Despite our best intentions, we just couldn’t drag ourselves out of the house for King Con this weekend. We were physically unable to do more than have an “I can’t get out of bed” type weekend. Those who did seem to have had universally positive vibes over it, despite some organizational snafus. While the event was definitely scaled back from some initial hopes, based on comments, it seems to have been a pleasant, laid back atmosphere to get to see a lot of up-and-coming artists who are part of the modern, web-friendly generation.
From what we heard there wasn’t a huge crowd or huge sales but it was nice. Some reviews:
Jimmy Aquino from whom we took the above picture:
More people should check out small shows like this as they are more of a representation of the love of making comics. As I’ve said in the past, I tend to purchase more at these smaller shows as well. Support small press! While I buy a ton of mainstream books, I tend to remember the more personal stories out there.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from King Con when I was invited to attend, but it came as a most welcome distraction after a rough political week. Held at the Brooklyn Lyceum, it most reminded me of the smaller NYC cons of the 1970s although the dealers’ tables were all replaced with artists’ tables. There may have been one pure retailer in attendance. Instead, the tables were filled with people who work for DC, Marvel, or smaller houses and it was a most collegial atmosphere.
Raina and I were only there on Sunday, but everyone seemed in good spirits and excited about about the future. People told me turnout had been a better on Saturday but that sales still seemed to be good overall. One thing I thought was especially cool, was that with less major publishers or even indy stars like you’d see at MoCCA or SPX, it allowed for lesser known cartoonists to rise to the surface. People like GB Tran and Alisa Harris,who might have gotten lost at a bigger show, got to benefit from the smaller room and be one of the stand out cartoonists!
Becky Cloonan acknowledges smallness and an awkward set-up, but still had a good time:
As far as table space goes, I didn’t think I would be attending but at the last minute decided to bring a few books and put them on a friend’s table- they had 8′ and 6′ tables, for reasonable prices I think but personally I didn’t sell much (granted, I didn’t have much to sell) but our table was in the back, under the before-mentioned loft space, so it was pretty dark. We didn’t get that much traffic either, or a way to get in or out of the table- we had to go under it, or climb over the side. Which is fun I guess, but let’s face it- we’re all a little too old to be climbing under tables.
Had a great time at King Con Brooklyn! It was great to meet so many interesting and talented people on both sides of the tables! It turns out to be a bit of a slog manning a table by yourself, as I discovered on Sunday (thankfully I was able to rope the lovely Mariel P. Isaacson into hanging out with me all day Saturday), but all in all it was a fun show… I heard a few people describing the vibe as kind of like the first few years of MoCCA, which I can absolutely see. The space was especially cool, and convenient to my apartment! Hopefully the show will continue–and continue to grow–in the next few years!
Whew. What a ride. I’m not exaggerating when I say that King Con was an absolute monster of a show, one that completely blew away my most optimistic expectations of what a freshman show at a former bath house in lower Park Slope could possibly be. Neal Adams, Harvey Pekar, and Jonathan Ames were some of the stars in the house, and the spirit at the con was incredibly positive, the people relaxed and approachable, the whole two big floors fairly pulsating with the creative frisson you can only find in a thriving metropolis like Brooklyn.
So…a moderate success then. With MoCCA still failing to address the major non-heat related complaints people had about the show, and the upcoming Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival slated for next month, filling the high end literary comics void, there’s definitely room for a show outside Manhattan that spotlights the dozens and dozens of working cartoonists in New York. BUT, with New York Comic-Con moving to the fall, and Big Apple planned for the same weekend and so on, it’s hard to see where King Con might fall on the schedule. Based on reports, the climate was very iffy — cold upstairs, stuffy downstairs, so seasonal concerns might me the major arbiter of the schedule.
The New York metropolitan area is a huge audience and a huge nest of comics-related activity. There probably *is* room for the FIVE shows now planned, but spacing them out is definitely a big concern.