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Comic-Con and the Business of Pop Culture: What the World's Wildest Trade Show Can Tell Us About the Future of Entertainment
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Comic-Con and the Business of Pop Culture: What the World's Wildest Trade Show Can Tell Us About the Future of Entertainment

3.52  ·  Rating details ·  181 ratings  ·  35 reviews
Action Excitement Transmedia Step inside Comic-Con to discover the cultural trends that will shape our world

"I've been in comics so long I sometimes think I invented 'em But I just read Rob Salkowitz's terrific new book and, y'know what? Even I learned new stuff If you're a comic book nut like me, miss it at your own risk "
--Stan Lee, Legendary Comic Creator and Publisher

Hardcover, 292 pages
Published June 15th 2012 by McGraw-Hill Education (first published May 17th 2012)
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Average rating 3.52  · 
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 ·  181 ratings  ·  35 reviews

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Start your review of Comic-Con and the Business of Pop Culture: What the World's Wildest Trade Show Can Tell Us About the Future of Entertainment
Bon Tom
Sep 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Really meaty read for fans of comics. Lots of info about past and present state of the art and quite in-depth analysis of possible future, all through the context of Comic-Con.
Robert Greenberger
May 29, 2012 rated it liked it

Comic book fandom was a natural outgrowth of science fiction fandom, splintering off in 1961 as the revival of superhero comics was clearly here to stay. In that year, sci-fi fan and future author Richard Lupoff published Xero, the first comics-only fanzine. Just a few years later, in 1965, the first comic convention occurred in New York City, birthplace of the first science fiction con back in 1939. The success of the zine and the con inspired others to produce their own tribu
Bill Cunningham
I have been reading this book off and on for the past couple of months. Several pages here and there every night until I finally finished the nearly 300 pages. It took a long time to read, not because the book was bad or filled with the sort of business management language that makes for a tough slogging through, but for all the right reasons. I had a tough time getting through Comic Con because every 3-4 pages crystalizes a business concept about the comic book industry that was so impactful th ...more
Jul 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
I'm an old fuddy duddy when it comes to new-fangled technologies and the ongoing digitizing of our world. I prefer physical copies of things, though I'm not above owning an iPod or reading a webcomic. I think ebooks are gross because I can pull a book off a shelf faster than I can download the thing, and who gives a damn if you can carry around dozens of books when you can only read a couple at a time?

I know that comics are read on tablets now, and will continue to be in the future. I can't ima
Diane Ferbrache
Jan 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, comics, nerds
Bob Salkowitz is known for his business books and for being an expert in digital media. In this book he explores his "inner geek" and takes us inside Comic-Con, the annual gathering of over 100,000 comic book, sci-fi, movie, pop culture, and video game fans. This convention has become so popular that tickets sell out in minutes as far as a year ahead. Salkowitz gives us a peek inside the con, but also explores the future of comics in a digital world.

I found this book amazingly readable, informat
Aug 17, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, geekery
It's sad how outdated this book already is three years after publication, but there are still some good insights. Some of the more biographical aspects were a little much. I wanted more analysis and less about the author and his friends. ...more
Sep 25, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, economics
Comic-Con and the Business of Pop Culture: What the World’s Wildest Trade Show Can Tell Us About the Future of Entertainment (2012) by Rob Salkowitz looks comics through the lens of the San Diego Comic-Con.

Comics have long had a place in many people’s lives. The culture that surrounds them has clearly had an impact on a lot of popular culture. Personally I’m not much of a fan, other than reading Mad Magazine as a kid a bit and reading a few web comics today. Super heroes have almost always left
Aug 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Pretty interesting mix of focused travelogue and in-depth exploration of the comics industry/Comic Con through a business lens. Keep in mind this was written before The Avengers (18 Marvel movies ago) or the new batch of DC movies were released. Lots has happened on the movie side, but the comics industry is still chugging along in the shadow of the film industry.

