Wizard officially buys Mid-Ohio-Con

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midohiologo Wizard officially buys Mid Ohio Con
After some mysterious seeming confirmations, Wizard has made official its purchase of the Mid-Ohio Con, which will be held October 22-23, 2011 in Columbus, OH. Official PR below.

Gareb Shamus, CEO of Wizard Entertainment, today announced the acquisition of Mid-Ohio-Con.  The show will make its inaugural appearance on the Wizard World Tour circuit on the weekend of October 22-23, 2011 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, OH.

“The acquisition of Mid-Ohio-Con gives us an even stronger presence in the key Midwest market,” said Shamus.  “We are excited to have the opportunity to build from the great foundation of Mid-Ohio-Con, which has consistently delivered the best in comics, celebrity and pop culture entertainment for 30 years running.”

“We are thrilled to join the Wizard World Tour,” said James Henry, Managing Director of Mid-Ohio-Con. “We are excited to work with Gareb and the Wizard World team to produce Mid-Ohio Comic Con and we are confident that this partnership will result in a show that will delight fans, creators and exhibitors alike in 2011 and beyond.”

Wizard World Mid-Ohio Comic Con announced its first slate of guests for 2011, which includes “Batman” stars Adam West and Burt Ward as well as fan-favorite Image Comics creator Rob Liefeld.  “I’m in,” said Liefeld.  “I’ve never been to Mid-Ohio before….make it a big deal!”  Stay tuned for additional headline guest announcements in the coming months.

Mid-Ohio-Con is one of America’s longest-running and most successful comic book and pop-culture conventions, carrying on a fun and family-oriented tradition of bringing fans of all ages together with leading comic book writers and artists, film and television stars and creators, and publishers and retailers from across the nation.

2010 marked Mid-Ohio-Con’s 30th anniversary show which included guests of honor David Finch and Adam Hughes along with featured media guests Michael Berryman and Lou Ferrigno and more than 100 creators from the worlds of comics, film, gaming and television.  The show had record attendance and has received acclaim from exhibitors, fans and guests as the best in its long history.

Comments

  1. Cully Hamner says:

    Is it just me, or are we witnessing the rise of the Stepford Cons?

  2. Adam West and Rob Liefeld? Be still my beating heart!

    Ugh.

    I think I just threw up a bit in my mouth. MOC is my hometown show, and was the first comic con I ever attended back in my young days of getting into comics. It’s been around for 30 years. Somehow, I don’t think it’ll be the same.

  3. Looking on the Wizard site, I can see that the cost of a 1-day ticket to the show is jumping from $15 to $25 next year.

    I also understand that the cost for an Artist Alley table will be going up from $135 this year to $200 under WizardWorld.

  4. Dave Aikins says:

    On the other side of it, this might be what a show like Mid Ohio needs to grow. There should be resources that Wizard can bring to the table that might help a show like Mid Ohio grow into something bigger and better. All of us that have set up or have attended a show like Wizard World Chicago have yet to see what a Wizard World show is like when there are actual show-runners like the Henry brothers in charge. This is what was missing from Chicago: a face to the show. There was never a sense of familiar faces running the show. Just one nameless staff member after another. Very impersonal. But, people attended, money was spent, and the cost of tables covered by this.
    If Wizard’s involvement does truly make the show bigger with more space and more guests, then hopefully the extra cost for AA tables will be covered. As it is, any regional 2-day show like Mid Ohio is not worth $200 for an AA table, so something would have to be noticeably different in terms of size and attendance to justify this cost.

    And as for commenting on media and comic guests: Just cuz one person don’t like them doesn’t mean alot of others do. I’m very happy at the thought of taking my son to see Adam West and Burt Ward. It’ll confuse the heck out of his 4-year old mind. Also, Rob Liefeld, regardless of what you think of him, has not been to this area before. That’s never a bad thing for bringing in attendees.

    What will be very interesting to see is how the price increase affects things. Will it be too much for this area? Will it bring in moderate pop-culture fans?
    Will these hoped-for newer attendees be mortified that they have to pay $25 to get in plus X amount of money to meet media guests?

    Anyway, there’s my rant of the day. If I had any hopes for this, it’s that these newer Wizard shows can somehow avoid the negative aspects of Wizard: impersonal, over-hyped, overly focused on Media guests making comics guests feel like after-thoughts. If they can create something that still feels like Mid Ohio, then it should be great!

    PS: But if I’m no longer invited as a guest, there will be HECK TO PAY. That’s right….. HECK….

    please guys?

