Monday, October 19, 2009

More Con Madness!

A quick Monday morning mash-up of a post, featuring a little Baltimore Con recap and some news that broke out of this past weekend's Big Apple Con.

First, to Baltimore. Couple of things that jumped out right away. The people. There were tons of them. I don't know what the actual numbers were for attendance last week as compared to last year (I'd check online, but it's late and I'm tired. And, um, lazy).

But just by the look of Saturday morning and the throngs of people waiting in the convention center lobby, it seemed like there were more people. And there was a steady stream of more people, all day long. Sunday was busy, as well, and it was very clear that people love the Baltimore Con. It's fun, and laid back, and there's plenty of space.

As I've said before, somehow the promoters manage to take a big, honking convention and make it feel like a Saturday morning show at a local high school. It's down home and the people are polite and there are no hassles trying to walk around.


I talked to several people at the show, fans and creators alike, and they all said the same thing. This year's con seemed more crowded. A lot of people said it reminded them of the old Wizard World Philly Show, which had been a great mid-major convention with top notch guests and little media encroachment.

And then, it exploded.

Several people said that's what they see happening in Baltimore in the next few years. Now, clearly, that's not necessarily a bad thing. But I just hope that the con remains focused on comics and not 1970s TV series and whatever it is else that many comics shows feature that aren't comics.

Because, if Baltimore (with its new Summer 2010 time slot) goes in the direction of the Wizard shows, or even the New York Comic Con...well, that would be a shame.

Speaking of Wizard and NYCC.

This weekend at the first-ever combined/merged/whatever Big Apple/Wizard New York Con on the Pier, Wizard head honcho and promoter Gareb Shamus announced that next year's Big Apple Con will take place the same weekend as the New York Comic Con.

Confused yet?

Remember that long and ranty post about comics conventions devouring each other and flooding the market that I wrote last week? Yeah. I guess I was kinda right in my worst fears. Unfortunately with me, that's usually the case. So, what's the deal here? Arrogance? Stupidity? Greed?

Who knows.

Will New York be able to shoulder the burden of two huge cons on the same days? Of course it will. It's New York. And creators will likely split their time between the shows. As will fans. And there will be plenty of people at both shows. The problems will arise if the two shows attempt to exclusively sign creators, thus limiting their appearances to one show or the other.

Which will, of course, happen.

And it'll be the talk of the comics Web sites and we'll hear about this writer jumping the NYCC ship to go to Wizard, and that artist ditching Shamus to hang out with the Reed people.

Shamus has been methodically (and brilliantly) buying up cons around North America, and the Wizard Shows are on their way back to prominence. But do we need more pop culture mash ups every month? Or do we need more Baltimore Cons?

Well, you know my feeling on that subject.

In any case, it'll be interesting to follow Con Season 2010 and see what the trends are and what shows do well and what shows lose their audience. Hopefully the good ones stick around, and hopefully there's still an audience for comic cons by the end of the year.

So, here's to continued relevancy and cooler heads prevailing.

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We'll be back tomorrow with our compiled list of new fandoms (for you to vote on!) that we're willing to try in celebration of our 10,000 hits on this blog!


Rich said...

I think the bigger issue for the potential NYCC/BAC conflict is the vendor problem. It's the same vendors who display at both cons - so asking them to split isn't possible.

Personally I hope that NYCC grinds BAC to dust. I always liked the BAC at the old venue for what it was, but Shamus' attempt to expand it here and take on the far better organized NYCC is crazy.

AJG said...

Excellent point, Rich. I wonder what show the vendors are going to choose. Isn't it always the case with comics that the retailers are forgotten about?

And I agree about the old BAC at Penn Plaza. They were gritty shows that didn't try to be too much, and they were filled with retailers.

Not to mention I was able to meet Bernie Wrightson, Bill Sienkiewicz, and Alex Maleev at a Big Apple a couple of years back.

I really have no idea how that weekend will play out. I guess it gives fans the option of heading to one show if the other is really packed, but you have to imagine one of the shows will dominate the three days.