by Mike Scigliano
The team at Long Beach Comic & Horror Con has spent much of the last week working on booking new dates for 2013. We discovered that Stan Lee’s Comikaze had booked our traditional dates for 2013 and we needed to decide what the best course of action was for LBCHC. When it came down to it the answer was a lot easier than you’d expect.
Do we stick with our dates and get ready for a battle or look into new dates for 2013? Our immediate thought was that staying put is not fair to ANYONE. Attendees are forced to choose. Our partners, our exhibitors, and creators, are then all put in the middle and forced to choose where they will be. It will cost LBCHC more money and will certainly result in less than desired results from not only our comicon but for Stan Lee’s Comikaze as well. Everyone loses. And that’s just not how we conduct business. We have our attendees and partners to consider as we do when making any major decision about LBCHC. And frankly, we just don’t do ‘Con Wars.’
The right thing to do for Long Beach Comic & Horror Con, its fans, exhibitors, and creators was to work with the Long Beach Convention Center to find new dates for 2013. After speaking with numerous local, regional, and national comicons we inquired with the Long Beach Convention Center as to the availability of dates in September 2013. Remember when I said convention centers don’t wait around twiddling their thumbs for you to call and book an event at their facilities? Our sales representative at the building came back to us with just two options: the third weekend in October 2013, which obviously conflicts with the standing dates of New York Comic Con, and November 30 & December 1, 2013. That’s it for the ENTIRE season. NOTHING else was available. As a result of the trade show industry picking up a bit, available dates have been disappearing fast, leaving very little options.
Like I said, the choice ended up being a lot easier than we thought, and as a result Long Beach Comic & Horror Con will be November 30 & December 1 in 2013.
That being said, there is certainly a likelihood that our new dates will conflict with an event somewhere. We can only hope that the conflict is across the country to minimize the impact to both comicons. And, of course, if the Comicon showrunners are interested, then we’d be happy to work connect with them and see if there is anything we can do to help each other out.
It’s a real pain to deal with this sort of stuff, as any showrunner will tell you. We’ve had our share of sleepless nights in past, and the last week for sure as we waited to see what options we’d have available to us. But the reality is this sort of situation can be avoided with positive communication. There is more than enough room in most regions to support multiple comicons.
I propose a plan. Based on a concept devised by Martha Donato (co-owner of Long Beach Comic & Horror Con), I propose an organization where comicon showrunners can connect, talk freely, and help each other out. There is much that an organization like this can hope to achieve. From the basic to the complex a few goals could be:
– Better scheduling of comicons
– Exhibitor & Guest contact list sharing
– Experienced showrunners can guide the green showrunners to help them develop the best comicon possible.
– Bulk purchases of supplies and other items to reduce costs
– Ad swaps, banner swaps, ad buys, etc.
– Private forum for organization members to come together and discuss topics in a friendly and supportive nature.
As far as membership goes, it’d be open to all who want to join and be part of the conversation. So I guess this is a call to action. The comicon calendar is getting tighter each year. Everyone, attendees, exhibitors, & creators, would benefit from a comicon showrunners’ organization. Be it informal or formal. The CBIA and ComicsPro are great examples of both the informal and formal organizations. Check them out and learn more about what they do. Following in their footsteps would be exactly what the comic book industry needs.
If you are a showrunner, exhibitor, or creator and are interested in talking, then contact me on twitter or drop me a note at mscigliano[at]longbeachcomiccon[dot]comand let’s start the conversation. I’m looking forward to it!
Comments and questions are encouraged either below in the comments section or via twitter.
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.