  5. Julio Iglesias Fan says:

    “On the other side of it, this might be what a show like Mid Ohio needs to grow. ”

    Why does a convention have to “grow?”

    We saw what CrossGen’s attempts to force MegaCon to “grow” did, it almost destroyed the convention and it still hasn’t really recovered from an attendance stand point.

    MOC was perfectly fine the way it was.

    When the comics industry finally collapses, Gareb Shamus’ having to file for bankruptcy will be one of the few good things to come from it.

  6. Dave Aikins says:

    You wouldn’t want Mid Ohio to be like Baltimore or Heroes?

    Man, I would. Those shows are wall to wall crazy.

    You have a point that unwise excess can lead to demise, but by “growth” I tend to mean that I’d like the owners of the show(heck, any con for that matter) to be able to turn a profit that justifies the amount of time they spend on running the show. It would also be nice to have a show that brings in a larger amount of guests (be it comic or media) and dealers while increasing the amount of space and attendance.
    So I do think there is room to grow here. MOC kinda fizzled out for the last couple of Thanksgiving shows. The past two years have been much better, but as someone who has set up at the show for the past 10 years, I’d have to disagree that while it’s a very fun show, it has not always been “perfectly fine” the way it is.

  7. Mikael says:

    “You wouldn’t want Mid Ohio to be like Baltimore or Heroes?”

    The problem is – when you add “WW” in front of a con, it becomes like 15 other cons all around the country. So how COULD it possibly grow? It’s just a copy of Wizard World Philly, Wizard World Atlanta, Wizard World New York, etc. etc. etc.

    If you want Mid Ohio to be like Baltimore and Heroes, you need something other than out of work actors, wrestlers and porn stars. Baltimore, Heroes, Emerald City – these shows are about the comics. Wizard World Thour has become the bargain basement flea circus of “pop culture” fandom. And not even current pop culture.

  8. Dave Aikins says:

    So I guess Mikael that my hope is that they let the people running these newly purchased shows have some say about the guest list to avoid this. We haven’t seen what power the “old guard” has with these newly purchased shows. It would be disappointing if Wizard presented each show organizers with an approved packaged list of guests that went from city to city.

    Wizard claims that they want 3 Ohio shows. I can’t imagine what the turn-out would be if each show had the same guests…

    This approach does make some sense with some of the upper level media guests. A show like Mid Ohio might not be able to get a guest like Shatner or Bruce Campbell on it’s own, but with Wizard booking these guests for multiple appearances, a show like Mid Ohio might be able to rise above having just Lou Ferrigno.
    BTW, as you can tell, I don’t have a big problem with media guests at cons as long as the comic guests are still there. I can ignore any media guest just as easily as I can ignore a comic creator I don’t care for. Wizard shows can have 50 media guests for all I care as long as they have 20 good comic guests. No one is forcing me to say “hi” to the cast of 3’s Company. But I will agree that Wizard is doing less and less of a decent job booking good comic guests, making it look like they want to banish the comics aspect to the basement.

    If you can’t tell, I find this stuff fascinating. Not sure why…

  9. Raymond Lui says:

    I think Cully Hamner & Dara Naraghi are correct–if two respected COMIC BOOK creators are disgusted, just imagine the exhibitor / vendors like myself, and the attendees’ feelings. Each time I opened a booth at a show, and Wizard took over, it was a jump in booth prices, a jump in ticket costs, and a huge jump in useless “celebrities” like the guy who won Survivor, or the girl in the McDonald’s commercial, or the guy who was the third alien in a street scene in STAR WARS. Every show Wizard has taken over has de-emphasized the “comic” aspect and emphasized the “con” part of a “comic con”.

    Also, having it one week after NYCC just prevents exhibitors like myself to pack up for another show so close. I attended the latest Mid-Ohio Con with my good friends and we loved the “comic” emphasis and getting to meet true legends like Sergio Aragones, Kurt Busiek, and Michael Golden. Now with Wizard running the show, it’s no more Art Baltazar and more Cathy St. George, Miss May 1982–she was hot when I was 12, but I’m 40 now, so you can figure that one out.

    I needed MOC to offset the mega-ness of NYCC to enjoy a relaxed show, but now with Wizard around, why bother to see Daniel “Young Boba Fett” Logan for the umpteenth time in another state (BTW, I’ve seen him at 6 different Wizard shows in 6 different states), so thanks for nothing, Gareb Shamus.

