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Sunday, July 16, 2006 

So just how many attend the San Diego Comicon?

Reading this report today from the San Diego Union Tribune, it certainly does pose some interesting questions. First:
“People come to San Diego prepared to spend tens of thousands of dollars on artwork,” Apatoff said. “They store up over the year, like squirrels gathering nuts for winter.”
Artwork but not the fun of reading? There, that's what's been bothering me: some people still haven't shaken the habit of just collecting for profit, which may have caused the market to collapse as a result. Or, this is the segment of the public that the companies are still pandering to.
Despite high rollers like Apatoff, the Con has an old reputation as a cheapskate confab. On paper, it's still an economic underperformer. Compare it with the Health Information Management Systems Society, which held a convention here in February. Con-goers outnumber this group 4-to-1, but the HIMSS crowd laid out $82 million, 2½ times what Con-goers are expected to spend.

But the Convention Center vice president insists that the Con's numbers are artificially low. Most of the HIMSS attendees are members of the society who book their hotel through their organization. Most Con attendees are – well, who knows? Again, there hasn't been a survey in 10 years. Moreover, they're an independent lot.

“They use the Internet,” Steven Johnson said. “People book on their own.”

The center calculates the Con's economic clout by looking at the number of people who book hotel rooms through Comic-Con International – a service that many, if not most, attendees ignore.

So the official figure, $32.1 million, is based on incomplete numbers. “It has enormous impact,” Johnson said. “But we can't say quite how much money this brings in. We're not good enough to do that yet.”
If I'm reading correctly here, they don't for sure how many people are, or still do, attend the convention? That's a shame. And with the way sales are going, who knows if they'll ever have the chance to figure out how to calculate? Sigh.

Update: the South Florida Sun-Sentinel says that comic book COVERS and their heroes are going to be honored:
Half of the pane of 20 features portraits of the characters, and the other half shows individual comic book covers highlighting the heroes' exploits.
Are these to be old covers or new ones? Because having seen quite a few very indifferent covers in the past few years, that almost sounds like a joke. Why not panels from the actual stories? Let me guess. Because some of them just weren't exciting enough? Hmm...

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