[Photo via Mekanicat’s flickr set.]
Incredibly, The Beat is on the move AGAIN. While we’re in transit back to base, a few quick thoughts on C2E2, based on dozens of conversations with publisher, creators, and attendees.
• It was a good first-time show. This was repeated over and over by just about everyone we spoke with.
• That said, the crowds were lighter than what was expected — whether that expectation was inflated or not is open to question. Saturday, it got busy, but it never blew anyone out of the water. Friday and Sunday were quiet, in the typical convention pattern.
• Who made money or not was similarly mixed. Many folks in Artists Alley sold out; some did very slow business. Publishers had generally good but not great shows.
• Even if it wasn’t a sell-out, it was still a good show in a great market for comics. We heard a lot of theories as to why it didn’t seem like fans were breaking down the doors as they had at other recent shows. The branding not containing the word “comics” was frequently mentioned. The fact that recent Chicago comics shows have not been strong and the fans simply didn’t know what to expect was another.
• Support for the show in the professional community is very strong. The Midwest is a huge territory that deserves a great comics show, in the tradition that started there 30 years ago. About 90 percent of the people we talked to want to go next year; those who didn’t cited the cost of getting there vs. the sales as a factor.
• C2E2 was a really well run show with no major snafus that we heard of. There were some minor logistical things we noted — hey, a map of Artists Alley with names AND table numbers would have been great — but they are easily solved.
• McCormick Place pros: really great facility and the airy, lighted show floor surrounded by windows, and spectacular views of Lake Michigan from the back were commented on favorably by nearly everyone — seriously, putting some sunlight on a show floor improves everyone’s mood.
• McCormick Place cons: It’s so huge it’s kind of hard to get that bustling, busy feeling in the room. And the panel rooms were simply too big; even the smallest one had stadium seating! The Brobdingnagian scale of the place makes an intimate talk an impossibility. Even the biggest Marvel and DC panels couldn’t fill the immense halls, making it hard to connect with the audience.
• The fans we talked to were impressed by having a full-scale show in Chicago. The amount of animosity we heard for other events held in Rosemont was really widespread, and offered without prompting.
• Bottom line: It’s a good show and people want to support it, and a lot of folks want to come back.
• We managed to sneak into the kitchen and bath show for a bit today, and it was just as gleaming and sparkling as we imagined.
And now…home, dear God, finally home. But before then…what did YOU think of C2E2?
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.