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Kibbles ‘n’ Bits, 10/9/09


§ Mash-up of the week: Emo superstar Pete Wentz of the band Fall Out Boy interviews comics superstar Chris Ware in a delightful deserted factory near downtown LA for a surprisingly relaxed series of videos. Bonus: they’re subtitled in German!

§ ICv2 rounds up last month’s BookScan charrts, and finds Graphic Novels Down 15% in Q3, citing last year’s WATCHMEN boom as being at least partly responsible for the dip; the report also mentions that graphic novels for kids, tweens and teens are doing well this year. A companion piece reports that Robert Crumb’s GENESIS did well in sales, breaking up the usual Naruto/Moore/Gaiman/Kirkman bloc.

§ Speaking of the charts, J. Caleb Mozzocco ponders this month’s sales charts.

§ Just because it was mostly a love-in doesn’t mean people can’t ask questions — in fact they SHOULD. The Daily Cross Hatch published an open letter by cartoonist Susie Cagle, who, in an honest and straightforward way asks some very direct questions about SPX:

Presuming conservatively that maybe two-thirds of the 170 tables sold at the early bird rate of $300, and the rest at the late rate of $370, that’s upwards of $55,000 right there. Plus 1772 paid admissions–maybe half of those were $15 weekend passes, and half day passes? Another $22,000+. Add in some minor poster sales and we’re talking a grand total of somewhere around let’s say $80K. I can’t imagine the Marriott is charging upwards of three-quarters of that for the use of one large and two small meeting rooms for daytime hours on a weekend, plus the hall, cash bar and bartenders for the Ignatzes. And if they are, well, you might want to reconsider this plan.

and this year’s SPX director Karon Flage shows up to honestly and straightforwardly answer some of these questions:

While I am not going to discuss exact numbers the show is considerably more expensive to run than your expectations. Everything you see at the show must be sourced – the ballroom and meeting room space, tables and table drapes, chairs, wastebaskets, microphones, laptops and projectors plus paying for the labor to set up and tear down ballroom and meeting rooms. It is comparable to hosting a wedding for over 1000 guests. SPX is volunteer run – no one on staff from the board members to the show volunteers receives payment for working on the show. We do of course get in free to the show so volunteering is one way an attendee can save money on the admittance charge.

§ The Art Patient blog is this week’s commentator to ask “how many times must we see superhero A die?

§ Brian Chippendale talks about Bryan Hitch. Yeah, you heard us.

§ Comic Book Heroes big with tween girls. A perfectly TRUE headline, but you must read the article to find out the surprise twist!

  1. $15 for SPX is CHEAP, even for one day.
    What I get: a compact show containing major publishers, small publishers, self publishers. While not everything will appeal to me, I can easily chat with the artists and writers about their books. Some I know from other shows, some I am meeting for the first time. (The joy of discovery is one of the reasons I attend SPX.)

    Oh, and let us not forget the chocolate fondue fountains following the Ignatz Awards. No extra charge.

    The economics seem to work. The show draws a good crowd without being crowded. Table costs are affordable in that there are many self publishers exhibiting, resulting in a good synergy of talent and creativity. The hotel, while outside the Beltway, is easy to get to, and offers excellent facilities. (Loved the lecture room/auditorium!)

    AND… the building is air-conditioned. (Okay, this year, they over-did it, but at least it worked.)

  2. Thanks for the link. I don’t see change for supers coming from within the industry and it is long overdue. Maybe Disney has an angle on something new to do with Marvel’s product line.

  3. SPX is a great show and the only reason I don’t go every year is that it’s so far away from where I live. The prices for tables and admittance are very reasonable compared with other shows of similar size. And that labor for set-ups and break-downs that has to be paid for, is not minimum-wage. It’s full-scale union labor, which ain’t cheap.
    Karon Flage is IMHO one of the heroes of independent comics for doing this show without compensation beyond the satisfaction of supporting the art form.

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