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Could a Choose Your Own Adventure revival be the other big con trend of 2024?

ECCC 2024 had an eye-catching display that seemingly worked when it came to freeing up those nostalgia dollars

Hills of Comics' Choose Your Own Adventures
Image credit: Popverse

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As the first major convention of 2024, Emerald City Comic Con 2024 had the opportunity to establish new sales trends for the year: we discovered, for example, that dice were big at the show, as were plushies, and it’s always a good time to find some classic back issues of your favorite comics books. But here’s another potential craze that we’re going to be keeping our eye on: Choose Your Own Adventure Books.

Yes, really. For those unfamiliar with Choose Your Own Adventure, you’re clearly not someone who was around in the 1980s and ‘90s, when the line was a publishing phenomenon, selling hundreds of millions of copies in the two decades after its’ 1979 debut. The premise is just as the title suggests, with the narrative allowing the reader to choose between multiple paths at various points in the book, allowing for a new story to unfold each time the reader revisits the book. The line disappeared in 1999, but was resurrected just four years later by a new publisher, Chooseco, which both reissued the original series and releasing all-new titles as well.

One dealer on the show floor of ECCC 2024 — Hills of Comics, of Auburn, WA — grabbed a lot of attention on the first day by having a large display of CYOA books that included copies of the first 40 books in the series, as well as selected efforts from later in the series’ run, with multiple copies of each title available. By the end of the show, that wasn’t the case anymore: a number of volumes had sold out completely.

Time — and the next big convention; we’re looking at you, C2E2 at the end of April — will tell if this surprise bulk appearance of the Choose Your Own Adventure series (and subsequent sales success) will be a one-off on behalf of a surprising retailer taking advantage of backstock and fandom’s nostalgia for let’s be honest, what remains an utterly compelling approach to telling stories in book form for kids — or the start of something bigger. For now, all we can really say is that the sight of so many of those books in one display was quite something to behold… and we clearly weren’t the only ones to think so.

Hills of Comics' Choose Your Own Adventures
Image credit: Popverse

Get fully immersed in ECCC 2024 with Popverse's coverage of the event. From main stage panel livestreams to backstage interviews, on-the-floor coverage, news, cosplay galleries, and all the major panels we'll be m ocderating! We also have a list of the ECCC 2024 artist alley and the big booths to expect. We've even got you covered on where to eat near the convention center.

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Graeme McMillan avatar

Graeme McMillan

Staff Writer

Popverse staff writer Graeme McMillan (he/him) has been writing about comics, culture, and comics culture on the internet for close to two decades at this point, which is terrifying to admit. He completely understands if you have problems understanding his accent.