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Robbie’s Comic Corner: The Monopolization of Words: “Comic Con”

Robert Johnson Jr.

The year was 1970.

The 0rst San Diego Comic Con (SDCC), then known as the Golden State Comic Book Convention, was held in San Diego, California – featuring popular writers and creators of the day such as Ray Bradbury and Jack Kirby as special guests of honor.

It was a good time to be part of the still-budding nerd fandom.

The 2018 New York Comic Con began on Oct. 4. It is a four-day convention that was created thanks to the success of San Diego’s world-renowned celebration.

Now, the concept of “Comic Cons” has been around for almost half a century, which, for a formula that is heavily rooted in fandom culture, is very impressive and remarkable in the contemporary age – one where fans of TV shows, comics, and video games have the power of the internet to share their opinions and views instantaneously.

However, with that kind of popularity comes greed.

In recent years, Comic Con International, the organization behind SDCC, has been ruling over the term “Comic Con” with an iron fist – suing anyone in its sights who is unfortunate enough to run a “Comic Con” of their own.

In 2014, one victim of this was the Salt Lake Comic Con, which, after being sued by Comic Con International, had to pay the group $20,000 in damages. As a result, the convention once known as “Salt Lake Comic Con” has since been rechristened as “FanX Salt Lake Comic Convention.”

Three years later, in late 2017, Phoenix Fan Fusion, formerly known as “Phoenix Comic Con” and “Phoenix Comic Fest,” gave themselves a proactive name change to avoid a similar fate.

The organizers of Phoenix Fan Fusion were strongly reluctant to do it, but it quickly became a high-stakes situation where it was a matter of keeping the name or suffering a financial hit like FanX did – something that Fan Fusion might not come back from.

During that holiday season and into early 2018, conventions across America and the world participated in a wave of name changes.

To take this locally, Boston Comic Con, a new convention that has started in the past decade, changed its name to Fan Expo Boston, upon being bought out by Informa, the group behind the Fan Expo series of events, such as the ones in Dallas and Canada.

Good work, Informa.

“But, Robbie, why are you giving us all this exposition? Get to the point!”

The point is this: Comic Con International, the organizers of the biggest “Comic Cons” in the world, the “Comic Cons” of note, should lighten up a little.

Nerd fandom should be embraced and not monopolized in the bizarre manner the term “Comic Con” is, in the sense that the term could make and/or break a small, local convention.

It’s as pathetic as Gene Simmons, the long-tongue possessing frontman of KISS trying to trademark the famed metalhead hand gesture, the “devil horns.”

Despite Comic Con International owning trademarks to every asset and piece of iconography of their premier convention, they don’t need to Vulcan nerve pinch every small fish in the ocean they own to defend it.

That being said, I can only imagine what Altered Reality Entertainment, the organizer of several other cons, is going to do if Comic Con International goes after them for Rhode Island Comic Con and Colorado Springs Comic Con.


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