Jesse James writes;
Usually I’m the last person in the con scene to get around to writing my review. I spend about 3 to 4 days looking at the social media forums and blogs to see what people are talking about and the various perspectives of the con itself. I also watch to see how that con communicates with their fans after the festivities. Most importantly I watch the eCommerce pages to see if the con exclusives are selling at quickly, or in some case, not selling at all. I dont spend any time at panels at the con, so I rehash my floor experience and revisit all the photos I took. Then about the end of the week I write my personal experience and what that con really meant to the comic book world through my eyes.
Well not this time. Wondercon should change their name to “What-A-Con”. [Rich adds - he means this in a good way.] I’m not going to say it was the Convention of the year (not this early, anyway) but its right up there with Emerald City Con so far. Wondercon was a blessing for those who may have had major hesitation going into the 2013 season–it was the big, fun, positive con we needed at this time.
There is only one factor that matters at a con and don’t let anybody tell you anything different Sales solve everything. That’s what matters. Its the #1 rule in business; it’s not how many pictures your company is in, or how many people you said “HI” to–though contact with the public is very important. The bottom line, however, is ‘did you sell product?’ That’s the big question you ask yourself as you pack up after a busy weekend.
Good attention by the vendors to that major issue was a HUGE factor in the success of this con. So many dollars changed hands in return for some comic book goodies. Publishers seemed to be really pushing their goods in a feverish fashion. Publishers like Zenescope, Boom and DC (Graphitti Designs) seem to have a steady stream of anxious fans trying to get their Con exclusives. I even had to jump with Jay Company Comics for about 10 minutes to help Jimmy Jay sling some comics till the Cavalry (in the form of other employees) arrived. All three of their tables were on fire all day. The team at CGC also seemed to be all smiles as they were enjoying a slew of CGC submissions throughout this very busy con. All the publishers seemed to be happy with their sales and many had a great outlook for future cons as well.
My concerns over the last couple of cons had been the cosplayers. I have always been an advocate of cosplayers and their importance to the success of a con. Many Cons have been overrun by the Cosplayers and seemed to have no answer to how to keep them in certain areas away from the selling floor (where they often times create crowd scenes in front of creators, and vendor tables). Wondercon, I salute you on your staff on insuring that this didn’t happen at this con. Many of the Cosplayers where ushered away from clogging up creators tables or publishers precious floor space. Instead, a good portion were directed outside to different areas so the fans had ample space to take their pictures. This was a very pleasant and comforting surprise to see a con understand the importance of cosplayers and and also the convention floor concerns. Harmony replaced chaos and it was a win-win for all.
The other factor that was very important in my eyes, was the lack of Golden and Silver age dealers so far this year at the recent cons. Wondercon had them all covered–and that might be a understatement. They had every dealer you could think of and maybe ten times more. I really believe that a culture of a con and its history is based on how many segments of the genre supports the con. When it comes to vintage back-issues, we’re talking about the smallest percent of the buyers, who, all the same who spend more than every other buying group combined. Wondercon was a great shopping experience, no matter what was on your must have list.
The attending fans were generally a very upbeat bunch. Things were well managed and there were very few times when lines became extremely long. Though word is Friday was a mad house and some lines went on forever. There were really no sell-outs so all the fans were able to get their goodies before any flippers came in and bought out the good stuff. But more importantly they all had bags and that’s always a great sign.
Now here is the biggest gauge of a con–the appearance of a certain group– that maybe 1 % of the public knows about and actually knows who they are. That is the on-line dealers, who often prowl the cons for cool product to bring back to their customers. The biggest buyer and sellers online were all at this show. When I do my prepping for the con and see these folks are attending, I know something special is going to happen. Boy, was Wondercon special–comics like Boom’s “The Regular Show preview”, DC comics’ New 52 Batman #17 diecut exclusive, and the Justice League #1 exclusive, seemed to be the hit of the show and of course all ready hitting high prices online. This happens about 5 times a year when all the big boys hit a con–and this was the first time in a while they gathered together at Wondercon.
Overall, I had a blast. I did have a little stall at check-in for my badge. However the team easily fixed the issue and sent me onto the floor. I was very surprised how many people just looked happy at the show. I know that sounds very generic, but keep in mind I have been to over 50 cons in the last 18 months. So I have a keen sense of the mood of the mob.
So every con I ask myself a simple question. Did the con get bigger and did it get better? Wondercon did both and to an extremely high level. I really hope that this sets the standard for the other cons the rest of the year. Happy Venders and Joyful Publishers is a good thing and fans going home with a great stack of comics helps as well.
Finally, Wondercon has a great opportunity to be the top Con of the year. It all comes down to how they use social networking to communicate to their fans the rest of the year till 2014. If they can do that then I might have to break my streak of my favorite con for 10 years straight and hand over the reins to Wondercon.
Thank you to the staff at Wondercon for having me out this year.