Home Conventions Kibbles 'n' Bits, 4/20/10 — convention edition

Kibbles 'n' Bits, 4/20/10 — convention edition


So many shows, so little time….

§ Tim O’Shea hit FLUKE, the indie comics show in Athens, GA which sounds like it went well.

§ The Wizard World Anaheim Comic-Con was this weekend; here are photos which we suggest you scrutinize carefully as this could conceivably be the new San Diego. The Anaheim show was definitely positioned by locals as a possible CCI warm-up.

As for the show, this nonpartisan report by Amy Ratcliffe covers all the bases:

I pushed through and onward to toys, models, and comics. My eyes enjoyed skimming books and racks without being strained by a million flashing lights or giant displays. The aisles were crowded, but you could move. The booths were well staffed, and more than once, a booth employee offered up recommendations and actually spent time helping me find new comics to enjoy. Propworx had great nerdy items on display from Goa’uld symbiotes to Starbuck’s viper pilot suite. One of the coolest finds for me were custom gaming tables by Geek Chic. I tried not to drool on them.


– The price of a one day Saturday ticket was $35, the same as San Diego Comic Con. Sure, I got to look at celebrities from just a few feet away, but personally? I’d rather have more panels and a bigger artist area. On Saturday, there were just 18 panels and four of them involved Stan Lee. Stan Lee rocks, absolutely, but come on. Out of those 18, maybe about 1/3 had to do with comics.

§ Last week: Frank Santoro describes the joys of his back issue bin at MoCCA

Something unexpected happened when I was hawking a Marshall Rogers Scorpio Rose comic. The guy who colored the comic thirty years ago was standing right in front of me. “Is that issue #2? I colored that.” Joseph D’Esposito in the flesh. We immediately launched in to esoteric coloring language and I was in heaven. How awesome is that? Here’s some comic I’ve been pushing on people for years because of the coloring and then the guy walks up to my table at a show. We agreed to do an interview, so look forward to that one, True Believers, in the weeks to come.

§ Cons past: Just to show the current state of con, and Boston’s viability as a convention town, Fleen reported that the first PAX East, the video game convention begun by webcomic Penny Arcade, was a sellout:

I hadn’t mentioned this before, but the final attendance for the inaugural PAX East: 52,900, capped largely by space availability. Given the size differential between the Hynes Convention Center (ignore the little text label, it’s the building on Boylston that has the round structure in the northeast corner) and the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center (site of future PAX East iterations), I’m predicting the attendee count will flirt with 100,000 before the current three-year deal with the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority expires.

To put this in perspective, the BCEC in 2008 (the most recent year I could find numbers for, and prior to the economy pitching a wobbly) listed its most economically impactful conventions as having attendances between 3800 and 35,000 attendees (PDF, page 3), from a total attendance of 444,000 – 489,000 (depending on whether you count fiscal years or calendar years; PDF, page 17). Any way you care to crunch those numbers, PAX East has already significantly increased the convention attendance of a major city, and will only do so to a greater degree in the future.

§ The very next week, the Boston Comic-Con drew huge lines for Jim Lee, Mike Mignola, Ben Templesmith and other comics luminaries, as reported on Twitter and Facebook. There was a two-hour wait to get into the show, but once inside it wasn’t very crowded, so fire marshal issues seem to have been at play.

§ On the matter of San Diego/LA/Anaheim, the LA convention bureau is also getting into the act with a recent mailing to LA area pros titled “Help bring Comic-Con to LA!” leading to a Facebook fan page and all that, now with some 1875 fans.

§ The Denver StarFest also hit this weekend. One fan report.


  1. I was at Anaheim for the convention Saturday for work. If anything it was like the Island of Misfit Toys, but instead of toys it was mostly desperate former TV stars charging for autographs. It was really just the Frank and Sons Show in the City of Industry on a busy Saturday. I suppose if CCI moves to Anaheim, it will be more successful than ever, I just hate the idea that the closest place to walk to eat away from the convention center is a 7-11, and it’s not really that close to boot.

    Although I did find some great deals on some trade paperbacks and met two of my favorite creators (Doug TeNapel and Ethan Nicolle), I wish there was more comics related stuff other than the comics vendors.

    Now I’m really curious to check out the Long Beach Comic Con since I’ve heard it was a lot of fun.

  2. It’s really too bad that PAX East is moving to the Boston Convention Center from the Hynes. The Hynes is great because it’s right in Boston, just minutes from all kinds of great restaurants. And you can walk to it, or take transit, from anywhere in the city. Big, sterile, isolated convention centers—boo! Convention centers that are actually part of the city they are located in—yay!

  3. I also went to the Anaheim Con on Saturday and was left so completely bored after just a couple hours. Almost half of the floor space was devoted to their guests and all these “panels” were just Q&A sessions with the guests. There wasn’t a single comic publisher there and even artist alley, while pretty steady with foot traffic, seemed mostly quiet. Attendees seemed to leave as the guests left and the last two hours were dead with exhibitors outnumbering the attendees.

    As Miguel pointed out, the food selection around that area is abysmal. Most things are so far away and are just generic IHOPs and Denny’s.

    Lastly, not that impressed with the convention center. It seemed kind of cramped and even though it may have more square feet than the San Diego convention center, i just don’t see 125,000+ people getting around it all at once very easily. Google the floor plan and you’ll see that all the halls are seperated by the refreshment cafes which makes having one huge uninterrupted exhibit hall impossible. I just think it would be a huge disaster if CCI moved there.

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