in the billions for their studios, industries, and economy.
Back From the Brink
Comic conventions are nothing new. However, if you have been around for awhile, my have they changed. SDCC is a pop-culture staple not only for comics, by for film, television, toys, cartoons, etc. You name it and it can be found at SDCC. Many companies use it as a launching ground for their marketing.
Conventions such as Heroes Con helps pass the torch across generations. Kids are growing up with comic films deeply embedded in their entertainment lives. This is helping not only the economy of the comic industry, but the US/World economy. Films and titles being released world wide and strongly followed continue to help the industry thrive and boost the economy.
The Age of Nostalgia and Heroes Con 2022
Okay, so take away the big budget films, toys, etc. What about where it all started: the comics? As previously stated, Heroes Con focuses on the comics first and foremost. You could be looking for a fairly recent issue or something seemingly obscure. I picked up a copy of Jennika’s first appearance as a turtle in TMNT #95, which came out in 2019. Most cons will have the gems of yesterday that have survived the multiple dips. And there is always a market for the seemingly unattainable.
Heroes Con has something for everyone. For instance, here is an extremely rare 9.6 graded copy of Spirit for a nice cool $125,000!
Here are a few of Jack Kirby’s original sketches. Each individual page is a different price. These two pages are $45,000 and $32,000 respectively.
Or maybe you’d like a VHS of Empire Strikes Back still in it’s original seal. Only $5000. So of course these are in the untouchable area. However, I did see a guy cooly drop $1700 in cash on a few rare comics.
While many of us would have to take a year’s salary out to purchase one of those, the idea is that there is a valuable market/economy for the comic industry.
I’ll stick with the much more affordable merchandise and comics.
For me there is always this inkling of fear that the hype will not last. It may waver, but as reemphasized by Heroes Con, the comic economy is strong and here to stay.
Heroes Con, like many others, began in a lobby/ballroom of a hotel. Now it is housed in the Charlotte Convention Center breaking record attendances for the event after 40 years. Most Cons are in large convention centers. Conventions combined with the continued success of comic films, streaming shows, toys, merchandise, etc. embedding itself in nostalgia and pop culture helps reflect that the economy and future of comics is bright. And if that’s the case, then we all win.
Source: Global Edge