Wizard scales back to more realistic 7-show schedule

www.wizardworld.com 2011-8-15 17:44:44.png
Wizard World New Jersey…you were just not to be.

Cincinnati Comic-Con — I’ll see you in my dreams.

On its website, Wizard has removed many never-to-be-scheduled conventions — and even its upcoming Los Angeles convention, in favor of a more modest, feasible list including proven shows. The current schedule calls for:

October 22-23 – Mid-Ohio Comic Con
November 11-13 – Austin Comic Con
January 28-29, 2012 – New Orleans Comic Con
March 23-25, 2012 – Toronto Comic Con
May 19-20, 2012 – Big Apple Comic Con
June 1-3, 2012 – Philadelphia Comic Con
August 9-12, 2012 – Chicago Comic Con
TBD – Los Angeles Comic Con

That means the following shows have been canceled:

December 8-9, 2012 – Miami Comic Con
December 3-4 – Atlanta Comic Con
October 28-30 – Central Canada Comic Con (C4)

AND these never scheduled shows will never be:

TBA – New Jersey Comic Con
TBA – Cincinnati Comic Con
TBA – Cleveland Comic Con
TBA – Nashville Comic Con

However, also removed from the schedule is the LA con, which has been planned for September 24-25. Although it had a full guest list . In addition, the Anaheim show is off the calendar.

We’re told all of this may have something to do with the possibility of WonderCon moving to Anaheim next spring, but that must, for now be filed under “rumor.”

As for the just-passed Chicago show in Rosemont, it seems to have been a success, based on tweets we saw over the weekend. It was certainly a success for this young couple: a man proposed and has his offer of marriage accepted during a BRUCE CAMPBELL Q&A.

That’s fan dedication.

Howabout it, Beat operatives? Anybody go to Chicago? Report all in the comments!

Comments

  1. Back to the LA convention center, huh?

  2. Shaun M. says:

    My favourite part of this article was the NYCC banner ad up top. :)

  3. Carnv says:

    The Central Canada Comic Con is still happening. The show’s original local organizers have jumped in to keep it going.

    http://www.c4con.com/

  4. My daughter and I attended the Wizard World Chicago on Saturday. While I must admit that it seemed more crowded than I have ever seen it before, crowd size does not always equate ‘success’ as far as I’m concerned.

    Artist’s Alley was wonderful!! It was easily twice the size as previous years and packed full of very diverse talent. The artist that I spoke to all said that they were having a great con and that attendees all seemed very interested and were buying. It’s always great to see a struggling independent artist’s confidence bolstered by a successful con.

    However, I was utterly disappointed by the exhibitor floor. It seemed like the aisles were even thinner than in prior years and the carpet was absent again this year. We tried to walk a few rows and browse the vendors, but it was almost impossible to look at anything and not be blocking traffic or constantly smacked in the backside by the mass of people moving by.

    The media guest area at the front of the convention space seemed to be in even greater need of breathing room, which is a shame as I’m sure many first time attendees may have been turned off by the claustrophobic conditions in those aisles.

    The line management for panels and general attendance seemed non-existent. While the volunteers all seemed like they wanted to be helpful, it also appeared that no one had given them any meaningful, managerial direction. They would dutifully funnel people off in the direction they were told to, but that direction often contradicted any sort of organized crowd control.

    Despite all this, the people we encountered all seemed to be enjoying themselves. My hope is that first-time attendees who are not long term comic fans and attended out of curiosity found enough to tempt them back next year.

    Will I return next year? Yes, but only for one day versus the three days I plan to spend at C2E2. I’ve been attending the Chicago Con (regardless of its name changes) for roughly 28 years, so it’s hard to quit.

    My hope is that Wizard takes some of the money it brought in this year and rent out more convention floor space next year to allow the crowd to spread out more. Maybe I’ll be able to actually buy something from a vendor next year since we want to encourage them to return too. If not, well then it will just go straight to the friendly and talented artists in attendance.

  5. First Patrick Stewart witnesses a proposal in front of him at WW, and now Campbell?

    Love was in the air this weekend.

  6. Wait, they cancelled a show that was due to happen in just 5 weeks? A con they were issuing press releases for as recently as July 28th? How the hell does that happen/work?

  7. Cass teague says:

    I think [hope] they will have the Nashville event in 2013 or 2014 when the new Convention Center is opened.

  8. I was in artist alley at wizard world Chicago this past weekend, and it was indeed tremendous. Everyone in my group had record sales; I beat my sales from last year by nearly $400. The AA was indeed huge, and it seemed everyone was coming downmy aisle. Mike, I hope you amd your daughter stopped by!

