COMM Grad Student does research at Comic Con

Johnathan Butler, graduate student in the College of Communication & Information’s School of Communication, spent a week this summer in San Diego studying interactions at one of the biggest conventions in the country.

Johnathan Butler

In July, Johnathan traveled to San Diego to conduct research at Comic Con. Comic Con began in 1970 and has become the most well-known convention of it’s kind. Sprouted from a love of comic books, the convention now covers larger aspects of culture including films, sci-fi and fiction/fantasy literature. Attendance has hit 130,000+ in recent years.

image[3]Butler attended the conference to conduct an ethnographic field study about the intersection of fan practice. He attended the conference from July 23rd to the 28th.  He presented his findings during Conference #16: The Culture of Comic-Con. During his time, he observed how fans reacted towards character when their race/ethnicity changed. “I gathered that there is a spectrum of fans: 1. Those who are purist and absolutely do not like changes. 2. Those who like changes, but advocate for stronger minority characters. 3. Those who welcome the changes wholeheartedly,” said Butler.

Next year’s Comic Con will be held July 9-12, where Butler has been invited back to conduct his research.

“The Comic-Con experience is a phenomenal outlet for students to conduct research while learning about pop culture and marketing. I was thrilled to find out about this opportunity and I look forward to attending again next year!”