“Forty-five years after Comic-Con International launched as a little gathering in San Diego, later exploding into a pop-culture juggernaut spawning dozens of similar events around the United States, the phenomenon is going global. And free-spending fans like Yang are making China the newest frontier.
This month, two of the largest American organizers of comic conventions, El Segundo-based Wizard World and Connecticut-based ReedPop, launched comic conventions in China.
Hollywood films like “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” “X-Men: Days of Future Past” and “The Amazing Spider-Man 2″ have done gangbuster business at the mainland box office and coincided with China’s rise to the second-largest movie market after the U.S. With genre TV shows like “Gotham” and “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” also finding strong Chinese viewership through online streaming video sites, convention organizers sense a lucrative market just waiting to be tapped.
“I think the latest count is there are 217 cities in China with over a million people,” said Adam Roseman, chief executive of FansTang, a marketing company that specializes in connecting Western celebrities to Chinese fans and that is partnering with Wizard World to produce a comics event in Guangzhou at the end of May. “Our plan is to do two to three events in 2016, and maybe even squeeze another one in this year, at the end of 2015…”