What is the Buy-In?

One of these days, I intend to get around to watching Black Panther. Right now, I’m dodging the opening-weekend crowds. I’m sure a lot of the other allergy-afflicted, grown-up, child-free introverts can relate.

I grabbed a burger at a fast-food joint not so far from the movie theater today, and literally every teen and tween in the place was talking about Black Panther. I didn’t see any cos-play, though. Maybe later, when the characters are better known?

I did catch a short clip of Roxane Gay talking about the movie, and her characters that made it into the movie. Somewhere along the line, she mentioned that comic books can be cost prohibitive. That they cost $3.99 and they come out every week.

Well, she’s right, you know.

And the cos-play I’m missing? Well, that’s probably even more cost prohibitive, depending on how willing the kid is to actually wear the clothes he makes in day-to-day life.

So, here I am, looking down the barrel of economics and science-fiction. Books? Well, that’s a trip to the library. Comic books? Well, that’s gonna cost you… particularly if you want to stay on top of your franchise. And conventions, cos-play, and memorabilia collections? Well fu–dge. Some of that stuff, I can’t afford.

I’m crazy about the community that’s built around Science Fiction and Fantasy. I hate to think of kids being priced out of it. But yeah… there’s a price tag on lightsabers.

Maybe the library needs a dress-up collection.

Maybe the theater does.

I’ve gone to parties where the host has a big ol’ box of costumes at the door, and it does make the atmosphere more inclusive, whether you couldn’t afford a costume, or just didn’t have time. (Or, gee… did your boyfriend really need his own coconut bra?)

And maybe we all need to work together to emphasize the stories over the merchandise.


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