What are Comic Books?
Also named Comicbook or simply a Comic, is a publication which was first popularized in the United States, they were a gathering of both words and art on sequential panels which told a story. Usually the words or dialogue were contained in word bubbles that would somehow show which character was speaking. The first comic book appearing the in US during 1933, this comic was a reprinting of an earlier newspaper comic-strips which were humorous in nature as most newspaper comics were. Because they were all printed together in a book, the name ‘comic book’ came about.
Despite their early beginnings, not all comics are humors in tone, in later years many comics focused on heroes battling villains and were much more action oriented. While there had been plenty of hero characters in comics, the term ‘Super Hero’ and the idea of a modern day hero really didn’t come about until Superman, which debut in Action Comics in 1938. Since then super heroes have propelled the industry into television, film, theme parks, and collectables.
The most valuable American comics have combined rarity and quality with the first appearances of popular and enduring characters. Several comic books have sold for over $1 million USD, including several copies of Action Comics No. 1, the first appearance of Superman, sold privately through online dealer ComicConnect.com in 2010, and Detective Comics No. 27, the first appearance of Batman, via public auction.
Here is a video talking about Action Comics #1 and how comic collecting has become such a huge industry.
What is Collecting?
To collect means the seeking, locating, acquiring, organizing, displaying, and maintaining said collected items. There are generalist collectors who get a little of everything, there are completionist collectors that have to have whole sets or groups, and also era collectors who are only interesting in items from a certain period. Some collectors only hold onto childhood items, while others continue to collect throughout their lives.
The hobby of collecting, in relation to the Comic Book culture normally involves items such as comics, graphic novels, statues, action figures, props, and replicas. As most Comic Pop-Culture related merchandise is not 100 years old, they are known as collectables rather than antiques. Most of these collectables are commercial or licensed items, related to comic books, television, movies, graphic novels, ect.
Depending on the market, there are ranging values in collectables depending on their time of production, rarity, brand, quality, and many other characteristics. In more recent times, conventions revolving around comics and collecting (mainly toy collecting) have sprouted all around the world. Often these conventions have exclusive comic covers or toys that are not available anywhere else. These collectables are often referred to as ‘Con-Exclusives’
There are even television shows dedicated to Toy collecting, such as the Toy Hunter on the Travel Channel, see the interview with the 'Toy Hunter' below.
What is a Comic Convention?
Also known as a Comic-Con or ‘Con’ for short, these are often a fan-based convention which celebrates particular films, television series, actors, comics, toys and collectables, or even an entire genre of entertainment such as Science Fiction or Anime.
Fan conventions are traditionally organized by fans on a not-for-profit basis, though some events catering to fans are run by commercial interests for profit. Many conventions have award presentations relating to their genre (such as the Hugo Awards which have been presented at The World Science Fiction Convention (WorldCon) since 1953). At commercial events, performers often give out autographs to the fans, sometimes in exchange for a flat appearance fee. Commercial conventions are usually quite expensive and are hosted in hotels.
Conventions normally have a merchant floor where local and national stores have booths for their merchandise to sell. Often there will also be what is known as an Artist Alley, where local artists display and sell their art. Conventions also normally have events and panels where special guests come to give speeches, tutorials, or present a new product.
It is also not uncommon to see many fans at conventions to be dressed up as their favorite characters; Also known as ‘Cosplay’, the activity has become such a huge part of conventions that their will often be costume contests and costumed themed masquerades. There is even a television show all about Cosplay on the SyFy Channel called Heroes of Cosplay, see the video below.