What Comic Con Taught Me About Personal Finance

I attended the New York Comic Con this past weekend with my three children. We had a great time.

My daughter and youngest son got into the spirit and cosplayed, and I saved some cash by attending on Sunday, which had the cheapest tickets. Roughly 150,000 people attended the four-day event and unofficially is the largest crowd to attend an event like this.

San Diego hosts a similar event each year which the goal of promoting the appreciation of comics and pop culture. I've been a superhero fan as long as I can remember. I grew up on Adam West's Batman, and Spiderman has always been my favorite.

My first taste of a big New York City comic book show was back in 1984 with a childhood friend. We went into the city to spend some time with his grandparents and saw Ghostbusters and hit a NY Comic book show. Talk about an awesome weekend! I don't believe it was called comic con back then, but it was my first experience at a big show.

I have been to a number of local shows over the years that used to be hosted at random hotels ballrooms on weekends. I still have a bounty of about 500 comics that I'm saving for retirement. Don't worry, I have other retirement plans and don't track my comics as part of my net worth. Today I'm here to share what Comic-Con taught me about Personal Finance.

Side Hustling

One of the main features of comic con is the show floor, which features a series of exhibitors or to more exact vendor booths selling merchandise. Some are big names, Marvel, DC, Chevrolet, but many are small business booths.

We saw re-sellers of merchandise, but many had taken comic-related items and put their spin on them and created unique t-shirts or artwork and had them for sale. One example is an artist Josh Siegel and his modHero artwork. He had prints for sale for $20. Check out his work. I really like it.

There were tons of booths featuring original artwork, comics, t-shirts, etc. all I'm sure was not their main source of income, but for these four days was an excellent source of side hustle income.

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Residual Income

For many celebrities, conventions like this act as a big source of potential residual income earnings, based on the previous work they can command anywhere between $20-50 for autographs and photos with fans.

If you have never seen the classic William Shatner SNL skit portraying a Star Trek convention, now might be a good time to check it out. Ralph Macchio was one of the celebrities at this year's convention. Now I know Ralph from the original Karate Kid and My Cousin Vinny movies. I had to explain to my kids who he was, but he was still able to command $20 per autograph.

We shelled out $60 for autographs and photos for two voice actors. The first was for Veronica Taylor, the voice of Ash from the Pokémon series and second for Vic Mignogna, a voice actor in several animated series. My kids were extremely excited about the opportunity.

comic con


There was a ton of creativity on display at the show. Whether it was original art, writing, design, etc. a convention like this showcases artists big and small. One of the big forms of creativity is cosplay. Cosplay short for costume play is a performance art where people dress up to represent their favorite characters. If not familiar with this art form, its big business.

The Syfy channel has a dedicated weekly show called Heroes of Cosplay, and model Yaya Han has built a career around cosplay. Most conventions have cosplay contests for prizes. The NY comic con features a $1500 prize for the winner. My daughter and youngest son both cosplayed as their favorite characters, my daughter as Grell and my son as Brendan, a Pokemon trainer.

They have already begun to brainstorm on costumes for next year, and I believe they have almost talked their older brother into cosplaying too.

comic con

Overall we had a great time attending the comic con this year. As you can see, there is a lot of money to be made and be spent at a convention like this. We stayed within the budget of $100 per child for the day.

My oldest son spent $25 and banked $75 for another day. My daughter and youngest son spent their full $100, but we're very aware of their spending during the day. Their priority was autographed and after accomplishing that move on to other things.

We are looking forward to attending next year. Who knows, maybe I'll do a costume.

Have you ever attended a comic con or cosplayed?

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