  9. I had an artist alley table at this show once before in 2009 and this year my sales were more than double. It was a tremendous show for me. Was this a fluke or did they figure out how to really get the right crowd to show up?

  10. #lolShamus

    #hahaWizardWorld

    #yayREEDPopGroup

    Interesting though, that the WW reaching out to non-Big Two- affliateds for their Artist Alley seemed to have paid off successfully. (Well at least for the two above; how was the Con for the others? And were the tables offered for “free” to those Artists, as floated previously?)

    With REED Pop’s own local C2E2 and NYCC dominated by DC and MARVEL (structurally, it seems like)— along with the prohibitive costs of buying a table at those conventions— maybe what we’re seeing here is the start of a new trend?

    It’ll be a weird and fascinating development should WIZARD WORLD’s Chicago and Big Apple Comic Cons become de facto “Alt/Indy” alternatives to C2E2 and NYCC… given that WW began their Convention empire by catering to Mainstream Superhero Comics fans… a practice that REED Pop now emulates.

    /fun with Con analyses

  11. One drag was a artist we were with was scheduled to do a panel and it was cancelled without telling her. And the line ups for the panels were very confusing with volunteers trying to help but having no information.
    But Artist’s Alley was great, constant stream of people and they seemed to be having a good time. Very good sales for everyone around me.

  12. Ed,
    Although filled with indie comics artists, AA featured plenty of people with Big Two credits, myself included. It was a really nice mix of established pros and talented people you may not know by name… But would want to buy their book anyway. Not to mention the usual collection of people selling prints, cards and other mom-sequential art.

  13. I like the subliminal sports color-coding of the shows in that screen cap from the Wizard website:

    - Mid-Ohio is red for Ohio State
    - Austin is rust for University of Texas
    - New Orleans is the only one I don’t know
    - Toronto is purple for the Raptors
    - Big Apple is navy blue for the Yankees
    - Philly is green for the Eagles
    - Chicago is blue for the Cubs
    - And LA is gold/purple for the Lakers

  14. KentL says:

    I realize that it’s not cool to support WizardWorld, but dammit! I was really hoping the Atlanta con would continue. I enjoyed last year’s well enough. Got to meet a couple of really cool creators.

  15. That should be NON sequential art in my post above, but there is no edit feature.

  16. likefunbutnot says:

    @ed

    The funny thing about C2E2 is that it also has huge Indy buy-in. It’s not just the Chicago con the big two go to; Oni and Archaia and a lot of other small press guys are there as well.

    As far as I’m concerned, the only argument for the continuation of Wizard’s Chicago Con is the enormous Artist’s Alley. That’s the only place I really spend any serious time and the only place I spend significant money.

    I go out there looking for the people with self-printed books or promoting their webcomics (webcomics are another one of those things C2E2 does better). But I can complete a circuit of Artist’s Alley in four hours or so, and that’s as much of Wizard’s con as I need to see.

    This year was my 13th visit to Rosemont, and it’s been sad to watch it decline. All I can say at this point is how much more excited I am for C2E2 in the spring.

  17. This would be a good time for Reed to actually announce the 2012 C2E2 dates, wouldn’t it? Please?

  18. There were 515 Artist Alley slots at Wizard Chicago. Massive! Most everyone I talked to had a great time, and made a fair amount of dough. The Chicago market is traditionally GREAT—Friendly people, and they’re not afraid to spend money.

    Jim McLauchlin

  19. Tom Spurgeon says:

    I think C2E2 2012 is March 16-18, but I could be wrong.

  20. The website still says “Spring 2012,” and the only place I could find dates were indeed the dates listed, but it says “it’s not official.”

    http://www.mediumatlarge.net/2011/03/c2e22-few-post-con-thoughts-from-lance.html

    It also says they’ll be back in the West building, which is kind of a bummer…I liked the more condensed setup for year 2 a bit better, although being able to see the Lake from a few spots from the Western building WAS pretty nice.

  21. Tom Spurgeon says:

    McCormick Place has them there on March 16-18. I’ll ask Fensterman.

  22. I’m not surprised to see Anaheim off the schedule. It seemed clear to me that it was a replacement for Los Angeles, and when they brought back WWLA, the writing was on the wall for the nearby city with less name recognition. (Frankly I’m surprised they didn’t start with a name like Wizard World Los Angeles Comic-Con of Anaheim…)

    I am a little surprised that they canceled a WWLA with just a month’s warning AGAIN (OK, last time they gave *two* months’ warning). But then, the LA convention scene is pretty crowded this fall, between Long Beach Comic Con and the launch of Comikaze. I’m just surprised Wizard actually blinked.

