The Cost Of Virtual Comic-Con And What That Means For Fandom - Comic Years
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The Cost Of Virtual Comic-Con And What That Means For Fandom

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BY September 14, 2021

The last year and a half has, if nothing else, been two things. 1) Trash. 2) A fascinating exploration into how in-person experiences can be translated into a digital environment. Comic-Con took on the borderline insurmountable job of looking at everything they have to offer and boiling it down into something that can happen on the internet. One thing that didn’t change between cons past and present is the cost. Turns out, a virtual Comic-Con cost a ton of money, and that has some implications for the future of the event. 

How Much Does Comic-Con Cost

Normally, Comic-Con is balanced on 3 very narrow nails: disgustingly high expenses, the rad stuff that money pays for, and all that sweet sweet fan revenue. This evens out to be a consistently profitable enterprise, and that’s something all the people running Comic-Con like to happen. The surprising thing about a virtual Comic-Con is that it still costs way more money than it seems like it should. When you’re scheduling panel guests, arranging enough camera for multiple angles, safely doing hair and makeup when they can, and planning all of this, the price isn’t that different from the in-person event. When just one standard show panel can cost over $100,000, prices stop looking real and start looking like supervillain ransom money. If Comic-Con Fyre Fested, they could run off with enough money to buy an island accessible only by Thanos Copter

Virtual Comic-con cost Image via Marvel

Comic-Con Online wasn’t the only online fandom event. DC had FanDome, and Disney+ had Disney+ Day. Even Paramount+ had Star Trek Day 2021, and some nerds did a podcast about it. These events were each varying shades of successful, at least in terms of fan responses. So we’ve got all these events that are working, even if you don’t get the opportunity to search for an hour to find parking or see Sans Undertale walking down the road surrounded by 5 Deadpools. Aspects of these huge in-person events can’t be translated online, but they’re mostly still working. That leads to the big question.

What is the Future of Online Cons?

DC FanDome 2021 trailer featured. Image via DC Comics.

There’s no clear answer on what the future of digital fandom events will be. They’re expensive, but they’re also really popular. Netflix is waiting to see what happens and hasn’t confirmed a 2022 repeat of TUDUM, a Netflix exclusive online fan event named after that sound you hear when you play a show on Netflix. The second DC FanDome, called by many (including this site) as the gold standard for virtual events, will debut later this month. The future of virtual Comic-Con is unclear other than that it will cost a lot if it does happen. It’ll also cost a lot if it happens in person. Look out for updates on the landscape of fandom events that don’t require you to share the same square foot of breathing room. 

What does the ideal Comic-Con look like to you? Is some of it in person, some online? Is it just Norman Reedus and Keanu Reeves sitting on a couch not talking? Tell us in the comments below!

Featured image via Comic-Con

Pop Culture

Jessica Kanzler lives with her wife and cats and enjoys obsessively reading fantasy and talking about writing with anyone who won't run away. Jessica has an MA in Rhetoric, Writing, and Digital Media studies, and one of her students once said she “wasn’t cool, but was clearly trying.”

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