April 19, 2010
Several Notes On The Inaugural C2E2
Here's what pops into my head this morning:
1. The conventional wisdom I'm hearing back and reading seems to be be coalescing around the inaugural C2E2 being a fine and well-run convention, particularly for a first show in a new city, with the only bad news is that attendance was a bit light.
2. I think it's good for Lance Fensterman to report a 27,500 attendance figure
, even though projections were 5000 or so higher, and to further admit that sales were sluggish for some people. There's no use denying what people saw with their own eyes, and there's no reason to undercut the trust of the people covering the show. Fensterman's admission makes Gareb Shamus' recent claim of 75,000 for last summer's Wizard show -- a figure I've yet to find anyone in attendance endorse as adhering to reality in any way -- look childish.
3. I would say the troubling news for C2E2 given that attendance figure is two-fold.
4. The first is that it's hard to imagine a better confluence of comics guests -- Smith, Gaiman, Ross, Ware, Marvel/DC -- coming to the show the same weekend they have actors from a big comics-related movie coming to the show, both in a time period kinder than any ever experienced to the general comics-convention experience. How they organize for next year's show should be fascinating
, and I think they're in a race in terms of getting the show greater traction (45K to 50K should do it) before this latest fascination with comics shows fades a bit.
5. The second is that as an ex-Chicagoan and Midwesterner I've long held that a problem C2E2 would have is that I felt they were underestimating how big a pain in the ass it is for people in Chicago and outside Chicago to come into the city and into McCormick Place. Or if not really a pain in the ass how they perceive it as such. I hated going down there when I lived there just as much
as I hated going to Rosemont. And even then I had a better idea of how to head out to the airport (red line to blue line, baby) than to the public areas downtown. When I didn't live in Chicago and was driving up with a car filled with junk culture-obsessed idiots from Indiana, I hated going to the McCormick Place area even more
than going to Rosemont, because it cost more to function around there. I'm not sure that goes away, and I bet it continues to hamper the show. There's no good solution here, either. The show has to be down there.
6. I would say the positive news for C2E2 given that attendance figure is also two-fold.
7. First, the general trend is for comics conventions to do better in years subsequent to their debut, as they find an audience and people begin to trust the show as a regular event.
8. Second, my hunch is that there's room for growth in attendance from the entire region. When the old Chicago show worked it was due in part to attendance (relative to that time period) from people that lived in Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, Toledo, Detroit, Milwaukee, and Champaign. I think if a Chicago show settles in, you'll get some of that audience back along with more and more Chicago-area folk.
9. By one measure the show did well: there was a decent amount of publishing news churn at the show. CBR
were there in full index-necessary force, and there were a decent number of representatives from other comics-related media. This may not mean anything, but it seemed to me this morning that there were a lot
of articles by local media, too.
10. I'm not sure if there was a big publishing news takeaway for me. The plethora of Avengers titles stuff generally comes across to me like Marvel is overtly trying to make a line of books that encapsulates everything wrong about mainstream comics' category-to-category over-publishing right now. I can foresee fans getting relatively tired of a straight-ahead approach really quickly -- I'm not saying they will, but I think these Heroic Age books have about the smallest area-to-hit in order to be successful that I've seen in years of those books. Mark Millar claiming that he generated the hopelessly generic idea of mutant vampires is about the only amusing thing I can say about the idea of mutant vampires. Even my inner 12-year-old gives that particular idea the finger. I think Matt Fraction bringing his Casanova
to Icon is kind of interesting, and not just because it involves CR fave Dustin Harbin as letterer
. The refashioned Casanova
basically concedes that the original format (16 pages, supplementary material, limited color, cheaper price) just was never going to work with this Direct Market, which I find sad even as I'm sure retailers out there roll their eyes mercilessly just at my saying so. I'm also fascinated by what seem to me to be something of a sales ceiling at Icon. For what it's worth I think Dungeons and Dragons and Yo Gabba Gabba
are good licenses for IDW and Oni, respectively. Dark Horse seems like a good home
11. I'm not fond of the new CBLDF logo
. Sorry, Charles. For one thing, I read it as "CBCDF" when I look at the top of it, and "Book Legal Defense Fund" when I quickly scan the bottom row. I'm also not fond of the site's basic design: there's too much space given to the logo and thus the main thrust of the site seems crowded off to the right and below.
12. That said, the CBLDF web site relaunch should probably be linked to their recent pair of hires as news of an overall ramping-up with that group at a time when no major cases -- knock on wood -- are draining their resources.
13. Speaking of free speech-related issues, Jeff Smith had a general initial reaction
to news of a mom wanting to ban Bone
from her school's library that I think a lot of people did: as far as not wanting your kid to read that material because of its smattering of incidental adult-ish behaviors, a little bit weird, but fine; taking the steps to have it removed it from the library; weirder, and not acceptable. Smith's panel seemed full of straight talk about some business issues; he's always a pretty interesting panelist.
14. C2E2's Lance Fensterman went to the elementary school in Minnesota where the Bone controversy is taking place -- small world, comics.
15. It seems like attendance at the corresponding Diamond Summit turned out pretty well
. Getting retailers to come back may involve a completely different skill-set, I'm not sure. And by "I'm not sure" I don't mean "I'm weighing both ideas and haven't concluded which one I think most likely" as much as I mean "I have no idea what I'm talking about when it comes to retailer summits."
16. As always, if there's one must-read summary, it's the ICv2.com sales numbers and comparisons year to year
. The slight decline reported seems about what one would expect given the concerns of recession and the performance of some fluke hits.
posted 4:00 pm PST
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