§You know how at this very website we keep talking about the ascendance of comic-con culture? PalmCon down in Florida has ended it, full stop. The dream died. Or so says the author of a piece entitled: PalmCon Probably the Most Depressing Comic Book Convention in History. Allie Conti writes for the Broward/Palm Beach New Times:
PalmCon is one of the most depressing places I’ve ever been to in my life. It was basically like going to a mall in which every store sells the same couple of dust-covered items and every person looks like they work at Hot Topic. I had sort-of high hopes for my first comic book convention — not because I like comics (ew) but because I really love dumb hats and costumes. Unfortunately, not many people at PalmCon were interested in dressing up, and quite a few looked like they had stumbled inside on accident. They were probably pretty bummed out when they realized they had just paid $9 for access to a room in which the opportunity existed to access a smaller room and spend more money on terrible-looking pizza.
While not everyone can enjoy their con experience, and it’s a free country, this piece drew a somewhat…vocal response in the comments.
Why would you write about something you have no interest in or even understand? This “Journalist” mentions several times in the article how he doesn’t understand the culture and spends it criticizing people for their interest. Rather than criticizing this inept wanna’ be writer, I would rather share my perception of the event. Palm Con was a fun gathering of people you enjoy reliving their younger days of cartoons and comics. It is created for everyone who shares a passion for sequential art (Comic books or strips), toys, and pop culture. Palm Con had a good turnout of convention goers. Several expressed their creativity by donning their home made and elaborate costumes. There was an air of curiosity and excitement.
Some comments mentioned the pizza, saying it was just fine. Others promised prompt action:
A letter will be written to your corporate office and I hope that they take the proper corrective action against you. I expect better from such a major media outlet.
And finally, intense psychoanalysis was brought out:
Maybe its your obvious low self esteem, or the void that you have for a soul , that you felt compelled to just tear down an otherwise great event that was enjoyed by everybody. Maybe you never been hugged or maybe your have some hip friends you’re trying to impress by being “mean” or “fierce” or some other way to make your self feel better.
Once again, we should remind ourselves that Comic-Cons are not for every body, or a least not for Allie Conti.
§ On the other hand, Irish comics writer Darrin O’Toole (Tales from the Void) has been going around to shows and trying to sell comics, and shares his up and down experiences at various UK/Ireland shows:
So first off, let me start by using the above to highlight that what people say on panels is really true, doing the con scene is vital to progressing in the industry. It’s a no-brainer. Top talent scouts, editors and creators are sat there more than happy to talk to you. Attendees generally go to several cons per year, so they get to know you and your work, and this is how you build a fan-base for your books. To anyone watching, it’s obvious that those at cons are progressing and those that don’t go have a minuscule chance of going anywhere in a business that is more about personal relationships than cold pitching.
So that’s the obvious about the con circuit, but now, lets look at how much this costs. If you think printing a book cost you money, wait until you start on the con circuit, especially from a little island like ours.
Jake Hamilton: “Whether you know it or not or whether you admit it or not, you’re kinda in one yourself: the rivalry between Marvel and DC. Do you hear about that, is that something you are aware of, or do you care about that sort of rivalry?”
Chris Hemsworth: “We’re just winning aren’t we? That’s not really a rivalry.”
§ How there was almost a comics dept at the Museum of Modern Art 20 years ago. Robert Boyd is sad that there wasn’t, but I think it would have been too soon. That said, now would be better, I think?
§ Stan Lee and Jack Kirby were photographed in the Marvel offices but no one know why or when. Note: you’ll be shocked at Stan’s appearance!
§ Are we still talking about SPX? Yes, we are, because it was the beginning of something new. RM Rhodes (the guy who wears the purple suit) wrote his thoughts on the show as a response to this from R. Maheras:
There’s a relative sameness pervading contemporary small press that I don’t remember seeing during the small press explosion of the 1980s.
Zombies, cutesy creatures/monsters, or reality-based angst comics seemed to be bulk of what’s available these days.
I did peg those categories in my own report but I COULD NOT DISAGREE MORE WITH THIS. Maheras, a frequent commenter here and at other sites, was a fanzine artist back in the day with stuff like this:
and in the comments on the piece people keep asking him what he means by diversity and he finally links to some scans of old zines that were done.
Now I’ll jump right in there and say that I loved Ultra Klutz back in the day (although Jeff Nicholson’s masterpiece was Through the Habitrails) but how can you possibly compare this genre influenced stuff to the work of Frank Santoro, Julia Gforer, Cole Closser, Jen Wang, Nick Bertozzi, Ellen Lindner, Tom Scioli, Warren Craghead and…so on and on. I mean…come on. It is okay to be an old timer who thinks things were better back in the day, but I have to tell you, where comics are concerned, they weren’t. Because you can buy all the good old stuff and all sorts of crazy new stuff right this minute. That never happened before! Russ Maheras and Allie Conti can form a club, and not enjoy this, but I do, and I bet a lot of other people do, too.
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.