Just finished 3 cons in about 5 weeks!
First up was Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle, which was another banner show, with the con improving yet again, at about 15k attendance, and my sales from 2 days being a near best ever. I keep telling everyone I know, again and again... do this con! Don't travel to Charlotte, or Chicago, or anywhere else, if you don't have this show on your list already, go there... it's that good.
Great show, great (spending) crowd, great location. 'Nuff said!
One of the best things about this show, was I got to meet an artist friend from DeviantArt, that I've been working on a little top secret something with... Yassir Rasan (aka seeso2d).
Yassir's an amazing artist, and as it turns out, very very nice guy. He's only been in the US and Seattle for just under a year (he's from Iraq), and this was his first ever comic convention (I think he was overwhelmed, naturally)!
Next up was Wondercon in San Francisco. I really like this show, and it's growing, and great, but, it's run by Comic-con International, just like San Diego, and that means big crowds for sure, but tons of mainstream attendees, not necessarily buying comics etc... but damn sure looking at big booths and panels.
It's a great location and a good show though, and I have many friends at it, plus the amazing Isotope comic lounge is nearby and hosts great con parties, and this year was no different. I just wish the sales were a bit better here, especially for as large as the show is (I think they do like 25 to 30k).
I had a great time with my friend Jack Stepp (creator of the self pubbed comic, The Elysian) who I'd met at local shows and known for years, and his neighbor, Jeff (the living embodiment of "the Dude") Prechtel (historical\fine artist), who I met en route to the show, road tripping from Portland and Eugene down 1-5 south...
We even stumbled into an epic roadside diner on the way home, north of Sacramento, Bill and Cathy's diner... like a time capsule from the early 70's, massive, and serving high quality breakfast (I recommend the chicken fried steak... it's fresh made)!
Then we get to Wizard Anaheim... the brand new show in the LA area from Wizard, part of their new pop culture con relaunch...
I knew it was going to most likely be a scary proposition (the Wizard LA con was a downward spiral, and Reed's (promoters of the fabo NYCC) C2E2 was the same weekend), but being that C2E2 was sold out, and I had friends around LA (that I could crash and hang with), I went ahead and tried my luck.
As with most shows, the Friday and Sunday were down attendance wise, but Saturday was pretty busy. That said, sales were terrible, and the "crowds" that were there, were most likely there for the new freak show aspect of Wizard.
Now sure, they promote it as a big pop culture event, like a travelling Comic Con San Diego, accept, you know, without the ability to put on a similar type show. Instead you're left with literally half the floor of the con as an autograph area with such celebs as Kato Kalin, Peter Brady, and various wrestlers. Then the remainder of the floor is vendors that range from hooka pipes, to custom leather jackets, with some petrified bats here, and a smattering of comics there. No, really.
Oh, and of course, the large stage for hoochie mamas dressed in Star Wars/geek gear, performing routines live, for good wholesome family entertainment!
I'd guess the attendance to be around 7 to 10k (I'm sure, like always, Wizard will inflate the number with multi day sales and such to make it look much better, it's not), and the crowd, like with San Diego and Wondercon SF, mostly mainstream folks not buying comic stuff, but checking out the whole comic con thing, and even more so in this case.
My friends and I took to calling the new Wizard shows a traveling train wreck, or cluster f*#k across America.
So, if they're close to your town or region, consider them, but whatever you do, don't go out of your way to plan to attend or exhibit one!
Your mileage may vary of course, but I suspect not much.
But I did get to see Lavar Burton in the bathroom (now added to my celeb con bathroom encounter list with Adam West) and sell a print to Julie Numar(Catwoman)'s driver!
Thankfully Dan Mendoza, friend, collaborator, and current Zombie Tramp creator, and my good friend Javier Hernandez (and respectively family's/s-o's) made it a welcome stay and treated me to many a local attraction (Chronic Tacos, Amazing Comics, Geeks Comics, etc), or entertainment (Faster Pussycat Kill Kill, bootleg tv series, imported Japanese art books, etc) otherwise this would have been one epic fail! It was fun hangin with cool comic friends for a few days.
But, there's always many other benefits of cons, and I've already got a few new contacts and such in play too.
I gave it a shot, so no surprise there... Wizard is Wizard.
So to summarize...
ECCC = awesome!
Wondercon = good
Wizard Anaheim = WTF?!?
The next con for me is Phoenix Comicon, on Memorial day weekend, which is a new con for me, but I've heard great things! So I've got a few weeks to recharge, get my 2010 sketchbook set, and a cool new Lost fan art ready, among other things... to start it all up again this summer!!
(To see pics of some more con sketches from the shows just click the con label below or check out my DeviantArt gallery)