I ache and I am so tired right now, that Andrew may have to edit this column for nonsense.
I currently sit in my very nerdy home with a body that feels like it’s close to falling apart.
I have returned from Fan Expo.
This year was a bit of a weird one for me. In past years, I’ve covered the convention with my partner in TATANS, Adam Grant. But this year, some very significant life changes for both us, rendered our show a little smaller than it has been. In conference, we decided that we would skip this year and try and come back full force next year.
Then Geek Hard came a calling.
While I’ve (obviously) worked with the guys in a limited fashion of sorts (I write a blog for the sight and I’ve co-hosted the show), I haven’t done an event like this with the guys and it was the first time I really was working for someone else. Surprisingly, things went smoothly. And I don’t mean that in an “I thought those assholes would be difficult to work with”. I mean it more in the fact that I was worried that I might be difficult to work with because I was used to being the boss. Kind of like when you’ve ran your own company and then have to go work for someone else. Sometimes that transition can be difficult. But luckily, everything worked out beautifully.
Or at least for me.
But what about the convention itself? What did we get accomplished? Who did you talk to?
Patience dear reader, we’re getting to it.
The Convention Business
I get accused of being a Hobbystar shill from time to time and it’s true, I have been a panel moderator for them in the past. Despite this, I have had and probably will always have issues with them. That being said, I really think this was an incredibly well run show. Yes, I’m quite aware of The Star’s article and I understand tickets may have been over sold but before anyone jumps on me for having a media pass, not so. Saturday I entered with a standard ticket and had no issues getting in. In fact, I only stood in line for 30 minutes and as soon as doors opened, I was in the building and on the floor. Total time? 35 minutes.
With that being said, yes, the overselling is an issue and it’s going to be an issue for the foreseeable future. What a lot of fans don’t seem to consider is something that I clicked into a few years ago.
Fan Expo is a business.
This is not to say they don’t care about the fans or about the show. I can say without a doubt there is at least one guy who works there who is more passionate about comics than I am. There’s probably a few more beyond that one guy but the attitude that it’s all about money and fuck the fans, is wrong. Every year these guys have a balancing act between commerce and fandom that they have to perform. Some years are better then others. For me and my own personal tastes, there wasn’t much in the way of new guests I wanted to get books signed from. But from Hobbystar’s point of view, I can completely understand why they grabbed these people. They are popular and a lot of fans might not have met them before.
When you have that many people wanting into your event, there is going to be issues and logistical nightmares that you wouldn’t believe.
But what could they change?
Hell if I know.
In theory a bigger building would be great… except there aren’t any. I suppose they could take over both sides of the convention center but booking that would be near impossible (this year for instance, there was a car show in the north building for at least two out of the four days) and the possible money loss would be huge. The money makes the convention continue. Without the money, Fan Expo doesn’t run. And as far as cons go, the only possible competitor is Wizard World Toronto. While I think it has potential, it is a very distant second to Fan Expo.
The only complaint I have is how the artists’ tables were lined up for the bigger names. I imagine it looked great on paper but the problem is lines bleed into one another. Ethan Van Scriver was right beside Jill Thompson for instance. Ethan has a ton of fans as does Jill and sometimes the lines bled together with no clearly defined area for either. Darwyn Cooke and Amanda Connor had a very similar issue. I’m sure on paper, the layout looked great but in practice, room for improvement.
I’m not going to really talk about the interviews themselves because they are coming and I want you guys to have something to look forward to (trust me, we’ve got some great surprises lined up) but I am going to reveal a couple little tidbits to keep you wanting more.
In terms of comics, there was a bit of a buzz on the show floor about a man who wasn’t even there: Rob Liefeld. Rob’s current burning of bridges with his twitter flamethrower was the talk of the convention with professionals and journalists alike. I was completely unaware of the Scott Snyder twitter war until a pro (who will go unnamed) pointed it out to me.
Jill Thompson is a favorite artist in my household. If she were in your family, she’d be that awesome aunt that your kids love. That being said, the entire Geek Hard crew accidentally followed her all weekend so if she assumes we’re stalking her, I wouldn’t blame her.
Mike Del Mundo is a guy I’m really glad to see is doing well. We had last ran into each other at Wizard World Toronto and while Mike was doing well then, it’s nice to see that his career is really starting to ramp up.
5 time WCW World Heavyweight champ, Booker T has huge mitts. Seriously, he could palm my face if he so desired.
Now if you’ll excuse me I’m going to bed until my column next week.
If you’re gonna geek out, GEEK HARD!