Saturday, August 10, 2013

Some Wizard World Thoughts

As noted on Thursday, I hit Wizard World Chicago yesterday afternoon/evening and today. I'm not generally very comfortable striking up conversations, but I've gotten to know enough people now that I ran into several folks that I was comfortable talking with, so I was pleased today to get a wider sense of the show that what I've been able to see myself. And what I thought was interesting about Wizard World was echoed by several others without prompting. It's possible I might not get to the show on Sunday like I thought, so I thought I'd throw a few reflections on tonight.

I'll be honest that I haven't been too keen on Wizard World for several years, largely because it struck me as more of a pop culture show than a comic show. Going into this year was no exception. They're promoting lots of actors and wrestlers and folks that aren't really associated with comics in any way. They had comics people, too, but that hasn't been the focus of their advertising.

But after getting to the show, it seemed to me there was actually a greater focus on comics than at rival convention C2E2! I think the Artists' Alley was at least as big, and there seemed to be a greater percentage of comics folks there (as opposed to just artists who do work that happens to appeal to comics-appreciative audiences). There were certainly more retailers selling comics there too. Now, there were certainly people there selling anime DVDs, and cosplayers dressed up like various incarnations of the Doctor, and a video arcade, and some RenFest folks, but I go tthe impression that there was less of that here than at C2E2.

Furthermore, I had a few people say similar things.

Now, that being said, I also talked to some comic folks who weren't doing as well as they had at C2E2. One guy said he probably would just barely break even, and almost certainly won't do the show next year even though he's local. I talked to another guy who figured he was going to end up with less than half the profits he saw at C2E2. Others came off as much more positive, but I can't say if that was just optimism (real or generated for my benefit) or they were genuinely having a better show. There certainly seemed to be enough traffic that everybody was confindent they would at least walk away from the show with some positive cash flow.

But, despite being billed as a pop culture show, and despite having the likes of Dennis Rodman, Ralph Macchio and Andrew McCarthy as guests, there was still a significant and almost impressive comics presence there.

I'll share some more specifics about the show later.

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