SD09: The tent gets smaller?

§ We’re tragically one plane ride away from the time to finish our own convention rant, so until then, here’s the new most linked to post about the con, courtesy of recently promoted all-around comics genius Eric Reynolds:

Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all doom and gloom by any means; we did well despite the oddly slow Saturday, thanks in part to a surprisingly robust Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday. But amongst virtually all of the retail and publishing exhibitors I talked to, there were some remarkably consistent and potentially alarming trends that could carry over to future years. There were noticeably fewer back issues dealers this year, and many reduced presences from traditional con stalwarts like Bud Plant. Personally, this disappoints me and doesn’t bode well for the comics at Comicon. Many alternative cartoonists are passing over the show and focusing on events like MoCCA, SPX and APE, and it’s not hard to understand why; you have to get your ducks in a row so far in advance to even attend Comicon that it’s simply easier to focus on those other, smaller, more arts-friendly shows. They’re also considerably less expensive to attend.


Reynolds feels that this year, for the first time, all the media hoopla actively detracted from sales for Fantagraphics comics, and Saturday, usually a monster sales day, was just so-so.

§ One more post, from Tony Lee, and this one details the kind of heartbreaking capriciousness shown by the Elite security:

I then made my way to the Doctor Who panel, only to be told that I couldn’t enter with the ticket I had – I had to join the queue, the one that people had been queuing in since midnight the day before.

I was gutted, but then one of the security guys I’d met in the previous day’s Vampire panel caught me – he was a fan of my Doctor Who comic and I’d signed him a book the day before – and was confused as he’d seen my twittered photo and knew I had a ticket. I showed it to him. He marched me back to the door guy and screamed at him – apparently door guy didn’t realise that these were ‘special’ tickets, and I was allowed in. As I entered, looking to sit at the back Rich Starkings phoned, he was holding a seat for me in the ‘super special VIPs’ area. I slipped down to the front and walked across, getting a ‘Tony Lee!’ cheer from most of the second row (cheers guys) and a few IDW fans who recognised me.


Like we said, not actionable on its own, but very representative of the moans and complaining we heard during the show.

Comments

  1. From my experience in the small press area, Saturday has long been a bad day for book sales. It’s the day that was just too crowded with enthusiastic fans there just for the panels, making it hard for the casual shoppers to navigate. The crowds were all looking for freebies and giant promo bags. Sales went back up when the crowds died down.

  2. Sean D says:

    I’d have to agree with Dave regarding Saturday. Along with the crowds, in the days before the sell-outs, Saturday seemed to be more the “locals” day where you had more folks there for freebies and “the experience” rather than to buy. That may not be the case as much now, but Saturday was still the first single day to sell out and our table had more folks coming by and absent-mindedly picking up business cards (freebie!) than looking over the books that day.

  3. Saturday has been our lowest sales day for several years now. However, this year by Friday night our sales at Exhibit A Press had already equaled the sales for the whole show in 2008, so we’re not complaining! Saturday was a good day to take breaks and go to some programs. We did have a constant stream of people throughout all 4 1/2 days–not really any “dead time” this year. In fact, we had several folks tell us they tried to stop by on multiple occasions but that our booth was so busy they didn’t want to interrupt to say hello.

  4. I don’t know that SLG has ever had a slower Saturday than Friday — at least in the seven years I’ve been working the convention — but we did this year. Wednesday (remember when you could walk around and talk to other exhibitors on Preview Night?) was very busy, and Sunday was better than Saturday for us, despite being two hours shorter. It was an interesting year.

    I believe Saturday was the the day of the more-than-an-hour-long log jam in the double-wide aisle between the SLG booth and the DC booth. A bunch of costumed people decided to pose at the DC booth and people made a HUUUUUUGE circle around them to gawk and take pictures — making it impossible for anyone to get past. The crowd took up the whole double-wide aisle and we had to start asking people to stop leaning on our tables. It took way too long for security to break it up. So I imagine there were navigation issues like that all over.

  5. michael says:

    I think for years there’s been the inclination of smaller press to go to those other forementioned cons, for the reasons given. And it makes sense. But, I don’t think that bodes ill on SDCC.

    Yes, SDCC is a BIG media event and it does make money for the big productions, promoters, etc., but I think it’s still also tentpoled by the comic book community and it’s fans and the comic book base. I mean without our support, there would be no big promotion of movies, etc. While it is sad that comic books may not be the main attraction to go, I think the sheer popularity speaks volumes to those who don’t often get a weekly fix on comic books and other geek outlets. And that’s a tremendous ad for this ‘little’ hobby.

    I’m also happy to hear that Dave, Jackie and Jennifer felt their companies did some good business there. They are some very talented people who’s books I support. :)

    Also, if you want more complaining about Elite, G4 has a video where one of their news reporters goes off about how he was treated. it’s pretty funny, in retrospect, I guess. But it sounds like if this is the way things were for most unknown reporters, than it was kinda a problem. But the well known celebs don’t have to deal with the same.

  6. Mark Coale says:

    I don’t know why a small press person would set up at SD. Go, sure, to schmooze and what not and maybe squat with a friend who does have a table.

    as for security, I don’t begrudge any of the folks for being overly diligent, given the mass of humanity there.

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