  10. Just a postscript to my earlier gripes about the show quality going downhill (which, admittedly, are speculation at this point, except for the increased ticket costs, which are already on the Wizard website): I’m obviously biased towards my own con experience and expectations as a writer.

    I go to cons for much the same reasons as others: meet creators I admire, pick up new and interesting books, and maybe find some bargain TPBs or missing back issues. As a creator, I’m also there to network.

    I table at a con to showcase my work, sell some books, and in the process, try to make a bit of money (hoping to at least cover my table fee). A con skewed towards comic fans works in my favor because they’re more likely to be interested in the books I’ve written, and maybe buy something (my only source of “income” at a con). So a con geared more towards “media guests” will likely be worse for me, because the folks showing up to get their picture taken with has-been TV celebrity #62 for $40 probably aren’t as interested in seeing what indie comics I’ve written.

    But this may not necessarily be true for the artists at the show. They have more flexibility in what they sell, mainly by doing original sketches. They can also tailor the prints they sell to the media guests at the show. Is Adam West or the cast of Battlestar Galactica going to be there? Make some prints of the TV show Batmobile or Cylons and sell them for $5-$10. Or do caricatures of folks as zombies.

    My point is, artists (and toy/poster/nostalgia dealers) can probably still do quite well if the con is media guest heavy. The people that come only looking for a former wrestler’s autograph may also potentially be interested in plunking money down at an artist’s table to get a sketch of him fighting Iron Man (or George Bush, or Barney, or whatever).

    I doubt they’d be just as likely to want to hear about my creator-owned slice of life graphic novel, whereas a comic book fan (even if they’re only a Marvel/DC reader) may be interested.

  11. Raymond Lui says:

    Dara, you are correct again–I went to MOC and hung around the artists / writers and the Creators’ Common to see what real comic book creators are doing and having the time to actually speak to me. When I did NYCC, I was so swamped I couldn’t see anyone (but I did make tons of money, so that’s the payoff) and I ended up talking to Jim Steranko in the parking lot.

    At MOC, my friends and I got to really talk to creators like Darryl Banks, who I’ve been a huge fan of for years, and finally get to speak at length to Sergio Aragones, Matt Wagner, and Todd Nauck–I probably couldn’t do that at NYCC due to the overwhelming crowds.

    At Wizard shows, big name creators like Neal Adams are sitting there doing nothing, the attendees are looking for autographs of washed-up wrestling valet Virgil, some low-level porn stars, and comic book vendors are just waiting there for customers that won’t come because the attendees aren’t comic fans. For an indie writer such as yourself, you might as well sit home playing video games–you’d probably have more fun and people visiting you than at a Wizard show.

    Wizard shows never do anything with comic book fans–2009’s Big Apple Con had 15 people at a panel held by Jim Lee, so just imagine what an indie creator like you would have for attendees. While it might be cool for a comics fan like myself to go up to a Jim Lee at a Wizard show because there are no crowds, I’m not paying $40 to get in for the weekend just to do that, and stand next to a barbecue stall to do so. That’s right–Wizard had a barbecue stall at the Big Apple 2009 Con that pumped smoke next to Todd Bridges, Edward Furlong, and one half of the Bushwackers tag team.

    I’m so sorry that MOC is now a Wizard show–I hope Ohio can stand 3 appearances a year by Rob Liefeld, some Baywatch performers, and Jake “little Anakin Skywalker” Lloyd.

  12. Julio Iglesias Fan says:

    “I tend to mean that I’d like the owners of the show(heck, any con for that matter) to be able to turn a profit that justifies the amount of time they spend on running the show”

    Sorry, I’m part of that old-school mentality that you stage a convention out of a love of fandom, not b/c you’re looking to make a buck.

  13. You don’t “grow” a business by suddenly charging 80-100% more than you did before for basically the same product. I’m sure a two-day ticket for $25 was an enticement for people to come and stay this year. Exhibitors, dealers and creators, who’ve seen their costs skyrocket, will get less from fans who’ve paid double over the previous year. The only way this benefits people working the con is if attendance doubles, which is a tall order.

    One thing they won’t have to worry about is competition from Wizard’s non-existent and likely never to exist Cincinnati and Cleveland shows. Why would they compete with their proven winner? Perhaps these shows were bought as shams to pressure Mid-Ohio to sell?

    I have high hopes and low expectations for Wizard World Mid-Ohio Comic Con 2011. I’ve had such a good time these past three years that I worry it will be spoiled somehow. Doesn’t something seem like a bad idea when most people’s first reaction is disappointment?

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