In a newsletter posted on their website titled “Mile High Comics Withdraws From San Diego Comic Con After 44 Years,” Mile High Comics president Chuck Rozanski announced that the gigantic retailer will not be attending San Diego Comic Con, ending a relationship that has lasted nearly half a century.
To answer the numerous questions that we have been receiving of late, for the first time in 44 years, we will not be exhibiting at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con. I wish that this decision could have been otherwise, but circumstances beyond our control made our further participation impossible. To explain, San Diego has grown far beyond its original premise, morphing from what was originally a wonderful annual gathering of the comics world, into a world-renown pop culture and media festival. As such, it has seen rapidly escalating costs, and also a dramatic change in the demographics of its attendees. Neither of those changes worked to our advantage.
Rozanski went on to explain that, while the Mile High booth in 1973 cost just $40 for the entire weekend, the most recent booth renewal fee was $18,000. Additionally, Rozanski said, foot traffic to the booth was down. But all couples fight about money, and that wasn’t the biggest issue. Instead:
To summarize, we experienced rising costs, while at the same time foot traffic in our booth plummeted. That is never a good combination. That having been said, I truly loved the experience of exhibiting at San Diego Con, so I can assure you that I would have ignored those two major obstacles, and still renewed my booth. The final straw, however, was the utter indifference of the San Diego Comic-Con management to the fiasco that we endured at the beginning of last year’s show, when the freight handlers that they hired failed to deliver our comics to our booth.
Rozanski says that Mile High’s trucker was at the con at 6:30 AM on Tuesday morning, but by 9PM, the comics still hadn’t been brought to the booth.
Making matters much worse, at no time during this ordeal (or during the show) did anyone from the convention management stop by with an apology, an explanation, or even just to commiserate. After 44 years of my supporting them through good times and bad, that was just too much indifference to endure. When you are in a relationship out of love and passion, but the other party could care less whether you live or die, you have to realize that it is time to move on. I will very much miss San Diego, but I doubt if the convention management will even notice that I am gone. Such is life.
This isn’t the first time Mile High Comics has withdrawn from San Diego Comic Con. Rozanski called 2014 his last San Diego Comic Con after reportedly losing money at the show, blaming exclusives sold on the show floor taking money away from retailers like Mile High Comics. However, Rozanki relented a few days later and ended up returning to the convention. Will a similar change of plans happen again? Time will tell, but we hope these crazy kids can work things out.