Monday, January 10, 2011

What Lurks in the Longbox? #4

Convention Wrap-Up 2010! (Part 2)

After spending much of the first half of the year checking out local conventions and flea market collectible shows, our convention experiences moved to larger events as summer quickly approached. 
May:  Motor City Comic Con in Novi had the normal mix of comic, toy and video dealers, although the bootleg merchandise has not been seen as frequently over the years following the MPAA raid that took place during the 2006 show.  The usual “C-list” TV show actors, wrestlers and models were also present as usual.  Dealer reactions to the show were mixed as always, with some dealers very pleased with their sales numbers, while others were struggling with getting customers to even check out their merchandise.  Chuck Rozanski of Mile High Comics attended and was furiously purchasing back issues as fast as he could pull them from boxes.  It’s always fascinating to watch him in action.  He is virtually tireless, and has an energy and zeal for life that very few people can match.  Chuck later reported in his weekly newsletter that he purchased 35,000 comics throughout the weekend, including 14,000 comics that were handpicked during a straight 8 hour period on Sunday!  For any of you that subscribe to Chuck’s weekly newsletters, it’s pretty obvious that this was just a typical weekend for him!  Admission for a single day was $25, with Adam West being the primary draw at $60 for an autograph.  Online complaints about admission, parking and autograph costs were numerous on networking sites like Facebook, causing a severe backlash against this long-running show, even by fans who have loyally attended MCCC for many years. 

May:  Adventure Con moved from its previous venue in Knoxville, TN to the Grand Resort Hotel in Pigeon Forge during the Memorial Day holiday weekend.  The show had fewer comic dealers and a heavier concentration on TV and movie celebrities, which this year included Neil Kaplan, Billy Dee Williams and Jake Lloyd.  The cancellation of Charisma Carpenter (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), along with the death of child TV star Gary Coleman (a guest at last year’s show) cast a definite shadow over the convention.  Additional factors such as the presence of “filler” dealers like tattoo artists and sword/knife vendors, very poor lighting, untrained and unprepared staff, and the lack of a program book did not help to improve the situation.  Fortunately, the downturn in this year’s show was offset by a couple wonderful days spent travelling through both the Smoky Mountains and the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.  My full report of this convention can be found in Comics Buyer’s Guide #1670! 

June:  Cherry Capital Con (C310) in Traverse City, MI returned for its second year, moving from last year’s August dates to the weekend of June 12-13th.  CCC was a much needed addition to the convention circuit in 2009, as Northern Michigan had been without a solid comic show for several years.  The Grand Traverse Resort continued to be the venue of choice, providing plenty of room for potential expansion in future years.  C310 once again had some great guests, including Daniel Way, Jason Howard, Ryan Stegman and their guest of honor, Steve Dillon.  This year’s show was slightly bigger, but with about the same number of actual comic dealers as the prior year.  Perhaps my only real complaint was the presence of Best Buy as one of the vendors, as they delivered cell phone sales pitches throughout the weekend.  Dealing with someone trying to sell me a cell phone at a comic convention was somewhat akin to the experience of watching commercials at a movie theatre before the movie begins.  The funniest moment of the show had to be Jay Jacot’s hilarious print of Betty White vs. Wolverine!  Next year’s show has been scheduled for the weekend of June 25-26, 2011.  My full report of this convention can be found Comics Buyer’s Guide #1671!

In Part 3 of my “Convention Wrap-Up 2010” report, I head back to a couple local shows, including one in the town where I grew up, and finish out the year with the grand return of one of the oldest conventions in the industry.  It’s my “year-end” convention that more than made up for any of the year’s earlier disappointments. 

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