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November 22, 2004

On Comics Conventions Ö

I did the New York City National Convention this weekend, arguably the largest show in NYC. The first ďbigĒ comic book conventions were in New York, which is only fitting as thatís where the industry was conceived and where the majority of comics writers and artists live. I regret to say that despite my genuine affection for its promoter Mike Carbarnaro, New York City deserves a better run show than the National.

Admittedly, Iím long burned out on comic book conventions. Iíve been to more than 200 in the past 36 years, and Iíve run, helped run, or run panels at over 80 of them. So when it comes to running conventions, I think I know a couple of things. For example:

1) Find a venue that actually has oxygen. This is critical, unless youíre a plant. Having a choice between a room without oxygen (downstairs) and a room without oxygen but plenty of heat (upstairs) isnít much of a choice, really.

2) Show your table set-up to the Fire Marshall, and if he just laughs at you, change it. Donít set up the tables in such a way that if somebody bends over to hear what one of the 90 year old legend guest has to say or to look at a typical $12,500 golden age comic book, your ass shouldnít knock over the stuff on the table on the other side of the aisle. You should be able to walk down the aisle naked without having to pivot for the naked person walking the other way. If youíve been to a lot of comics shows, or have seen The Simpsons, I apologize for planting this disgusting image in your brain.

3) Tell the guests when (and if) their panels are before the show starts. Preferably before they leave for your show, so they can make certain they arrive in time for their panel. But, worst case scenario, if somebody shows up two hours before the show opens, have a flyer for him that details his commitments such as panels.

4) When out of town guests check in, make sure their promised room are both there AND are being charged to the convention account.

5) If you are going to make somebody put their room on their own credit card, make certain that person isnít the most well-armed guy in the business. Thatís what we call a ďbig mistake.Ē

6) Donít set up crowd control in such a way that the fans, dealers and guests donít feel that if a fire breaks out, they are all going to die a violent horrible death. I realize that because comics shows feature an enormous tonnage of very, very old and dry rotting paper, there should be very little risk of fire. And if there is, well, some of the folks probably hadnít had their November baths yet.

7) The guests like seeing one another, so try to have them at least all on the same floor. Unless a few of them smell particularly bad Ė even by convention SweatCon standards. You can send those guys out to another room.

Despite all this, I had a wonderful time seeing old friends folks (to name but a few) Terry Austin, Nick Barrucci, Rick Bryant, Howard Chaykin, Ken Gale, Larry Hama, Irwin Hasen, Bob Kahan, Larry Shell, Walter Simonson, Bob Smith, David Spurlock, Jim Starlin, Joe Staton, Trevor Von Eeden, and Renee WitterstaeterÖ plus, of course, my partners-in-crime Mike Grell, Glenn Hauman John Ostrander, and John Workman. Meeting up with the fans is always a wonderful experience (well, almost always), and both GrimJack and Jon Sable Freelance were wonderfully received by fans and retailers alike. That was really great.

Posted by Mike Gold at November 22, 2004 11:03 AM

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Was Wardo there? It ain't a party without him.

Posted by: Rockin' Rich at November 23, 2004 09:03 PM

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