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Open Access Theorizing comic cons

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When comics fandom emerged as a distinct media-oriented community in the 1960s, one of the things it brought with it from science-fiction fandoms was the convention. Buoyed by the synergistic relationship between Hollywood and the San Diego Comic-Con and the growing prominence of ‘geek’ culture, comic conventions, comic art festivals and related media fandom events across North America have enjoyed enhanced prestige, attention and attendance over the last fifteen to twenty years. But what kind of event are these ‘con events’? This article builds on a cultural mapping survey of convention organizers. The survey’s goal was to suggest something of the scope and diversity of the contemporary sector. Behind this variation, we define the con event as an organizational and cultural form that is (1) oriented to media, (2) audience-facing and (3) concerned with circulation.

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Keywords: North America; attendance; comic cons; convention organization; conventions; cultural mapping

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: 000000041936893XCarleton University 2: 0000000419367697University of Calgary 3: 0000000419369422Ryerson University

Publication date: March 1, 2020

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  • The multi – disciplinary nature of fan studies makes the development of a community of scholars sometimes difficult to achieve. The Journal of Fandom Studies seeks to offer scholars a dedicated publication that promotes current scholarship into the fields of fan and audience studies across a variety of media. It focuses on the critical exploration, within a wide range of disciplines and fan cultures, of issues surrounding production and consumption of popular media (including film, music, television, sports and gaming), The journal aims to address key issues in fans studies itself, while also fostering new areas of enquiry that take us beyond the bounds of current scholarship.
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