I had no idea that comics readership had dropped so drastically, down to around 300,000. Salkowitz does a good job of looking at how i
Patrick Pilz
Jun 23, 2018 rated it liked it
This is the year! After 3 years of utterly failure to obtain tickets for the worlds most geeky event, I finally made it! My first year going coincides with my daughter's last opportunity to enter under the generous children policy of Comic Con.

I read this in preparation of going, just to get my self mentally and emotionally ready for the show. For that single purpose I would suggest that book. It is the story of living through comic con in San Diego, with some slight touches on history, but lar
Kiera Doherty
Sep 18, 2019 rated it liked it
Not really about the business of pop culture but still interesting.
Rosemary Reeve
Jun 05, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
I received a free copy of this book because I'm a registered press attendee of Comic-Con.

I was really interested in reading this book because having attended Comic-Con for so long, the weekend is as much about business for me as it is for fun. Having the business of the convention laid out in book format really grabbed at my attention. Unfortunately, the delivery ends up being rather weak and not incredibly insightful.

In a few short weeks I'll be attending my 14th Comic-Con. This means that I'v
Ryan I
Aug 01, 2012 rated it liked it
There's no better petri-dish to investigate all facets of popular culture -- and the business underworkings behind film, comics, tv and video games -- than Comic-Con. But that's also a giant problem because Comic-Con is four and a half days of nonstop, overwhelming pageantry and programming. It's impossible for one man to survey everything and emerge with a fully-formed investigation, but despite that, Salkowitz does a commendable job bringing a lot of the current uncertainty in popular media by ...more
May 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Entertaining and spot on observation on he Crazy Comic Book Carnival Extravaganza that is Comic Con. The author breaks down the events and what to expect at Comic Con. Great for newbies and old veterans like myself who have born witness to the growing power and now cultural juggernaut that is SDCC. The author also has some intriguing business tips and breaks down the economics to where it makes sense for those of us who are business illiterate.

I want to take the opportunity to point out that
John Orman
Dec 01, 2012 rated it liked it
What happens in San Diego at the biggest and best Comic-Con apparently does not stay in San Diego, as that chaotic celebration spreads out to affect most of the entertainment industry in some way.
Having just attended the crowded and exciting Portland Comic Convention, which is less than 10% the size of the San Diego Comic-Con, I was interested in what happens when the big boys play to crowds of 150,000 crazed fans.

The popularity of the comics-loving gang in The Big Bang Theory TV show, and the d
Jim Leckband
Probably not the "World's Wildest Trade Show". The Las Vegas Adult Entertainment Expo (or whatever the porn con is called) might be a little wilder than people dressing up as Darth Vader.

In any case, this has a "what I did on my summer vacation at Comic-Con" vibe to it. I don't need to read countless "you-were-there" updates that his wife is thinking about standing in line, preparing to stand in line, running to stand in line and is now presently standing in line. I get it. There is lots of stan
Mar 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
In Comic-Con and the Business of Pop Culture, Rob Salkowitz recaps the history of the ever-growing Comic-Con, details the goings-on of the 2011 Con, and uses all the above to highlight necessary changes for the sustainability of the comic book industry.

Like all print media in need of reinvention, comics must continue to adapt to the demand for digital distribution. This shift is complicated by a significant fan base with a tangible collection mentality as well as pre-existing issues with access
Jenny Thompson
Apr 15, 2014 rated it liked it
Even as someone who has never really been exposed to the world of comics, I found this book to be an interesting read. The books is structured almost like a journal as the reader follows Salkowitz through his weekend at Comic-Con 2011. Along the way various people, panels, etc trigger what seem like tangents but are actually the main content of the book. He writes about the history of comics, the current state of the industry, and speculates on the future. In some ways, this book reads like a se ...more
Jan 15, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: business-finance
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 14, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
As a fan of comics and a past avid reader/collector I saw this book and really thought it would be great. It was good. It had a fun overview of where comics have evolved from the 70s to today. This especially is true through the lens of San Diego Comic Con. As someone who has attended NY Comic Con and various local conventions, I found the San Diego experience to be fascinating.