    My guess with WWLA: It’ll be back on the schedule for spring next year, probably April, in the slot vacated by Anaheim.

  23. Torsten Adair says:

    Wow… it’s a shame… their business model (comic con as auto/boat show) fills a niche among a population usually overlooked by comics. Middle America loves celebrities (as seen at San Diego), and comics fans in those areas are eager to engage with professionals and other fans. Consumers eager to buy stuff they didn’t know they wanted. It’s the travelling bazaar model. It’s the circus come to town (and yes, you try to get the kids to run away to make comics…)

    You don’t even need a huge guest list. Run it like SPX. Two ballrooms for the autographs, dealers, and artists alley (inviting the local art schools to participate). Meeting rooms handle the panels.

    And if necessary, use the Dragon*Con/Science Fiction model: invite as many fandoms to participate. Electric trains, rocket and plane modelers, auto enthusiasts (fill up the parking lot, place the batmobile and other sights inside), costumers, maybe even hire someone to set up some carnival rides in the parking lot.

    But at least they are still in business.

  24. likefunbutnot says:

    @Torsten Adair “But at least they are still in business.”

    I spend a not-insignificant amount of time hoping that Wizard’s ship runs aground and someone who actually cares about the convention experience takes over their Chicago con.

    I want it to be what it used to be and it’s clear to me that it’s not going to happen for as long as Wizard is in charge.

  25. Anyone know the fate of Wizard World New England (New England Comic Con)?

  26. Heidi- once again another great article on the convention scene.

    Interesting to read the comments from fans in this thread. For the last 17+ years I’ve set up at Wizard World/Chicago Comic Con, and once again it was a success. It was far from being the SEXIEST Convention that is reported on the internet but on the flip side, the CROWDS that packed the aisles were much bigger than just about any show I’ve been to, with the obvious exceptions of SDCC, Wondercon, or NYCC.

    There are obvious biases against the Wizard, and some of these valid too, but for fans, exhibitors, and publishers, it all comes down to what YOU are looking for at the “comic con” you attend. Do you want Big booths with flashing lights? do you want a city where after con food & drink dominate your experience? do you want to see Nostalgia Based “celebrities”? do you want to meet the best comic creators in the land?

    You can read more of my convention report on my COMIC CON MEN blog-

    http://www.comicCONMEN.com

    Enjoy!

    Jimmy S. Jay…

  27. Folks in the area could always come to Power-Con / ThunderCon instead. It is September 24-25 and centered around He-Man, She-Ra, and ThunderCats! http://www.thepower-con.com/

  28. Andrew Farago says:

    Anaheim was scheduled for the same weekend as Stumptown and MoCCA, so I’m not surprised to see them at least re-thinking those dates. We’d been planning to attend Anaheim until we realized it was up against our prior commitment to Stumptown, although I’m sure there aren’t a lot of exhibitors in that boat.

  29. Dave Aikins says:

    The interesting thing about a show like Wizard World Chicago, is how it seems to be growing WITHOUT needing comic fans to attend. Sure, comic pros are guests, but the curious question is whether or not the majority of attendees actually cared, or knew who they were. People spent money in artist alley, which was awesome, but I’m curious if they where the type of crowd that cared who they were buying from. So, it’s interesting what the show has become- and possibly proof that success might equal leaving die-hard comic fans behind. For every one current comic-buying fan, they might be replaced by 3 casual comic fans, or just comic- aware fans… or comic-movie only fans. Or, fans of the Hollywood actors that couldn’t care less about comics… Either way- it’s bodies through the door, and success for folks like me in artist alley. Maybe not success for actual current working pros trying to book $300 drawings all weekend, but that’s where Baltimore comes in…

  30. John Gregory says:

    I’ve attended both Wizard World Chicago and C2E2 the past few years, and there’s upsides and downsides to both.

    For C2E2, I do love the feel of it being a BIG convention, with the big publishers coming out to make big announcements. It does attract more of the big name writers and artists, and it’s VERY comics-oriented. Certainly more than Wizard. While I’ve heard Wizard Chicago has always been one of the biggest conventions in the country, it normally takes place just weeks after San Diego. They don’t really have anything new to announce, now do they?! C2E2 gets those big publishers because of that. I went to a lot more panels there than I did this past weekend at Wizard. Also, as a hopeful writer with a pitch proposal in my hands, having publishers there makes it easy to talk to several in one day (and probably get rejected!).

