The big American and British book and comic events get plenty of coverage elsewhere, so aren’t usually a staple of The New Publishing Standard, but the San Diego Comic Con warrants a mention here on two counts.
First, and rather surprisingly, is that the San Diego event with its regular 130,000 visitors is being touted by those who should know better as the largest comic gathering in North America.
Who should know better? Try Statista, who made exactly this claim, apparently unaware that the New York comic con has been selling more tickets than San Diego for several years now, and in 2017 topped the 200,000 mark (setting a world record that was beaten by Sao Paulo just weeks later).
Brazil’s comic con may have been bigger than the USA’s. 275,000 expected as the Jeddah Book Fair gets under way in Saudi Arabia
But more importantly is the Eisner Award referenced in the title.
The Eisner Award?
If you’re one of those who only discovered comics thanks to the explosion of Marvel and DC superhero films in recent years you probably won’t know Will Eisner is the creator of The Spirit, a character that never quite achieved the global fame of Superman or Spiderman, but whose name is spoken of in hushed and revered tones among those for whom comics were part of our pre-internet childhood existence.
No surprise then that the prize goes by the name of the Will Eisner Spirit of Comics Retailer Award.
The latest winner, Norma Cómics de Barcelona, was chosen, says Spain’s RTVE, for
the diversity of products, support for cultural dissemination, investment in innovation, design or collaboration in social activities.
Founded in 1983 by Rafa Martínez, also the driving force for parent company Norma Editorial, Norma Cómics de Barcelona is, says RTVE, a cultural landmark in the city,
with more than one thousand square meters, spread over two floors, dedicated to world of comics and popular culture, a place of pilgrimage for all national and international fans who pass through Barcelona.
Along with Spain, comic book stores in the UK, Ireland, Portugal and the USA were in the running.
This the second time a Spanish comic book store has taken the award. In 2012 the prize went to Akira Comics in Madrid.