When we ran the press release announcing the new New England Comic-Con last week, we were puzzled by one aspect of the acquisition by con impresario Gareb Shamus: namely that the show acquired had been running for 35 years. As revealed in the comments section and now a post by A. David Lewis, that’s because the show Shamus acquired was run only once by its current owners. Lewis lays out the facts and digs up all the scuttlebutt, as well:
My sources (who at this time wish to remain nameless) say that Shamus, indeed, is taking part in the show run once by Harrison. That is not a typo: It wasn’t “once run” by Harrison but, rather, run only once by him. Prior to that, it was overseen by Monkeyhouse Entertainment/Primate Productions as “The Boston Comic Book & Toy Spectacular,” frequently taking place at the Boston Radisson. (Note the convenience of dropping the “& Toy” from its title.) This no-frills, recurring event passed to Harrison recently when its original show-runner alledgedly got into trouble with the authorities for assaulting a person. Moreover, attendance at the latest Spectacular was less than 200 people, putting Harrison et all in dire straights.
Well, that is enough drama for one paragraph!
Lewis also quotes his anonymous sources as saying that not much money is changing hands in Shamus’s recent con acquisitions; we can verify that for at least one of the new Wizard World Comic-Cons, the previous owner is still selling space at the new Wizard show, and taking a commission on it; that would seem like a fair deal. What isn’t such a fair deal is that the same guy was marking up the prices considerably over what Wizard charges.
Honestly, we did not expect the announcement of a show in Boston to give rise to so much behind-the-scenes muttering and dark looks. As we mentioned in our first post, it’s not a big town for comic-cons — although potential is there for growth, certainly. While there is definitely a comics scene — the Boston Comics Roundtable to name but one aspect — it just doesn’t seem like there is all that much turf to wrangle over. But have you ever noticed how drama breeds drama? That’s what seems to be happening here.