    So what does Wizard have over C2E2? Well, this year’s edition did seem bigger-more exhibitors and a larger artist alley than I’ve ever seen there, to make up for the ever-shrinking publisher presence (Avatar Press was the only one I saw there). In contrast, C2E2 got a bit smaller from Year 1 to Year 2.

    The BIG advantage Wizard has over C2E2-PRICES. Nearly everything is more expensive at C2E2 than at Wizard. I’m a trade reader, meaning I buy or read almost all my comics as trade paperbacks or hardcovers. The biggest reason I go to cons is to buy heavily discounted trades. Wizard World has an ample amount of booths with $5 trades (there was even one with $4 trades). C2E2-not so much. The first year there were a couple, the second year there was ONE booth selling at that price. The best deal I was getting was 50% off trades, which can make a much bigger dent in my wallet.

    Let me give you some raw numbers to illustrate my point.

    C2E2 2010-bought about 60 trades, spent $650
    WW 2010-bought 71 trades, spent $650
    C2E2 2011-bought about 50 trades, spent $550
    WW 2011-bought 107 trades, spent $700

    I only bought 6 or 7 books at 50% off this year at Wizard, and HOLY CRAP did that make a difference.

    So why the price difference? Well, besides parking and food being more expensive at C2E2, I’m guessing the rate for exhibitors and artists to get tables must also be considerably more. Anyone who did both want to shed some light on that?

    Also, one note: To the booths who are only giving 20% off trades or comics-REALLY?! If I can walk down a few feet and get a better deal, or go home and order off Amazon, why would I pay you near cover price at a damn convention? No wonder those booths were still fully stocked by the end of Day 3.

  31. Dave Aikins says:

    I have very little interest (as an illustrator in artist alley) in paying $400 plus higher hotel rates and parking to set up at C2E2. Would I like to go? Of course. But for me personally, it’s too much money for a guy that prefers to do free drawings for kids. I’d also prefer to not spend as much for a table at WizardWorld, but it’s less money, and I know I’ll do okay. Plus, it’s more my crowd for what I do. WizardWorld was $300 for a table and I got a great deal on hotel & parking for $120 a night (including taxes) which I split 3-ways with friends. Wizard allowed me to purchase passes for my friends/assistants/fellow artists, who then chipped in to help pay for my table costs. In the end, my total overhead for the past weekend was $300. I can do that- even though I’d rather be a paid-for guest… :)

  32. Dave, you wrote:
    Sure, comic pros are guests, but the curious question is whether or not the majority of attendees actually cared, or knew who they were. People spent money in artist alley, which was awesome, but I’m curious if they where the type of crowd that cared who they were buying from.
    ******
    My impression: During my time at my AA booth, I’d say I met about 20 regular fans — people who know me, have bought my work in the past or owned my books and brought some to have me sign them. The majority of people I sold books to were strangers who didn’t know my name but dug my sales pitch and walked away with a copy of Kagemono, Reading With Pictures, Batman or Strawberry Shortcake. (Yes, it’s a weird and diverse bibliography.) And hopefully many of those people will become regular fans of mine. Two already have Facebooked me since the show.

  33. Mikael says:

    I paid $135 a night for a hotel 4 blocks away from C2E2.

  34. A renewed focus on comics outside preaching to the already sold Marvel/DC choir has enlivened WW shows. (Marvel and DC weren’t supporting WW any more, so…)

    Big Apple was great this year, as I have mentioned before here and on FB. So I hope to do both Big Apple and Philadelphia in 12.

  35. Xenos says:

    I guess Wizard World New England isn’t even important enough to mention. Not that anyone around here cares now that we got Boston Comic Con.

  36. Mikael your hotel cost is good data as a hotel the same distance at sdcc is easily 2x that number. What was the post-con scene like?

  37. Even in downtown Chicago it’s easy to get a very reasonable hotel room via Hotels.com or the show. At the last minute.

  38. What a shame that there will be no more WizardWorld in Anaheim. I was really looking forward to going again. But of course LA is a bigger (not better, but bigger) location for WizardWorld. I won’t be going to LA, that’s for sure! Hopefully, if WonderCon moves to Anaheim, it can pick up the slack left behind by WizardWorld. I think the people who run WizardWorld were trying to grow its conventions and its popularity too fast. They need to grow at a slower pace, sort of like how SDCC grew when it first started out. Oh well, NOW I have a reason to spend 2 days at the Long Beach Comic-Con!

  39. “Dave Aikins says: But for me personally, it’s too much money for a guy that prefers to do free drawings for kids. ”

    I met you that weekend! You did a Pablo sketch for my son in the Backyardigans book we picked up from you! Thanks again . . . you’re super cool!!!

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