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April 28, 2008 - Matt Phillips
For my first ever foray into the "bloggosphere" I would like to say something about the annual Pittsburgh Comic Book Convention.

I have attended this convention every year since the mid-nineties. This year I admit I was dissapointed. I always have fun when I go to conventions no matter how small, but this was the first year that I have ever seen the convention so sparce. Even though, I was only there for the last day, I noticed a number of vendors that regularly attend weren't there. The guest list left quite a bit to be desired and even the program was printed on much lower quality paper. With the new Iron Man movie coming out I expected much more from my beloved convention.

I was impressed, however, with the costumes. Every year the costumes at the convention seem to get better, more elaborate and in greater numbers. I admit it, I dressed up, as did my wife and children. Cosplay (dressing in comic book, anime, game, or manga costumes) has been popular in Japan for many years. The trend has really caught on in the US. The influence that Japanese culture has on the general comic book industry is amazingly apparent, even character designs of established companies like Marvel and DC now are often portrayed in a more anime style.

Apparently, the cultural "Japanese invasion" has had somewhat of a negative effect on mainstream comics. I attended Tekkoshocon (an anime convention) in Pittsburgh earlier this month, and although it is smaller than the comic book convention, there seemed to be more enthusiasm about it. The two genres could blend well together, but there seems to be a hesitancy from both sides to really embrance the other. At the comic book convention, the announcer at the costume contest felt the need to have an "interpreter" to help with the pronunciation of character names of those dressed as anime characters.

It is nice to see the gathering of so many different collectors, from Star Wars to Spider-man all together to have fun and maybe spend a little money. Overall, I had fun and will attend again. Let's hope that next year's event is better attended.


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