11th November 2021
I shall not lie. I am a perpetual nerd. The desktop on my Mac is the front cover of the first issue of X-Men: First Class from 2006 and just the mere mentioning of Marvel Comics or super powers or alter egos or Emma Frost specifically (love her) makes my heart skip a beat. It’s as if I have fallen in love for the very first time.
I’m sure you can understand then my annoyance and general frustration at being unable to go to Comic Con in San Diego this year. Actually, scratch that ‘this year’ bit, it’s not like I usually go, or that I will ever likely be able to go in the future; no, no, instead I tend to live my Comic Con life rather vicariously, through the world of Twitter, blog postings, and sites like Rotten Tomatoes, which helpfully keep us uninvited aficionados in the loop.
For the uneducated among us, Comic Con is a four-day event dedicated to creating awareness of, and appreciation for, comics and related popular art forms. And, over the years, has expanded so much in size that is has now become the largest convention in the Western Hemisphere. In fact, the 2010 San Diego Comic Con (which came to an end last Sunday) saw exclusive trailers for upcoming releases such as TRON: Legacy get their first airing, as well as the first public appearance of the assembled cast members of the forthcoming Avengers movie.
Drawing blanks? Well, apologies if this is all lost on you, dear reader, but for the average Comic Conner (me), these highlights are simply the pinnacle of cool. Yet, Comic Con isn’t just about creating hype about the latest superhero flick. Oh no: the event actually offers some pretty interesting lessons in business and management as well.
According to a great blog post at Marketing Pilgrim, which defines Comic Con as “the place to get the buzz going about nearly any media project”, the convention is real proof that any small idea can turn into a “lucrative business if you have the drive to see it through.”
The posting also offers advice on how to think small, cater for a niche audience in order to gain momentum, and then build on that model to gain a more significant market share. Perhaps the best piece of advice, however, comes from the idea to not take yourself too seriously in business: which also happens to be something of a prerequisite for attendees of Comic Con – as demonstrated by UK TV star and comic book fan Jonathan Ross, who took some rather special snaps for The Guardian newspaper.
Personally, I really like the idea of being able to learn some valuable business lessons from the world of comic books. Albeit for entirely different reasons. I quite like the idea of some giant Bat-Signal shining into the night sky, motioning for all businesses to heed its call; or Charles Xavier, leader of the X-Men, using Cerebro to pinpoint all future business leaders… In truth though, comic books have long been privy to the relationship between real business and the culture of the superhero.
Don’t believe me? Well, you can’t deny that Tony Stark (aka Iron Man) is an incredible businessman as well as a masked-avenger: albeit a fictional, philandering one. In fact, Starks’ ‘business strategies’ sparked an interesting discussion at this year’s Comic Con related to the actual ‘new space’ community. Still not convinced? Try Super Human Resources, a series of comedic graphic novels illustrating life within the HR department of fictional business Super Crises International.
Or, if you’re looking for something a little more serious, take a look at Marvel Comics’ Damage Control, a series of comics about a fictional construction company within the Marvel Universe that specialises in repairing the property damage caused by conflicts between superheroes and supervillians. And, if all else fails, don yourself a spandex suit and a utility belt and hope everything will work out just fine in the end. That’s what I’m doing. Believe me, it’s just the kick the FTSE needs. Right?