This year we gain participated in the Comics Liberation Day in Espacio Shazam. We didn’t take any pictures and this article is a bit overdue. Still, we wanted to share...
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We went to Comic Con 2013 and had a great time… but there’s a nagging thought in our heads. What can we say about this? Uh…
There’s a lot of talk about comics industry in this shoddy country: talk about the enormous output of local comics, inquiring creators, moronic authors and publishers that love to sign their releases. There’s much talk about the new comics boom that made it possible for many illustrators (and, why not, writers) to follow their dreams and finally work on something to which they have dedicated years of their lives. There’s lots of talk about how this industry should or should not be. And well… When attending massive local events like Comic Con, it becomes clear just what kind of industry this supposed Chilean comics industry is. It is a sweatshop.
There are two paths towards enjoying the blessings of this imaginary industry. The first one is to work inking Superman’s underwear for the gringos; the second is to become some sort of distributor (of gringo products). Everyone else is out of luck, and is in fact some sort of pseudo-unemployed dreamer that makes ends meet doing “something else”. It’s not just that there’s no place to establish oneself, and not enough readers. Truth is, this invisible Chilean comics industry doesn’t care about us, and probably thinks we’re ungrateful for not liking the dark corners they put us in.
You step into Estación Mapocho and see everything but comics: movie distributors showcasing their products, universities peddling their degrees, a giant battering ram next to some guys dressed up like roided-out hobbits. The typical. As you go on, you’re bombarded with superheroes, trailers, cartoons and products sold by those same distributors, highlighting that comics here is not about sequential art with panels and onomatopoeias, but is rather a heap of radioactive superpowers and masked vigilantes that make mad money. Events like Comic Con are not so much comics conventions as fan conventions, and that’s rather sad… So, you go on and stumble upon the comics store stands. If your wallet somehow managed to escape the big distributors’ tentacles, you can now buy comics about the characters you just shook hands with.
Further on, there’s Mordor: the section for übernerds, cosplayers, fan clubs and other mutants. If you are brave enough to cross this barrier of absolute dorkiness (and, ultimately, the greatest source of fun in this event), you might finally find the food stands and spend whatever you’ve got left. So far, so good. It’s all comics, nerds and food. However, after you’ve given all your money to this rational trickle-down pyramid, you come upon the famous “Chilean comics industry”. A handful of publishers and, before them, the smiling, penniless exhibitors hoping to earn enough money to pay their web hosting or buy themselves a stapler that won’t break down after a month… it’s sad being at the bottom of a money making machine and, even when you get the leftovers of the leftovers, they try to make you believe this is how the “comics industry” works.
We had a good time at the event and we’re grateful for the space and all, but we also feel like we weren’t needed. We can hope that in the future minds will be magically open and the rabble will have a privileged spot, that real spaces for comics will open up and this McDonaldized culture will once and for all disappear from the face of the Earth… but we know that won’t happen without a necessary and absolute revolution.
Pa ver más fotos vea el album de feisbucs por acá.
Mapachito del post dibujado por el gran Claudio Rocco.