Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

April 5, 2012

The Never-Ending, Four-Color Festival: Cons, Shows, Events


By Tom Spurgeon

* we're in the thick of convention season phase one right now, with Emerald City Comicon last weekend, C2E2 rounding into view a week or so from now and the MoCCA/Stumptown 1-2 punch at the end of the month. It's too big a run of shows to do on one's lonesome unless this is a significant part of the way you approach comics professionally, but there tends to be a little something for everyone -- and in a lot of different places.

* I liked this David Brothers piece on his meaningful con weekend enough to spotlight it a second time here.

* MoCCA, even more silent than usual during the lengthy ramp-up period to its traditional spring, fundraising show, announced P. Craig Russell and Gary Panter as kind of co-headliners for this year's event. That's certainly as grand a range of comics expression as you're likely to find in two guests. There's a poster and everything. I'd kill to meet Tom Gauld and Olivier Schrauwen.

* I'm not sure how many people noticed, but it looks like Emerald City moved its dates back about a month for next year. I like the Seattle weather as con weather -- better to be a little bit chilly than burning up, but not everyone agrees with me and that super-cold rain from early in this week's show is even more likely in 2013. I wonder if the move will also clear up what seems to be an impressive six-week or so logjam of events.

* one sign how conventions have changed the last ten years: a couple of folks have told me that despite receiving pleasantly surprising Eisner nominations that going to San Diego is out of the question because of the late date of early April. I think it was in 2001 that I decided to attend four days before the show started: airplane reservations, my own hotel room and everything.

* finally, I let a story get away from me, and I apologize. It seemed to me that the anonymity afforded people in various message-board and comments-thread related platforms had churned up a lot of accusations of bad faith leveled at the Comic-Con people about the future of WonderCon. Basically, they were being accused of always wanting to move the show to Anaheim, and that their actual efforts to keep the show at the Moscone Center in San Francisco -- the show started in Oakland, and is the traditional big Bay Area show -- were minimal to non-existant.

Here's what's going on, as far as I can tell. Comic-Con is only offered dates six months out from the event by Moscone because Comic-Con can't put enough people into the hotel room blocks they receive. WonderCon is a relatively modest show in terms of industry participation, an even more modest one in terms of the hotels such industry participants choose to use, and an even more modest show than that in terms of people not in the area going to the event as attendees. In other words, it's a regional show in terms of attendance -- people come from the surrounding area and return to their own beds at night. Comic-Con would like dates ahead of six months because of the difficulties in putting together a massive comics convention and because Moscone already bailed on them once. That doesn't seem unreasonable to me.

From what Comic-Con's David Glanzer is able to tell me, and this sounds truthful to me, Anaheim isn't even currently the option if they can't get a satisfactory set of dates at a satisfactory lead-in time from the Moscone Center, because Anaheim simply doesn't have dates available the way they did in 2012. Is Anaheim an option for a fourth show? It looks to me like this is still on the table, although you're talking about a 33 percent increase in the organization's workload so that's not something they'd plan as a lark, and a show two hours from the office falls into a long commute/expensive decampment quandary.

So it seems to me like they really, really want to get back to San Francisco, and are hoping for an exception in the way the Moscone Center works with clients because of their relative stability and the unique nature of the event. I hope they get it; we should know within a few weeks what's going on with next year's show specifically.
posted 3:00 am PST | Permalink

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