By shathley Q 27 June 2012
PopMatters Comics Editor
One of the very worst things about grunge in its nascency, Dear Reader, has always been its unpluggedness. Commercialism is soul-destroying we were always reminded. And that, as Bryant Simon reminds us in his profound Everything But the Coffee, consumerism was just waiting to be redeemed by ethically pure brands. In the ‘90s we banked on Starbucks, because of the sound ethical stance of sourcing practices. We also, given its sheer size, banked on Microsoft becoming a more open, more ethically-pure company. But what underpinned these hopes was the idea that the very practice of consumerism could some how be redeemed from crass commercialization. That the industrial complex as it exists, need not be exploitative of third world production-oriented economies, and of ourselves. But for the most part, for your Targets and your WalMarts and your thousands of other brands, we simply needed to unplug.
If anything, media and business analyst Rob Salkowitz, addresses this concern head on in his new book, Comic-Con and the Business of Pop Culture. The issue at stake—why did we choose to “unplug” and how have be built an entirely new kind of world as a result. Salkowitz does this in a prodigiously novel way. Comic-Con leverages his almost unique position as business analyst and longtime comics fan. The book itself is a kind of travel diary of his and his wife Eunice’s trip to the globally recognized San Diego ComicCon in 2011....