This past weekend I attended WizardWorld’s Big Apple ComicCon. It was the first combination of Wizard’s convention might and Mike Carbonaro’s long-running Big Apple Show, marking (I believe) Wizard’s first-ever NY Show.
Right off the top I wanted to say that I really enjoyed myself at the show. I and two of my associates at Atlas Unleashed (fellow Media Connection blogger, Mark Mazz and Ed Ed Pereira). Mark, Ed and I are partners in a start-up publishing venture entitled Atlas Unleashed. Originally we were going to have a table at the show, but for a number of reasons, didn’t, but we still wanted to attend, and — at the very last minute — contacted the Show’s promoters — and were granted VIP passes.
I want to take this opportunity to thank Peter Katz for allowing us last minute entry to the show. As stated it was a very productive show for us. Still, I can’t help but to think that, (as stated) we are our own worse enemy in this field. I say this because of the announcement that BigApple/Wizard made at the show, that their next show will happen on October 7–10, 2010 — (the date of the New York ComicCon’s 20010 show (October 8–10, 2010).
I hate to be blunt about this, but I don’t think that they could have picked a worse date for their show. Why? Simple, NY ComicCon announced their date six months ago, and have already locked in quite a number of dealers, guests, publishes, and well, fans. To book another “event” con on the same weekend, in the same city is easily the worst thing that Big Apple/Wizard could have done. Forcing companies and fan to choose between the two events will not only hurt both organizations but the industry as well.
First of all, even if fans (and/or companies) wanted to attend both events, who could afford to attend both? (Especially in this economy!) Second, assume for a minute that 10,000 fans will attend either con (assuming it was a stand-alone event — I don’t know the real numbers, this is just to make a point), having them both on the same day won’t somehow materialize 10,000 fans for either event, it will more than likely halve the number of fans at both events. Plus, I can only assume that one or the other (or both) companies will do a Letterman/Leno thing (“If you book them you can’t book us”).
Still, if you look at this past weekend’s Big Apple/Wizard show, and while it was admittedly a fun show to attend, it was more akin to the old Creation Con’s “Multi-Media Show” than a comicbook con (not that there’s anything wrong with that), but there were no comicbook publishers there (No Marvel, DC, Image, Dark Horse, IDW, Boom!, no one). Again, while there is nothing wrong with this (I’ve been to plenty of shows without any publishers attending). Still, this is odd, considering the size of the show and the fact that headquarters for both Marvel and DC are in Manhattan.
When you dig a little deeper, you discover that quite a few of the pros who regularly book tables, retailers, and businesses who take booths have already committed to NY ComicCon’s event. A bit more investigating will reveal that clearly 90% of the folks selling comics were selling most (if not all) of their product at huge discounts (50% or better).
This is not a good economy. Booking two San Diego-level shows on the same weekend, in the same city is simply insane.
We live in a ever-shrinking market, going head-to-head like this and forcing fans and pros alike to choose sides is flat out a bad business practice. We should be helping each other, because every fan we bring into this industry, is one more potential customer for all of us. Setting them against each other will just cause them to become disheartened, and fall away.
I honestly hope that the principles behind these two juggernauts can figure out what is best for the industry and co-operate on some level so as to bring more folks into the fold, rather than push them away.
Sure, sure, they are two very different conventions (Big Apple/Wizard catering to the film & TV industry while NY ComicCon deals with comic fans) but putting them into a virtual cage match can’t possibly be good for either of them or for us.