If you are a comic book fan and love to go to comic conventions, chances are you have noticed how many shows have been popping up lately. In the past, Brian and I could plan on a show every two or three months with a bit of travel involved to get our fix. Now… there are two to three shows a month appearing all within driving distance; all different styles, sizes and flavors. Is this a good thing? Yes, if all the shows can sustain themselves and give the fans a lot of bang for their buck. No, if they can’t deliver and try to attack shows in their area with negative talk or scheduling too close to an established one to hurt their attendance.
I love comic book shows! I have always loved attending and meeting creators and getting books signed. When SECRET IDENTITY happened both Brian and I loved to go and get interviews for the show and push our endeavor. Now when we do these shows we still do all those things BUT now we are also creators; trying to sell our books and draw folks into what we do.
This past weekend I was contacted by someone (hi Tori) about what I love about comic conventions and it got me thinking to why I love them and it is simple… it is a celebration of everything I love. I love to see the creators who create, fellow fans who feel the same as me and the vendors to sell me more of the candy that daddy needs!
And that is why it is so sad to see the negativity or quick ‘money grab’ shows that do so much to harm a community that can’t agree on anything anyway. Putting together a con is like putting together a band; everyone has their roll and responsibilities but the bigger it gets… money and ego seems to take over. And the fans that liked it one way don’t like to see it grow too big or move into other directions. Today’s cons MUST be a one stop shop and offer so much to make everyone happy and also alienates fans.
I don’t have all the answers on this subject but I know what I see going on and like what many shows are doing. We have seen shows like Boston Comic Con, Connecticut’s ComicConn and ConnectiCon grow at a steady pace and adapt to the ever changing climate of the industry with subtle nuances that make their show unique. Recently I have seen smaller shows like Camden Comic Con (New Jersey), Bing Con (Springfield, MA) and Vermont Comic Con starting out small, offering great guests and amazing values and have built a foundation to grow on. On the other side of the coin I have been to shows that really didn’t offer anyone anything; leaving vendors, guests and attendees upset with no plan for a return next year.
So what do you do? You support the shows and promoters that give you an incredible show, value and amazing creators. The creators and the vendors are the true stars of a show and without them you can’t build anything.
How do you pick a show? That can be tough as well. This year I had three shows to choose from on the same weekend; Nostalgia Con in Maryland, Hartford Comic Con and Vermont Comic Con. My first choice was to go to Maryland and introduce myself to a new audience. Sure Hartford is closer (and Brian told me a great show last year) but I chose to make a return trip to Vermont. Why? I had a great time last year, the area is so starved for anything geek and the promoter (yo J!) is a standup guy who I enjoy working with and had a ton of fun last year and that trumps all. Relationships and fun!
Coincidentally my second book COMICOPOLYPSE – HOW TO SURVIVE THE COMIC CON EXPERIENCE IS NOW BACK IN PRINT!