romics attention economy

Romics and the Craving of Attention

Sometimes dressing up as your favorite fantasy character is not the only thing that should get attention.

Walking around a crowded space is not ideal, especially if you’re wearing many layers of handmade clothing keeping you a bit too hot. With long lines and Q&A panels with your favorite artists, Romics welcomes you to a fantasy world.

Romics is an event that takes place twice a year in Rome, once during the Spring and once during the Fall. The name comes from a combination of the words Rome and Comics, and at this point, you might guess why: it’s a comics convention (and more)!

via GIPHY

Once the convention opens, the stages and set up stay on for four days; then, it’s a goodbye until next season. It usually starts on Thursdays and ends on Sundays. On the weekend  (in particular, Saturday and Sunday), it’s when the best bits are meant to happen. Every year it gets richer and richer with details and staging of events.

Romics: how long can you wait until you have fun?

romics welcome
Giulia Villanucci

After parking at least 10 minutes away from the main entrance, you find yourself several feet away from the main entrance, due to the long lines and related wait. There are different kinds of lines: the one for regular guests, the one dedicated to accreditation (mainly for press), and the one for the ones who dress up: cosplays.

Those who patiently wait and make it through are rewarded with a nice and entertaining view. Rooms full of people dressed up as their favorite fantasy character and stands selling all different kinds of gadgets. If you can bare crowded places, then it won’t be a problem for you to take a stroll around the most wanted stands among the people who want to make theirs as many unique items as they can.

Lines for food are a whole another story. As the most punctual internal clock, every stomach seems to demand food at the same time. During peak hour, the wait goes from 30 minutes onward even for a seemingly simple hamburger. At the end of the day, one has to wonder: “did I spend more time waiting in line or looking around at cosplays and listening to panels?”

via GIPHY

Romics: who’s grabbing the attention of whom?

romics crowd
Giulia Villanucci

Romics usually brings a lot of people in from all over Italy. Many fanatics of the event spend months on crafting their own costumes, sometimes hoping to win a prize right during those days. The event itself is well promoted through various internet personalities who oftentimes make an appearance for a Q&A session. This line of thought makes me wonder who is then the object of attention during this exhibition: cosplayers, or Romics itself?

This question is justified when you learn that people who dress up for the event pay a reduced priced ticket, but they’re still required to pay. Tickets are normally  €10/12 per day, while for cosplayers the price is reduced to 5. However, the desire and curiosity to see cosplayers is a big incentive for regular guests to come to Romics. This brings a big revenue to who’s in charge. At the same time, people who dress up spend a long time (and money) on their costumes. I believe they deserve either free entry or a more reduced fee.

romics costume
Simone Cicalone, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Overall, every year is a fun time when you go to Romics, but there are some adjustments that in my opinion should be made to make it even more appealing. In regards to their Fall 2018 event, I give them 2.5/5 stars, sure that in April it will be better.

romics rating
CCO

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attention economy, convention, cosplay, dress up, Rome, romics, tickets

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