Mike Gold: Of Mice and Cheese
Like most businesses, we here at ComicMix have regular senior staff meetings. By “regular” I mean “every week or two” and not “structured.” Last week while we were working on our convention schedule (Glenn to WonderCon, Adriane, Martha, Emily, Evelyn and me at Washington’s Awesome Con, me at C2E2, etc. etc. and endlessly etc.), I wondered out loud “when does the so-called convention season actually begin?”
Adriane voiced Emerald City, in Seattle. Everybody concurred. Well, everybody but me. I suggested “New Year’s Day.”
OK. I’ll admit it. When it comes to comics conventions that have little to do with comics, I’m a bit burnt out. My first big show was Phil Seuling’s hallowed 1969 program in New York, I helped organize the Chicago Comicon and helped run it for its first ten years, and I represented First Comics, DC Comics, arrogantMGMS and ComicMix at approximately one billion shows. It’s possible that Martha’s actually done more of them. So when I parse out my time and energy, I prefer to be at comic conventions that actually have something to do with… you know… comic books. Go figure.
My favorite shows are MoCCA in New York, the Baltimore Comic Con in (you guessed it) Baltimore, and Heroes in North Carolina. These shows are nearly 100% focused on comics. There are others, to be sure, and Emily’s been telling us Awesome Con is, ummm, awesome. I’ll probably know first-hand in a couple days.
My least favorite shows are the big clusterfucks that have little or virtually nothing to do with comic books. At the top of this list, most certainly, is the San Diego Comic-Con. Often, I feel those folks who are interested in comics just get in the way of the autograph buyers and media gawkers. I have no idea how the show continues to justify its tax-exempt status: it’s been years since they’ve bothered with their well-advertised mission statement. And now that the nearby hotels and restaurants caught on to the show, San Diego is a very expensive way to spend the better part of a week.
The people at Reed Pop (New York Comic-Con and C2E2 in Chicago) might have been somewhat interested in the comic book medium when they started out, but now they’re jut a gaggle of San Diego wannabes. I get that: Reed is a business and the best way to make big money at a comic book convention is to load it up with media has-beens and almost-wases and treat the fans and comics dealers like afterthoughts at best. I live in New York and I’m from Chicago and I have a lot of work to do at both shows. But there’s this “diminishing rewards” thing going on, and I no longer attend either show on Sundays. Next week’s C2E2 is up against the Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention, and for those of us who are fans of old paper – including comic books – this is a far more entertaining affair. I’ve done a lot of business there as well, and I have a lot of friends that go there and not to C2E2. That’s where I’ll be a week from Sunday.
I will have been to about a dozen shows this calendar year, so forgive me if I act like my sphincter muscle seems like it’s set to 1000 pounds per inch. I’m a fan of many media, but first and foremost I’m a comics fan. I prefer comic book shows to autograph shows, and I prefer not wasting three hours standing in line to get into a desired panel.
I’m looking forward to Washington’s Awesome Con this weekend, and ComicMix will be set up and in force. Drop by and say hello. Feel free to tell me I’m full of it and/or that you haven’t been to the San Diego Comicon but you’re dying to do so.
I know how you feel. I used to feel that way, myself.