Comic book conventions in North America the last few years are less about comics and more about Hollywood hyping television and movies. Comic-Con is a fine example of this, all of the major news agencies talked about Disney, Star Wars and the Avengers. Meanwhile, in Japan things are quite different, the 88th annual Comiket just wrapped up and over 550,000 people attended the three day event.
Comiket has been running since 1975 and occurs twice a year, once in the summer and again in the winter. The emphasis is on comics, novels, and game software. All of the big manga houses are in attendance, but normally day 3 is the largest due to the self-publishers.
Over 210,000 people attended the event on the last day to check out fan-zines, fan-fiction and parodies of famous manga – starring popular characters. Around 11,500 doujin circles (groups of self-published artists) participated in the event on Sunday.
What I find interesting is how truly enamored people are with self-publishers in Japan. Comiket 88 attracted 180,000 attendees on its first day on Friday and 160,000 on its second day on Saturday and then 210,000 people on Sunday. It really shows that way more people prefer indie titles than stuff produced by the big publishing houses. Its almost the opposite here in North America where indie authors hardly ever have a presence at Comic-Con or even trade events like Book Expo America.