October 15, 2007
APE Moves to November 2008
The Comics Reporter
has confirmed with Comic-Con International
that the Alternative Press Expo (APE)
will move to November 1-2 2008 as indicated by the above banner appearing on their web site. APE has recently been held in the Spring after a run near the end of winter for the bulk of its decade-plus run as a small-press focused show based on the old convention model rather than a comics festival set-up. This alters the Spring convention landscape, puts more weight at the end of the major convention season and potentially crowds some of the traditional Fall shows.
We were able to speak briefly to the organization's David Glanzer about the move.
TOM SPURGEON: Why?
The quick answer was we couldn't get dates for that location in April. As you know we rely upon the convention facility (whether it be in San Francisco or San Diego) to give us dates that work within our timeframe. We have a long history in San Diego, with a huge amount of hotel rooms and a general impact on the city that is well known.
The Alternative Press Expo, while big for its type, is a smaller event and securing dates, even one year out, has been difficult to say the least. I should point out that we actually have a similar problem with WonderCon. Typically we try to have contracts set up for at least a couple of years. This makes sense when you try to encourage exhibitors, attendees and the like to attend any event.
Unfortunately in San Francisco we can't book out as far out as we would like. We have been working diligently on trying to secure dates in April for this show, but it just wasn't possible. The thought of even moving the show to another city to try and keep those dates was floated around, but ultimately it was something that wasn't possible for a variety of reasons.
SPURGEON: When did you make the decision and was there a triggering factor?
The contract was signed last week. If there was any triggering factor it was that it's already near the end of the year and time wasn't on our side. Typically we like to announce the following years dates during the run of a show. APE 2007 was held in April of this year so we're already, arguably, six month late.
SPURGEON: Was there something structural that makes this easier, like the availability or space or the schedule of other cons?
No one ever wants to go up against another show. It's counter productive for all involved. But if the choice is whether or not to have an event, I think we try to factor all variables, and in this case, we decided to have a show. Ideally, we would love a multiyear contract, but that just isn't possible with our current location.
SPURGEON: Are there any plans to change emphasis as well as the date?
No change in emphasis at all. APE is an important show for the Independent and Self Published industry, there are no plans or even talk of changing its focus. And honestly, I think we're actually at a disadvantage to a degree.
We are now tasked with getting the word out that our show is going to be seven months later than it normally is. Change is rarely welcomed. So I think we have our work cut out for us.
SPURGEON: Are you worried at all about crowding the Small Press Expo (SPX)?
Of course. I'm hoping with SPX, which is a fantastic show by the way, being on one side of the country, and APE being on the other, any issues with the time frame will be small. Granted I'm sure this will have more of an impact on exhibitors than attendees since I don't know if there is really much crossover in that area.
SPURGEON: Are you worried at all about extending the convention season past people's ability to want to continue hitting conventions?
While APE is certainly part of the convention circuit, it's a very unique and independent portion of it. While bigger shows like Comic-Con, Wizard Chicago
or WonderCon may see large numbers of attendees, and general craziness during their weekends, shows like APE and SPX cater to a potentially different crowd I think.
I'm hoping that since APE won't be held in April of this year, that those who plan to attend will be able to alter their schedule so that they can make the show in November. I have my fingers crossed on this.
SPURGEON: Was it easy to do this? Did you lose any money down? Did you have earlier dates announced and do you foresee anyone having to changes dates on their part now?
No, it was anything but simple. We really, honestly, do try to take a great many factors into consideration for all of our events. Primary among them is how to promote comics to a wider audience. It doesn't serve our mission if we do something that will be counter productive.
There was a great many long hours spent on the solution to this problem and we looked at it from a myriad of angles. Luckily, in a way, we didn't announce dates for another time, because we really didn't have dates. So that worked for us and against us. As for any economic impact, I guess we really won't know the answer to that question until after the show next year.
Even this year, WonderCon
dates were announced later than we probably would have liked. Again, it would have been nice to announce next year's WonderCon dates at this year's show, but we couldn't book the facility so we had to wait to secure a contract and dates. It's really not an optimal way to plan an event but it's what we're faced with.
I honestly don't know if others will change dates, again, I'm hoping that with Indy shows being on two different coasts, this may mitigate some of those issues.
Our thanks to Mr. Glanzer for making himself available.
photo swiped from Fantagraphics
posted 10:00 am PST
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