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2008.10.02

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I went to the Baltimore Comic-con as well and had the exact same impression. I guess I assumed it would be a big circus like the San Diego Comic-con (where all the celebrities shill for their new movies), but it was just an indoor yard sale and lots of signings on the side.

And the heavy rain all weekend didn't help matters.

Brilliant observations and commentary, and perfectly captured the sad frenzy of these events. Also, you point to so many ways to make the damned things BETTER, I hope the link makes the round of event organizers. And attendees.

Enjoyed Tucker's over at the sinking ship, too, but can't be arsed to sign up for permission to say so.

I hit WonderCon here in San Francisco every year, and yeah, my first-ever DC Nation panel this year killed some small part of my soul. I like that your characterization of the DC mentality seems to match that of other comics bloggers, whose blogs I'm betting you don't read and therefore weren't influenced by. I also think that there's nothing wrong with DC Comics that you can't find on display in those horrible sessions.

I've only been to Wizard World Chicago the past two years, and I thought it was better than you make this con sound. The people in costumes, for instance, seemed to enjoy themselves, often posing for whoever wanted to take their picture and looking like they were having a good time. And general con-goers looked like they were having fun too, although there were probably some that were just trudging around and lining up for autographs.

Maybe it was because I generally avoided panels like the always-lame-sounding DC and Marvel ones and mostly hung out in "Artists Alley", meeting and talking to creators that I like. That's just so much more enjoyable for me, and the people that hang out in that area also seem to be excited about comics, rather than the guys who are just trying to find some elusive issue of Conan or something.

Music sure does sound like a good idea, as does more kids programming and activities. You're a smart lady, Nina.

Sounds like you would enjoy a Furry Convention more, we know how to party :)

Hey Nina! Thanks for the link. I have to confess though...I myself have never, ever been to a comic con. Not once. And, worst of all, I don't really want to go to one. Just shows you what kind of comics critic I am....

I can't tell you how refreshing this is to read--I go to cons and find myself wondering "does anyone else notice this stuff?" way too frequently. Apparently the answer is yes. =)

I'm a comic book "professional", (Atomic Robo), and I skipped the Baltimore show this year for all of the reasons you mentioned. Not that Baltimore is wildly different from any other Comic Con or Wizard World event. I was just worn out from a summer of conventions.

One thing I have noticed in the past few years, is that working on an Indie book which seems to draw a younger, more energetic crowd, my experience sitting behind the table is very enjoyable. We bullshit, we chat, we even make plans to hook up with readers for drinks -it can be a lot of fun.

But when I leave my own little Island of Happy, I am quickly overwhelmed by the general funk of the convention at large.

If you can find any smallish shows in your area you might have a better time. They are less crowded, and it seems to me like you can really get that creator/fan interaction that is missing at the big shows because everyone is so busy. Nov 2nd is the Boston ComiCon -it's a great one day show.

Still no music or dancing, but a great show non the less. Oh, and no skanky "models".

The Marvel/DC scene at these big shows is absolutely lame. Most panels are painful to attend for the reasons you mentioned.

Start checking out the small press areas and I think to a large degree you will find the happy faces, and excitement for the medium that you appear to be craving. (That we are all craving!)

Great article!

Well, I just went to FallCon in Minnesota and the experience is entirely different. Sure, there's still lines and the occasional longer ones to get autographs, but you can get into the kind of nerdy conversations that only geeks can truly appreciate. Me and another fan got into one right in front of Dwayne McDuffies and I think we weirded him out.

I think the smaller cons seem to have the better experience. Sure, you don't get panel reports detailing new plot points that are coming, but most everyone was smiling and there were costumes in abundance and people enjoyed being in their costumes. Sure, maybe they weren't playing a part, but they were really enjoying themselves (except for maybe the guy in the black Spider-Man outfit who didn't have a coat over his spandex outfit while walking outside, though the costume itself was kick-ass).

Yeah, the frat atmosphere is kind of off-putting, especially the lack of kid-friendly material. But the key is to make your comic accessible regardless of the demographic - don't put horrible mutilations, deaths, and rapes right there and parents will be more inclined to let kids check them out, in particular parents who are comics fans, themselves.

I think Cons are what you make of them. I have gone to Pittsburgh, Charlotte(Heroes), and just went to the Small Press Expo in Bethesda.

I was a bit disappointed at my first con and how underwhelming it was. exhibitors seemed to for the most part try not not to make eye contact, and I am a bit of an introvert by nature and did the same thing back.

I was determined to make a better go of things in the future. Taking my daughters (9 & 14) helps, as does going up to people and acting outgoing and engaging them in conversation. I also like scouting the guest list and reading up on people I don't know, and targeting the ones that look cool or different to me.

The final thing that has really increased the enjoyment for me is... getting things signed... I have never valued autographs, or had much interest in getting them until it clicked for me that it was a perfect way to get face time with people whose work I enjoy. It gives me an opportunity to say hi and thank them or babble, and gives me a little momento of the meeting. In the best case I get a cool little ketch by an artist in their book. I always give my name and get it written in the book as well, if for no other reason than to say... I am not trying to make a dime off of you, I am just glad to meet you. It made it more fun for me.

That being said, I won't disagree with most of your observations.

SPX was different as the people all seemed hungrier and were more chatty and out-going. It was like a high energy little alt or punk show vs a seeing some tired old rockers in a stadium.

I think Cons are what you make of them. I have gone to Pittsburgh, Charlotte(Heroes), and just went to the Small Press Expo in Bethesda.

I was a bit disappointed at my first con and how underwhelming it was. exhibitors seemed to for the most part try not not to make eye contact, and I am a bit of an introvert by nature and did the same thing back.

I was determined to make a better go of things in the future. Taking my daughters (9 & 14) helps, as does going up to people and acting outgoing and engaging them in conversation. I also like scouting the guest list and reading up on people I don't know, and targeting the ones that look cool or different to me.

The final thing that has really increased the enjoyment for me is... getting things signed... I have never valued autographs, or had much interest in getting them until it clicked for me that it was a perfect way to get face time with people whose work I enjoy. It gives me an opportunity to say hi and thank them or babble, and gives me a little momento of the meeting. In the best case I get a cool little ketch by an artist in their book. I always give my name and get it written in the book as well, if for no other reason than to say... I am not trying to make a dime off of you, I am just glad to meet you. It made it more fun for me.

That being said, I won't disagree with most of your observations.

SPX was different as the people all seemed hungrier and were more chatty and out-going. It was like a high energy little alt or punk show vs a seeing some tired old rockers in a stadium.

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