The discussion about digital comics and the off shoots (movies etc) of comics was great, and really held the book up a
Denise Dorman
Jul 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I've exhibited at SDCC (San Diego Comic-Con) for the past 12 years and I still managed to learn a LOT from futurist Rob Salkowitz's book about the various origins of creators, events, etc. I wish this book would be published and updated yearly as that is how quickly this information evolves. It was fascinating to read and well written. I especially liked how Rob broke out the sections into the various days of the Con. If you're interested in the business side of entertainment or comics, this is ...more
B.G.M. Hall
Mar 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Interesting mix of geek fandom at the event that's become nerdvana and a tale of the business side of the comic book/film/transmedia world. Covers both the new movie franchise-oriented side of the con and also the more traditional, hand-drawn comic writers/artists, who have been pushed to the back.
Salkowitz takes an interesting approach to the end of the book by suggesting 4 possible futures for Comic-Con, showing how it might further evolve.
Dan Polley
Jul 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: business
A great look at Comic-Con, which I'd love to attend sometime.

If I had one nitpick, it's this: The title includes "pop culture," but I found the book to focus much more on the comics part of the show. That's fine; I love comics. But I expected just a bit more depth in approaching the pop culture portion of it.
Daniel A.
Aug 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is not a book for a casual comic con fan, however if you are a reader of comic books then I consider this a must read. The main point of this book is the evolution of comic books and where they are heading in a digital world. As a communications major, I personally enjoyed the book and read it in one sitting.
Jan 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
Finished it one sitting. I liked the business aspect of the read. Plus I liked how it was written in a manner to one who has been to San Diego Comic Con. It's a true phenomenon. It was insightful and planned out. There is so much to enjoy at the 4 day event and this helps one game plan a strategy to going. Once here time truly flies by. ...more
Jan 18, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction, comics
I think it says something about a book that one reads it three years after publication and the book already feels like it is on the edge of being out-dated. Granted, I've attended San Diego Comic Con a few times so I wasn't drawn to or intrigued by his description of his 4.5 day experience. Maybe it would be better as an introduction for someone who loves comics but has never been? ...more
Thomas Maluck
Dec 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfic
Despite the risk of this book aging exponentially with each passing year, it still serves as a great guide to convention and comics culture past, present, and future, including perspectives from attendees, vendors, and corporate strategists.

The forecasting tool Rob uses near the end was an excellent, thoughtful section that's worth reading even if you don't care about Comic-Con.
Oct 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
This was a great insider's look at the business of Comic-Con. I attended my 10th SDCC this year and I, too, wondered if we'd hit "peak geek." While I'm no businesswoman, it was fascinating to hear the author's takes on the future of this convention. ...more
Nov 10, 2014 rated it liked it
Fairly interesting, but more comic-heavy than I had hoped. Made the San Diego Comic con sound INSANE. It had some general pop culture/fandom predictions and advice--like don't ignore women and girls, keep your eyes on global markets, and keep on top of technological changes and trends. ...more
Sep 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
Among other things, a very interesting , knowledgeable and insightful look at the state of the comic book business and where it might be headed and why.
Dec 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book was pretty entertaining and I felt it gave me a better understanding of the comics world and all Comic Con entails. I also learned about "steampunk" and shared my knowledge at work. :) ...more
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ROB SALKOWITZ is a business analyst and futurist specializing in the disruptive effects of digital technology and the digital generation on work, business and culture. His latest book, Comic-Con and the Business of Pop Culture (McGraw-Hill, 2012), looks at the future of entertainment through the lens of the San Diego Comic-Con. His earlier books explore global entrepreneurship, the changing demogr ...more

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